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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, HK-67 Interstitial 1, Part 2: The Black Parade

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

LILIT: Hello, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Lilit, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

This is the last interstitial episode before Season 2 begins. These side missions have been a blast, but we’re excited to get the crew back together. we will also have a recap episode releasing before the premiere so that you and your friends can get caught up on the crew’s adventures.

Music in this episode can be found in the show notes.

Now let’s get to the episode.

##

[old scratchy record player begins with carnival music]

LILIT: Hello and welcome to Tabletop Squadron. I’m Lilit, and I’ll be your game master for today. We are on Episode 2 of this HK solo adventure, not really solo, because he has a friend now. Minna, why don’t you introduce yourself?

[carnival music fades]

MINNA: Hi, I am Minna, and I will be playing Kessek the Trandoshan assassin.

LILIT: And where can people find you, in case they didn’t listen to that first episode for some reason?

[giggling]

MINNA: I can be found at @mynaminnarr on Twitter. I am also on The magpies podcast and the Compleat Discography podcast.

LILIT: And Nick.

NICK: Hi! I’m Nick, and today I will be playing HK-67, also known as Hank, and I am a droid assassin.

LILIT: Great. When we last left off you had just defeated three stormtroopers who had wandered onto the roof of the building to take a smoke break, and the destiny pool is currently at two light side and one dark side. So let’s pick up where we left off. What are you two doing now that you have some bodies to deal with? Or not deal with, either one.

NICK: Hank definitely just kicks one of the stormtroopers down the stairs and then walks back to see what else is happening on the street, like if everybody heard the commotion or not.

LILIT: Okay. I would say the start of the commotion was during a band going by. All the floats, if they are not right next to the band—or, there’s a few smaller bands, so if a float isn’t right next to a band they do have music playing but it’s not as loud as the actual instruments. So, a few people heard the tail end of the fight, but they’re just kinda looking up at the building. They can’t actually see any of the bodies because there is a raised lip to the edge of this roof.

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

NICK: HK’s head kinda leans over the side and makes eye contact with a couple of the people looking up, and he twiddles his fingers at them and says…

NICK (as HK): Nostalgic Quote: Ello~

NICK: …and then slides back onto the roof.

LILIT: [chuckles] Kessek, you probably more than Hank would know that even though your confrontation with these troopers wasn’t super noticeable from the street you probably would only have a few minutes before, one, other stormtroopers notice that there are some missing compatriots, and two, they put two and two together and notice that people are looking up at your building.

MINNA (as Kessek): Alright, let’s get out of here.

NICK (as HK): Do we have a plan? Do you know where to go?

LILIT: Both of you would have known the previous parade’s route. You do not know what the current route is. There are probably ways to find that out, though. You could also just follow the parade.

MINNA: Yeah. I think her plan was just to, you know, go through the crowd and burst out from the crowd.

NICK: Oh, hell yeah, I’m here for that. let’s do that.

MINNA: [laughs] She’s not a subtle—I mean, I guess she’s… I lie. She’s decent at stealth, but she is very much a quietly get to where you’re going and then just not be subtle anymore.

LILIT: Do you plan on doing that just in front of your current building or do you plan on going somewhere else to do this ambush?

MINNA: I think it makes the most sense for us to go a little bit down the street, just so we’re not directly in front of this building with dead stormtroopers.

LILIT: Yes. It takes you a few minutes to find a new spot at street level. Would you like to be truly in the crowd or would you like to be sort of in a side alley with a view of the street?

MINNA: I think in the crowd.

LILIT: The two of you make your way into the crowd a few buildings down and are able to get a spot right up against one of these parade barriers. Looking down, you probably have a few minutes before the Moff’s float gets to you just with how slow they are meandering down this road.

[quiet jaunty music begins]

NICK: HK leans both his elbows back on the parade barrier and looks towards Kessek.

NICK (as HK): Now that we have a professional relationship that has been baptized in blood, what is your name? Most people call me Hank these days.

MINNA (as Kessek): You could be a little quieter about that. My name’s Kessek.

NICK (as HK): Oh, it’s fine, you’re very intimidating. No one will bother us. Nice to meet you, Kessek.

MINNA (as Kessek): Nice to meet you.

MINNA: [smiling] She’s a little bit annoyed that you figured out her strategy for blending in.

NICK: [laughs]

NICK (as HK): You are very tall. The child behind you can’t see. Would you like to crouch down some?

MINNA (as Kessek): I don’t think that would help.

NICK (as HK): Sorry small child, you will not see the parade today.

NICK: And HK turns around to watch the route. [laughs]

LILIT: There’s a small Human child who’s like jumping up and down and eventually one of his mothers picks him up and puts him up on her shoulders and gives the two of you a head shake for not letting this small child see the parade better.

MINNA: [grinning] Kessek is immune to disappointed headshakes.

LILIT: This family, they do end up moving a few feet away to get a slightly better spot.

NICK (as HK): The joke’s on them. As an artificial intelligence I don’t have a conscience.

LILIT: [laughs] You get hit in the head with a piece of candy.

NICK: I take 4 wounds.

[laughter]

MINNA: No~! You don’t have enough wounds!

LILIT: It’s a soft caramel. Don’t worry.

NICK (as HK): I do, however, feel pain and can get embarrassed.

NICK: As he scrapes at the candy to try to get it off of his head.

MINNA (as Kessek): Why can you get embarrassed? That doesn’t make any sense.

NICK (as HK): Have you been hit in the head with a soft caramel candy right before assassinating an important political figure? It really ruins the mood.

MINNA (as Kessek): Shh… You don’t know the meaning of subtle, do you?

NICK (as HK): I’ve done subtle for quite a while. It got old. I’m trying something new.

MINNA (as Kessek): Lucky me, I get to be here for that experiment.

NICK (as HK): So far it’s going great.

LILIT: Yeah. The Moff’s float is about four or three floats away when HK gets a ping on their coms.

[music is replaced by simple phone ringing tones]

NICK (as HK): Standard Greeting: Hello. This is HK-67.

LILIT (as Xianna): Okie. Okie, Hank. Okie. I know we are not supposed to be talking right now, but hear me out.

NICK (as HK): I’m sorry, I forgot to ask who this is. Who is this?

LILIT (as Xianna): This is Xianna. You know… your friend.

NICK (as HK): Oh, hello.

LILIT (as Xianna): Secondary user.

NICK (as HK): Secondary user, why didn’t you say so? We are not supposed to be communicating.

LILIT (as Xianna): Okie, yes, but can you talk right now?

NICK (as HK): Oh yes, I am not busy.

NICK: [laughing] As we see Kessek in the background getting ready to just destroy all this stuff.

LILIT (as Xianna): Okie, hypothetically, who is the asshole in this situation? One person asks the other person to move in. The other person does not want to move in but still wants to date that person, and the first person says something about toothbrushes, and then the second person says I only have one toothbrush so I cannot bring a second one over, and then the first person gets mad. Ugh… what?!

NICK (as HK): Xianna, I think what’s important to ask is which one of these persons are you? Are you asking for a toothbrush or refusing to provide a toothbrush?

LILIT (as Xianna): I’m not refusing to give a toothbrush, I just only have the one toothbrush.

NICK (as HK): If Nolaa has hurt your feelings by not advancing the relationship I would be happy to terminate her.

LILIT (as Xianna): No. No. Other way around. She wants me to leave a toothbrush on her ship, but I only have the one toothbrush, and I also don’t want to leave a toothbrush on her ship because commitment issues.

NICK (as HK): Oh, so you have hurt Nolaa’s feelings. Short Answer: yes, you are the asshole. Longer Answer: I should call Nolaa and see if she wants to put a contract out on you. It’s been lovely catching up, Xianna.

LILIT (as Xianna): [gasps, huffs] I don’t think it’s that bad. Please don’t kill me, HK~ [whines] Hank~!

NICK (as HK): I probably won’t. We’ll make it look like an accident. Click.

NICK: [laughs]

MINNA (as Kessek): Ready to go, Agony Aunt?

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: I would say this conversation took just long enough that the moment you turn around is when the Moff’s float is in view and only one float away from where you are standing.

MINNA: Yeah. We’re gonna take a shot at the float two floats ahead.

NICK: So Kessek lowers her rifle and HK walks up and is doing that thing where they look weirdly organic, which doesn’t match the way their arms and joints are, and HK leans against the barrier as you’re lowering a rifle and people are scattering away from you.

NICK (as HK): Can you believe that? My friend was so inconsiderate of her girlfriend. You know, I always thought they were cute together, but I’m not so sure.

MINNA: [laughs] I think she ignores and just takes a shot.

LILIT: So you take a shot at the float two in front of the Moff?

MINNA: Yes.

LILIT: If you are taking shots at two in front of the Moff you will be getting the Plasma Refinery Association.

MINNA: Perfect.

LILIT: Yes. It is mostly a group of older Humans wearing rather stuffy suits and dress outfits.

MINNA: Very floofy sleeves, rich colors.

LILIT: Very floofy sleeves, very high collars, hair styles that cannot be their real hair.

MINNA: Yeah. Yeah. It’s Naboo. [chuckles] So, what’s the range?

LILIT: They would probably be… Let’s go medium range, because they have started to pass you.

MINNA: Okay. One threat.

[classical movie humorous danger music begins]

LILIT: [laughs] You shoot, and the rifle bolt hits a large piece of decorative metal on the side of this float, and it’s hit at just the right angle and this piece of metal is just thick enough that it ricochets off and hits one of the patrolling stormtroopers off to the side.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: So this stormtrooper goes down. They are not dead, but they are shocked from being hit and was not expecting it. Now all of the stormtroopers are on alert and you have started to create commotion.

NICK: Quickly after Kessek’s shot HK is going to climb up onto the barrier and take a shot and try to hit the person driving the hover float.

LILIT: The float for the Plasma Refinery Association?

NICK: Yeah. That was the plan. Gotta make it stop.

LILIT: Their particular float is a droid in charge of it that is inset into the float.

NICK: That’s fine. I’ll kill a droid.

LILIT: Okay! [laughs] Go ahead and roll your ranged check for that and throw in a black die for range defense on this droid.

NICK: Okay. Hey, I actually went and read my talents, and I am going to use my Precise Aim maneuver to suffer a strain to remove any defense from this attack, so that’ll get rid of the black die, right?

LILIT: Yes it will.

NICK: Cool. Then, can I get a point for Quick Strike because the droid hasn’t done anything yet?

LILIT: Correct, the droid has not initiated anyone in combat yet. [chuckles]

NICK: [laughs] Okay. Now I will roll. I was like, oh yeah, I have talents to do things. That’s gonna be three successes and four advantages, so a crit as well.

LILIT: Nice! With that crit you can either just completely take out the droid and stop the float or you could roll on the crit chart.

NICK: I would like to take out the droid and stop the float, please.

LILIT: I figured. [giggles] So, you shoot right through this poor R2 model that has been inset into this float. Sparks go everywhere, and the float comes to a stop and drops down to the ground, shaking the float and everyone on it. At this point, I think we will roll initiative, because another group of stormtroopers has surrounded this float and have now pinpointed where the shooting has come from. This will be a Vigilance initiative check.

NICK: I got one success and four advantages.

MINNA: One success and three advantages.

LILIT: I am very sorry for my rolls. We are looking at three NPC slots, then the two PC slots, then a fourth NPC slot.

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

NICK: Can I spend all of my advantages that as the float crashes it explodes slightly and shoots a bunch of smoke everywhere to make it hard to see?

MINNA: yes!

LILIT: yes.

NICK: Sweet.

LILIT: You may. So, I will say the first round everyone will have a black die, as far as the stormtroopers, for obscured vision. The stormtroopers are up. Alright, this first stormtrooper managed to get a success, so they are going to hit Kessek with 7 points of damage.

MINNA: Hmm, so that’s 3. Seven out of 16 wounds.

LILIT: I’m sure it’ll be fine.

MINNA: Yeah, I think she grunts… Well, I guess there’s a lot of slots left, so I’ll let you figure out what happens next.

LILIT: We move to the next NPC slot, and the second stormtrooper goes ahead and fires at HK, and they miss and they hit one of the barriers, but there’s a third stormtrooper.

NICK: Alright. I would like to spend a strain to Dodge to upgrade the difficulty of the attack by one.

LILIT: Wow… They got a despair.

NICK: Woohoo!

LILIT: They do not hit you, and have a despair.

NICK: They decide to go home.

LILIT: They can fall prone.

NICK: [chuckles]

LILIT: Do you want that? Would you like that?

NICK: Sure. Yeah.

MINNA: [giggles]

NICK: So like, tactically that’s not super helpful, but as the show person, yes!

LILIT: So, this stormtrooper shoots but the shot goes wide and they unbalance themselves and they step back across a piece of shrapnel from the float and trip and fall backwards, falling prone, [dramatic bass noise, music ends] and in this process they let go of their blaster and the blaster tumbles a bit away from them underneath a float. This third stormtrooper is now without a gun. With that, we are now to our first PC slot.

NICK: So, the barrel on the bottom starts to spin up, HK jumps onto the barrier that he had hidden behind for cover when he dodged, and he’s surrounded by smoke and the flames of the float in the background, and he says…

NICK (as HK): Gleeful Statement: Suppressing fire.

MINNA: [laughs]

NICK: …and just starts to lay down just a curtain of blaster bolts. He’s not aiming, it’s like slung at the hip, and is just peppering this whole thing. The crowd is screaming and ducking away and running. The people on the float are trying to climb into it and also surrounded by fire. It’s just a big old mess. I will roll to do that… Ooh, so we have three successes and two advantages, so that would give the stormtroopers two black dice on their attacks or anything they’re trying to do while they are being suppressed, which I’ll just do for the foreseeable future I think. [laughs]

LILIT: Cool.

MINNA: So they now have three black dice?

NICK: Yeah.

LILIT: And with that, we are at the next PC slot, so Kessek, what are you doing?

MINNA: How close are they?

LILIT: They are at short range.

MINNA: I’m gonna use my maneuver to engage with them, because that’s a better move.

LILIT: Yeah.

NICK: You’re in no risk of getting shot by HK either. As the blaster bolts are swiping back and forth there’s always this very noticeable gap whenever it’s near Kessek and then it starts again.

MINNA: Plus. … Damn, that is one failure and three advantages. I know this feels like a disadvantage, but since her actual thing was to attempt to draw more stormtroopers out this way instead of over by the Moff’s float I almost want it to be reinforcements are coming for the stormtroopers. [laughs]

NICK: [laughs] You are such a Blades in the Dark player, but that’s a good thing for you.

MINNA: We’re doing a heist.

NICK: I ain’t afraid. Let’s do it.

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: So, I was already planning that the end of this round the floats behind the Plasma Refinery Association ones were going to start redirecting, so we can say that at the end of this round the floats will begin to redirect and some of those troopers will reinforce and join the group of stormtroopers you are currently engaged with.

MINNA: I think what happens is that she wades into combat, and she doesn’t manage to hit any of them because they duck, but one of them is like [grunts] and radios for help.

NICK: I mean, damn, have you seen Kessek? I’d radio for help.

MINNA: [giggles] And you with your suppressing fire.

LILIT: The stormtrooper that is on the ground, as they are trying to reach their gun, does radio in.

LILIT (as stormtrooper): We need reinforcements!

LILIT: You can see a group that was guarding the very last float peels away and starts coming your direction. We are at another NPC slot. You know what, I am going to move another dark side point. I’m gonna upgrade this check… and it didn’t matter. It’s a wash. So, this fourth stormtrooper takes a shot and completely misses. It bounces off one of the barriers. This is when you notice that the other parade floats are starting to turn down a side road and move out of the way and that other group of stormtroopers have arrived and they are going to join the initiative in between the two PC slots. We are back up to the top with more troopers. One of them manages to hit you, HK.

NICK: Even with all those black dice?

LILIT: Yes, even with those black dice. Things just kinda cancelled out real weird down to one single success. [laughs]

NICK: Wow.

LILIT: So that is only 6 points going your way.

NICK: Yeah, let’s keep the damage at that manageable level, please. [laughs]

LILIT: Yeah, your Soak is…?

NICK: Four, so that’s not too bad, because I have armor.

LILIT: The next slot, as anticipated, does not hit anyone. They had fallen, so they are spending their turn grabbing their blaster, trying to squeeze underneath the float, grab their blaster, and then get back out and up, and that is how they are spending that turn, which does bring us back to a PC slot.

MINNA: [laughing] I have a very stupid idea.

NICK: Do it! [laughs]

MINNA: Can I grab the one who’s on the ground and use him, like throw him into another stormtrooper? Like, just grab him by the ankles and whip him into another stormtrooper?

LILIT: [smiles] Yes. We will say that as they are standing up, like, the way they are standing up is that they’re kind of side-back is to you and you are able to walk over and just reach up underneath and pick them up and throw them to your side so that they hit into another trooper.

MINNA: [giggling] How do I roll this?

NICK: A large improvised weapon.

LILIT: This would be a Brawl check.

MINNA: Yes. Okay.

LILIT: So depending on how the Brawl check goes we’ll see whether or not we roll improvised weapon for the stormtrooper that gets hit with the other stormtrooper. Actually, they would both probably take improvised weapon damage.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: Let’s see how this Brawl check goes.

MINNA: We have a lot of light side. Should I use one?

NICK: Yeah, probably.

LILIT: Yep, I will flip that from a light side to a dark side, which brings the total pool to two dark side, one light side.

MINNA: So then it’s one success and two advantages, so with one success it’s… yeah, 6, and then I have two advantages.

LILIT: for those advantages I’d say you can spend one of those advantages so that both troopers take damage.

MINNA: Yes.

LILIT: The stormtrooper that had been thrown is knocked out. They are not dead, but I am gonna remove them from the initiative. Then, the stormtrooper that was hit has taken some damage.

MINNA: I’m gonna spend the last advantage to give a blue die to Hank.

NICK: Good idea.

LILIT: In the commotion the stormtroopers are now very distracted having seen one of their colleagues picked up and thrown into another one, so they are slightly distracted. We are now at the new group of stormtroopers, and let’s see how they roll. They rolled a lot of blank dice, so… they pretty much do nothing. All of their shots go wide. They don’t hit anything, and they aren’t even able to provide any distractions or advantages.

NICK (as HK): Ha-ha. Ha-ha. Ha-ha. Suppressing fire. Suppressing fire.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: [laughs] We are now back to a PC slot.

NICK: I think HK, after getting his fill of that, tosses his rifle up over a shoulder and his hand snaps out of the way revealing the tip of a little rocket embedded in his arm, and he looks to the large group of stormtroopers clustered really close together around Kessek, and then he looks at their target which all the other floats were kind enough to move out of the way… and he looks at Kessek, and he looks at the float… but I don’t know who to shoot at. [laughing] Who should I shoot at? I only have one missile.

LILIT: Ooh… I will say—So, the stormtroopers would be, if you’re aiming at the group, they would be short range. The parade float is moving into long range.

NICK: Okay, because it’s like leaving?

LILIT: Yeah. They’re making a turn away perpendicular from the street you are on.

NICK: Okay, so before they get out of sight I’m going to use my maneuver to move, and then I’m going to spend a strain to double move which brings them back to medium range, and then… I guess what I’ll do is I’ll double move to run after the float.

LILIT: And take that strain?

NICK: Yeah, but I’ll fire back behind me with the rocket towards the group. [laughs]

NICK (as HK): Come on, Kessek. We gotta go.

NICK: I’m gonna roll to attack just as many stormtroopers as possible with this rocket. Also, I’m sorry if I kill you, Minna.

[laughter]

MINNA: That’s fine.

LILIT: I doubt you will.

NICK: Probably not, but this is going to do a lot of damage.

LILIT: There is one single light side point still available.

NICK: Yeah, I’ll flip that.

LILIT: Ha-ha, and that brings us to three dark side points.

NICK: I ain’t ascared. Okay, let’s see how this goes. A single success is all I got. Oh, and one advantage. So, this rocket does 6 damage and Burn 2, so I just throw a whole bunch of napalm all over the street.

LILIT: Okay. I’m going to say that with that damage and that Burn that you effectively are taking that secondary group of troopers out of the initiative. They’re still alive, however they are much more concerned with the fact that they are on fire.

NICK: Yeah, I would be too. That makes sense.

LILIT: There are still three troopers up and about, though. With the end of HK’s turn, we are at one of those troopers. They will be aiming at Kessek, and… just a whole lot of advantages.

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: Well, they’re gonna use those advantages to create an opportunity for the next troopers to have a better shot at you, giving them a blue die, and that is the end of this round. I will say that the smoke is no longer there, so we’ll be removing those dice. Kessek, you are still there, and this trooper is going to shoot at you.

MINNA: I think while HK’s running away Kessek is like:

MINNA (as Kessek): I’ll hold them off.

LILIT: Just as you say that, you get hit with 8 damage.

NICK: [scoffs]

MINNA: Mm-hmm!

LILIT: They rolled some good successes in there.

NICK (as HK): My mechanical brain means that I will be unable to forget your sacrifice.

NICK: As he’s like running down the street. [laughs]

MINNA (as Kessek): Thanks?

LILIT: The second stormtrooper takes a shot at Kessek yet again, and does nothing. It is a complete wash.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: Their rifle doesn’t even fire, just, something happens and they don’t even get a shot off, but that does bring us back to a PC slot.

MINNA: I think now that HK has implied that I’m going to die here if I stay, they’re just gonna… You know what, she’s not so committed that she wants to die in this, so… I’ve got 11 wounds out of 16. How do I get out of here? Let me think.

LILIT: There are enough side alleys, and there’s not much of a crowd anymore, but you probably could maneuver through some side alleys using Stealth or Streetwise.

MINNA: yeah, I’m gonna go that route I think.

LILIT: Yeah, and get any troopers that follow you off your tail, and then meet back up with HK.

MINNA: Yeah. What is that difficulty gonna look like?

LILIT: I would say it is an average difficulty, because there’s really only three troopers left and they’re wounded and their charges are now driving away, so as much as they want to get these enemy combatants their job is still to protect someone.

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

LILIT: But I am going to flip a dark side point to increase that, so it’ll be one purple, one red.

MINNA: Alright.

NICK: Can she have a blue die because of all the smoke and chaos and stuff everywhere

LILIT: I’ll say you can have a blue die for the chaos. The smoke has dissipated enough since it’s been over two full rounds.

MINNA: Three successes and three threats, so I successfully evade them, but what happens that’s bad? Three threats is pretty bad…

LILIT: Yeah, you are able to evade them, however the way you had to move through the alleys to lose them meant you had to move slightly away from where the floats were headed so it will take you longer to meet back up with HK.

MINNA: Sounds good.

LILIT: Now that that initiative is dropped, HK, what are you doing?

NICK: So, this float is scooting away from me. My original plan was to blow it up, but I’m a big softy and I blew up Kessek to save Kessek.

MINNA: [giggles]

NICK: I think what I’m going to do is wait for as this float is going away… it’s still shielded, so I’m gonna try to shoot a street sign or a balcony or something to try to drop something really big and heavy through the shield onto the float and try to break the shield.

LILIT: You know what I’ll give you?

NICK: Hmm?

LILIT: I will give you that a lot of news stations are obviously covering this event, and there is a floating droid much like those probe droids floating up that has had cameras installed onto it so that it kind of has the appearance of an insect eye. It’s just covered in round little cameras so that it can get all sorts of different camera angles on it. You could shoot that out of the sky, and you figure with some basic maths that you could probably get it to go through the shield and hit someone.

NICK: Okay. Yeah. That sounds good to me. I’m gonna do one move action to keep chasing after this thing. Hopefully that’ll bring me to the cross-street that it’s going down so it’s not too far away. What range does that put me at?

LILIT: I would say that puts you at short range.

NICK: Wow. Okie-dokie.

LILIT: These floats don’t move super-fast even when they’re cranked up to their highest setting, more from a safety standpoint of these aren’t just floats that are modified hovercrafts or anything, these are built-for-parade floats, so they are very top-heavy, so if they were to go too fast they would probably just fall over.

NICK: Cool. HK jogs up, drops to one knee, we get the view from his perspective so the vision is all red-tinted and has lasers and targeting markers everywhere on it, and HK says…

[humorous action music begins]

NICK (as HK): Regretful Statement: Sorry buddy.

NICK: …and then shoots this big, heavy droid out of the air. Oh, by a whole bunch. Five successes and one, two, three, four advantages.

MINNA: Oh my god.

LILIT: Oof.

NICK: This is the one thing I’m good at, Minna! [laughs]

MINNA: It’s real good.

LILIT: Yeah. You didn’t even have to destroy this droid. I mean, the droid is pretty much just hovering slightly above where the shield is, because it’s following this float very closely, so you are able to hit it at just the perfect angle that shoots it down into the shield, and you are able to just cock the Moff right on his head. One, he is conked on the head and remains on the float, and two, conked on the head, falls off the float. You get to call red or blue for falling off the float.

NICK: Oh geez.

LILIT: We’re gonna roll a chance cube.

MINNA: Teehee.

NICK: Ahh! I’ll go with red.

LILIT: Okay. Oh, so while the Moff is hit on the head with this droid, one of his attendants is able to hold him up and he remains on the float.

NICK: [grumbles]

LILIT: You had a 50/50 shot, but blue came up.

NICK: Oh well. I still hit someone in the head with a droid. I feel pretty good about that.

LILIT: The poor droid does roll off the float and enough of the cameras are still working that you can see they have, the cameras that have a good angle of you are all selected and turned on.

NICK: Uh-oh.

LILIT: So there is now some lovely footage of HK. I mean, you don’t know whether or not this droid is recording live or if they are recording to a database inside of them for later use.

NICK: And honestly, HK’s so focused on what he’s doing he probably would note that and then just keep going anyway.

[humorous action music fades]

LILIT: So now that this Moff has been conked on the head and the float with the Queen is now moving by you, you can see that most of the people on the floats have now been brought inside the float. There’s a small compartment for them to go into. They are starting to move into this little sheltered area. The Queen’s float moves past you and away, but up next is the Royal Naboo Security Force’s Veterans float.

MINNA: Oh… boy.

LILIT: [laughs They take a look at you and they all pull out blasters. They remain on their float, but they are going to attempt to shoot you as they float by.

NICK: I would like to upgrade the difficulty of their check by one please. [laughs] I’m using Dodge. Gonna leave that light side point for Kessek to rescue me, but HK definitely says…

NICK (as HK): Panicked Statement: Oh kriff.

MINNA: [giggles]

NICK: …and dives behind a pile of trash.

LILIT: They’re retired and they’re a little bit older, but they still have some great aim, and a few of them are able to hit HK just right at the center of mass, throws him back , and HK powers down for a little bit. Kessek, you are able to reach HK as he’s powering down.

MINNA: I drag him into the nearest alleyway.

LILIT: Pretty easy to do that. Most of the troopers are more concerned with following the floats and protecting, and there’s just enough pandemonium going on that they do not see where you dragged HK. If you would like to flip a light side point, your last one…

MINNA: Yes. I think what this looks like is that she kind of drags HK into a shadowy alcove and fumbles through whatever stuff HK has on them and finds the droid repair kit, and then there’s just grumbling under her breath as she tries to fix them, and there’s little sparks as she touches wires.

LILIT: You’re also able to find two stim packs which would work on you.

MINNA: Oh hell yeah. I like it. Pulls off the caps with her teeth and injects them.

LILIT: So, two stim packs back to back would give you 9 health.

MINNA: Sounds good. I’m at 2 wounds now.

NICK (as HK): Fading Statement: Kessek, is that you? I see a light. I can see the creator beckoning me forward.

MINNA (as Kessek): Stop being so dramatic, Agony Aunt.

NICK: [laughs]

NICK (as HK): Look, I died. I’m pretty sure, I mean, I’m not an organic but I was really dead there for a second. I’ve seen a lot of death. That was not good. Not a fan.

MINNA (as Kessek): Good thing you’re not organic.

NICK (as HK): You know sweetness, I’ve never agreed with you more in my entire life, and my life’s been pretty long.

MINNA (as Kessek): Do not call me sweetness.

NICK (as HK): Don’t call me Agony—Actually, I kinda like Agony Aunt. You can call me that. I’m good with that. So, I got him, right? Moff dead? Success? We did it?

MINNA (as Kessek): Negative.

NICK (as HK): Ugh… Disappointed sigh.

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: So this repair kit is able to do some quick patches to bring you back up to some amount of health. Not everything is repaired, and you will need to see a mechanic at some point, but you are up and running and would be able to continue this mission. From some of the windows of buildings around you, you are able to hear the holo-news on, and you can hear newscasters announcing that:

LILIT (as newscaster): Despite these terrible assassination attempts, the Queen and Moff still plan on giving their speeches at the royal palace to show that you cannot keep the Galactic Empire down.

MINNA: [groans] Sorry, that was me, Minna, in discomfort about Naboo being pro-Imperial, even though I know it is, or at least some of it is.

[laughter]

LILIT: You would know that the palace isn’t terribly far, but it would still take you 10-15 minutes to get down there.

NICK: Unless we steal a car.

MINNA: A speeder!

LILIT: You could steal a car.

NICK: [laughs]

MINNA: I kinda wanna do grand theft speeder. That sounds like fun.

NICK: Yeah, let’s steal a speeder.

MINNA: Can I look for a speeder that looks hijackable?

LILIT: Let’s go with a Streetwise roll for that. I would say it’s going to be average difficulty. This area is no longer on high alert, but there are obviously still some people milling about.

MINNA: One success, one advantage.

LILIT: Okay, yeah. You’re able to find a small two-person speeder. I will say the advantage is that it’s at the other end of the alley that is opening out into a different street, so stormtroopers would not see you at all.

NICK (as HK): Kessek, maybe it’s all the blaster wounds, but what makes a speeder more hijackable than others? We walked a while to find this one.

MINNA (as Kessek): It is in a good location. It is a model that is, well, not that difficult to hotwire, so it looks like our best bet.

NICK (as HK): I tend to specialize in murder, so learning more about theft is a great way to expand my horizons.

MINNA (as Kessek): You can’t really get far in assassinations without breaking some other laws.

LILIT: So, you are able to get into this speeder and zip through the streets on the way to the palace. It’s not that difficult. Most pedestrians have either moved inside for safety or have relocated to the palace. As you start hitting resistance from a crowd you can see that the Moff, the Queen and her handmaidens, and a few other high-ranking officials are lined up at a podium on the staircase leading up to the palace. How do you want to approach this situation?

NICK: I will say since the very beginning I’ve been hoping to do just a really, really long sniper shot to kill this guy. [laughs]

MINNA: Yes. I feel like that is actually our best bet at this point.

NICK: Did you say that the podium is shielded, Lilit?

LILIT: Right now it looks as if things are being set up. You’re a little too far away to see if they have any light shielding. Very heavy shielding, you would definitely be able to see that blue shimmer, but some lighter shields are faint enough that from this distance you wouldn’t be able to tell unless you spend some time, and say, a roll, to figure that out.

MINNA: What kind of a roll would that be?

LILIT: Perception, and especially because you are still currently at ground level and there is a crowd ahead of you, because they are up on the large grand steps going up you would be able to see them a little bit better, but going up to a second or third story building would give you an even better vantage point.

MINNA: And probably a better sniper shot, I would guess.

MINNA (as Kessek): We should find a better vantage point.

NICK (as HK): Agreed.

LILIT: There are plenty of buildings to choose from. you’re able to find a clothing store that has different departments on different floors, and you can easily get up there without much notice, and you are now on a third floor and you would have a great vantage point, although you are at long range.

NICK: That’s fine. So, I guess HK uses his scope to check out the podium and look for any additional defenses.

LILIT: If you are looking for all defenses and if there’s a shield and everything, I would say this would be an average check. If you just wanna look for whether or not there’s a shield, that would be easy.

MINNA: How is your Perception?

NICK: I’m decent. I’ve got 2 in Perception and 3 Cunning.

MINNA: Oh, same.

NICK: We could work together.

MINNA: Yeah, we can work together, but we have the same, so I don’t know how much that would help.

NICK: I mean, it would add a blue die. We can do it as a team.

MINNA: Yeah, let’s do that.

NICK: Team spotter kind of thing. We have got… two successes and two threats.

LILIT: You are able to see that they have a very light shield up. With how faint it looks it appears to be one that is meant to stop handheld blaster fire from a rather short distance. It would protect if someone came up and tried to do a short range blaster shot, but a heavier rifle would probably be able to go through that. you notice that most of the stormtroopers are focused a few steps down and are lining up more to prevent the crowd from going up, so there’s not really any stormtroopers right around the Moff and the Queen. However, with that threat, there are other officials up with them, and from where your vantage point is there is some sort of senator standing right in front of the Moff.

NICK: Hmm.

LILIT: So you would have to shoot through this other official or hope that they move. You can see that despite it being scheduled that the Moff was gonna give a speech it appears as if the Queen is going to be giving one instead.

NICK: I mean, I have no problem shooting through people. That will just make the shot a little harder.

MINNA: Yeah, or you know, shoot the senator and when they fall follow with a second shot very quickly that gets the Moff.

NICK: Yeah. So, after HK and Kessek have gotten a pretty good view of what it is—I’m also imagining we’re amongst a bunch of mannequins wearing fancy Naboo clothes. [laughs]

LILIT: Oh, if you want to, we could say that is storage and it’s just a whole bunch of mannequins lined up and so you are amongst the mannequins leaning out a window.

MINNA: [laughing] Of course that’s what we are.

NICK: Yeah, I like that. That would be creepy to most people. It’s not to HK.

LILIT: You even have a little bit of benefit, because if anyone looked up you might be able to blend into the mannequins a little bit.

MINNA: [laughs] A droid and a Trandoshan.

NICK: It’s a big mannequin.

LILIT: There’s probably no lights on, and with it being a capital city, while most of the population of Theed, Naboo’s capital, is Human, there’s obviously other species that are around. There are Gungans, they’re not super prevalent in Theed at this point, but there’s plenty of other alien species that come in and visit, so there’s an assortment of non-Human mannequins for their small sections that have non-Human sized clothes.

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

LILIT: So you might be able to, from someone looking at the ground level, you might blend in if you’re not moving too much.

NICK: HK, after looking at this overview, looks to Kessek and says:

NICK (as HK): Kessek, my newest and closest friend, I think we can do the shot from here, but I would appreciate having a spotter. Would you assist?

MINNA (as Kessek): Happily.

NICK (as HK): I’ll let you have 100% of the pay as long as I get to ventilate this stinking organic.

MINNA (as Kessek): Then I will reciprocate, my newest and dearest friend.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: In this situation, is the plan that Kessek will shoot the official in front of the Moff and then HK will shoot the Moff, assuming the official drops?

NICK: Well, I was thinking if we have Kessek calling out range and sight and everything that it would give me some bonuses…

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

NICK: …and HK would try to either through-and-through both of them or shoot one and then the other really quickly.

LILIT: Okay.

NICK: I have kind of a wombo-combo of talents, although I actually do like the idea of Kessek take one out and then HK hit the one behind…

MINNA: I could do that as like a sighting thing… [laughs]

NICK: Yeah.

MINNA: I think both of those sound good.

[dramatic music begins]

LILIT: If you were both looking down your scopes with the idea of one shot to the official, a second shot to the Moff, and you were both scoping, you would essentially both be able to call out distances and angles. You would be able to see the wind and everything. You wouldn’t necessarily have to have one person entirely dedicated to that.

MINNA: That makes sense.

NICK: Okay. Cool.

MINNA: I think Kessek has the first shot and you get the kill, basically.

NICK: Okay. Works for me.

MINNA: Are we essentially doing an aim maneuver? Is that what that sighting through the scope thing is?

LILIT: Yes, it would be aiming. You would both get a boost die for aiming, and then I would say you would get one setback die for the light shield.

MINNA: So I can actually reduce that with one of my things.

NICK: Yeah, same.

MINNA: So I’ll take a strain to get rid of that setback die, but other than that, yeah, my talents don’t help me.

LILIT: Alright. You are both able to remove that setback die from the shield, but you would both have a boost die for aiming.

NICK: I’m gonna take another boost die for quick Strike, because the Moff hasn’t done anything yet, and then I’m also going to be doing a Targeted Blow. Do we have a light side point to flip?

LILIT: You don’t~

NICK: Oh, never mind, I won’t do that then.

MINNA: You know, I also have Quick Strike. [laughs] I will do that also.

NICK: Okay, so we’ll be rolling the same thing then.

LILIT: Then I will be flipping one of these dark side points to up the first shot, so upgrade the difficulty. One of those purple will become a red. I will say an unexpected gust of wind right as you go to make the shot.

MINNA: Wish me luck.

NICK: So, we get to see HK and Kessek both amongst all these mannequins, laying down with the rifles scoped on these politicians, and HK says:

NICK (as HK): Whenever you’re ready, sweetness.

MINNA: Two successes and one threat.

LILIT: I’m gonna say unless you really want to kill this official damage isn’t gonna matter.

MINNA: It would be 10 damage, but I do have a stun setting, so I’m happy stunning this senator.

LILIT: Yeah. You had your gun on stun, and the senator goes down giving HK a clear shot to the Moff. I will say that threat will come in the form of another black die. The gust of wind whips around and comes from the opposite direction back which would throw off some of your calculations.

NICK: Okay, that’s fine. Ooh, that was a very good roll. I got four successes and two advantages, so I would like to flip a destiny point…

LILIT: Yes?

NICK: …the last one, to use my Targeted Blow, which lets me add Agility damage, so that’s 4 additional damage. The sniper is 5, so that’s 14. That’s 18 damage, Pierce 1. That’s pretty good.

MINNA: Holy cow.

LILIT: Yeah.

NICK: Yeah.

LILIT: As is tradition, this Moff is an older man and not particularly sturdy, so that much damage takes him down. You get a perfect chest shot, and he goes down, and based on where you hit him and how hard you hit him you wouldn’t even have to check to see if he made it.

[dramatic music fades]

NICK (as HK): Kessek, you should check your weapon. It appears to be malfunctioning. I could’ve sworn that was a stun shot.

MINNA (as Kessek): We did this clean in the end.

NICK (as HK): Seems like you left an opportunity on the table to kill more organics, but… eh, I don’t intend to be critical of your style.

MINNA (as Kessek): The goal here was not to kill more, it was to kill a specific individual. We have accomplished that goal.

NICK (as HK): You say jorgan fruit, I say jargon fruit.

NICK: HK is breaking down his rifle and getting ready to run.

MINNA: [whispering, smiling] Nobody says jargon fruit.

NICK: [smiling] You can’t say tomato-tomahto in Star Wars.

MINNA: [smiling] I know. Let’s call the whole thing off.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: The Moff goes down, and chaos ensues. The handmaidens surround the Queen and they are ushered back up into the palace. Someone is dragging the lifeless body of the Moff off to the side, and the crowd is scattering away from the palace, which means that there are now lots of stormtroopers coalescing onto that spot, but crowds are coming your direction. You would be pretty able to get down out of this building and, as long as you hide your weapons and everything, blend into the crowd.

MINNA: That sounds like a plan.

[classical music begins on a record player]

NICK: HK will just, like, he was breaking down his rifle. He’ll scatter the parts through some alleys as they leave the area and he’ll go pick them back up later.

MINNA: [giggles] I think Kessek—so she slings her sword and her rifle across her back most of the time—so I think she just steals a cloak from this store room and throws it over those.

LILIT: Good. It’s a very nice cloak, in season, it has some great embroidery on it.

NICK (as HK): Surprised Statement: Oh, that’s a great idea. Is there one in my size?

NICK: And we get a quick montage of HK selecting a cloak, too.

LILIT: I mean, there would definitely be ones that would fit you. HK isn’t a massively huge droid.

NICK: No, he’s very average size, actually a little small.

MINNA: Kessek has the vibes of like, your dad or boyfriend waiting while you try things on in a store.

[laughter]

LILIT: I kind of like the idea of Kessek holding some part of the gun, just awkwardly holding a piece of the gun out while HK is trying things on.

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

LILIT: HK also selects a lovely coat. It is more of a winter coat, and it is spring now, but it still fits.

NICK: We walk outside into the crowds as the crowds are fleeing, and HK says:

NICK (as HK): Oh no. What a tragedy. I personally will be affected for my life. This is so sad. Oh no.

MINNA (as Kessek): Laying it on a little thick, aren’t you?

[classical music ends]

LILIT: You disperse into the crowd, and you might want to consider laying low for a little bit just because of the number of recording droids that were following the parade that may now have your photos… but until they begin looking for you, you would be able to make your way somewhere more secure before arranging payment.

NICK: It’s probably HK and Kessek on the outskirts of town waiting on a pickup by a cargo speeder or something.

MINNA: Mm-hmm.

NICK: And HK says:

NICK (as HK): So, anyway, like I said, I got what I wanted already, so I guess you’re entitled to the 10,000 Credits.

LILIT: Well, so Nick, it makes it sound like HK went ahead and called their contact, like, out of just, already…

MINNA: Oh.

LILIT: …that that contact is already on the way?

NICK: Yeah. Sure.

LILIT: Okay. Flipping one of my dark side points. Your contact shows up right as you are saying that, and Kessek, you would know that your contact had offered you double that.

MINNA: No!

LILIT: Twenty thousand.

MINNA: I think that there is a beat and then just a stun blast hits that contact.

[laughter]

LILIT: So, it is an enclosed hover craft that pulls up, and one of the front doors open, and a Human man walks out, and right as they are getting out, Kessek, you shoot them square in the chest and they go down.

NICK (as HK): Oh, kriff yeah, Kessek. Are we hurting more people? I’m down for that.

MINNA (as Kessek): I had a better offer, so clearly your negotiation skills need some work. I’m going to collect the reward. Feel free to collect the glory from this guy when he wakes up.

NICK (as HK): Okay. [uncertain] I guess I’ll tell him I scared you off in betrayal and stuff so he’ll owe me one… Maybe he’ll give me more work.

LILIT: As this happens, the back window to the speeder rolls down and a slightly older Chiss man leans out the window and goes:

LILIT (as Chiss): Well, that was not very polite.

MINNA: [laughs] Is this the actual person who made the offer?

LILIT: Kessek, you would recognize this as the actual person who gave you your offer. You were told his name was Yarbada, a slightly older Chiss gentleman with very short hair and the standard blue skin, red eyes, and he goes:

LILIT (as Yarbada): Oh…

MINNA (as Kessek): Ah, Yarbada.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT (as Yarbada): So, yes… Well—

MINNA (as Kessek): I thought he was competition.

LILIT (as Yarbada): Oh, no… That was one of my attendants. I will have to hire a new one now.

MINNA (as Kessek): He’ll be fine.

LILIT (as Yarbada): I hope you don’t mind if I take that out of your pay.

MINNA (as Kessek): How much?

LILIT (as Yarbada): Oh, I would say… bringing it down to 15,000?

MINNA (as Kessek): Seventeen.

LILIT (as Yarbada): Sixteen. It is so hard to find good help on such short notice.

MINNA (as Kessek): Sixteen-five, and no one finds out it was you.

LILIT (as Yarbada): [sighs] Sixteen-five it is, and that is mostly just because I would rather not get out of the craft. I did not put on regular shoes, you see.

MINNA: [snickers]

LILIT (as Yarbada): Still in my slippers. Did not think I would have to do this.

MINNA (as Kessek): Next time you might want to set up a signal that this is your man. Bounty hunters can be jumpy.

LILIT (as Yarbada): Well, this is the drop-off point. I figured you would assume it was the person doing the drop-off.

MINNA (as Kessek): Never make assumptions. Assumptions get you killed.

LILIT: Yarbada leans a little bit further out the window.

LILIT (as Yarbada): Ah, yes, the droid!

NICK (as HK): You know what they say about assumptions; they make a gundark out of you and me.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT (as Yarbada): You are both here. Huh. Well, good for you. I am only paying once, though.

MINNA (as Kessek): We already agreed on a price.

LILIT: HK, now that you have a better view of this man, you would know that you were also hired by a Chiss.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: You went through a few more in-betweens, but you did eventually speak with the direct hirer through holo-vids.

NICK (as HK): Grazy’arbad’askufuku, how come you hired more than one hunter? Did you not have confidence in either of us? I am disappointed.

LILIT (as Yarbada): It’s not that I didn’t have confidence, it’s that I really wanted him dead, and I just wanted to have a little extra insurance that he would not make it through the day. I am surprised you didn’t run into anyone else also going after the same target. I think I hired four in total.

NICK (as HK): Well, that’s concerning.

LILIT (as Yarbada): It is concerning. Was the initial attack with the droid hitting him on the head and all of that also you?

MINNA (as Kessek): Of course it wasn’t. It was some other amateurs that you hired.

NICK (as HK): Yes. Who would make an amazing shot like that?

LILIT (as Yarbada): Oh… Hmm.

LILIT: You can see he smiles a little bit once HK says that.

LILIT (as Yarbada): Of course. Ugh, it is concerning of where the other two went.

NICK (as HK): If they show up I’ll be sure to put them down. Don’t worry.

LILIT (as Yarbada): No matter, but like I said, I’m only paying once. So, sixteen it is.

MINNA (as Kessek): Sixteen-five, we agreed.

LILIT: [laughs] You can see he smiles and does a little chuckle.

LILIT (as Yarbada): Ha-ha, yes, well you cannot blame me for hoping you would have forgotten.

LILIT: He snaps his fingers and another attendant gets out of the other side of the front and brings you over a small credit stick, the kind that has like whatever amount you put on it, not the physical credits. Star Wars is weird with their money.

LILIT (as Yarbada): That will have the sixteen fifty loaded onto it. It has been a pleasure working with you two, and if I do ever need another perfectly legal job done again I will contact you.

NICK (as HK): Thank you for doing business with HK Assassination LLC. Please leave us a five-star review on the holo-net.

LILIT: He just quietly stares at you and rolls up the window in silence before he just goes:

LILIT (as Yarbada): No… I will not.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: The hovercraft drives away slowly.

NICK (as HK): That guy kind of sucks.

MINNA (as Kessek): Yeah, he’s not my favorite to do business with, but he does pay.

NICK (as HK): Well, it’s been good. We should do this again sometime. If you ever need somebody ventilated give me a call.

NICK: HK hands you a little business card with his com number on it.

MINNA (as Kessek): I’ll think about it. It was useful to have somebody who doesn’t want to get paid along with the ride.

NICK (as HK): I mean, sometimes I take money, but I just got the cool grappling hook and the nano-blade, so I don’t see much use for it right now. You know, droid’s don’t eat, so that really frees up a lot of expenses.

MINNA (as Kessek): Are you telling me you did this for fun?

NICK (as HK): I wouldn’t say “fun.” Deep-seated enjoyment? Inherent validation, maybe?

MINNA (as Kessek): Fun.

NICK (as HK): Fun…

MINNA (as Kessek): Okay then. Good to meet you. Go sort out your friend with the… girlfriend issues.

NICK (as HK): Yeah, I should probably… Well, we’re not supposed to talk right now, but hopefully I’ll see her again. I think I’m pretty qualified to give love life advice.

MINNA (as Kessek): You’re… qualified?

NICK (as HK): I thought my advice was good. Did you hear my side of it? I thought I was doing a great job.

MINNA (as Kessek): I mean, you were doing a great job, I was just… I’m not gonna ask any more questions.

NICK (as HK): You’d be surprised how often people who talk to me say things like that.

MINNA (as Kessek): Well, I’m gonna go find my ship and get out of here before anybody takes any more interest.

NICK (as HK): I have a ride hidden in a swamp on the other side of the planet. I’ll head that direction, but… it’s been good.

NICK: HK holds out a hand to shake.

MINNA: [laughs] I don’t think she does a traditional handshake. I think she does the hand grasp thing.

NICK: Yeah!

LILIT: [laughs] So, Kessek grasps HK’s hand, and you do notice that this droid’s hands are way too small for his body frame, almost as if you could call them baby hands.

MINNA: [squeaks and squirms with joy]

LILIT: You give him a few firm handshakes, and you silently turn around and you part ways.

MINNA: She has so many more questions than answers.

NICK: [laughs] As HK walks off into the wilderness outside of the city he says to himself…

NICK (as HK): I am so injured.

NICK: [smiling] …and just walks off.

MINNA: [yelps, laughs quietly]

LILIT: And that’s where we’re gonna end the episode.

NICK: Yay~

LILIT & NICK: Ba-naaa~!

## Outro

LILIT: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. A special thank you to our patron, GyaradosSkullfucker, for the Chiss NPC Yarbada who appeared in this episode. We also forgot to give a shout-out to Solicitor6 for their NPC Chundi Sandal who appeared in the first Tink Interstitial episode. If you would like your own NPC to appear in an episode, you can back us at the Build-A-Beru $10 level on Patreon at Patreon.com/TabletopSquadron where you can find other reward levels such as on-air thank-yous and secret archives.

If you’ve enjoyed our show, please consider logging into your podcast listening app of choice and leaving a review. Ratings and reviews help new listeners find the show and decide if the show is right for them.

Your game master was me, Lilit Penrod. I can be found on Twitter at @cheerio_buffet.

HK-67 was played by Nick Robertson, and he can be found on Twitter at @alias58.

Kessek was played by Minna. She can be found on Twitter at @mynaminnarr.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Outro music performed by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord at bit.ly/TabletopDiscord. We have a wonderful community and we’d love to chat with you. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials s1- HK 1- Fuck It, The Episode’s Just Called Shipoopi

PDF download: Interstitials s1- HK 1- Fuck It, The Episode’s Just Called Shipoopi

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, HK-67 Interstitial 1, Part 1: Fuck It, The Episode’s Just Called “Shipoopi”

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

LILIT: Hello, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Lilit, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

Today we’re starting the last of the solo adventures before Season 2 begins by catching up with what HK has been doing in this downtime. These interstitial arcs have been so much fun, but we’re looking forward to getting the crew back together.

Music in this episode can be found in the show notes.

Now let’s get to the episode.

##

LILIT: Hello, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron. I’m Lilit, your game master for today. Let’s hear from our players for today, starting with Nick!

NICK: Hi. I’m Nick, and today I’m going to be playing HK-67, a droid assassin.

LILIT: Also called Hank.

MINNA: [giggles]

NICK: HK-67.

LILIT: … Hank.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: I only say that because I will probably say Hank at some point.

NICK: Oh, it’s fine.

LILIT: It’s habit now.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

LILIT: And our second player, Minna!

MINNA: Hi! I’m Minna. I’ll be playing Kessek, a Trandoshan assassin. You can also find me on the internet at @mynaminnarr on Twitter and in The magpies podcast and The Complete Discography podcast.

LILIT: Great. Now let’s do the Destiny Roll! So, if each of you want to roll one of the white Force die.

MINNA: Oh, one dark side.

NICK: Two dark side.

LILIT: Great, now onto the episode.

[peaceful music begins]

LILIT: We open on a rising sun over Naboo. We pan down onto a meadow bathed in golden light as flowers sway in the breeze. A thunderous roar grows as we scan across a trio of waterfalls and a flock of ducks flies across the screen… because there are ducks in Star Wars.

NICK: Yes!

MINNA: Mm-hmm!

LILIT: A vibrant city comes into view, alive with the bustle of morning traffic. We star wipe to a crowded café. Everyone seems more concerned with watching the street than with their steaming caf and delicate pastries, but two of this café’s patrons are different. HK, where are you in this café?

[music shifts to jaunty player piano]

NICK: HK-67 is seated at one of the tables closest to the road and has a large flimsy newspaper held up in front of his face, and there is a full cup of caf sitting on the table that has gone cold, and HK is saying things like:

NICK (as HK): Yes, the local news is so absorbing. Yes… oh darn, my lotto numbers didn’t come in. Maybe next time.

NICK: Just sporadically.

LILIT: Every so often one of the café employees comes over and looks at the cold coffee.

LILIT (as employee): Uh, do you have an, uh, owner or associate who will be joining you? Should we heat up the caf for them?

NICK: HK grabs the cup, looks at it, and says…

NICK (as HK): I can see it would be suspicious that I don’t need a refill.

NICK: …and dumps it on the sidewalk and then holds up the cup.

NICK (as HK): Some more, please.

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: The employee just looks flabbergasted and shakily grabs the cup.

LILIT (as employee): Um… Uh… Okay. I’ll be back over in a moment. One more caf… Yeah, okay.

LILIT: Kessek, where are you?

MINNA: Kessek is standing up against a wall in classic bodyguard pose, but nobody knows who she’s bodyguarding. Kessek is holding a caf and sipping it occasionally.

LILIT: Good. Most of the other patrons are giving you a bit of a wide birth, because a lone bodyguard does look a little suspicious, not terribly, you know.

MINNA: There could be somebody secretly fancy here.

LILIT: Yeah, there’s so many dignitaries, and who knows what they all look like. Outside the café stormtroopers start to put up barricades to block pedestrians from walking into the road. It does look like the parade will be starting shortly. HK, what sort of recon did you do for this mission?

[piano music fades]

NICK: I think that HK got this assignment probably through several different layers of contacts and spent some of his recent money on just getting a general dossier of info about the event and the target. Like, basically black market eBay.

LILIT: Okay, black market eBay. What would, uh… Streetwise?

NICK: [sarcastically] Sure. Yeah. That’s a thing I have.

LILIT: Yeah!

NICK: Oh hey, did you know that HK has 3 Cunning? Because I forgot that. [laughs] Four successes and one threat.

MINNA: Ooh.

LILIT: Nice! You would have found the exact parade route. The parade permits are public record. You would know that the queen is scheduled to be on the second to last float and that her float will be shielded. None of the other floats will be. You know that the Moff, your assassination target for today, will be on the third-to-last float, and you will know that at the end of the parade route, which will be at the palace where the Moff plans to give a speech, there will be plenty of stormtroopers out and about but most of them will be on the ground surrounding the floats. It’s fun, because Star Wars floats will actually float.

NICK: Oh-no~

MINNA: Ah, hover floats.

LILIT: Is there any more specific information you would have liked to find out?

NICK: I think that HK probably would have been really interested in the exact make and model of the shielding for the float and if there’s any way to go past it. I don’t think he has any immediate plans to assassinate the queen, but if that technology gets moved around or something happens having a way to get through that would be…

MINNA: Oh yeah. Is it the shielding that just stops blaster fire or the shielding that stops all physical objects?

LILIT: It is the shielding that just stops blaster fire, so the ones that the battle droids have where you can put something through it and enter that space but blaster fire cannot go in.

NICK: Alright. Fun. That has some fun connotations for me personally. [laughs]

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: So, that is the information you have gathered. You probably were able to find out all the other organizations and groups that have floats in this parade, although I doubt you were that much interested in them. it’s pretty typical parade stuff. There’s a float for the Galactic Youth, a float for the Plasma Refinery Association, the last float in the parade is the Royal Naboo Security Force’s veterans.

MINNA: Aww.

LILIT: Things like that. Most of them will be covered in large amounts of native Naboo flowers. The Galactic Youth float, they usually throw candy out to the pedestrians watching the parade. Pretty typical parade things. What are you doing as the stormtroopers are setting up the barricades?

NICK: So, I think the reason HK is at this café is it’s right next door to a three story apartment building, and once they’re starting to set up the parade route HK gets up and is headed for the roof of that building. Oh, and also, probably picking up his gun that he has stashed in an alley or something. He’s gonna need that. [laughs]

LILIT: Go ahead and give me a Stealth check on that.

NICK: Okie-dokie.

LILIT: With, go ahead and do three purple on that.

NICK: Okay… Well, so that is a wash with three advantages.

LILIT: Three advantages. Okay. I will say that the café employees see you leave through—Would you leave through the front door or the back door of the café?

NICK: Probably through the front door with the plan being to loop around.

LILIT: Okay. So, the café employees do see you leave and walk around the building, but they don’t seem too concerned, and a stormtrooper or two see you walk back there, but they also seem much more busy with some internal communications and setting up these parade barriers.

NICK (as HK): Statement: Nobody here but us protocol droids.

LILIT: A little mouse droid beeps angrily at you and drives away.

NICK (as HK): Rebuke: I said what I meant, tiny friend.

LILIT (as mouse droid): Beep-beep, boooop.

LILIT: You know what that mouse droid said and it’s not polite.

NICK: Oh well. [laughs]

LILIT: But you also called it a protocol droid, so I don’t know what you were expecting. Kessek, what are you doing at this moment?

MINNA: Oh, I think she’s going to wait until the parade gets started to start moving, but I think she’s noticed the… HK is obviously not a protocol droid, right?

LILIT: Definitely not a protocol droid. I wouldn’t even make you roll for that, just as a bounty hunter assassin.

NICK: In the Knights of the Old Republic games you spend the first like four planets thinking that he’s just a weird protocol droid. [laughs]

LILIT: Yeah, you would be able to look at HK, they’re not even a protocol model. You would know that they can be used as a protocol droid stand-in, but they are most usually used for more nefarious purposes. So, a random HK model by themselves with no sentient being along with is a little suspicious to you.

MINNA: I think she’s kind of edging along the wall, just to get a closer look and maybe audio. I don’t know what the word I’m looking for is. [laughs] Get within earshot.

LILIT: There’s also a holo-radio playing in this café. There’s also a few holo-screens up on the walls behind the bar that are showing news coverage of the parade that should be starting any minute now. Since you are still in the café you don’t even have to roll for this. You notice that on the screens a scrolling banner appears that says Attention: Parade Delay.

MINNA: Hmm.

LILIT: When you listen in closer to the holo-radio — the holo-screens have been muted, so it’s just the visuals, no audio – but the radio does get a special announcement that the parade is being delayed for some amount of time, it hasn’t been disclosed yet, and it also has not been disclosed why the parade is being delayed.

MINNA: Hmm. I think Kessek’s gonna go investigate.

LILIT: You would be able to if you went outside. There are some café tables out on a little patio area. You could probably get closer to some of the stormtroopers and try to eavesdrop on them as well.

MINNA: Yes. Sounds good.

LILIT: So, go ahead and give me a Streetwise roll for that. I would say it would be average.

MINNA: That is just three successes.

LILIT: With three successes you are able to get one of the closest tables to these barricades. You’re even able to kind of scooch it a little bit closer without anyone noticing as well.

MINNA: Mm-hmm~

LILIT: You can hear that these stormtroopers are like:

LILIT (as stormtrooper1): Ugh, they’re changing the parade route this late? It’s supposed to start any minute. You can’t—ugh.

LILIT (as stormtrooper2): Well, it doesn’t matter. Captain says we gotta move the barricades again.

LILIT: They continue to chatter, and what you can gather is that they’re moving the parade route.

MINNA: Uh-huh.

LILIT: So, the stormtroopers start to gather up the barricades and load them into the back of a hovercraft, and you can hear them list a few street names, and you would know that it is being moved to a similar route but about two blocks over.

MINNA: She’s going to try to slip down an alleyway towards that location.

LILIT: That would be real easy to do. It’s a big city, no one’s going to care about someone walking down an alleyway, especially this early in the morning when it’s so busy, and even without the parade people who would be going to and from. So, let’s cut back to HK. You are now on the top of this apartment building. What are you doing?

NICK: HK has opened up one of those long, hard case briefcase looking things that you always see people put their break-down rifles in and is probably beeping to himself in binary as he screws in the barrel and attaches some of the sensors and puts a bipod on the front and with a loud ‘cachunk’ is putting the underslung repeating blaster on it and is setting up on the roof, probably just in time to notice all these stormtroopers getting ready to move.

LILIT: Yeah. Go ahead and give me an average Perception check.

NICK: Thank god I’m good at this. So, I got two successes, a triumph, and one threat.

LILIT: You can see that the stormtroopers are indeed taking down the barricades that they had been putting up. I will say, unless you have something specific you want with that triumph, I will say from your vantage point you can see that some of the hovercrafts that already have other barricades are driving over and stopping about two blocks from you, so you would assume that is where the new parade route will be.

NICK: I would love for there to be a good position to line up on the street up above.

LILIT: You can see that there is an apartment building very similar to the one you are currently on right next to the new parade route. I will say that it does look like there are a few more stormtroopers near the entrance to that building, though. That’ll be your threat.

NICK: Yeah, that’s fair. HK looks up, sees all that.

NICK (as HK): Reassessing.

NICK: Then gives a really mechanical sigh.

NICK (as HK): [sighs]

NICK: And starts taking the rifle back apart and putting it back away into the briefcase, and then the next thing we see is HK walking out of the front door of this apartment carrying this briefcase and heading through the alleys towards the next building.

LILIT: So Kessek, you have arrived to the new parade route and the stormtroopers are setting up the barriers. Do you want to find another business to sit in and wait at or would you like to change your plan?

MINNA: She’s kind of, like, now wandering along the new route, but I think she will find a new café, because it’s weird if she’s just wandering. Somebody will notice while they’re setting up barricades. She’ll sit on a patio this time I think.

LILIT: Yeah, it’s pretty easy to find a fairly similar café. With a good patio, you would be able to scope out how far down they’re putting up barricades, how many stormtroopers are out and about, that sort of preparation. Are you gonna continue waiting until the parade starts?

MINNA: Yeah, I do believe.

LILIT: And then HK, I’m assuming you are going to get up into a similar vantage point on the new apartment?

NICK: That’s the plan.

LILIT: Alright. The two of you both sort of have to just sit around for the next half hour while the stormtroopers continue to set up, announcements go out over the holo-radio, and all of the other people that were waiting for the parade kind of start to find their way over and are now lining up on the street, same as you, are just waiting for the parade to start.

[classical music begins]

After about 45 minutes of this, you begin to hear a band, and as you look farther down the road you can see that the parade has indeed started. A handful of these floats go by. They are covered in bright, colorful flowers. Some of them are passing things out to the crowd and attendants watching. Some of them are just smiling and waving. You start looking down, further down the road, and you can see something a little concerning to the two of you. The Moff’s float looks a little bit shimmery from where you two are, almost as if there was some sort of shield around it. How do you two react to that?

MINNA: [smiling] Hmm, somebody’s been alerted.

LILIT: So Kessek, how does this change your plans?

MINNA: Kessek I think is going to try and find a nice roof of her own.

NICK: Please make it the same roof.

NICK & MINNA: [simultaneously] Please.

MINNA: [laughs]

NICK: Have climbed up onto our roof.

LILIT: Would you say you would want a taller building that is not a skyscraper?

MINNA: Short, like one to two stories tops. I want to be able to get back to the ground very quickly. I just want to get up so I can, you know, do something from a distance.

LILIT: Most of the buildings in the area are one story. A few of the buildings are much taller, skyscrapers, and there is a three story apartment building.

MINNA: What if I go onto the one story building next to the three story apartment building? I think that’s where HK is, right?

LILIT: Yes. There is some sort of shop next to that building. It is one story, and it does look like it would be pretty easy to get to without anyone seeing you go up.

MINNA: Yeah, she’s gonna climb up there.

LILIT: HK, how does this new information change your plans?

NICK: So, this whole time I’ve been picturing HK as in a billboard, so like there’s one of those ads on top of this building, and it probably says like “Naboo-O’s” or something and HK’s sitting in one of the O’s of the advertisement. He clocks the shimmer with his rifle scope and sighs, again, and just sets the rifle aside and sits in the O of the advertisement with his arms crossed and is just waiting for the float to get closer. I have other ways to deal with this. This is fine. [laughs]

[classical music fades]

LILIT: As you are taking down and putting away your weapon, you look over and you see on the building next to you, which is a one story, that someone is there and they also look like they are setting up for something. Kessek, why don’t you describe what you look like?

MINNA: Kessek is a Trandoshan, so she is very large. She’s 2.03 meters tall, like 6’6”?

LILIT: Ooh!

MINNA: She is very scaly. She has sort of yellow-green skin with shades of orange and orange eyes, otherwise wearing very practical padded fighty clothes.

LILIT: Trandoshans are Bossk, the lizard man assassin that you see in Empire Strikes Back, if anyone is not familiar with that species.

MINNA: Big angry lizard.

LILIT: So, HK, how do you react to your new friend on the building next to you?

NICK: HK cocks his head from where he’s sitting and watches this interloper set up. HK’s made a couple of modifications since we saw him last, so he grabs his rifle, walks over to the edge of the building. He’s not crouching or trying to walk quietly or anything, everything he does is very matter of fact, and aims his wrist at the side of the building he’s standing on, and there’s a ‘cachunk’ as he shoots a grappling hook into it and then rappels down onto the one story building and is trying to just approach and have a conversation. He’s not trying to be particularly sneaky.

MINNA: [giggles]

[marching band music begins]

LILIT: As HK is rappelling down to the shorter building, a band goes by that is very loud and has a lot of percussion in it, so Kessek doesn’t hear a soft thud on the building.

NICK: But there are 76 trombones, right Lilit?

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: No!

MINNA: In the big parade?

LILIT: There are not 76 trombones. No.

NICK: 110 coronets

MINNA: Close behind?

[laughter]

LILIT: Anyways. You don’t hear when a droid lands on the same building. How far do you think HK gets before Kessek does notice?

NICK: Well, I just wanted to start a conversation from like two meters away.

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: [laughs] Okay, yeah, you can land.

NICK: Yeah. I’m not trying to attack Kessek right now. I’m just—

MINNA: [laughing] But Kessek will immediately attack you when you try to start this conversation, just letting you know.

NICK: [smiling] That’s fine. That’s fine.

MINNA: [laughs]

NICK: So, HK walks to within about two meters, now that I know I’m about to get wriggity-wrecked I’m like maybe I should stand further away, but it’s too late. HK stops within about two meters of Kessek and says:

NICK (as HK): Question: Whatcha doin’ there, buddy?

MINNA: [laughing] Kessek leaps to her feet and is immediately using the rifle she’s holding as a bludgeoning weapon.

LILIT & NICK: [laughs]

MINNA: Like, you’ve got it coming swinging towards your neck.

LILIT: This is a Cool check.

NICK: I don’t have any points in Cool, and I’m terrible at Presence, but that’s what it feels like to be. [chuckles]

LILIT: Kessek roll Vigilance, HK may roll Cool. Gonna split this.

NICK: Hey, guess who’s really good at Vigilance and not Cool. This guy.

LILIT: Ha.

[marching band music fades]

MINNA: That is four successes.

NICK: I got two successes and an advantage.

LILIT: Okay yeah. Kessek, you have the upper hand on this droid, and it sounds like that would be a Melee check.

MINNA: It would. Four successes and an advantage. [laughs]

LILIT: I think improvised weapon is…

MINNA: Let me look really quick… Oh, this isn’t the right book. So, that’s 6—Are there any additions for additional successes?

LILIT: Yes.

MINNA: So 6 plus 3, 9.

NICK: Ow!

LILIT: So 9 damage. Kessek gets you just right in the chest plate with the back of the rifle.

NICK: So, HK goes flying backwards, lands on his back, and skids for a while. His legs fly up in the air and then fall back down with a clang. It’s extremely dramatic, and the droid looks like he weighs a lot less than you were expecting. [laughs] The rifle that HK’s holding looks like a droid assassin rifle but also has multiple barrels underslung under it, and those start to spin up with a light whine, and HK stands to his feet in a way that for a biological creature would be impossible because there’s no lunging or anything, he just unfolds back to a standing position.

MINNA: [uneasily] Mm-hmm!

NICK (as HK): Placating Statement: Let’s not start anything we’re not intending to finish. We do not have the time.

MINNA (as Kessek): Who are you, and what are you doing here?

NICK (as HK): I am designation HK-67. My friends call me Hank. Who are you?

MINNA (as Kessek): That information is not important right now. What is important is that you just dropped down on me. What are you doing?

NICK (as HK): Look, I can understand being embarrassed, but it’s okay. I have a Moff to ventilate. It’s about time that I got around to killing some organics just like I wanted to, and I don’t want you getting in the way, so if you could go and do whatever you’re doing somewhere else… that would be phenomenal.

NICK: As HK starts talking you notice that he goes from being very stiff and droid-like to moving very organically and doing hand gestures and things, which is a very strange transition.

MINNA: Mm-hmm. I think her eyes narrow. She’s trying to figure out how much she can push this droid, because it’s probably very deadly.

MINNA (as Kessek): Well, that’s too bad for you, isn’t it? We’re both after the same target.

NICK (as HK): Kriff!

NICK: HK looks like loading screen or something.

MINNA (as Kessek): So if YOU get out of the way this will all be so much easier.

NICK (as HK): Alright sweetness, so here’s the deal.

MINNA: [squirms]

NICK (as HK): I’m not particularly interested in the money side of things. The problem is if I don’t charge money people are suspicious. It’s kind of like when you try to auction something off on Space Craigslist. If you say it’s free no one wants it, because they think something’s wrong with it, so my price tag is more a point of personal pride. I’m willing to let you take the credits if you let me kill this thing.

MINNA: I think there’s a moment of consideration.

MINNA (as Kessek): I need those credits, but how am I supposed to trust you to give them over?

NICK (as HK): Can we solve that later? The parade is going by right now. I think we’re already getting to the rows and rows of the finest virtuosos.

MINNA: [laughs]

NICK (as HK): After the copper bottom tympani in horse platoons goes by we’re going to miss our opportunity.

MINNA (as Kessek): I had a plan. You want in?

NICK (as HK): Sure.

MINNA (as Kessek): I was thinking of taking a potshot at one of the floats further ahead, draw some of the stormtroopers that way, use the cover of that distraction to physically go on to the Moff’s float.

NICK (as HK): I like this plan. I do have a theoretical question that I was contemplating when I came down here. Hypothetical Statement: Do you think that ray shield will stop a rocket?

MINNA: [laughing] Out of character, will it?!

LILIT: I’m going to say it’s more fun if the shield would let a propelled rocket in.

MINNA: [laughs]

MINNA (as Kessek): I’m not a shield expert, but that sounds correct.

NICK (as HK): Excellent. I would be happy to take down some innocent civilians as a distraction, and I believe I can disable the Moff’s float as well.

MINNA (as Kessek): Then we have a deal.

LILIT: Right about then, I’m gonna flip one of these dark side points.

MINNA: Ooh.

LILIT: You hear some stormtroopers climbing up the steps, and you can hear at least three. One of them is saying:

LILIT (as stormtrooper3): Yeah, yeah. If we go up here no one will see us taking a smoke break. It’ll be fine. I mean, ugh, what’s gonna happen if a few of us just take a break?

LILIT (as stormtrooper4): Okay, but as long as the captain doesn’t find out.

LILIT: And that’s right about when they open a door to the top of this and walk out and just see the two of you, guns out. One of them points up at you and goes:

LILIT (as stormtrooper3): Hey!

LILIT: We’re gonna roll for new initiative. I think this one’s gonna be Cool.

MINNA: One advantage.

NICK: A success and two advantages. HK is not a cool being.

LILIT: Yeah. It’s going to be PC slot, an NPC, PC, two NPCs. So, we got a PC slot first. Who wants to go?

MINNA: I feel like it’s funniest if Hank goes.

NICK: Oh, really? Do you think so?

MINNA: Like, while we’re still talking, just without turning, you kinda shoot one of them. [laughs]

[slow jazzy music begins]

NICK: Yeah~ As HK’s been talking to Kessek this whole time, the barrels have still been spinning on his gun, and as these stormtroopers go “hey,” without looking, he just points the rifle one-handed towards the doorway they come through and sprays a bunch of blaster bolts at them.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: [laughs] Okay, roll for that.

NICK: Okay, now we’re doing things that I’m good at.

LILIT: They do have Defense 1 for ranged, so just one black die. I’ll say you’re at short range. This rooftop isn’t massively huge.

NICK: Okay. Well, it doesn’t matter because I have Cumbersome, so I get a difficulty added to short range shots anyway. [laughs]

LILIT: Aw.

NICK: I don’t know why I asked. I got four successes, an advantage, and a triumph. [laughs]

LILIT: Ooh.

NICK: The underslung blaster does 10, so 14 damage and a crit.

LILIT: Fourteen damage and a crit. Yep, you kill that first stormtrooper. Describe how you get this one.

NICK: There’s a spray of bullets that just trace from the ground up into the doorway and riddle one of them and knocks them back through the door, and the other two are struck dumfounded by this.

LILIT: You can hear the stormtrooper rolling down the steps, echoing in the staircase.

NICK: Since this was such overkill, can I use my triumph that there was a transformer box above the doorway that HK hits and it bursts in a shower of sparks and static and blows out their coms so they can’t report what’s going on?

LILIT: Ooh. Yes.

NICK: It’s not on purpose, but I’d rather be lucky than good.

MINNA: [laughs]

LILIT: You can have that, as a treat.

NICK: Yay. Then HK’s head turns around and he says:

NICK (as HK): Greetings. Hello.

LILIT: Great. Now it’s an NPC slot. The stormtroopers are up. This one is going to shoot at HK.

NICK: That’s okay, we don’t have to do that.

LILIT: Well this buddy got three failures but three advantages.

NICK: Honestly, that’s probably for the best, because I only have 7 health left after Kessek beat the shit out of me. [laughs]

MINNA: Sorry. [giggles]

LILIT: One of the stormtroopers aims at HK and fires a shot, but some of the sparks from the broken transformer get in front of their face mask and distract them, and they shoot wide. Then, we have another PC slot.

MINNA: Alright. I think I’m going to use my maneuver to—Is there any cover up here?

LILIT: No, it’s a pretty open base.

MINNA: Yeah, I’m just gonna aim then, and then I’m going to shoot one of them with my blaster rifle that I’m already holding. It’s a wash with a triumph, because I have one success, one failure and one triumph.

LILIT: The triumph comes with a success built into it, so you do get a triumph with the success, so you will get a hit.

MINNA: Nine damage.

LILIT: And that’s 9 damage… and you take out the second stormtrooper as well.

MINNA: Excellent.

LILIT: Yeah. You get them square in the chest and they go down.

MINNA: [giggles]

LILIT: We are back to another NPC slot, and there’s still one stormtrooper left. They are now going to take a shot at Kessek.

MINNA: Can I give them a black die with that triumph?

LILIT: You can, yes. They are now rolling with a black die. Oh wow, they rolled one advantage. They also shoot and they go wide and completely miss you. We are back to a PC slot.

NICK: Kessek, you can take it if you want.

MINNA: Yeah, I think I’m gonna use my maneuver to get into engaged range and I think still using the butt of this rifle going to hit them. I’m just better at hitting people with things than with blaster bolts.

LILIT: For this group, you’re gonna wanna put in a black die, because they do have Ranged and Melee.

MINNA: That is three successes and two advantages, so that’s 8 damage.

LILIT: So, with 8 damage, you have severely injured this stormtrooper but they are still up. Since it is now an NPC slot, they are going to return fire. I’m gonna flip another dark side point here to up their roll. Ooh boy, that will be 8 damage coming your way.

MINNA: Okay, so that’s actually 4 damage with Soak. Yep. HK, you’re up.

NICK: Okay. So, from the same arm that HK shot the grappling hook out of, you notice that forearm is a little bulkier, HK uses his maneuver to close to engaged as well and a stiletto blade pops out of his forearm above his hand and he’s just going to try to stab up under the helmet and into this stormtrooper’s head with his concealed vibro-blade.

MINNA: [small yelp]

NICK: Hey. Ask me how many points I have in Melee.

LILIT: How many points do you have in Melee?

NICK: None! [smiling] I gave him the gear but I haven’t leveled him up yet, so he’s not good at this. Ha-ha! One success and one advantage.

LILIT: So how much damage is that?

NICK: Three, plus my 2 Brawn is 5.

[slow jazzy music ends]

LILIT: That is the exact number of points you needed to take down this stormtrooper.

NICK: Oh good. Surgical precision.

LILIT: They had 1 wound left and they have a Soak of 4. Heh. With that, the last stormtrooper goes down, and you are left with two stormtrooper bodies up on this roof, the third is somewhere in the staircase, and a sparking transformer box.

NICK (as HK): Optimistic Statement: The plan seems to be going perfectly so far.

MINNA: [laughs] Perfect.

LILIT: [laughs] And that’s where we will cut for this episode.

## Outro

LILIT: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you’ve enjoyed our show, please consider logging into iTunes and giving us a review. Reviews and ratings help new listeners find the show and decide if it’s right for them. You can also help support the show through our Patreon at Patreon.com/TabletopSquadron. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer which gives you access to the secret archive full of side adventures, bloopers, and more.

Kessek was played by Minna. She can be found on Twitter at @mynaminnarr.

HK was played by Nick Robertson. He can be found on Twitter at @alias58.

Your game master was me, Lilit Penrod. I can be found on Twitter at @cheerio_buffet.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Closing music performed by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord at bit.ly/TabletopDiscord. We have a great community and all sorts of topic channels. We hope you stop by. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials 1- Tink 2- Mynock Lake

PDF download: Interstitials 1- Tink 2- Mynock Lake

Read in browser:

Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Tink Interstitial 1, Part 2: Mynock Lake

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

LILIT: Hello, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Lilit, your MC for today. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

Except for today, where we follow a slicer as they explore the stage helping a prima donna dancer and themselves.

Music for today’s episode can be found in the show notes. Enjoy.

##

NICK: Hello! Welcome to Tabletop Squadron. I’m your host and game master, Nick. We’re back again for Part 2 of our ballet saving adventure? I always do this thing, I forget what I’m gonna, or I don’t realize what I’m gonna call it until we’re recording. Oh well. Uh, ballet adventure fun times go 2000 double plus premiere edition.

HUDSON: Yeah!

NICK: That’s the name of the episode.

AARON: It’s a good name. Yeah. It’s a great name.

NICK: Let’s go around the table and everybody introduce themselves and say what character they’re playing today, and if you have any plugs to do it’s a great time, starting with Hudson.

HUDSON: Hi. My name is Hudson, and I play Tink, a Gigoran slicer whose pronouns are he/him.

NICK: Nice. Wonderful. Next we got Aaron.

AARON: Hudson’s were so succinct and to the point, and here I am in my head trying to go over everything.

HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON: I’ve already doddled just in this explanation more than Hudson has introduced themselves.

NICK: [laughs]

HUDSON: I can plug if I need to plug, but…

AARON: I’m just saying, the heat is on. Hey everybody, I’m Aaron J. You can hit me up on Twitter at the handle @ImAaronJ, pretty easy to figure that out. I’m playing Azul, our favorite Mirialan dancer with a lightning bolt tattoo down their left arm. Super excited to be here. If you like what you hear, which I hope you do, check out my show UniCURSEity on iTunes and all of your favorite podcatchers. Just type in UniCURSEity wherever, shout it into the universe and it will come back to meet you, and yeah, I think that’s about it.

{EDIT: new handle, @TurboHoodie}

NICK: Well, but if you shout UniCURSEity into the universe you might end up versus the universe, right?

AARON: [smiling] How dare you.

HUDSON: Ohh…

NICK: [laughs]

AARON: How dare you. Very good. My company is named Versus the Universe. How dare you, Nick.

NICK: Yeah~ But yeah, I love UniCURSEity, I love what you’re doing with the Astound project, I think everybody who hears about it should definitely check it out. It is great.

AARON: Thank you, friend.

NICK: I want Season 2 real bad.

AARON: I want Season 2 as well, but self-isolation and social distancing has prohibited Season 2. [laughs] But hey, it’s on paper, we just need to do it.

NICK: Ehh, I don’t know… Fine. Good.

HUDSON & AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Alright. When we last left off, Tink had been sort of contracted by a, or scouted I guess, by a bar patron of mysterious origin to go and help a ballet company with a computer problem, was able to find that place pretty quickly, meet the premiere dancer for this ballet company, fix the lighting, but someone mysterious in the rafters dropped a sandbag towards the second dancer down on the stage, and they attempted to find this mysterious figure who vanished into the dark and basically decided to keep looking, and we’ll start right about there.

We will not do another Destiny Roll because this is kind of a one-shot setup, but as a reminder we are sitting on three dark side points right now, so fun for me, none for you until I decide otherwise. Ha-ha.

HUDSON: Mwahaha.

AARON: Wow, Nick really is a jerk. Can you believe this? Three dark side points?

NICK: It’s true.

HUDSON: yeah, worst GM ever.

AARON: Some Scooby Doo nonsense.

NICK: [laughs] And so, that’s where we are going to kick it off.

We open on the sun rising above the theater, the light of the sun filtering down. You’re 10 or 15 levels down in Coruscant, so there’s no direct sunlight, but it filters down and goes through the small drizzle of water that goes over the theater and through the flickering lights. We never decided what the theater is called. What should we call it?

AARON: The Catastrophe Dome.

NICK: [startled] Okay! Great! [laughs]

AARON: Catastro-Dome? I don’t know. It just sounds cool, right?

NICK: I like the Catastrophe Dome.

AARON: [softly, pondering] Catastro-Dome…

HUDSON: Catastrophe Dome works for me, because it’s like deeper artsy ironic or something.

AARON: Yeah, yeah, it’s called the Catastrophe Dome: Theater in the Ground.

[laughter]

HUDSON: Alright. Alright. I like that.

AARON: Yeah. We’re like 10 or 12 levels underground, right? So it makes sense.

NICK: Yeah. It’s 10 or 12 levels down from the top, because Coruscant is like all skyscrapers built insanely high, so you’re just not exposed to air, so yeah you’re basically underground. Theater in the Ground. I think the Catastrophe Dome was originally a theater built specifically for a show called Catastrophe. It was about large loth-cats singing about why they should be reborn, but that show failed horribly because it sounds terrible and is a really bad idea, so your ballet troop was able to pick it up for really cheap, which is how you got started here.

AARON: Perfect.

NICK: So, we go inside. This is the next morning. Did Tink and Azul search all night for clues or did they call it quits at some point and are they meeting up again?

HUDSON: I don’t think they went all night. I think they called it a night.

NICK: Okay. We see Tink walking into the theater and down the ramp. Would Azul be an early riser, Aaron, or coming in around the same time?

AARON: Oh, Azul has been there I think for an hour or two already, and when you come upon the actual stage Azul is there, towel at one side, water bottle on the other, and they’re just stretching now. They’re probably in a split and they’re extending their arms from one foot to the other just trying to get as limber as possible, because they know it’s gonna be a long, long day of detective work.

HUDSON: Tink comes in holding a drink carrier with two Spacebucks coffees tucked into it, and you meet by the stage.

AARON: Yeah. I think once Azul sees the Spacebucks coffee they immediately bound up and just run towards Tink, arms open.

AARON (as Azul): Ohh, best friend! Thank you. This is so good~ Getting my bean juice in the morning~

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, yeah~ Best friends ‘til the very end, yeah~

AARON: Azul looks at you, Tink.

AARON (as Azul): I know we did this last night, but… can I get back on my perch spot?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yes you can.

AARON: In one fell swoop, pliés and jumps off the ground and elegantly jumps on top of Tink’s back and is just now Yoda-ing on your shoulders with their Spacebucks drink.

NICK: How tall is Azul?

AARON: I think Azul is, let’s say like 6’2”, but it’s all muscle, it’s all tone, there’s probably not an ounce of fat on them, very, very slender.

HUDSON: So I start running around and going:

HUDSON (as Tink): Weeee!

NICK: [laughs] You’re having a grand old time, and the rest of the dance squad is starting to filter out on stage for the morning rehearsal. Azul obviously beat them all there, was getting all warmed up and ready, because she is a leader and must set a good example. One of the chorus dancers, a Kaminoan guy, is looking around confusedly as the rest of the group starts to show up.

NICK (as Kaminoan): Hey, uh, has anyone seen Selona? I haven’t seen Selona—I saw her come in, but she should be out by now.

AARON (as Azul): If Selona is late for call then we’re not gonna be able to rehearse anything today. Ugh, Tink, you wanna go off and find her or should we send somebody else?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, I’ll go, I’ll go after her. The Twi’lek, right?

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, and you know, I just wanna make sure nobody’s alone right now.

AARON: Azul looks back at the rest of the dancers.

AARON (as Azul): Find a buddy or two. I don’t want anyone going anywhere solo right now. Tink has told me sometimes case solving takes like a moment, other times it takes all the way up until the time of the show, so until that show starts I want you buddied up with at least one or two people. Do you hear me?

NICK: A really burly Human says:

NICK (as Human): [vaguely Schwarzenegger sounding] We’ll be using the buddy system.

NICK: The Kaminoan says…

NICK (as Kaminoan): Well, I saw Selona go to her dressing room. Maybe she’s still in there.

NICK: …and starts to stretch, and watching a Kaminoan stretch is wild because they’ve got these long, graceful limbs and they’re very flexible and they also move very slowly like seaweed under water.

AARON: I think Azul peers down and looks Tink right in the eye.

AARON (as Azul): Well, you heard the Kaminoan. We should get to that dressing room, don’t you think?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, we should. Wait, don’t you have to rehearse? No, you’re on investigative duty, aren’t you?

AARON (as Azul): I’m on investigative duty. That’s why I got here early. I rehearsed everything, I’m warmed up, I’m good to go. I just wanted to see if I could get a few reps in before we solved this thing. That’s why I got here early.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh, I see. Alright.

HUDSON: Then Tink goes…

HUDSON (as Tink): Hup-hup!

HUDSON: …and then starts running, because—

AARON: Yes!

HUDSON: —I think they just saw that somewhere, like that phrasing or those noises, and just does that before they run.

AARON: Perfect.

NICK: Oh my gosh. We get Tink high-stepping it off the theater and backstage to where the dressing rooms are. It’s really interesting because Tink has a naturally light step, his feet make almost no sound on the ground, or his foot rather, because he’s still not used to his prosthetic leg, so you hear no noise and then clank, and then no noise and then clank, as he goes stepping off. You can tell Tink is extremely strong, because he is carrying Azul around like it’s nothing.

AARON (as Azul): Tink, you know, I gotta say I’m very impressed with your form right now. You have very beautiful lines. This is very elegant, I mean even with the robo-leg you have here. Have you ever thought about taking up dance?

HUDSON (as Tink): [delighted] Yes! I absolutely have.

AARON (as Azul): Oh my goodness. Do you want to dance? Like, I can teach you dance. Do you wanna dance? We can make this happen.

HUDSON: I start dancing.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): Oh my goodness. Oh my damn. Tink, this is good. You have a good flow. Wow, look at you.

HUDSON (as Tink): yeah, I’ve been told that before, like by my doctor and by other people.

AARON (as Azul): Wow, no, we should definitely capitalize on this. I think we can get you a blue jacket. We can get you some of the shoes. Even if you wanna stand in the back and be a hype man, we would love to incorporate you into the show. I think this could be really, really great.

HUDSON (as Tink): This could be my future.

AARON (as Azul): It really could. It really, really could. Just to let you know, there’s very little job security in theater, but we would love to have you.

HUDSON: [chuckles]

NICK: As you’re talking about Tink’s budding dance career, you get to the dressing room of Selona the… I think she’s like the dance co-captain.

AARON: [hesitantly] Yeah.

NICK: Like, Azul is the dance captain, Selona’s the co-captain.

AARON: Selona’s like the second.

NICK: Yeah, but lobbied real hard with Madam Zostra for the phrase “co-captain,” so even though it’s the second one it’s a whole thing. The nameplate has multiple stickers on it changing what the title is. Most of these rooms are a little rundown, the doors are worn, this isn’t a new theater. Selona’s room has pastel flowers painted on it, like she decorated it herself to try to make it look nicer.

AARON: As we approach the door, Azul just says:

AARON (as Azul): Ugh, these colors, the pastels, it just doesn’t jive with the squad and I’ve been telling her that forever. Sorry, it just steams me.

HUDSON (as Tink): I can totally see that. These colors just don’t run together.

AARON (as Azul): Right? No, they just—Ugh. It doesn’t- It clashes. It feels like I’m putting chocolate ice cream next to concrete. I don’t like it. Ick.

NICK: So, you’re talking about the door, and do you try to go in?

HUDSON: I knock.

NICK: You knock? Okay. There’s no answer.

HUDSON: I knock harder.

NICK: I’m going to flip a dark side point. There’s one light side and two dark side. As you try to knock harder you punch through the door. It was kind of rotted and you just smashed the door, so there’s a face-sized hole in the door where your hand was.

HUDSON: [quiet strained and confused noises]

AARON: Azul places their face into that face-sized hole.

AARON (as Azul): Heeere’s Azul~

NICK & HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): Selona, you in here? Selona? Selona?! Ugh.

NICK: You do not see Selona in the room from where you’re looking. You do—Actually, roll me a Perception check.

AARON: Perception check~ I’ve got, heh, it looks like Samus Aran’s helmet. It’s like an upside-down triangle and then the advantage thing.

NICK: You got an upside-down triangle and the advantage thing, so you got a failure with one advantage. So, one of the more interesting parts of this game is you do not succeed in seeing anything related to where Selona is, but you do see something else that is helpful. What do you think that is?

AARON: [pondering] What do I see that is helpful in this dressing room…? Oh, okay, so the thing that I see that’s helpful is, I’m gonna try to humanize Selona a little bit. The thing that I see that is helpful is there’s a breathing humidifier that is on her dressing room table essentially, and I think that’s something that is given to people that are having issues with allergies, and that’s typically something that helps people breathe, it helps people remain a bit calmer, and at that moment Azul just says:

AARON (as Azul): Oh! If I would have known. I didn’t know that they were having allergies. That’s gonna affect anyone’s performance. This makes total sense. I feel kinda bad that they didn’t come to be with the information, but… oh well, I guess it is what it is.

NICK: So, you have taken away from this that Selona is a private person with allergies and slight breathing issues.

AARON: This is the most important piece of information by far I think. [laughs]

NICK: yeah, obviously. [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): Is it a clue, though?

HUDSON: I go over to the humidifier and check for fingerprints.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Okay, so are you opening the door?

HUDSON: Yeah.

AARON: I like to imagine that Azul’s face is still in that face hole, so when you open the door I kinda swing forward with it.

HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): Whoa~

NICK: We’ll say with the fact that you punched through the door, it’s locked, but you just kinda grab the handle and jolt and it springs out of the doorframe. There’s not a lot of resistance. I mean, it’s a dressing room, they’re not expecting to need to keep people out, it’s just the lock is to show hey, there’s someone in here, be polite. You know? You crack the door open, and with the door open as you walk in you see that this room has been turned over. There’s an obvious sign of a struggle, something has happened here, and Selona is nowhere to be found.

AARON (as Azul): Ugh, I can’t believe she keeps her dressing room this messy. This is… ugh. I understand allergies, but this is something entirely different.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, I’ve gone through messy periods. Maybe it’s something personal in their life. They’re a reserved person, right, you were kind of implying?

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, they don’t really talk a whole lot, but I’m looking at the feng shui of the clothes on the ground and what I’m getting from this is anxiety, what I’m getting from this is a sad temperament, I feel a weird energy coming off of this. We definitely need to get them a massage or something. That would clear all this up.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, I smell lavender, but that’s probably the… the soap, from the clothes.

AARON (as Azul): Ooh, lavender. Nice.

NICK: Tink, you wanna roll me a Perception check on this room?

HUDSON: Sure. I thought you were gonna say on the lavender clothes for a clue, but I’ll just do what you’re saying.

NICK: Oh.

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON: I have a triumph plus a success.

NICK: Nice. So, with a success, there was clearly a physical struggle here. Selona must have been kidnapped by someone.

HUDSON: Hmm.

NICK: With the triumph, I’ll let you skip the next bit of investigation if you want. As you’re looking around you see that there’s more of those pastel flowers painted around the dressing room mirror, and one of them looks to be, like, it doesn’t match. It looks like it’s at a weird angle and the petals are different. As you go over to it you see that it’s not painted on the wall, it’s painted on something else, and you twist it and the mirror and that section of the wall pops away and you see a secret tunnel going back deeper into the theater.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh. Do you see this?

AARON: Azul’s behind you, still looking at the mess on the ground, and I think has just continued talking about how messy everything is and doesn’t notice that any of this is happening.

HUDSON (as Tink): Hey, uh, Azul, there’s a… You should turn around.

AARON (as Azul): I don’t even know if I can. Is it worse on that side of the room?

HUDSON (as Tink): You know, no, but it’s more interesting.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, okay, let’s see…

AARON: As they turn around they’re just like:

AARON (as Azul): Alright, what—Oh! Wow! Look at that.

HUDSON (as Tink): I know, and you know what, this really begs the question. If a door can be that shitty but then this can be built, they must have had two different sets of contractors.

AARON: Yeah, and I think as you say that she walks over to Selona’s chair, which is this nice, fancy chair.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, I mean, this chair is really nice, it’s super dope. That door is not great at all, but this is a comfy chair! Oh, and there’s also a doorway. Where did that come from?

HUDSON (as Tink): Do you wanna take the chair?

AARON (as Azul): I kinda do. Should I…? Do you just wanna like wheel me in the chair down this thing?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, I think that would actually speed things up, be a little safer, and it could be doubled as a weapon.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, and you know, I just wanna keep off my legs, wanna keep everything good for the performances later.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, I’ll push you.

AARON (as Azul): Nice. Thanks bud.

HUDSON (as Tink): You got it.

NICK: [laughs] So, the next scene we see is cobblestones on the ground, walls, and ceiling of this corridor that seems to go deeper and deeper into the theater. With your understanding of the way the theater is, Azul, this is not… it’s all in one big building, like the theater is built into the side of another building, you are out of the realm of the theater. You are going deeper into this giant skyscraper that rises up from the depths of Coruscant. It’s also really weird that there’s cobblestones, because this is still a space building, but you know, whatever.

HUDSON: And it’s probably loud as hell, because we’re in a rolly-chair basically going over cobblestone.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: If you’ve ever rattled caster wheels on a wooden cart or something over cobblestones it’s super rattle clacky and stuff, it’s very (jagged rattle sounds) as you go. Are you all—I was gonna ask if you’re moving stealthily, clearly not. Are you moving quickly or at a comfortable pace?

AARON: Oh, I don’t think anything about this is comfortable. [laughs]

HUDSON: [laughs] I think we’re moving quickly.

NICK: Okay, so we see Azul holding onto the arms of this comfortable chair, leaning back to keep their balance, and y’all are just running down the corridor like (jagged rattle sounds), and you come out of the end of this corridor and standing in front of you, you see a man.

[tense music begins]

He is wearing a full-faced white mask and leather biker clothes, and the biker clothes are all studded with different data breakers and data pads and slicing kits and data spikes, so he’s just covered in bits and pieces of glowing blue screens and technology, and he has a long, black cape on as well.

NICK (as masked man): [deep voice, with reverb] Welcome…

HUDSON (as Tink): Welcome to what?

NICK (as masked man): …to my labyrinth.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, you know, this explains a lot. We’ve been having trouble heating the dressing rooms, but we’re probably losing all this heat to this catacomb type area. This explains an awful lot. Okay.

HUDSON (as Tink): Well, it doesn’t explain the person who is in front of us though. Honestly? You just look like you’re holo-net incarnate. You’re wearing a white mask to hide your identity, you got the cape, you just have data breakers to show off all over your body. Are you insecure?

AARON (as Azul): You know what, I kinda wanna take a bet. Tink, you wanna bet he’s insecure?

NICK (as masked man): I don’t think my security is relevant in this situation.

[tense music switches to happy, quirky game menu music]

HUDSON (as Tink): Hey, hey, we’re taking a bet. Shh.

AARON (as Azul): Okay, yeah, yeah. Alright, alright. Hey Tink, you want some heat? You want some heat here? I bet this guy’s insecure. What do you think?

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh, ooh, I think… You know what, I think he’s not, and I think there’s a way we can find out, so uh, let’s do that.

AARON (as Azul): Alright cool. I mean, he’s all computers. Do you wanna take it or should I?

HUDSON (as Tink): I’ll take it.

AARON (as Azul): Alright cool.

HUDSON (as Tink): So um, how do you feel about your mother?

AARON (as Azul): Oh, good, good.

[quirky music ends]

NICK: Oh my gosh. You gotta roll some sort of check.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: What is mental combat do we think?

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: I wanna say Education?

HUDSON: [laughing] Okay, I’ll do Education. Okay, one success, two advantages.

NICK: The dramatic gesture of this man falls a little and he tilts his head to the side.

NICK (as masked man): Why are you asking about my mother like that? She wouldn’t approve. Well, she didn’t approve of a lot, especially not me, but that’s not important. You have come to my labyrinth—

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, I guess you win the bet. Ugh.

AARON (as Azul): Okay. Actually, can I take a crack at this guy?

HUDSON (as Tink): I mean, yeah, he’s already cracking a little bit. I can tell. Go ahead.

NICK (as masked man): I am not cracking! I am the master of my own fate!

AARON (as Azul): I’m so sorry. I feel bad addressing you if I don’t know your name. Can I have your name, sir, miss?

NICK (as masked man): It is sir, for I am the Technophantom of the Ballet!

AARON (as Azul): Oh wow, that’s such a great title. Is that a title or is that your actual given name?

NICK (as Phantom): It’s what you can call me, for I am dramatic and mysterious.

NICK: He’s gesturing like a stage magician right now.

AARON (as Azul): This is fantastic. It’s great to meet you. My name’s Azul. This is my friend Tink. Tink, wave. Hi.

HUDSON (as Tink): Hello~

AARON (as Azul): Hi. Mr. Phantom, I just have a question, because it seems like it’s gotta be awfully lonely down here. Are you lonely?

NICK (as Phantom): Mwahaha. Not anymore, having kidnapped the star of the ballet for my own dastardly ends.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, and what are your dastardly ends?

NICK (as Phantom): The ballet will perform my ballet.

AARON (as Azul): Ah.

NICK (as Phantom): The true ballet!

HUDSON (as Tink): [gasps] Called it! Called it! Called it! Okay, sorry, go ahead.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, you did, Tink, you did.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): I just have one more question for you, Mr. Phantom. If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?

NICK (as Phantom): You know, I really think it’s that I work too hard, like I care too much.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah? Ohh.

NICK (as Phantom): And sometimes that, while it benefits the people that I’m with and everything that I do, it can be rough on me, so I know that’s something that I really challenge my leaders to just kinda keep me honest with that and make sure I take some time for myself.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah. Okay.

NICK: He looks stunned for a second even though he’s wearing this white play mask, just shocked that he’s had this moment.

[laughter]

NICK (as Phantom): But you will never get the principle ballerina of the theater back again without acceding to my demands.

AARON (as Azul): Okay, well, two things about that. One, I’m the premiere ballist for this squad, and two, you know, I would feel bad if I didn’t try to help you. You just wanna do some breathing exercises with me real quick? I think that might help you out.

NICK: [laughing] He looks like he doesn’t know how to respond to that.

HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON: While this is happening, Azul I think shoots a look over at Tink and then motions with their hand to go ahead.

HUDSON: I do a sideways summersault, while Azul is still in the chair, push the chair as hard as I can towards the phantom.

NICK: [pauses] Cool.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Let’s say you can make a Melee attack using Azul as the weapon, because we’ve done that before.

[laughter]

HUDSON: Six successes.

NICK: Wow! Okay.

[action music begins]

So, I’m picturing when you see an acrobat do a summersault without using their hands, so I’m picturing like, Tink, you do this cool sideways jump flip and then do a straight armed punch to send Azul flying towards the Technophantom of the Ballet, and Azul, right as you’re about to hit them, you’re prepared for this attack, you smash into some sort of invisible barrier that shatters [shattering glass sound] sending broken transparesteel everywhere, and you find yourself looking down this reflective hallway, and you hear a voice reverberating through the area.

NICK (as Phantom): The Technophantom of the Ballet is inside your mind. Welcome to my labyrinth of mirrors~!

AARON: I think immediately Azul looks up to see if they can find a place where the mirrors end.

NICK: They appear to go to the ceiling, but the ceiling is not reflective.

AARON: Got it.

HUDSON: So it’s like a funhouse.

NICK: Yeah, it’s a funhouse hall of mirrors that this person has constructed in the basement of your theater.

[laughter]

HUDSON: Okay.

NICK: So you all are going to have to figure out how to get through here. What is your plan?

[action music ends]

HUDSON: I break a mirror.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON: yeah, yeah, I was gonna say. I think Tink smashes that first mirror, but then, before going in, Azul just says:

AARON (as Azul): Hold up. I work with that super pristine, clear door every day I walk in here. I can tell the difference between a mirror and what’s actually in front of me. So, you know, maybe just get behind me. I think I can handle this.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, I trust you.

NICK: Roll me a Perception check.

AARON: Alright, Perception is Cunning which is 1, plus one little bubble, so that’s gonna be what?

NICK: One yellow, and this is hard so three purple.

AARON: Okay, it looks like I have one pow and two hexagons.

NICK: Oh wow! You succeed, actually.

HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON: Hell yeah!

NICK: Good for you.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Tink sets one of his big, strong hands on your shoulder and you’re able to walk, but you almost run face-first into a mirror and then you stop. “No, you can tell because my breath fogged the air, and then also I can see my own face.” You are able to make your way through this labyrinth fairly smoothly. With those threats though, as you are walking, it takes probably about an hour to get through this maze with this method. You do notice that from the mirrors that shattered there is a ton of broken glass on the ground, and Tink doesn’t wear shoes and you’re wearing your dance shoes, and that could have been pretty dangerous, so you’re glad you didn’t smash through all of them. You might have gotten hurt.

AARON: I’m just jeté-ing over all the broken shards of glass, for sure.

NICK: [laughs] You get to the end of this maze and you feel this light twang, like you kicked through a string, because you were so focused on the mirrors you weren’t really looking down. I need you to make me a Coordination check.

AARON: That’s four yellows and one purple?

NICK: Three yellows and one green versus two purple, but you have two black dice as well because you are surprised.

AARON: Alright, roll… Okay, so I’ve got two pows, I’ve got a circle that looks like it has a lightsaber and a pow in it, and three hexagons.

NICK: You have two successes, a triumph, and three threats. You kick through this tripwire and a series of large darts come flying out of the wall. You are able to dodge them, pretty dramatically. Describe how you do that.

[measured, contemplative music begins]

AARON: Oh, for sure. When I kick the tripwire I think immediately everything in Azul’s mind starts to slow down. They can see the series of traps start to encroach upon them, and in their head I just picture like a metronome, and they can picture the music of this situation occurring to them. As they are deftly stepping through and over and avoiding all these different traps they’re just counting out in their head, one and two and three, and one and two and leap, and one and two and stretch, and one and two and go! And they come out unscathed, I hope.

[contemplative music ends]

NICK: Yeah, they do. That’s dope as hell. You are able to dodge these darts. Tink is left just watching this performance, although at this point probably Tink’s pretty used to the fact that gravity just doesn’t seem to apply to you the same way it does for other people, so…

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON: Yeah. Yeah.

NICK: he may just be getting acclimatized to it. As you do your last jeté out of the way of these darts, because it turns out to be more than just three, it’s a hallway full of them that you dodge, you land and the ground shifts under you. It doesn’t collapse or anything, but you do lose your balance and rather than turn an ankle or anything you fall, and you fall prone, [dramatic bass noise] because that’s your three threats, so you fall down.

AARON: [laughs] Aw.

NICK: But you do have a triumph. It doesn’t have to be related to dodging these darts. If you want something really good to happen now’s a good time.

AARON: I’m gonna say that when I fall prone I definitely am hurt a little bit, but falling prone was actually a good thing because a series of darts shoot out that just narrowly miss me and if I was standing in any way, shape, or form they would have clipped me right at the ankles and that’s the most valuable part of a dancer’s body. So, falling prone was actually a pretty good thing for me.

NICK: Essentially you use your triumph to kinda salve your self-confidence almost.

AARON: Yeah. I think when that’s done I turn over and just go:

AARON (as Azul): That’s entirely what I intended and perfectly worked out.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh yeah, I can see that.

NICK: So, you help up Azul, Tink, and the two of you continue onward. You can tell that this phantom spent a majority of his time making this maze, because there’s not a lot else here. There’s no longer cobblestones, it’s just a concrete floor, saw board walls kind of hallway with just industrial lighting. It’s almost like you came out not in the entrance that the “visitors” would be, you walked to the maintenance side and are just walking through.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: You can see through some windows some more traps with pendulum blades and stuff, but you’re not on that corridor, you came out of a different door, so you keep going. You pop out into this large room. It looks like one of those rooms where they do perspective painting on the walls to make it look bigger. It’s probably about the size of half of a high school gym, but it looks like it’s supposed to be like a football field size. It’s got more of those cobblestones on the ground, but there’s just enough cobblestones to give texture and then the rest of it’s all painted and spray-painted to look like it. It looks like stage decoration.

AARON: I think along the way Azul has been checking in with Tink to make sure they’re not hurt, but as we come upon this room they remark that:

AARON (as Azul): Huh, it seems like the budget kind of ran out here. We had cobblestones, we didn’t have cobblestones, and now this room is kind of getting dicey with the decoration. I don’t know, I think maybe this guy just needs a sponsor or something. Clearly he’s got passion, but there’s just no audience here for him.

HUDSON (as Tink): Speaking of dicey, you wanna roll some dice to see if this is gonna get better or worse? Like, the whole situation, what do you think is gonna happen here? You wanna bet?

AARON (as Azul): You trying to bring some heat?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah. Yeah.

AARON (as Azul): Are you asking me if I wanna bet? Of course I wanna bet. You wanna bet? I wanna bet right now.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, so I think things are gonna turn out A’OK.

AARON (as Azul): I think we’re gonna get in a spot of bother. I don’t think we’re done. I think there’s gonna be at least one more trap.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, I’ll take you up on that.

AARON (as Azul): Alright. What do you wanna bet?

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh.

HUDSON: I look down at my leg again.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): I’m gonna get that leg. I’m gonna get that damn leg.

HUDSON (as Tink): Okay, see… I just really need it, though. Let’s bet… I’ll bet you a coupon book that I’ll home make whenever I got back to my place, and it’s gonna have different things like take you out to dinner, and you use the coupon and I gotta take you out to dinner, things like that.

AARON (as Azul): Okay. Alright. If I’m right, I will give you one half day where I do all of your errands and I get your groceries and I clean your place.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright.

AARON (as Azul): Alright, sounds good. Shake on it?

HUDSON (as Tink): Shake on it.

NICK: Okay. You walk out into this room and you can see, right next to where you come out, you can see a cage that looks like it’s made out of PVC pipe and bound with bungee cords. It’s not super nice, but it’s all been spray-painted black, and Selona is in there sitting on the ground looking like she’s kind of nodded off, and ahead of you, facing away from you, you can see the black caped figure of the phantom staring towards the far side of the room.

HUDSON: Ooh.

AARON (as Azul): Alright. This definitely has one more trap vibes about it. I’m just gonna lay that out here.

HUDSON (as Tink): Hmm, we’ll see it when we see it.

AARON (as Azul): I mean, do you just wanna walk up and get Selona and leave? I’m pretty sure he’s gonna make us do something.

HUDSON (as Tink): You know… Ugh.

HUDSON: I wanna roll Perception to see if I can find the play that they’re talking about that got rejected.

NICK: Okay.

AARON: [chuckles]

NICK: Yeah. Roll me Perception. This one’s going to be hard. Would you like to flip a light side point to upgrade it?

HUDSON: Yes I would.

NICK: Okie-dokie.

HUDSON: Two successes and two threats.

NICK: Huh. Okay. You actually do see what looks like a manuscript. I don’t actually have any idea how ballets are notated. I know that there’s like a novella and then the choreography and the music, but this is like a big old manuscript that says like The Technophantom of the Ballet in big letters and it’s sitting on the music stand of an organ, but it’s an electric organ so it’s really small, it just has a big keyboard on it and it’s sitting there.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: The threats are that the organ is on the far side of the room, so the technophantom is between you and this ballet.

HUDSON (as Tink): Hey Phantom.

NICK: He jumps like four meters in the air.

[laughter]

NICK (as Phantom): Gah~!

NICK: Like whips around to look at you.

NICK (as Phantom): Welcome to my la—How did you get over there? You’re supposed to come through this door.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh… You should have done the reverse there.

NICK (as Phantom): I can’t believe you took the service entrance. You’re supposed to go through the maze and then get frustrated and break some of the glass and it filters you towards the rest of the traps. Did you all actually solve the maze? Only I can do that.

AARON (as Azul): Oh. Were we not supposed to solve it? We did break one mirror. Is that fine? Do you need us to go clean it up?

NICK (as Phantom): I mean… broken glass is pretty dangerous, I would prefer that you clean it up, but…

HUDSON (as Tink): It will happen.

NICK (as Phantom): Great.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah. Yeah.

NICK (as Phantom): But, anyway. [huffs] Ruined the…

HUDSON (as Tink): I’m sorry we ruined it. I just—

AARON (as Azul): Yeah.

HUDSON (as Tink): Okay, so here’s the thing. I was thinking about what you said, and you know, I think that people just need to maybe give you a chance on your ballet, on your manuscript there. Could I check it out maybe?

AARON (as Azul): Oh, we should definitely read through it. I don’t want to do anything without reading the script. I need to evaluate it, you know.

NICK: The phantom almost pushes the mask up on his face and then stops and brings his hands down.

NICK (as Phantom): Well, of course, you have come to admire my genius. It is there on the organ. Take a look.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, well, hold on. Hold on. I definitely have notes, alright. Phantom, let’s get clear on this. I haven’t read the material yet, but you know, there could be promise. I think, you’re, you know… Let’s just read through it.

NICK (as Phantom): How do you have notes? You haven’t even read it yet.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, I have notes in this whole production here. It’s all about showmanship. It’s about the presentation. I mean, the reveal from the dressing room to the maze was exquisite, it’s fantastic, but we gotta talk about your set design here. It really looks like you pulled some punches.

NICK (as Phantom): Well, I’m working with a limited budget.

HUDSON (as Tink): Azul has notes on like every person. People call it, like, judgmental. I think it’s just being proactive.

AARON: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): Mr. Phantom, can you give us a few minutes just to take a look at the treatment here? Do you need us for anything else?

NICK (as Phantom): Yes, yes, of course. Why don’t you sit down at the bench. There’s an organ if you want to hear what the composition sounds like…

AARON (as Azul): Oh, absolutely. I need to hear the music. Would you be so glad to do that?

NICK (as Phantom): Oh, I don’t, I don’t know… I just play enough to compose.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, come on, this is a thick script. I’m sure you can tickle the old ivories there and show us what it’s all about.

HUDSON (as Tink): Right there, those are some organ hands if I’ve ever seen them.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, you can tell, you can tell. Big knuckles.

NICK (as Phantom): These hands have held an organ from time to time… I mean, I’ve played music with them before.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ha.

NICK: Yeah, so he sits down at the organ and says…

NICK (as Phantom): Well, if you turn to Page 4 that’s past the Dramatis personae, and… we’ll start there.

AARON (as Azul): Okay. Alright.

NICK: …and he lays out a very thick chord. What I’m gonna say is, you go through as much of this as you can stand.

AARON: [laughs]

[gentle music begins]

NICK: The choreography is okay. It’s very obvious that this guy isn’t a dancer. The music is… okay. The story is interesting. Like, it’s something that people wouldn’t normally make in a ballet, because it’s the kind of story of someone who’s down on their luck and decides to help a ballet theater by composing them a show for free in exchange for his fame and that he’s rewarded for his efforts with being promoted and owning the theater and how he goes on to a huge rise of success. The challenge part at the beginning is very small. The rest of it seems to just be about how cool the person who’s helped this theater is. It’s a show you could do. Honestly, the show that you’re doing has amazing choreography but the story isn’t particularly interesting because that wasn’t the focus, so you know, pros and cons. It’s not the best thing you’ve ever heard.

HUDSON: Tink turns to the phantom.

HUDSON (as Tink): I’m intrigued. You know, I’m an up and coming ballist myself…

AARON (as Azul): Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

HUDSON (as Tink): …and I’ve been looking for something, just something that touches me on a different level, to be my first ballet. Honestly, I think I could do it as a solo, or as a double with Azul, if you’re into it, Azul.

AARON (as Azul): Honestly, I read this script and I don’t think, honestly, phantom? Can I just be frank with you right now? I read this script and I don’t see a ballet. I read this script and I see a play with dance.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ah, you’re right.

AARON (as Azul): Ugh. Yeah, you know? I mean, it’s all there on the page. It’s written out there in black and white. I notice that this main character seems a little bit like someone I know. Do you know who that is?

NICK (as Phantom): Who do you think it is?

AARON (as Azul): Phantom, I think it’s you. I think it’s you, man.

HUDSON: I gasp.

AARON (as Azul): I know! I know.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): Here’s what I wanna do. Here’s what I wanna do. Okay? We have Tink. Tink, very up and coming dancer. Tink’s fantastic. I think honestly what I wanna do here is direct it. I really wanna choreograph it, I wanna direct it, and we have Selona over there. Selona’s fantastic, she’s got some allergies, yes, but we can work through that. The cobblestone is gonna be a little bit difficult to dance on, but I think we put this together. What do you say?

NICK (as Phantom): You’ll perform it for the show to save the theater in two days?

AARON (as Azul): Oh, okay, alright. So, here’s the thing, here’s the thing. I don’t wanna perform this unless I can see what it looks like. I’m not gonna make any promises right now. We can try a run-through this afternoon, but I don’t wanna commit to anything until I put this together. Does that make sense?

NICK (as Phantom): Yes, that makes sense.

AARON (as Azul): Okay. Alright. Alright.

HUDSON (as Tink): That’s more than fair to me.

AARON (as Azul): You know, I really think so. I really think so. If we put this up in the theater people are gonna be SAG eligible. I just wanna make sure we’re putting our best foot forward, I wanna rehearse it, and I think Selona and Tink are gonna be the best people to bring this to life, especially with me in the director’s chair. You can definitely give us notes, you can give us new pages whenever you’d like, but I would like to retain some creative control over this.

NICK (as Phantom): SAG, you mean the Space Actors Guild.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ahh.

AARON (as Azul): Yes, of course, of course.

NICK: [laughs] He is kind of wringing at his wrists and his hands.

NICK (as Phantom): Well, if you wanna give it a shot I think it’ll surprise you.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK (as Phantom): I know there’s some notes here, but really it comes together when you see it actually done. So yeah, if you’re going to perform the show then there’s no reason to kill you and then convince Selona to perform the show. This is amazing.

AARON (as Azul): Oh… Oh my goodness. Ugh, I really wish you didn’t say that. you were gonna kill us?

NICK (as Phantom): Well, I was going to fight you until you agreed with me I guess is a better way to put it.

AARON (as Azul): Ugh. That’s the thing about ballet, it’s not a fight, it’s a conversation. Right now you’re fighting, you’re trying to pummel us, and right now we’re trying to dance with you, we’re trying to make some music. This is jazz!

HUDSON (as Tink): Well, it’s a ballet—Okay, it could be jazz.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah. Yeah.

HUDSON (as Tink): You know what? It’s everything.

AARON (as Azul): It’s modern. It’s space modern.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah.

NICK: [laughs]

HUDSON: I turn my head very slowly to Azul and I just say, almost under my breath but loud enough that Azul can hear it:

HUDSON (as Tink): I won the bet.

AARON: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): [laughs, seethes, playful angry noises] No, no, Tink, I think the last obstacle is making this material work. I think that’s the obstacle.

HUDSON (as Tink): Aw man, that is one way to look at it. If I learned anything about the arts today, you could look at anything however you want.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: [laughs] I’m gonna flip a dark side point and say that Selona wakes up and sees you all sitting there, talking over the organ.

NICK (as Selona): What are you doing? This asshole kidnapped me and said that I could not leave until I perform his stupid show.

AARON: I think Azul just shoots Selona a look.

AARON (as Azul): [softly] Quiet. We almost have this. Please, shut up.

NICK: Selona just glares back at you and pulls the bars of the cage apart, because they’re PVC, and walks out and comes over to you.

[laughter]

NICK (as Selona): Look at the third act. There’s no drama. It’s just about how great the main character is. Who would ever dance this?

NICK: And glares at the phantom.

AARON (as Azul): Well, I think Phantom, this is the really the first audience you have. You’re gonna have people who disagree with your material. What do you have to say to that?

NICK: The phantom pulls out a blaster pistol and shoots Selona on stun and she collapses to the ground.

NICK (as Phantom): I have that to say.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, you see, one of the biggest things about working in theater is being able to take a note, and you Phantom can’t take a note.

NICK (as Phantom): Well, I mean, her note was really aggressive really. I don’t think it was particularly constructive.

NICK: [laughing] He’s like waving his gun around while he’s talking to you.

HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON: I think Azul says…

AARON (as Azul): I have a note for you.

AARON: …and then plinks one of the keys of the keyboard and yells at Tink to rush him.

NICK: Okay. I’m gonna have you all roll Cool and the Phantom is going to roll Cool but with two black dice because he has a false sense of security, and that’s gonna be our initiative.

AARON: Okay, I got a pow and three winged dot things.

HUDSON: I have no Cool and 2 Presence, and I got three advantages.

NICK: Okay… The way this is going to work, we’re gonna start with a PC slot, and then there’s the NPC slot because he rolled six advantages, and then another PC slot.

HUDSON: Oh geez.

NICK: Yeah. You all have six advantages total. The way advantages work on initiative checks is you can use it to add to the scenery or to the scene to make the fight a little more advantageous. Is there anything you want in this room or close to hand that will help you out?

AARON: [chuckles] I know we spoke about Azul being a little bit of a defensive character, more of a pacifist than anything, so I don’t think that they are gonna be looking to be the aggressor here, I think they’re looking for a moment of opportunity to restrain the phantom if anything.

NICK: Okay.

HUDSON: I’m looking for the death blow at this point.

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: What if we say that there are a lot of prop chains and stuff laying around and some binders, like the Star Wars handcuffs, but they’re made up to look like old-timey manacles and they’re hanging on a wall, so there’s plenty of stuff to restrain this person if you would so choose.

HUDSON: That sounds good.

NICK: His advantages are just going to be for all the fun things he has hidden in this room, because he originally thought this was going to be a fight, but it’s a PC slot first.

HUDSON: I take my vibro-axe and I put it across my chest, I hold it with two hands across my chest, but it’s not blade first, it’s like the blunt edge, and I rush him to like push him on the ground.

NICK: So are you just trying to tackle him?

HUDSON: Yeah, basically.

NICK: Okay. I would say that’s a Brawl check then.

HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON: If Tink is gonna rush after this person and try to tackle them, I think Azul just watches the run and just admires the form.

NICK: Y’all are pretty close together because you were all just around the organ, so it’s only like four good steps and you’re to this guy.

HUDSON: Nice. What’s the difficulty?

NICK: Average.

HUDSON: One failure and one advantage.

NICK: So, you charge at this technophantom and he steps neatly out of the way. The advantage can be that he stepped towards Azul, so whatever you’re going to do, Azul, you’ll get to add a blue die because he’s very focused on Tink, the giant with a terrifying axe, but he is able to not be restrained. It is his turn.

NICK (as Phantom): You don’t get it. I’m a phantom. I’m a menace!

NICK: He shoots at Tink. His gun is on stun.

AARON: Oh, Tink is definitely like, arms, I think even just behind their back, legs spread out in a shoulder-width apart, and they’re just ready to avoid, dodge, and react to the situation. They’ve been on this kind of prevent defense for a while.

HUDSON: I can definitely see that happening. We’re gonna see how good this roll is. [laughs]

NICK: Yeah. He got two successes and three advantages, so he shoots Tink in the chest with his pistol. You’re going to take 8 stun damage.

AARON: Oof.

HUDSON: Okay.

NICK: Which goes against your Strain.

HUDSON: So I have 2 Strain, because I had 10 Strain.

NICK: And also a crit, a 74.

HUDSON: Severity is two diamonds. Hamstrung: Lose free maneuver until end of encounter.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Wow. We’ve been so focused on everyone’s movement form that it just becomes very apparent when Tink gets a horrible cramp in the back of his leg after getting stunned, and he’s a lot jerkier, it’s not comfortable, so yeah, you don’t get to do your free maneuver. If you wanna move towards people or do anything that’s a maneuver it will cost you 1 Strain.

HUDSON: Okay. Sounds good.

NICK: Up next is a PC slot. Azul, whatcha doing?

AARON: I think the play is Azul wants to pull the agro, because Tink is obviously gonna be the aggressor. I think Azul has to take on a distraction role. So, Azul picks up the script and immediately begins rifling through it and comes to a random page, like Page 36, and then says:

AARON (as Azul): Phantom, I’m reading here, it says that the main character, who is you, it says that the main character is unbelievably handsome and charming. I definitely have a few notes for this, because it’s not what I’m pulling from real life.

NICK: Oh! Make me a Coercion check.

AARON: Okay, that’s Will, which is 2, and nothing else, so what do I do?

NICK: It’ll just be two greens, but I think this guy is very easily coerced, so it’ll be easy, just one purple.

AARON: I got an upside-down triangle and two winged dot things.

NICK: You got a failure and two advantages. So, I think… because you failed I was going to make it so that you had the agro and he was upset enough to miss more, I think you have the agro and he is going to be able to aim quite true, which will be great for you, but he does roar and point his gun at you. Those advantages can be used to give Tink a blue die so that he gets a more clean shot on his turn.

AARON: Perfect.

NICK: Cool. So, it’s because he is very focused on you and upset.

NICK (as Phantom): Enough with your kriffing notes! Clearly you don’t recognize genius.

NICK: And he’s waving his gun everywhere very dramatically, which is not very efficient.

AARON: Not very efficient, but I think Azul then positions the script in front of themselves so that it becomes a game of don’t hit the script.

NICK: [laughs] He goes:

NICK (as Phantom): [in a goofy, startled voice] Ohh!

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Tink, it’s your turn. What are you gonna do?

HUDSON: Oh man. Am I prone or am I just shocked a little bit?

NICK: Yeah, you’re not prone, just your leg hurts and it’s hard to walk.

HUDSON: I do three summersaults forward to try to knock them prone.

NICK: So are you just trying to hit him again?

HUDSON: Yes.

NICK: You’re not trying to kill this guy?

HUDSON: Yeah, well, I was thinking about doing that earlier. I’ve pivoted now and I wanna go with Azul’s thing.

NICK: Okay. You’ll have to spend 1 Strain to get into range with him, because that’s what your crit does, but besides that, yeah, roll a Brawl check.

HUDSON: Heh. Also, what happens theoretically if you run out of Strain?

NICK: You pass out.

HUDSON: [laughs] Okay great, I have 1 Strain left.

NICK: Watch, this adventure’s gonna end with y’all Space Jam style being chained up having to perform his show three times a day.

HUDSON: One success, one advantage.

NICK: Nice. I don’t know if that’s how it works with Brawl, because there aren’t really grapple rules, but since that was your goal I’ll either let you do damage as Strain or real damage based on the amount you got, like if you punch him, or for no damage you can knock him down and be over him. Which would you like to do?

HUDSON: Knock him down and be over him.

NICK: Okay. Tell me how you knock this guy over after your summersaults.

HUDSON: After my summersaults, I basically go into bear hug motion and just grab the sides, not like a hug but just grab the sides and then just fall forward so it doesn’t hurt them, like I’m not pushing them down actively, I’m kind of holding them up as they fall.

NICK: You notice that the phantom is actually a lot heavier than you expected them to be based on their size, but you land down on top of them like a get down Mr. President kind of gesture, and it is his turn.

HUDSON: Yes. Yes.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: He’s still holding his gun, so…

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: He really wants to shoot—You know what, I think he still does. I don’t think his arms are trapped, so even though Tink’s on top of him, he knows that you’re trying to protect Azul, and Azul has the script, so he’s going to use his maneuver to aim, giving himself a blue die, and he is going to shoot at Azul.

AARON: Oh… Okay.

NICK: You said you drew agro. Two successes and three advantages again, so that is 8 stun damage, so that goes against your Strain, Aaron, but it is minus your Soak, so you only take 6. You just took 6 out of 13 Strain.

AARON: Not ideal.

NICK: So, shoots you, also gets a crit with those two advantages, and got a 39. What’s a 39, Hudson?

HUDSON: 39 is Stinger: Plus one diamond of severity to next check.

NICK: Oh okay, so you have one more difficulty on whatever you try to do next, because it just makes you flinch. It hurts real bad. I don’t know if you’ve been shot with a stun bolt before, but it’s not fun. Up next it is Azul’s turn.

AARON: I think as I’m recovering from that blaster shot you see Azul’s eyes kind of narrow in on the phantom, and they grit their teeth and they begin to grab pages from the script and tear them out of the book.

NICK: The phantom yells.

NICK (as Phantom): [pathetically] N-Nooo! Don’t—Stop. Stooop!

AARON (as Azul): Well, if you’re not gonna play nice then I’m gonna destroy this really shitty story that you wrote.

NICK (as Phantom): It’s not shitty.

AARON (as Azul): It’s not good.

NICK: Okay, so are you wanting him to give up with that?

AARON: I think they hold the script in one hand, and it looks like they’re gonna tear the script in half.

AARON (as Azul): You will come quietly, or I will give the benefit of the people out there the gift of never having to read this.

NICK: Oof. That really feels like a Coercion check since you’re just straight threatening this person. I’ll give you two blue dice for having such a successful threat.

AARON: Alright, let’s roll. Two pows and two advantages.

NICK: Nice. He stops moving and says:

NICK (as Phantom): My prime directive is to preserve my work. Please stop. You have defeated the Technophantom of the Opera.

AARON: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): My prime directive is to put on good works of art, so thank you.

NICK (as Phantom): I just said you won. There’s no need to be a jerk about it.

AARON (as Azul): Tink, knock him out.

HUDSON: I punch.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: You punch. His head slams into the ground with a clang, and his mask slips off, and you see that he’s actually a protocol droid.

HUDSON: Ohh.

NICK: So you’ve dented in his head and his eyes are starting to flicker.

NICK (as Phantom): Love… never dies.

NICK: And then the lights go out in his eyes as you knock the droid offline.

[laughter]

HUDSON: [claps]

NICK: You have rescued Selona. The Technophantom of the Opera is defeated. You have his shitty, shitty play. There’s just one more day before the performance. I think there’s a rush to get ready for the show.

[peaceful music begins]

Let’s do the performance. So, describe the opening number of this ballet and who’s doing what.

AARON: Nick, do you know the title of the ballet? Did we ever title the ballet?

NICK: We didn’t. Do you have an idea?

AARON: I am going to say the title of this ballet is… Lasers and Feelings.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON: And, the opening of the ballet actually starts with a spotlight specifically on Azul, and the very first thing you see is their left forearm is in front of their face which illuminates the lightning bolt tattoo that they have running down their arm, and as it sweeps away from their face the lights flood the rest of the stage and the rest of the dance squad comes out. They begin doing this electronica ballet that has all sorts of adage lifts and all these interesting pirouettes that go at this speed that seems unnaturally fast.

[music grows intense]

And as the music begins to roar you just hear this techno, like (simulates heavy bass and drum beats), as the music drops out for a moment—

[music ends abruptly before rising again more peaceful and dramatic]

There’s these silky strings that proceed what’s about to happen next, it sounds like [sings a high note meant to sound angelic or ethereal]. From the back, I think that’s Tink’s entrance.

NICK: [laughs] Okay.

AARON: Tink, what kind of dance do you wanna do here, man?

HUDSON: So, I put my arms against my chest, it’s little arms like a T-Rex, and I start T-Rex walking out from the back of the stage.

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON: But I’m looking around and I’m kinda going with the music, and then I stop and I throw one hand into the air and my head throws upwards, and I spread my legs, so it’s like in one gesture, leg’s spread, hand up, other hand down, head in the air, and then I just start spinning in place using my feet and it doesn’t look very good… but I do that.

AARON (as Azul): Oh Tink, Tink, no-no-no, it looks good my dude.

HUDSON (as Tink): Aw, thank you.

AARON (as Azul): Come on, man. Like, all that hair shimmering? Ugh!

NICK: I think we should let the dice decide that.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: As we come to the climax of the opening number, I need you both to make me a dance for Performance check.

AARON: I got four pows and an advantage.

NICK: Damn.

HUDSON: [laughs] I got nothing.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: You got a total wash?

HUDSON: Yeah.

NICK: Let’s say that Azul is able, with her advantage, to also make you look good as well. You do okay, but Azul is able to highlight your dancing and the opening number goes off without a hitch. The climax is a crazy laser light show and the supporting cast are all doing classical ballet behind you all which then turns into just straight Cirque du Soleil backflips and stuff as they go off the stage. The theater isn’t full, it’s about two thirds full which is pretty good, and the crowd as this goes on is more and more wrapped and more and more engaged. The curtain comes down, and there’s cheering, and then we see a brief scene of Tink standing triumphantly on a plinth in a later part of this ballet while everyone dances around him, and then red lights come down like he’s on fire.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: Then we see another brief scene of Azul doing a one-handed handstand that turns into splits that turns into supporting their whole body perpendicular on the one arm while really, really sad music plays. Then we come to the end and we’re seeing the company front of everyone standing on the stage and the crowd is cheering and throwing credits and flowers up on the stage, and the show goes amazingly. You all take your bows and run off stage and Madam Zostra is in the wings. The rest of the crew is going by. I think Selona stalks by, and there was a last minute change where Selona is now the handmaiden for the principle dancer so it’s a lot less of a prestigious dance part, but Selona winks and puts a hand on Azul’s shoulder as she goes by.

[music ends]

NICK (as Selona): You did great out there. I really appreciate you. Keep up the good work. Maybe someday I’ll be as good as you.

NICK: Even though her voice still sounds kinda sarcastic you can tell she’s trying, and she walks by with the rest of the dancers. It’s just you two and madam Zostra, and Madam Zostra says:

NICK (as Zostra): Well, that went surprisingly well.

HUDSON (as Tink): I think Azul did an excellent job.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, and I think that hoe Selona finally learned. This is really all a win-win for me.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK (as Zostra): Now-now, Selona has a lot of talent and sometimes you want to take a day off, so don’t be a jerk to your understudies.

AARON (as Azul): [laughs] Oh fine, but if she tries to drag that spotlight away from me one more time she’s gonna get a kick across the face.

NICK (as Zostra): One, yes, she should probably get a kick across the face, but two, you’re going to need to learn that it’s okay to not always be in the spotlight, Azul. I was really hoping that this experience would teach you some humility and selflessness. Apparently that is not the case.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, absolutely not. If anything it’s only fed my ego and I got a good friend out of it.

HUDSON (as Tink): yeah, she did.

NICK (as Zostra): Well, I guess things don’t always wrap up all nice and clean like in the stories… but that’s life!

[laughter]

NICK: The last thing we see, the camera drops below the stage and drops past the shattered mirror maze and down into the slapped together lair, and we can see the Technophantom of the Opera’s droid body.

[dramatic music begins]

The lights flicker on red, and you can see his hand dramatically punch towards the sky.

NICK (as Phantom): Maybe my real calling is to travel the stars. It’s time for the Starlight Express!

NICK: [giggling] And that’s where we’ll end this episode.

[music ends]

AARON: I’ve got a bad feeling about this~

NICK & HUDSON: Ba-naaa~!

AARON: [laughs]

## Outro

LILIT: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you’ve enjoyed our show, please consider logging into iTunes, or wherever else you listen to podcasts, and giving us a review. Good reviews help new listeners find the show and decide if it’s right for them. You can also support the show through our Patreon at Patreon.com/TabletopSquadron. We have all sorts of fun Patreon levels like Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer which gives you access to our secret feed full of bloopers, fun extras, and more.

Azul is played by Aaron J. Amendola. He can be found on Twitter at @ImAaronJ.

{EDIT: new handle, @TurboHoodie}

Tink is played by Hudson Jameson. He can be found on Twitter at @HudsonJameson.

Our game master is Nick Robertson. He can be found on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot, and our outro song was performed by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord at bit.ly/TabletopDiscord where you can share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We do occasionally talk about Star Wars. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials s1- Tink 1- The Phantom of the Ballet

PDF download: Interstitials s1- Tink 1- The Phantom of the Ballet

Read in browser:

Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Tink Interstitial 1, Part 1: The Phantom of the Ballet

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

LILIT: Hello, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Lilit, your MC for today. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

Except for today, where we follow a slicer as they explore the stage helping a prima donna dancer and themselves.

Thank you to our newest Patron, Sven Svednir. We’re glad you’re enjoying the show out in Sweden and are grateful for your support.

Music for today’s episode can be found in the show notes. Enjoy.

##

NICK: Hello! Welcome to Tabletop Squadron. I’m your host and game master, Nick. We’re back for another interlude episode. Taking a little time, get to know what the characters are like on their own, away from the squad. Doing their own thing, striking out. Other synonyms for not being with the group… So, without further ado, let’s go around the table and everybody say who you are and what character you’re playing today, starting with Hudson.

HUDSON: Hello. I’m Hudson, and I’m playing Tink, a Gigoran slicer.

NICK: An oldie but a goodie.

HUDSON: Oh yeah.

NICK: And new to the Tabletop Squad, we have a special, special guest today. It’s Aaron!

AARON: Oh my goodness. When you said you had a special guest I was looking around thinking who is he talking about.

NICK & HUDSON: [laughs]

AARON: It’s me! It’s actually me. That’s so cool. Hey everybody, I’m Aaron J., Twitter @ImAaronJ. I’m gonna be playing a dancer in the Star Wars universe named Azul.

{EDIT: new handle, @TurboHoodie}

HUDSON: Oh, and by the way, because Aaron I guess you haven’t played with us before, Tink’s pronouns are he/him.

AARON: Very good. Thank you. I don’t think I thought much about the pronouns for Azul, but maybe we will discover them along the way.

NICK: Okie-dokie. Do you have any projects you’re working on, Aaron, things you wanna get out into the universe?

AARON: Sure. I mean, right now we could all do with some more audio content since we’re cooped up in our houses. I’m just gonna direct you to a tabletop RPG show that I run called UniCURSEity. It’s the tale of three collegiate folks that discover there’s some demonic BS happening, bubbling up underneath the campus, and they are forced and tasked with solving that mystery.

NICK: I love UniCURSEity so much.

AARON: Oh yeah, I should probably tell you where you can get it. You can search iTunes for UniCURSEity or just put UniCURSEity into Google. It’s a punny name. If you like puns you’re gonna like the show.

NICK: And if you like disembodied skeletons with fun voices you will also enjoy the show quite a bit.

AARON: And if you like musical theater you’re really gonna like our second arc that will be starting up sometime in the next month.

NICK: Aw man, you can’t hit me with teasers like that!

AARON: I’m so excited! Oh my goodness. I can’t wait.

NICK: [laughs] Great. Before we get into it, let’s start off with the Destiny Roll!

AARON: Okay, let’s see, I got one filled in black circle.

NICK: You got one dark side point. How about you, Hudson?

HUDSON: I got one dark side point.

[techno party music begins]

NICK: Tink, you find yourself in a bar lit by neon lights and glowing smoke. Music with heavy bass causes the drinks on the bar around you to ripple and rattle. The bartender slides you another beverage with a blank stare. What are you drinking?

HUDSON: I’m drinking the Takodana Twister.

NICK: You do the math in your head as you take another sip and stare into your hypnotic drink. You haven’t gotten any real work since the shipyard job three months ago. What have you spent that payday on?

[party music fades]

HUDSON: Well, I started collecting figurines, and then that got expensive really quickly, so I stopped. I’ll be honest, it was becoming a problem. It was basically figurines, like, kind of back-alley. I didn’t know this was a thing, but back-alley figurines where you have to go and it has like Jedi pilots and famous intergalactic heroes and things like that, that normally would be something that could get you in trouble.

NICK: [chuckles] Okay. Are they all still in the box?

HUDSON: Yeah, absolutely, and if there’s any kind of stickers I very carefully peel them off, because I want it in mint condition.

NICK: [laughs] Great. As the camera zooms out we also see that Tink looks a little different from the last time we saw him. What does Tink look like now?

HUDSON: Tink got a haircut…

NICK: [laughs]

HUDSON: …but the thing about the haircut is it was like one of those really awkward in-between haircuts where you cut off just enough that it’s almost too much but not enough for it to be appropriate, like two inches deep off the hair surrounding the entire body.

NICK: Okay.

HUDSON: It’s also a little bit gray and a little bit kind of disheveled, because I mean I’m not impressing anybody. I don’t need to really wash or anything that often.

NICK: [pauses] Cool. You also lost your leg recently.

HUDSON: I bedazzled the leg and kinda put an X on with bedazzled jewelry on there so people know I’m straightedge, because I can’t just do the symbol with my arms all the time. That gets really annoying.

NICK: So you just point to your shin now?

HUDSON: Yeah, I just point to my shin and I’m like, “keep it, keep the edge.”

[party music returns]

NICK: [chuckles] So, as you contemplate your finances and what you’ve been through lately, you see a Mirialan man wearing a loose tunic and pants with a hooded duster on. They’re a Human-looking alien with green skin with refined features. You can see that their traditional tattoos are focused mostly on their hands rather than traditionally where they would be on their face, and that the tattoos only seem partially filled in which is a little weird. The Mirialan leans backwards against the bar on his elbows, looks at you and says…

NICK (as Mirialan): How are ya now?

NICK: …and grabs a shot glass that is sliding along the bar to a different patron, without looking at it, and he downs it in one go.

HUDSON (as Tink): Well, I was a little down thinking about how my life is right now, but now that someone’s talking to me I’ve kinda perked up a little bit.

NICK: The Mirialan chews on the inside of his cheek a little bit.

NICK (as Mirialan): Oh, not so bad.

NICK: Then smiles at you and then looks around the bar.

NICK (as Mirialan): Looks like you’ve got a pair of idle hands there, friend.

HUDSON (as Tink): Looks like you got a pair of, uh, mostly colored in hands.

NICK (as Mirialan): Well, the thing about having colored in hands is you never know exactly when they’re going to be finished. It’s sort of a metaphor, you see, for the journey.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ohh…

NICK (as Mirialan): How’s this galactic life treating you?

HUDSON (as Tink): The galactic—You’re very inquisitive. I like that. I don’t think it’s weird at all.

NICK: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): So, the galactic life, I’d say sometimes I live on the edge, sometimes the edge lives on me.

AARON: What? [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): Meaning I accidentally fell in some razors recently. It was an ordeal.

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): This was just at the supermarket. Just so much blood…

NICK: [laughs] The Mirialan looks genuinely concerned for you.

NICK (as Mirialan): Well, I was going to say that the Force moves in mysterious ways, but… I don’t think the Force would be responsible for throwing you into a batch of razor blades.

[party music fades]

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, that was more just my clumsiness in general. I don’t think it was the Force.

NICK (as Mirialan): Well…

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, get to the bottom line here. You’re asking me a lot of questions.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK (as Mirialan): That’s fair. I find that the Force tends to bring me places where I’m needed, and I happen to be near somewhere where a friend needs some help with a problem. I noticed you, I could see that you have an outlaw tech data breaker there on your belt, and I have some friends who might need help with a problem.

HUDSON (as Tink): Hmm. I’m a problem solver, and I’m glad you noticed my status symbol. I like to show it off.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK (as Mirialan): You know those are extremely illegal, right?

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh… Earlier I said I live on the edge, most of the time.

NICK (as Mirialan): Very fair. Very fair. There’s a ballet theater just a few levels down from here, actually.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh.

NICK (as Mirialan): They ran crosswise with a hacker group a few weeks ago, and now their lighting system just flashes curse words all the time.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK (as Mirialan): It’s a kriffing shame. They do good shows there. The money isn’t great, but I have a feeling the Force would appreciate the help. What do you say, friend?

HUDSON (as Tink): Hmm… A ballet job, you say? Hmm. I’ve… I’m skeptical, because the last time I ran into a ballet company it was just, it was uncomfortable.

NICK (as Mirialan): You ran into an uncomfortable company of ballet?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, yeah, you could say they were very uncomfortable. The reason being, they would… You know how a normal gang—It was like a gang of roving ballerinas, so this was like, unlike any kind of ballerina company you’ve ever seen. They come up, they’re snapping their fingers, they got their outfits on, and then they start doing pliés and touchés and valets and they just twist and turn and flip, and it just confused me, and then suddenly my belt was gone. I had to run after them.

NICK (as Mirialan): Well, I can tell you that this particular ballet company isn’t much for crime. You’ll probably be okay there.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright. Alright. It sounds like what I’m battling here is someone who wants to mess around with them, so I don’t appreciate that, especially if they’re nice people.

NICK (as Mirialan): Well, that sounds just wonderful. My name’s Chundi Sandal by the way.

NICK: He grabs what’s left of your drink and takes a big sip of it.

NICK (as Chundi): [affronted] What is this, a Takodana Twister? Gross.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, absolutely. I keep the edge, so you know, you have to get the good non-alcoholic drinks.

NICK: He shrugs and then pours the rest of it down his throat.

NICK (as Chundi): Well, it’s been a pleasure meeting you, friend. Pitter-patter.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah. Let’s go, Mr. Sandal.

NICK: We get a swipe. It does like a fractal spiral into the next scene which is… Tink, you are walking down a very narrow staircase in an alleyway. There are desperate people hulled up in the shadows. You’re on Coruscant. People with little money and less options, but they leave your hulking frame alone, especially when they see the kind of gear you’re carrying around. You’ve got a giant vibro-axe on your back.

HUDSON: Yeah!

NICK: You quickly find yourself standing in front of a rundown theater. It’s tucked into an overhang created by a much larger building. A stream of water runoff from the higher level trickles perpetually into the front entryway like the world’s dirtiest waterfall. What I need from you all is a detail about the outside of this theater.

AARON: Hmm. I think my detail about the outside of the theater is that the doors to get in are made of the most clear glass that it almost appears like there’s no door there. It looks like the handle is actually floating in place because the glass is so clean and so nice.

HUDSON: If you look above the nice, clean glass you can see that the sign for the entrance and the title of the building is really rundown actually, kind of rusted and has water marks. It’s like in a very cliché way flashing and you can hear a buzz-buzz-buzz as it flashes.

NICK: So, there is water dripping down right in front of this door, and that’s why the lights on this sign for this theater are buzzing and flashing, and we don’t quite see the name of it, but inside you can see a… we’ll say it’s a Chadra-Fan, so a little bat person is constantly cleaning the inside of these doors. It looks like he’s doing just really top-notch mime work as you appear.

HUDSON (as Tink): Good work, there.

NICK: He smiles at you and goes back to scrubbing. As you approach, a little bit of water splashes off you onto the door and the Chadra-Fan gasps with a little squeak and goes to wipe that down. As you enter, you pass through a lobby. There are mildewed posters and a few sagging chairs as you go through into the theater proper. On the stage you see a dance troop going through the final acts of production. Aaron, what does this production look like and what is your character doing?

AARON: I think my character, I think Azul is the front of this ballet squad. They are not a ballet team, they are not a ballet company, they are a ballet squad. They all have nice, flashy jackets on, they’re all wearing these ballet point shoes with cool bits of graffiti on it, and there’s a lot of people on the left and right hand sides of this stage where they are rehearsing that didn’t get the memo about the doors. The doors were so clean these people just walked into them and they have bandages around their faces. There’s bruises all over them. They just did not get the memo that the doors were there. They were just so clean they kept bumping into them.

[flute music begins]

I think that Azul is currently going through a ballet routine. You see them perform all these sorts of very agile, almost acrobatic type moves, and when they are done they go back to first position and then they sit cross-legged on the floor and place their palms on their knees and just kind of breathe in [inhales], and out [exhales].

[opera singing joins the flute music]

NICK: Oh, that’s lovely. So, as all of the dancers sit cross-legged in the flashing lights, one single spotlight casts down to the person leading this dance squad. Now, the spotlight does say KRIFF in huge red letters, but it still illuminates your character, Aaron, so we get a closer look at them. Describe what they look like.

AARON: Azul I think drapes themselves in a lot of blue clothing, a lot of blue garb. Their jacket itself is like a periwinkle blue, and on the back of the jacket is just a giant graffiti “A.” Hanging around their head is a bandana that has different constellations on it, and they’re wearing very tight, black dance shorts that cut off right above the knee. When you get down to their feet they have these beautiful ballet point shoes that right at the tip of the point shoes, right at the toe, everything is basically worn through but that wear and tear actually makes itself look like it should be there because the paint on the shoe is made to look distressed, it’s made to look like something really industrial.

I think Azul pretty much at all times appears calm. Azul always looks like they know exactly what they’re going to say. They always look like they are in control of a situation, but who knows if that’s actually the case. I want to say that Azul also has one gigantic tattoo running from their left shoulder all the way down to the palm of their left hand that is just a giant lightning bolt, and the reason that is very interesting for Azul specifically is because the actual tattoo ink is like a black light, so whenever they dance under a black light you see this lightning bolt just silhouetted against the darkness, glowing in this amazing, incredible, white light.

NICK: Oh, that is very, very cool. Azul is a Mirialan, right? So they have green skin?

AARON: Yeah. I think there’s always whispers of people watching Azul dance where they’re like “Why is their name Azul?”

NICK: [laughs]

AARON: “They’re green. It doesn’t make any sense.” [record scratch] “Their name should just be green.” That’s why Azul tries to incorporate as much blue into their coterie and culture as much as they can.

NICK: Oh, that is great. So, we get this zoom in, Matrix 360 view of Azul basically being in her comfort zone in her point of strength, and then you hear someone clap twice from off-stage, and the squad gets up to do it again, start the rehearsal over. They get through the first few moves and there is a section of choreography where there’s a flurry of leaps all at once, and as they are starting that, Tink, you are walking down the steps towards the stage and all of the lights cut out at once.

[music stops abruptly]

And then all of the spotlights start swinging wildly and flashing kriff, splurt, kark, fuck-fuck-fuck, and just strobe lighting obscenities all over the stage. Many of the dancers stumble and crash into each other and the holo player that was playing the music skips in the music. Tink, you can see the rehearsal grind to a halt with these technical difficulties as you’re approaching, and there is an elderly Chadra-Fan woman sitting in one of the seats that you’re walking past. As you get close, she’s got her hands resting on the top of a durasteel cane with a large, glass gem in the pommel. She says to you, without looking, still looking at the stage.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): It really is a shame. With the lights like this it will all go to waste. We were going to save the theater with this show, but now it’s all just kriffing kark.

[laughter]

NICK: On the stage it just flashes “kriffing kark” in big, yellow letters.

HUDSON (as Tink): Well, this sure doesn’t look like a phantom of the ballet situation, so uh… I think what we’re dealing with here is someone trying to sabotage your performance.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Well, we thought it was just petty vandalism, but generally petty vandalism doesn’t completely destroy a business and the livelihood of artists, so maybe you’re right. Knowing why it happened doesn’t fix the problem, though.

HUDSON (as Tink): Do you have competing ballet companies? I mean, usually they have guns and that’s how they get you, but maybe they’re just going with something easier this time. Has that happened to you before?

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Did you grow up on Mandalore?

HUDSON (as Tink): I did grow up on Mandalore. Yes.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): See, Mandalorian ballet battle companies are the only ballerinas that tend to shoot first and ask questions later. I did my dance school a very long time ago out there.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ohh.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Generally, you don’t have to have the black swan also be black ops in Coruscant ballet.

[laughter]

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, definitely seems more refined and, uh…

HUDSON: And he pauses awkwardly too long as he’s thinking about a fancy word to impress this person.

HUDSON (as Tink): It’s very apropos.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Well, I’m glad that you think it’s… apropos.

NICK: On the stage, as you said things look refined, there’s just straight up giant hologram outlines of two headless people having sex on the stage.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): What’s less apropos is this vandalism.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, that’s gross.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): It’s always on loop. They’re not even being creative.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ick… I mean, yeah. If I was doing this I’d just have something that said “butts, butts, butts” and then have a tastefully drawn butt, just an outline, you know.

AARON (as Azul): Hmm. Yeah, that’s good. That’s dance. That’s dance, for sure.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh, hello there.

NICK: The elderly Chadra-Fan shakes her head.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Yes, a good tasteful butt is why we all got into the business.

AARON: I think Azul just has a towel draped over their neck and they’re holding onto it with both their hands. It’s just a series of shrugs.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, butts are great and all, but we really have kind of a situation on our hands right here and I don’t think we’re gonna get our reps in unless we can figure this out. I know the rest of the squad is ready and willing to get back on that, but it’s kind of a dark cloud hanging over our heads.

HUDSON (as Tink): You’re in luck, because I destroy dark clouds. But what I really mean is I’m here to fix your problem.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): Wait. Are you like a weather man or are you like a detective? You’re gonna fix the cloud?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, no-no-no, sorry. I should have introduced myself. I am Tink, and I am a doctor and lawyer, but besides those things I’m also a slicer, very good slicer at that, and I believe I can figure out who’s doing this.

AARON (as Azul): Okay, well fantastic. You obviously know who I am, so yeah, if you—

HUDSON (as Tink): Wait. I… you know, I do, but can you remind me?

AARON: I think Azul looks around, and as you’ve said that I think people have had hushed gasps. “Wait, oh my god, does this person not know who Azul is?” Azul I think begins to walk away and then looks over their shoulder…

[dramatic performance music begins]

…and then launches into the air in this very allegro fashion and lands right in front of you in third position and then bows to you.

AARON (as Azul): I am Azul. I am the head of the company here. I am the captain of the squad, and if you need me I will be at your service. It’s not every day I meet someone who actually requests to be introduced. I have to say, that is kinda cool.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh—

AARON (as Azul): You, you don’t, like, you’re not intimidated by me. This is so new.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh yeah, you saw, I didn’t even flinch. Do you see how large I am compared to how small you are?

[dramatic music fades]

AARON: [laughs] I think as you say compared to how small you are Azul just kinda laughs and jokingly smacks you on the shoulder and just then begins to lean on you with their whole arm, and looks to the rest of the company.

AARON (as Azul): I like this guy. Is it guy? I like this person. I like this… What are you?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, yeah, it’s guy. I am a Gigoran.

AARON (as Azul): Ah, fantastic, and you said your name is Tink?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yes. It’s actually Rallltinkraatakat, but you can just call me Tink.

AARON (as Azul): Ah, well Tink, it is very good to meet you. I’ll be at your service as soon as you need me.

HUDSON (as Tink): Thank you, and I actually, you know, this was probably a trivia question for later, getting to know you, but I actually know why your name is Azul. Your like blueish-green skin, and the H is silent, isn’t it?

[long pause]

AARON (as Azul): The… The H?

NICK: [cackles]

HUDSON (as Tink): Yes.

AARON (as Azul): I’m… I’m sorry.

HUDSON (as Tink): So, it’s like Hazel, but you drop the H for fun.

AARON: I think everyone around this dance company is just, their interest is piqued, they’re looking on with baited breath. Azul looks around kind of hesitantly, not really knowing what to say and not really getting the joke, looks back at you Tink and then says:

AARON (as Azul): Uh… Yes, that is correct. Yeah. Sure. We’ll go with that. Of course. Yes.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright. I’m starting to—You know what? I think we’re gonna work well together here. I’m not seeing any issues so far. Like you mentioned, you’re at my service, and I haven’t heard that… ever, from anyone, so that definitely sparks some joy in me.

NICK: As you all are talking the Chadra-Fan theater leader steps up into the aisle, and her head comes up just about to where Tink’s new prosthetic leg finishes.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Azul, why don’t you take our new slicer friend up to the lighting booth? Maybe he can troubleshoot this problem a little bit.

AARON (as Azul): Absolutely, dear. And hey, do me a favor, please get a drink and sit down for a little bit? I don’t want you losing any undue energy due to all this. Okay? Can you please just do that for me?

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): I was dancing before you were born. Don’t talk to me like that. But I will sit down and have a drink, I’m very tired.

AARON (as Azul): Alright, fantastic. Remember, I know what’s best for you. Alright, let’s go, Tink.

HUDSON: [laughs]

NICK: As the two of you start to walk, I think you walk towards the stage and then there’s a staircase off to the left that leads up into the rafters where the lighting booth is. We see the secondary dance leader that is a very tall and dancer built pink Twi’lek, and she’s whispering to the other members of the group.

NICK (as Twi’lek): He didn’t even know who Azul was. Isn’t that interesting?

NICK: The other ones are all giggling.

NICK (as Twi’lek): I think that she is slipping. Perhaps we should bring in a new dance leader.

AARON: Do we think that Azul hears them?

NICK: Why don’t you roll me a Perception check. First roll of the game.

AARON: Alright. Alright. Because yeah, if Azul hears them I think there’s definitely some ish that’s gonna go down. So that’s Cunning, my Cunning is 1, and then I have one little dot filled in, so…

NICK: That’ll be one yellow die against two purple dice. We’ll just say this is average.

AARON: Okay, rolling…

NICK: But I’ll give you a blue die as a boost.

AARON: Oh.

NICK: Because I think you’re used to this other dancer stirring up shit.

AARON: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

NICK: So you pay attention to them.

AARON: Okay, so I just rolled one yellow die and I got two wings with a dot at the top.

NICK: Those are advantages. You’re gonna wanna reroll with that blue die or you’re not gonna succeed. [laughs]

AARON: Okay. I got so excited. Alright, rolling… I got three what looks like a hexagon with a bunch of pathways going into it.

NICK: Threats.

AARON: And I got another one of those advantage symbols.

NICK: Okay, so it cancels out to absolutely nothing, because the threats and the advantages cancel out. You do not hear her starting shit, but I don’t think the rest of the dance troop really listens to her either. It just kinda neutrals out. It’s just an interesting data point for the audience.

AARON: [laughs] I think regardless of hearing this “secondary” dance leader, this dumb pink Twi’lek, I think as we’re making our way up to the booth that Azul and Tink are just kinda chit-chatting, and I imagine that Azul, the more I think about Azul’s character, they’re kinda like Jameela Jamil from The Good Place. They think they know everybody, they’re kind of perfect in a lot of different ways, and they can dish on people. As they’re going past these groups you see that Azul is pointing out these are these people, these are these folk, these people have been here forever, these are the rookies, they all know me…

AARON (as Azul): And it’s so very refreshing to meet someone that isn’t intimidated by me. I just want to work with these people.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh no, I… Well, I was gonna say I understand, but actually, the only part I understand is the intimidation. I don’t know if you’ve seen this baby.

HUDSON: And I pull off my axe.

AARON (as Azul): Oh! For a second I thought you were actually gonna have a child with you. This is much different.

HUDSON: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): No, no babies, just—I mean, really this is the closest thing I have to a child. I definitely take care of it. [cooing] Isn’t that right/ Isn’t that right?

HUDSON: And I kinda rub the blade.

AARON (as Azul): So, is this the most valuable thing that you have?

HUDSON (as Tink): You know, I guess it is. Yes.

AARON (as Azul): Okay, because I was just, you know, you seem like the kind of person that, I don’t know, would… I don’t know, wanna play a game or something, just figuring out what kind of leverage you have.

HUDSON (as Tink): [gasps]

AARON (as Azul): me and some of the other dancers like to place some bets, just you know, feeling out, but seriously, if you’re interested let me know. No pressure, but also, kind of pressure because it is very fun.

HUDSON (as Tink): It definitely sounds fun, and you know what I have in my pocket right here?

AARON (as Azul): Is this—Wait. Is this like a question? Do you wanna put money on it?

HUDSON (as Tink): Uh, no, not yet.

AARON (as Azul): Oh, okay.

HUDSON (as Tink): Not at this second. They are actually a pair of chance cubes.

AARON (as Azul): Agh! You know, I was gonna say a pair of chance cubes. I would’ve put 5 Credits on it. Agh, okay. That’s fantastic. Look at these. Wow, they’re so cute.

HUDSON (as Tink): And you know, sometimes when I need to make decisions about what I’m doing, either in my mind or physically in the real world, I roll these things.

AARON (as Azul): Wow. You know, it sounds like people that like to roll dice in order to make decisions are really an interesting type of folk, wouldn’t you say?

NICK: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): [unsure] Yeah…!

AARON (as Azul): Especially when it comes to their whole character and world building.

HUDSON (as Tink): They might even be better than all the others.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah. I think people that roll dice in order to make decisions are better than the rest of the people in this galaxy. Phooey on everyone that says otherwise.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah. Yeah… Phoo- Phooey.

NICK: You arrive in the lighting booth. It’s up in the back of the theater hanging from the ceiling. It’s not a very big room. It’s probably only about three meters wide and three meters long. It’s just crammed full of lighting boards and technology, but it’s Star Wars so everything runs on magnetic tape and blinking lightbulbs. There is a big old pile of servers with a single entry port, it’s like one plug-in like R2-D2 would use.

HUDSON (as Tink): This is some old shit. I mean, like, it’s classy ancient, but still. I’ve worked with this before back at the university. Um… Yeah, let me see if, um… [sighs] You know what, I would ask for the username and password, but I think I’m just gonna use my data breaker. You can kinda just see how I do things around here.

HUDSON: So I roll a Computers check, I’m guessing.

NICK: Yep. This one’s gonna be a hard Computers check.

HUDSON: I have two successes and, [counts], eight advantages, and two threats.

NICK: You ended up with how many successes and six advantages?

HUDSON: Yeah, two successes.

NICK: Okay, so two successes and six advantages, which is ludicrously high.

AARON: [chuckles]

NICK: You’re able to get into the system pretty easily. The biggest hampering factor isn’t the security, it’s the fact that there’s no real interface, so you’re having to do everything through your data breaker, and then also whoever got into this system in the first place did whatever the programming equivalent of laying landmines was. There’s a lot of loops in the code that, if you activate them, start shutting stuff down and messing with things, but you’re able to skip easily past those. You find that there’s a toggle switch somewhere in the programming that basically says ‘Set lighting code to fuck you,’ and you just turn that off. A couple of your advantages are that the spotlight falls on this pink Twi’lek down on the stage and she’s picking her nose.

AARON (as Azul): [scandalized] Oh my god.

NICK: Like everyone stares at her, because she was in the dark, and then pulls her hand away really carefully.

NICK (as Twi’lek): It’s not what you think.

NICK: And stomps angrily across the stage. You still have like infinity advantages. Is there anything you wanna get out of this check?

HUDSON: I turn to my right and there’s a small fridge, and I’m like ooh, so I open it and there’s some sodas.

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON: I grab a soda, and I’m actually, I have the soda and I open it and it just goes (fizzy splashing sound), and then suddenly it just literally slips between my fingers and lands on the computer, but somehow the liquid that got on the computer, because it spilled, caused me to get further into the system. [laughs] That might be too much for an advantage. It’s really up to you.

NICK: What if you short out something with the soda, but that actually was a security system and now you just have control of the network in here. Does that work for you?

HUDSON: Yes, that sounds great.

NICK: Okay. Great. So, the lights appear to be back to normal. Azul, do you have any sort of reaction to how quickly Tink was able to fix this?

AARON: From this bar attached to the wall, Azul has been watching Tink go through all of these little procedures to get into the computer, and there’s been a variety of reactions. I think getting in, number one, raised Azul’s eyebrows. The second thing that they reacted to was seeing this Twi’lek picking their nose. [laughs] I think Azul made kind of a mental note, like “I need to talk to that person, that is unsanitary and that will not stand, also gross.” Then, I think the third and final reaction was when Tink saw the sodas, opened the sodas and spilled it on the computer. They started to rush over to clean everything up but discovered that it was fine, so now they’re just standing behind Tink admiring everything that’s going on in this mainframe now.

NICK: Very, very cool. Tink, you have complete access to the network. You’re typing away. I think in the past you’ve just always kinda taken the chance to familiarize yourself with systems when you have access, so you can see there’s a little security camera pointed out of the box office towards the street, there’s some lighting controls that are not related to the stage, just to the house lights and things ,and there’s a series of motion sensors that are down below the theater – which is weird – and they periodically look like they’ve gone off lately, but that’s probably just part of the city infrastructure. It’s just a weird thing to have under a theater.

As you’re looking through this and Azul is watching you, the pink Twi’lek stomps back onto the middle of the stage and the rest of the dance squad is kinda scattered towards the wings, and the pink Twi’lek starts to do a warm-up and a dance, and you can tell the leader of the theater is still watching. You can see she’s showing off and that she’s actually dancing the lead part, she’s doing Azul’s part of the dance, just for fun, you know, not trying to make a statement or anything.

AARON: Oh hell no. That’s not happening. No-no-no. Do we have a name for this pink Twi’lek? [laughs]

NICK: [smiling] We could come up with one.

AARON: Oh my god. I have just made a new enemy. No, no one’ staking my dance spot. That is my spot.

NICK: What about Selona?

AARON: Selona is pretty good.

HUDSON: Yeah, and actually, it’s really weird because there’s just a microphone laying by all of us…

NICK: Oh yeah, for sure, you have a PA system for stage direction.

AARON: I think Azul eyes the microphone and then looks back up at Tink.

AARON (as Azul): Do you mind if I use that?

HUDSON (as Tink): Go right ahead. It’s not connected to any of my systems.

AARON: Azul picks up the microphone, taps it twice, [taps his own microphone twice], and in one flurry of words just like a breathless sentence says:

AARON (as Azul): Selona, I see that you need to work on your technique there, it looks a little snotty right now, wouldn’t you say?

NICK: Selona stops mid-revolution. She’s doing the ballet spin that has one leg straight out behind, and it’s really good form, and she stops up on point on one toe and then drops down. She goes to make the rudest hand gesture you’ve ever seen towards the lighting box, and the two of you see a giant sandbag fall from the ceiling.

[intense music begins]

AARON: [gasps]

NICK: Straight down onto the stage. In the process of Selona stepping forward to make a hand gesture at you the sandbag bursts on the stage right where she was standing just a second ago.

AARON: Azul puts their hand over the mic and says:

AARON (as Azul): Oh, holy crap, I didn’t want Selona to die. I mean, it would have been nice, but… What? How did that happen?

[intense music fades]

HUDSON (as Tink): You dirty, dirty dog. I mean, I didn’t think that you’d sandbag someone today, but…

AARON (as Azul): I wasn’t sandbagging somebody! I just wanted to tell them off and give a pithy reply. I don’t wanna kill anybody.

HUDSON (as Tink): Then why’d you launch a sandbag?

AARON (as Azul): I didn’t launch a sandbag! Can’t you see on the computer where the sandbag was launched from? All the stuff is tied to circuits.

HUDSON (as Tink): You’re right. Um…

HUDSON: I start typing. Tap-tap-tap.

NICK: You made this system yours, essentially, so you don’t have to roll for it. As you type away, the spotlights rotate and point towards the catwalk up above the stage, and you see a figure back in the shadows where the spotlights don’t quite reach, for just a second, and then they whip and run away into the darkness above the stage.

[intense music returns]

HUDSON (as Tink): [gasps] It’s the phantom!

AARON (as Azul): I need to go kill—

AARON: Gerard Butler? [laughs]

[intense music fades]

NICK: So yeah, you can run to try to see where this mysterious figure went, but I will need either an Athletics or a Coordination check from both of you to see how quickly you get there.

AARON: I think for me it’s gonna be Coordination, because that’s Agility, I’ve got a 4, and then I have 3 ranks in Coordination. It’s four pows and one hexagon thing.

NICK: [smiling] So, four successes and a threat. [laughs] Cool. Hudson, if you want to do an Athletics or Coordination check against three.

HUDSON: One success and three threats.

NICK: Okay. So, Azul, since you’re using Coordination I think it’s much more of a graceful parkour to get up there. Tink, you were rolling Athletics, right?

HUDSON: No, Coordination, I have nothing in Athletics.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: Okay, so you’re also parkouring but not nearly as gracefully and Azul quickly outdistances you.

AARON: I think under Azul’s breath they’re just whispering to themselves:

AARON (as Azul): Allegro. Allegro. Allegro.

NICK: [chuckles] So, talk me through. You have to run down a staircase, across a gangplank, through some rafters and then up a rope to get to where this figure was. What does that look like?

AARON: Oh, you said down stairs, across a gangplank and up a rope?

NICK: Yep.

[action music begins]

AARON: Easy! That is easy like Sunday morning for Azul. What they do is they parkour down the rail of this staircase and then they do an aerial over the gangplank thing that you were talking about, so basically they flip themselves forward, no hands touching the ground, and there’s just this slow-motion movement as they’re levitating in the air, you hear everyone just go… [long gasp].

[action music stops]

Everything’s quiet, and as their foot touches the ground on the other side,

[action music returns]

it feels like all the orchestration and heat of the moment comes filtering back in. Then they grab this rope, and they don’t just climb up it, they grab the rope as they’re running and they vault towards a wall and just kind of wall jump (effort noises) all the way up to the top of this rope and land on the catwalk.

NICK: Tink mostly is jogging through this. I think he does one vault where you plant a hand and flip your hands over. You get to this catwalk. You see the figure standing on the very back of the stage in a section that there’s no way to get to, there’s no way the figure could have gotten there as quickly as they did, and you’re about to go after them, but Tink runs up behind you and – you wouldn’t know that it’s new, but his  new mechanical leg shorts out and he collapses into you and knocks you both down to the floor of the gangplank and the figure vanishes.

AARON: Oof.

NICK: Because Tink falls prone. [dramatic bass noise]

HUDSON: [remembering] Oh yeah!

AARON: [laughs] I think, Tink falling on top of me, I think I still do it with a little bit of grace, and as I watch the person ahead of us running away I just look over my shoulder, pinned to the floor with Tink on top of me, and I say:

AARON (as Azul): [strained] I think we’ll have to work on some of your moves, but it looked pretty cool.

HUDSON (as Tink): Thank you. I thought it was very cool.

AARON (as Azul): I wouldn’t say very cool, but we’ll work on it.

HUDSON (as Tink): Nah, we can agree to disagree.

NICK: As you are there you see a little folded up piece of flimsy – which is Star Wars paper – on this gangplank next to you where you have both collapsed to the ground.

AARON (as Azul): What do you wanna do? That could be a bomb.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh, ooh, ooh. If there’s one thing I’m not it’s a bomb diffuser.

AARON (as Azul): Hey, how much you wanna bet that this is a bomb, huh?

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh…

AARON (as Azul): You wanna take that action?

HUDSON (as Tink): I’ll take that action. Yeah.

AARON (as Azul): Alright. What do you wanna bet?

HUDSON (as Tink): Hmm…

HUDSON: I look at my leg.

HUDSON (as Tink): Is this enough to bet my leg.

AARON (as Azul): Yes, I will bet you your leg.

HUDSON (as Tink): No, no. Wait, wait. I probably need that. No, I definitely need that. Um…

AARON (as Azul): Let’s just make it easy. Let’s say 10 Credits.

HUDSON (as Tink): 10 Credits, got it.

AARON (as Azul): Alright, because I saw this in a movie once where somebody  picked up a scrap of flimsy, and they read it, and then at the end of the sentence it blew up. So, it might be ‘nice knowing you,’ but at least I’ll get 10 Credits out of you.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, let’s do it.

AARON: And they go to pick up the scrap of flimsy.

NICK: And it does not explode!

AARON: That is bullshit!

NICK: [laughs]

AARON: Aw man. They pick up the scrap of flimsy and they’re just like (gritted struggling noises), and they are unraveling this flimsy but with their other hand they’re taking out their wallet which is probably always on them and mindlessly takes out 10 Credits and throws them at Tink.

HUDSON (as Tink): Whoa. Whoa. A little aggressive there. Just 10 Credits, bud.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alright, what’s this say, what’s this say?

NICK: The note is simple. It just says in a frantic scrawled calligraphy, “This theater is doomed if you do not dance my ballet.”

HUDSON (as Tink): That’s ominous. What does that mean?

AARON (as Azul): I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. I think he wants us to dance his ballet or else the theater is doomed. It’s only two sentences. It looks like regular punctuation. Is there any deeper meaning? I don’t know. Do you know any deeper meaning to this?

HUDSON (as Tink): You know, I think it’s a disgruntled ex-balleter, and they had a dream, and that—

AARON (as Azul): Excuse me, it’s balletist.

HUDSON (as Tink): Balletist.

NICK: Fuck. I love balleter so much though. [laughs]

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): So it was an angsty ex-ballist, and…

AARON: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): …what’s happening here is they wrote what they thought was a seminal just extraordinary ballet to change the face of ballet, or the whatever the moves of ballet, and they probably came and tried to pitch it to different companies, and for some reason something happened and no one got it including this group here. So, maybe they just go from company to company doing this, or they could just be, you know, the disgruntled janitor who just wants to play a little prank.

AARON (as Azul): You know, I gotta say, Tink, I was a little sad that this wasn’t a bomb, but also, that sort of insight and analysis is exactly why I’m excited to be working with you. Typically we would have to find a variety of different clues to track down the motivations and where-tos and wherefores for this dastardly villain, but no, you seem to have determined what it could be pretty easily.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah, yeah, you could say I’m a genius. I mean, you should say it.

AARON (as Azul): Alright, you’re a genius. You’re a genius.

HUDSON (as Tink): Thank you.

NICK: [chuckles] And, I think we see Tink and Azul come back down to the main stage. Selona is crying really dramatically with a group of ballerinas around her, comforting her. You really get the feeling that she’s seizing this opportunity for sympathy more than she was super shaken by it. The head of the ballet troop walks her way slowly up onto the stage to be with you all.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Well, it looks like we’ve got a bigger problem than just some vandals, doesn’t it?

AARON (as Azul): I would agree. Selona’s technique was just sloppy, and really they should learn how to turn out a bit better. It was very disgraceful. Also, the sandbag was bad.

NICK: [chuckles] Selona lets out a louder wail that sounds more genuine than the rest of them were.

AARON: [laughs]

NICK: The Chadra-Fan shakes her head.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Well, never let it be said that Madam Zostra doesn’t care for her dancers. Young man, would you and Azul be able to get to the bottom of this?

HUDSON (as Tink): You know… before I answer that question, I have a much better question. Why in any galaxy, on any planet, would a ballet need sandbags? It’s just dancing!

AARON: [laughs]

NICK (as Zostra): It raises and lowers the scenery.

AARON: Just starts laughing.

AARON (as Azul): This guy doesn’t know why we need sandbags! [laughs] Ah…

HUDSON (as Tink): I mean, it’s not obvious. It was being hidden until it fell.

NICK: The Chadra-Fan also laughs.

NICK (as Zostra): Not everyone can understand the mystery importance of the sandbag to ballet, dear. You must be understanding of outsiders.

AARON (as Azul): Next thing you know he’s gonna ask why a ship has an engine. [laughs]

NICK (as Zostra): Ha-ha! Oh, Azul.

HUDSON (as Tink): I mean, sometimes… Never mind. I was gonna say sometimes about ship magic. I actually maintained a ship for a while with my old squad.

HUDSON: Then I just look into the distance really dramatically.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON: [laughs] Get all glassy-eyed.

HUDSON: yes. I turn and I say:

HUDSON (as Tink): Now, to answer your actual question, I’m on the case.

AARON (as Azul): Um, this is a stage, it’s not a—Oh! I understand. You’re gonna take up the case. We’re gonna work together more~ Aw, this is great.

HUDSON (as Tink): yeah, not literal, dummy.

AARON (as Azul): Ah, sorry, sorry, and my name is Azul.

HUDSON (as Tink): Hazel… Az… A-Azul. Yes.

AARON (as Azul): Ha-HaaAzul.

HUDSON (as Tink): Heh.

AARON (as Azul): Ha-Azul.

NICK: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): Hazul been to any good ballets lately?

AARON (as Azul): Oh, this is great. We can do a two-hander, we can take this on the road. I like this, but we should probably solve the mystery first.

HUDSON (as Tink): yeah. Yeah.

AARON (as Azul): But seriously, we should think about an exclusive run together.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah. Are you a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll? Because I can do either.

NICK: [laughs]

AARON (as Azul): You know, I’m a big, I’m a neat freak. I don’t like anyone who’s messy.

[gentle sleuthing music begins]

NICK: So, I think what we see is Azul and Tink working their way through the theater, looking for clues, and they are under the stage and on the sides and interviewing dancers, and we get a quick shot of Azul and Tink interviewing Selona, and Selona shrugging and walking away and Tink having to hold Azul back from punching her in the back of the head.

HUDSON: [chuckles]

AARON: I just think, I think that Azul, like you said, is talking to dancers, is talking to maybe one Gungan about what happened, then they talk to another Kaminoan about what happened, and then when they speak to Selona the questions deviate entirely and are just like:

AARON (as Azul): Why are your jetés so sloppy? Why are you so mean? Why were you picking your nose?

AARON: And just walks away.

[laughter]

NICK: The day coms to a close and you are not able to find this mysterious figure. Madam Zostra approaches the stage where Tink and Azul are sitting quietly, feet dangling over the edge.

NICK (as Zostra): The show opens in three days. Hopefully we’ll have better luck tomorrow.

AARON (as Azul): Yeah, I mean, how long could this possibly take? I think Tink is pretty good at this. Tink, how long does it take to solve a case? Is it like one or two hours, maybe three hours? We should be done soon, right?

HUDSON (as Tink): You know, it can take anywhere from 30 seconds if they just decide to reveal everything very quickly about themselves…

AARON (as Azul): Oh great. Nice.

HUDSON (as Tink): …or it can take all the way up to the last minute before the show goes on.

AARON (as Azul): Whaaat? That’s crazy. Ugh, alright, well hey, if that’s what it takes.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yep, yep, that could be what it takes. I mean, there’s a range, and within that range we will solve the case.

AARON (as Azul): Got it.

NICK: [smiling] And that’s where we’re gonna end the episode.

ALL: Ba-naaa~!

## Outro

LILIT: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you’ve enjoyed our show, please consider logging into iTunes, or wherever else you listen to podcasts, and giving us a review. Good reviews help new listeners find the show and decide if it’s right for them. You can also support the show through our Patreon at Patreon.com/TabletopSquadron. We have all sorts of fun Patreon levels like Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer which gives you access to our secret feed full of bloopers, fun extras, and more.

Azul is played by Aaron J. Amendola. He can be found on Twitter at @ImAaronJ.

{EDIT: new handle, @TurboHoodie}

Tink is played by Hudson Jameson. He can be found on Twitter at @HudsonJameson.

Our game master is Nick Robertson. He can be found on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot, and our outro song was performed by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord at bit.ly/TabletopDiscord where you can share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We do occasionally talk about Star Wars. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials s1- Karma 3- Now THIS is Podracing

PDF download: Interstitials s1- Karma 3- Now THIS is Podracing

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Karma Interstitial 1, Part 3: Now THIS is Podracing

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

NICK: Hi everyone, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Nick, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

This week we have the last episode with Karma and Stiro. Playing with Rob was a blast, and if you want to see more of his work and you have a taste for cosmic horror and espionage I strongly recommend that you check out The ORPHEUS Protocol. It is one of my absolute favorite shows. Also, Lilit and I are in the newest arc set in a magically apocalyptic future.

We got a new iTunes review this week. Thank you SparkPlug94. We’re glad you’re enjoying the show, and thank you for the kind review.

Music this week is Found by Shaolin Dub, Chitarradistorta by Nickk Dropkick, and Scheming Weasel (faster version) by Kevin MacLeod under Creative Commons 4 license.

So now, let’s get into the episode.

##

NICK: When we last left karma and Stiro, they had made it to the beginning of the race. They finalized their plans, and we resume with them about to get underway with their plan to make sure that everything turns out exactly as they have foreseen.

NICK: We swipe away to the two of y’all sitting in the stands at the race eating corn, because popcorn is canon in Star Wars now thanks to Disney.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

ROB: Hell yeah. Is that a Galaxy’s Edge thing too?

NICK: Yeah. Yeah. So, eating popcorn, and you look at each other and nod, and get started. So, it sounds like the plan was first to sew a lot of discord and then after that to vandalize Sebulba and go from there, right?

ROB: Yup!

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

NICK: Cool.

ROB: My intent is to use Distracting Behavior, which I have 3 ranks in.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Which is basically like three range bands worth, to just make a scene that is gonna plant the seed for the rumor that I’m going to lie about some short amount of time later.

NICK: Let’s do the roll first on what kind of scene you’re going to make, and then you can roleplay that out based on the results.

ROB: That makes sense, yeah-yeah-yeah. This is going to be… interesting. Are there opposed rolls in this?

NICK: Yep, there can be.

ROB: Okay. I’m gonna make a Deception, but I’m gonna take 3 strain to have everybody in three range bands of me suffer three difficulty.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: On whatever the opposing check is.

NICK: So, what we’ll do is use that to do three upgrades to yours, and then the difficulty will be just average, but it will be a red and a purple, because one of the people who is going to see this is one of the head advisors for the race and they’re smarter than the average person.

ROB: Sure. Normally, my Deception check is two yellow and a green, so three upgrades to that…

NICK: It’s gonna be four yellow, which is obscene.

ROB: What was it you said the difficulty was?

NICK: One red and one purple.

ROB: However, the difficulty is reduced by one from Convincing Demeanor.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: So it’s just one red then. I am never letting one of my PCs get that skill. [laughs]

ROB: [laughs]

CAMERON: I want that talent tree  now.

ROB: Lie good. Convincing Demeanor is the top, too. It’s five points.

NICK: Yeah.

CAMERON: Oh my gosh.

ROB: So that’s what we got, we got four yellow and a red, right?

NICK: Yep.

ROB: Okay. let’s make a scene. Four successes.

NICK: Yeah, you are extremely successful.

ROB: So, I’m literally sweating, like I’m Daniel Day-Lewis into this performance.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

[music begins giving an outdoor sports event vibe]

ROB: I’m sweating. My eyes are bugging out. I’m running from person to person. It’s clear that I have tried to talk reasonably about this already, no matter the fact that this is how I’m starting, everyone who sees it assumes I’ve been at it for a while here. And people aren’t listening to me, and it’s deeply, deeply disturbing me. I look like I’m about to have a heart attack.

NICK: Oh man.

ROB: And I’m saying like…

ROB (as Stiro): Why isn’t anybody listening to me?! This is a huge deal! Do you know how much money is riding on this? And it’s more than money, it’s the future of the sport!

CAMERON: [giggles]

ROB (as Stiro): It’s the future of the sport, and you are—Hey! You! You, you, here, you’re on one of the pit crews, right? Like, it matters to you if this race is legitimate, doesn’t it? It matters to you, right? Right?!

NICK (as crew member): [weakly] Of course. Of course!

ROB (as Stiro): You’d be upset if it was fixed?! Well!

NICK (as crew member): The race is legitimate.

ROB (as Stiro): Why don’t you ask Fizz’s pit crew about what the hell they’re doing?

NICK (as crew member): W-What?!

ROB (as Stiro): Why don’t you ask them about why they were in Pretel’s pit?

NICK (as crew member): What? What are you talk—What?!

ROB (as Stiro): Nobody’s saying anything. Maybe we were wrong to not have CorSec here, I don’t know, but… [huffs and stammers]

ROB: And I’m already moving on to somebody else like I’ve forgotten this guy who I was talking to.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: And I just keep going. I’m about to have like an aneurism. [laughs]

NICK: The guy that you grabbed was a Toydarian, so it’s like those floaty people with the bald heads.

ROB: Oh, and it takes him a while to stop spinning? [laughs]

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Yeah, he’s spinning and just—

NICK (as crew member): I—What? [stammers]

NICK: As that scene’s going a majority of the stands are looking at you, because there isn’t much else to look at. Pit crews are sending people over to go see what you’re talking about. You see someone wearing a Corellian suit with a clipboard look very concerned and start to walk towards you.

ROB: Oh yeah. I do the whole pitch at like 110% intensity to him, because he’s got a clipboard so he is probably important.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: Yeah.

ROB: So this desperate person is gonna want to talk to him about it.

NICK: [smiling] Yeah, and we’ll cut away with him talking, but he has an earpiece in and is saying:

NICK (as clipboard man): Now sir, if you could stay calm and stop yelling about “a fix.” That’s how people get shot.

ROB (as Stiro): [shouting] I AM CALM!

[laughter]

ROB: Yeah.

NICK: Yeah. And we cut back. Several people run out of Sebulba’s pit, and karma is standing in the shadows of the stands behind, and you’re trying to sneak into the pit?

[sports event music ends]

CAMERON: I am not sneaking.

NICK: Oh.

CAMERON: I am walking with confidence to where it is not a stealth in that no one shall see me, I am shadows, it’s a stealth in “I belong here, you don’t think it’s weird that I’m here.”

ROB: Social engineering.

NICK: Mm-hmm.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm. So, Karma is wearing one of Sebulba’s pit crew’s uniform.

NICK: It definitely has his face on the back of it, like really big.

CAMERON: Oh yeah. It has the fancy Letterman text that says Sebulba above his head.

NICK: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

CAMERON: Yeah.

ROB: So good.

CAMERON: It’s got his podracer as a patch on the shoulder. Yeah, it’s a legit uniform. She has picked up a metal container that would have some of the fluids that the pit crew would need and is just walking back from the supply area, with that, towards Sebulba’s thing, since it has the chain ropes underneath it, ducks down, steps underneath it, continues, walks over, sets it down on top of a pile.

NICK: Mm-hmm.

CAMERON: Picks up a clipboard, because you look official if you have a clipboard.

NICK: [chuckles]

CAMERON: And starts walking around making checkmarks on the clipboard as she circles the pod.

NICK: Great, so social engineering, do you feel like that’s a Stealth or a Skulduggery, or a Streetwise? What are you going for here?

CAMERON: I would say it’s not Streetwise because I’m not talking to anyone.

NICK: Yeah. Okay.

CAMERON: I think I’m going for Stealth in that no one’s going to remember.

NICK: You’re aiming for unassuming. Okay.

CAMERON: I want… It should be like, it’s just another face, nothing that sets off any alarm bells in anybody’s head. I’m just doing my job, they’re doing theirs, we’re all just going.

NICK: Cool. That’s gonna be a hard difficulty Stealth check. Let’s see how this goes, because there’s only about seven people in this area and two of them are those droids with the little boop noses.

CAMERON: Heh, boop.

NICK: [chuckles] Yeah.

CAMERON: What is my Stealth…? And then I have two blue dice for my Stalker talent.

NICK: Cool. Let’s go ahead and flip a dark side point to upgrade the difficulty by one.

CAMERON: I knew that was happening.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

CAMERON: Alright, so that’s a yellow, three green, two blue, two purple, and one red.

NICK: Yep.

CAMERON: That’s a lot.

NICK: Yep.

CAMERON: Oh shit. [laughs] Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.

NICK: Really?

CAMERON: Yep.

ROB: Gulp!

CAMERON: Two successes, an advantage, and a despair.

NICK: Yes! YES! It happened!

CAMERON & ROB: [laughs]

NICK: So, two successes, an advantage, and a despair. How about you use that advantage to give you a bonus to your Mechanics check to damage the thing?

CAMERON: [smiling] Yeah, that’d be a good thing, yeah. Let’s do that.

NICK: Eh, don’t worry about that despair, it’s fine.

CAMERON: Okay, I’m sure it’s okay. [laughs]

NICK: So, you find yourself next to the podracer. No one’s really looking at you. there’s this weird… it kind of looks like a piece of a lamp sticking off the side. It’s probably important, but there’s lots of things that look important on here. What you’re trying to do is damage it in such a way that things go wrong between one and three laps, so you don’t want to just break it, you need it to rattle loose or lose efficiency later and you don’t want people to see it. Seems like a Mechanics check, doesn’t it?

CAMERON: [chuckles] Yeah.

NICK: I’ll give you a blue die, because I’m assuming you looked up how to break a podracer before you came.

CAMERON: [laughing] yes, I did.

NICK: [smiling] Yeah, that seems like a good thing to research.

CAMERON: What’s the difficulty on it?

NICK: We’ll say average. These things are not actually that well put together. They’re basically Bowing engines just duct taped to a chariot.

ROB: Well yeah, especially Sebulba’s, right?

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

ROB: he’s like, if he were a gamer he would overclock his PC so hard that it melted occasionally and he had to buy a new one.

NICK: Yep. [laughs] Yep.

CAMERON: Alright, we can do this. Karma is not smart.

NICK: She’s okay.

CAMERON: Karma is very average in intellect. This is why she’s not the mechanic. But it’s okay. A success and an advantage.

NICK: Great. You’ll use that advantage here probably in a second. So tell me how do you semi-damage this pod?

CAMERON: So, I’ve been walking around the pod, touching things, jiggling them slightly just to make sure they’re firmly in place, putting a checkmark on my paper, continuing on to the  next thing. Reach the area that has the piece that I’m going for, to knock off, and wiggle it, put a checkmark next to it, and then as I turn hit it with my shoulder to where it’s now oh, it’s no longer sticking out, it’s now dangling, and then continue onto the next piece. Complete my circuit, set the clipboard down, turn to leave.

NICK: Great. You walk up to the chain, and you bump into somebody. Feels about waist height.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: You find yourself looking at a Dug, a particularly nasty Dug, who says…

NICK (as Sebulba): Ichana naboonga.

ROB: [nervous noise]

NICK: …and grabs your leg with his weird leg hands. He’s speaking Huttese, but we’ll speak in Basic so that the listener can understand.

CAMERON: Karma speaks Huttese.

NICK: Yeah, of course she does, she’s a bounty hunter.

CAMERON: [simultaneously] She’s a bounty hunter.

ROB: Yeah.

NICK: So, he grabs you, and you can feel the force of his grip through the armor that is under your jumpsuit that you’re wearing.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK (as Sebulba): What are you doing? You’re not one of my pit crew.

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m sorry, Mr. Sebulba, sir. I don’t understand you… I’m so sorry. Um, I’m just—Do you, do you need me to get something for you? What… I was gonna go get more oil. Is that…? What do you… What do you need?

ROB: [pleased] Oh god, the language barrier.

NICK (as Sebulba): Eechuta!

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: And the race is about to start! He literally doesn’t have time! Oh, it’s brilliant!

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: He goes to pick you up, because he’s very angry. You can try and roll a Deception to make him just think that you’re a shitty crew member he didn’t notice before.

CAMERON: Okay. I am going to Deception. I am going to try to Deception. Alright, what is the difficulty for this Deception check against Sebulba?

NICK: I’m gonna say average.

CAMERON: Okay.

NICK: He’s not that smart, and also you can have a blue die for doing the language barrier thing. I liked that a lot. That was cool.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Very, very good.

CAMERON: [giggling] Who expects Nautolans to speak Huttese?

NICK: Yeah, that’s fair.

ROB: Yeah, and well, he’s just crotchety about it. He’s not used to having not his own pit crew.

CAMERON: Yeah.

NICK: The ones that are used to being beaten.

ROB: yeah.

CAMERON: [chuckles] Alright. Four successes.

NICK: Hey! So he 100% buys it. You see him squint at you, and in Huttese he says…

NICK (as Sebulba): Why did I get an intern on my team?

NICK: …and he picks you up and throws you out of the pit, into a pile of crates, and you take 5 damage.

[laughter]

ROB: Wilhelm scream.

CAMERON: I take no damage.

NICK: I’m gonna say you still take 2 damage beyond your Soak—

CAMERON: Dang.

NICK: —from the force of his grip. He has actually bent one of the armor plates in your leg.

CAMERON: Ow.

ROB: Oof.

CAMERON: Rude.

NICK: Yeah. He’s really strong. He drives jet engines duct taped to a chariot, like, that’s—

[laughter]

ROB: His traps are enormous! He’s fucking yoked!

NICK: Yeah. But besides that, he jumps into his pod and we can see people walking across the starting line holding flags for the various pods and they move out to the start. You all regroup. I think you probably jump into a nondescript speeder piloted by Seeley.

NICK (as Seeley): Alright, I guess that’s step one, no one’s dead. Where are we going next?

CAMERON (as Karma): Parsec 7? Whatever the next pit stop is, I guess.

ROB (as Stiro): Yeah. We need to make a small disturbance at Kelbit Fizz’s pit, and then I make the call.

NICK: Cool. We get a circle swipe as the pods are starting up. Right before the doors of the speeder shut, you hear Delbo Dawnbringer.

NICK (as Delbo): [through megaphone] And here we go! The beginning of the Inaugural Circuit, a new dawn in the age of podracing.

NICK: Jing-a-ling-a-ling. Jing-a-ling-a-ling.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: And they’re starting up. Seeley throws it into gear – speeders don’t normally have a stick shift, this one does – and he throws it into gear.

NICK (as Seeley): Man, I’m just like really amped up about racing right now.

ROB (as Stiro): [strained] That’s great news.

[laughter]

CAMERON: Stiro and Karma have switched seats this time around, so Karma’s in the back seat, and it’s the—If you’ve ever seen the movie 27 Dresses, that’s what I’m referencing here.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: She’s a bride’s maid in two weddings and is having to switch back and forth between the bride’s maids dresses. That is what Karma is doing in the back seat as Seeley is driving ridiculously. She’s taking off Sebulba’s pit crew uniform, has her armor on underneath it, is turning it inside out and is putting it back on, and it’s Kelbit Fizz’s now.

NICK: Yeah, so you’re swapping out the jumpsuit, zipping it up—

CAMERON: But flying around the back seat.

NICK: Rattling around.

ROB: Yeah.

CAMERON: At every turn.

NICK: Karma’s leg gets thrown over the front seat into Stiro’s lap, and you notice there’s this weird, long handprint bent into the metal of her leg plate, and then she gets thrown back into the back seat again. We get a swipe of that, and then the next scene is Seeley doing a 270 degree turn into a parallel parking space.

ROB: Oh my god!

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: And he looks up at the roof of the speeder and holds his hands off the wheel.

NICK (as Seeley): Like a glove~

[laughter]

CAMERON: Karma sits up from the back seat and her head tails are like, some of them are falling over her face. It was a rough however long this took to get here, but she looks a bit frazzled from having been thrown around in the back seat.

ROB: Yeah, Stiro looks a little green himself.

[laughter]

NICK: You are able to get out. You are one alleyway away from the back side of the pit crews. So, the next thing we see is you all walking up into a very similar setup. These are like sunken mechanical bays on the side of the road. It’s at the edge of a building sized sewer exit, just this giant tube, and you can hear the sounds of the pods – you have no idea how far away they are…

ROB: Sure.

NICK: …but you can hear them, because they’re in the sewers under the city right now, doing stuff. In the background you can hear the announcer, Delbo.

NICK (as Delbo): And F4-ST, using some illegal razors to get a bit ahead, always love to see that.

CAMERON & ROB: [laughs]

NICK (as Delbo): And Sebulba, in the middle of the pack, strange for him, but otherwise everything seems to be going great at this, the Inaugural Circuit!

NICK: And that’s where the crowd goes (breathy cheering sound). You’re able to walk up to these mechanical bays that are on either side of the road next to this just freaking giant sewer exit. It does not smell good. It smells like wet garbage.

CAMERON: Hmm, shocking.

ROB: So, I think the plan is for me to get on the line with someone who’s involved in the administration of the race, which is something we would have figured out off-screen earlier on.

NICK: Stiro, you have the phone number of one Lisha Quirk. You’re surprised how many favors you had to cash in to get this person’s com number. She is the person managing and running this whole race. You see someone wearing basically cargo pants stuffed with different coms and data pads and what looks like a business woman’s top, and she has a tight braid wrapped around her head, and has a very, very nice data pad and a com earpiece in, and is directing everything from the ground level of this area. She is managing the show, and you have her number.

ROB: I will call her up.

NICK: She answers the phone and just says:

NICK (as Lisha): Go.

ROB (as Stiro): Okay. I’ll try to make this quick. My name is Stiro, Stiro Truthcaller. I’m an investigative journalist. I’m covering the race, and there is a big, big problem. It took me some effort to get this number, but… Kelbit Fizz is trying to spike Mouse Kretel’s pit crew. I saw one of his pit crew interfering with stuff over in Mouse’s pit. I think it may still be going on right now somewhere near camera 2. This whole thing could go up in flames if I’m right about this. I’m praying that I’m wrong, but I saw what I saw.

NICK (as Lisha): Yeah sure. Kelbit Fizz is rigging it. Sebulba killed three people. F4-5T is actually a battle droid brain stuck into a podracer. I’ve heard all these things.

ROB: I’m gonna give the hi sign to Karma to, in the Fizz uniform, make herself conspicuous at Kretel’s pit.

CAMERON: Karma jumps into the pit and is just moving things around, didn’t bring anything additional with her, but is just picking up some carts, moving them to the left, restacking them in a different order.

ROB (as Stiro): But isn’t it egg on your face if all it takes is to check the camera? And tell me that I’m wrong, and tell me that I’m an idiot and I’m wasting your time, and hang up on me. That’s fine, but what if I’m right? I saw it. I saw what I saw. It takes you two seconds.

NICK: You can see her in the crowd. I don’t think you need to roll for this. You have a very good point. She presses a button on a data pad and then looks at the data pad then looks across the street to see Karma and then throws the data pad into a pocket, pulls out a different one, puts another com in another rear.

NICK (as Lisha): Thank you for the service you’ve done to podracing.

NICK: Hangs it up, and starts frantically calling and waving and things.

ROB: [laughs]

NICK: And a bunch of security people are headed towards Karma within like ten seconds.

ROB: yeah. Whatever com contact we’re in I will be like:

ROB (as Stiro): [strained] It’s time to go!

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: Karma jumps out and takes off.

NICK: So are you just running from them? Is that your plan?

CAMERON: Moving quickly, but trying to use the crowds as ways to cut off, and is doing the stereotypical spy movie thing where slowly removing pieces of the costume to become a different person in the crowd.

NICK: Nice.

CAMERON: We’re gonna say that surprise, you thought this was a full mechanic onesie, but it’s not! Oh look, the sleeves are velcro and they rip off. That was crazy.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: Whoa, the pants are tear-away pants? How ridiculous. Just slowly shedding pieces to have them lose track, because they’re looking for a Nautolan wearing “this.”

NICK: Right. I’m gonna need a roll.

CAMERON: What roll would that be?

NICK: That feels like Skulduggery.

CAMERON: Okay.

NICK: That really feels like Skulduggery.

ROB: I’m gonna say something real quick here.

NICK: Okay?

ROB: They’re looking for a Nautolan in a pit crew uniform. They’re not looking for a Nautolan helping their idiot Human friend who already got black-out drunk at the event back to wherever he’s coming from. So, I’m again taking 3 strain for Distracting Behavior at three range bands.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Wow. Okay.

ROB: Giving three difficulty to whatever people are trying to see through her charade with.

NICK: Yeah, so I was going to say it’s hard, but Cameron upgrade that three times, because Stiro is waiting in an alleyway.

[quirky music begins]

ROB (as Stiro): [sniveling, pretending to be drunk] Look, I’m so- I’m so sorry. [sniffs] I’ll make it up to you. I know this is the first one and everything and there’s not ever gonna be another first one, but like, if they do another one it’ll be the second one. And the second one’s not…

CAMERON (as Karma): You’re not supposed to start celebrating until the person you bet on wins.

ROB (as Stiro): The second one’s… I know, I know, but they had, I got on my com, you know, those targeting advertising things. Damn it. I got a two for one deal and I was, you know, I knew you were here but you hadn’t come over to where I was yet and I thought I would just do it again, and I guess I was a little excited.

ROB: I just go in this stream of consciousness thing about like when we were friends as kids and she would always help me when I was an idiot and I haven’t learned a thing since then and blah-blah-blah. I’m gonna get all weepy.

[laughter]

NICK: Alright, roll it.

ROB (as Stiro): [sobbing] What am I doing with my life?

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: Two successes and a triumph.

NICK: Okay. My first thought for the triumph is that you get a helpful status update on the situation, which is that these security guards in a group go running by, Stiro convincingly barfs on a wall, and Karma’s just holding him. They run by.

NICK (as security): Oh. Did you see another Nautolan run by here wearing a pit crew suit?

CAMERON (as Karma): No, sorry, I’ve been… dealing with him.

CAMERON: Points at still barfing.

ROB: I’ll like, look up, and like—

CAMERON (as Karma): No, no! Don’t move your head!

[laughter]

ROB: And then, yeah, get a little bit (nauseous sound) again and have my eyes do that thing where they’re trying to clear but they sort of can’t.

ROB (as Stiro): [stammers] I did. I did. She didn’t see, but, because she was helping me walk, but over that…

ROB: I’ll point down the other fork of the alleyway.

ROB (as Stiro): Yeah. She looked like a mechanic was running on that way. I remember it because I thought she was cute, but…

CAMERON: [giggles]

ROB (as Stiro): …I was a little bit drunk, so I didn’t wanna like talk to her because she might get the wrong idea, you know, and you wanna be polite and you gotta be a gentlemen and…

NICK: And they start talking over you.

ROB: Yeah.

[laughter]

NICK: And then you hear them on the coms.

NICK (as security): We’ve lost contact. We’re still looking. Go ahead and do the investigation now. Shut it down. Keep them busy. We can’t allow cheating.

NICK: They go running off, and you can hear Lisha Quirk’s voice just screaming through their earpieces with feedback going:

NICK (as Lisha): WHAT?!

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: So that was very successful, like extremely successful.

CAMERON: Huzzah.

[quirky music ends]

NICK: We get an overhead shot of this race. You have a location on the course with the holo feed of what’s going on, it’s like walking distance, and you’re able to get there and watch the race. The announcer is talking about various things. You can see that there is a separate picture in picture of the F4-ST droid podracer completely off the course, smashing through glass windows and buildings—

ROB: Oh no!

NICK: —and CorSec is chasing it and shooting at it and they’re having a running car chase.

CAMERON: Oh goodness.

NICK: It decided it didn’t want to race anymore. That’s a thing that happened. So, that’s going on in the corner.

CAMERON: Wait. Did they say that was the same manufacturer as the HK-67 series? Oh no. [laughs]

NICK: [laughs]

ROB: This is not a good advertisement for self-driving speeders either.

NICK: No.

CAMERON: [laughs] No.

NICK: But as it’s going, the rest of the pods are up on this small track of city streets. It’s like a bunch of left-right turns real quick between these buildings. There are barricades set up that look like CorSec officers with their speeders just hanging out but are effectively blocking traffic, traffic’s backed up, except for one road where the CorSec officers have left for some reason, so the podracers are having to swerve through occasional civilian traffic and it’s super-duper unsafe.

ROB: [laughs]

CAMERON: Oh no.

NICK: So that’s going on. They go up out of the city, back into the sewers, and then you have that for a few minutes, and you can hear some commentators – not the main announcer – but some commentators saying:

NICK (as commentator): You know, it’s very strange, actually. Sebulba seems to be hanging a lot further back in the pack. It’s like he’s not getting the horsepower you would expect.

NICK: They come out onto this very long drag that goes back to the beginning of the race at the end of the first lap, and this is where Mouse Kretel, the fastest podracer in the circuit, just guns it and slams into first passing everybody, and everyone is super excited and it’s really high energy. As this is going, Sebulba also slams on the accelerator, because he has the second fastest pod, and starts to pass people, and we see from ours, not from the news view, but that rattling piece snaps loose, Sebulba’s power coupler in the middle goes out, and he’s still able to drive with it for a while. We see a zoomed in of silver fox Sebulba with the streaks in his goatee…

CAMERON: [snickers, giggles]

NICK: …just flexing as hard as he can, holding the engine straight just with his weird hand-feet, but just muscles everywhere and he’s yelling as it goes, and then he finally gives out and the engines fly off and he goes skidding in the seat onto the ground. It skids to a stop and he punches the controls.

NICK (as Sebulba): Poodoo!

NICK: And he’s out of the race.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Perfect!

NICK: [laughs]

ROB: Got it!

NICK: Yeah. The race continues on. They finish the first lap. As they are coming in they do pit, because the race is long enough and goes through the sewers that a lot of stuff goes wrong with these exposed mechanics, and as they go into the pit stop Kelbit Fizz’s pit crew is not there.

ROB: [laughing] They’re being questioned.

NICK: Yeah. He has this big diamond face, a round body, little antennas sticking up, otherwise he’s just arms and legs. The pod slows down, pulls to a stop, drops into this mechanical bay, and he pokes his head up, and he looks around, and there’s no one there. From your holo view you can see the pit crew is nearby but surrounded by security, and Lisha Quirk is yelling at them and is brandishing a stun baton and is really intense.

ROB: Shit just got real.

NICK: yeah. She is not happy. So, Kelbit is essentially stuck right now, because he can’t move. He shut his pod down and it takes more than one person to turn one of these suckers on, so he’s just gesturing wildly and the crowd are laughing and throwing stuff at him from the stands.

CAMERON: Aww.

ROB: Oh, poor guy.

NICK: Yeah, he’s upset.

ROB: Well, in some omelets you’re the egg.

NICK: Yep. The rest of the racers all pull in. They have a quick pit stop. They get up and they go. Longtanno, the four-armed, very skinny alien is in a comfortable first place, probably 20 seconds ahead of everybody else, which in podracing is a big deal, and takes off. Quickly afterwards we have a couple of racers unnamed, they’re just people, it’s fine.

CAMERON: How is Toonba doing, though?

ROB: Yeah, I was gonna ask.

CAMERON: That’s the real question.

NICK: So, a couple of the other racers from the pack, not favorites, get up and go 20 seconds behind, and then about 10 seconds behind them Toonba picks up. He probably would have been tied with them, but during the pit stop he jumped out of his pod and stood on the side where the crowd could see him and was hamming it to the crowd and waving at them.

[laughter]

[cheering effects play]

NICK (as crowd): [slowly chanting] Toonba! Toonba!

ROB: He’s just having too much fun.

NICK: Oh, he’s having a blast.

[cheering effects end]

You can see his head of his pit yelling at him, telling him to get back in, and he gets in and shoots a flare gun off that does a little firework and then goes.

ROB: Oh for god’s sake.

NICK: Yeah. He’s having a blast. The rest of the race stays kind of like that. Longtanno is in first. You do get a quick shot of the F4-5T droid being hit with rockets from a battle speeder and exploded in a city square.

ROB: Holy shit.

NICK: Yeah. The walking droid in the pod hops out and starts to run away and is blasted down by CorSec members, so there’s just this flaming wreckage of this pod kilometers and kilometers from the course. It made it pretty far. Longtanno is in a comfortable first. There’s a couple of podracers still in the race, ramming, and then Toonba is taking up the rear. We get past the third lap, and you get an indication on your data pad from Kettle who’s been watching the books. Not all the gambling is through Kettle, but Kettle knows who all of the gambling is going through.

ROB: Sure.

NICK: That confirms that the amount of money bet on this race, which is being broadcasted throughout a big chunk of the galaxy, just tripled with one bet. You assume that would probably be it. All of the odds go wild. They actually have to shut down the betting early because the computers crashed from trying to figure out what happened there. Then, the race continues for a little bit and it continues much the same. Longtanno is in first, there’s a few other racers in the middle, and Toonba is taking up the rear although he’s about joined with most of the rest of the pack. You get a call from our good friend, Mr. Trustbuilder.

NICK (as Cord): So, I noticed that Toonba is still in dead last.

[relaxed jazz music begins]

ROB (as Stiro): As I said, as I said, and you saw me work my magic early on… I want the race to develop naturally for as long as possible so that the strange things that happened earlier on are as far from people’s minds as possible when Longtanno has her unfortunate accident, you understand, with minor adjustments to the efficiency of the other craft.

NICK (as Cord): I see what you’re saying.

ROB (as Stiro): You know the story of the dewback and the womp rat, right?

NICK (as Cord): It’s been a long time since I’ve read fairy tales.

ROB (as Stiro): Heh. The moral of that story is that you don’t need to be the fastest, and here’s the moral that people don’t take but they really should, it’s that it doesn’t matter who’s in first place before the race is over. It only matters who’s in first place when it ends.

NICK: You’re on the com and Karma is loading crates into a really nondescript freighter, and we can see next to that nondescript freighter is a Starwind pleasure yacht which is just the weirdest looking ship. It kind of looks like if you took a flying saucer and duct taped two shipping containers to the side and then stuck the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit in the middle of that, and this one is spray-painted with a military mat black finish and has a pin-up girl on the side and says Afternoon Delight on it.

ROB: [chuckles]

NICK: It’s next to this nondescript one, and Karma is helping load up crates, and there’s some members of the neighborhood family also loading things up and gesturing and yelling, and then we cut back to Stiro on the com as they’re loading things.

ROB (as Stiro): Toonba’s victory has to be a surprise. Having him out in front for any length of time is gonna become farcical with that heap that he’s driving around the track. You understand that. But rest assured, this situation is in the most capable possible hands. I told you how it works. You don’t aim for the center, you aim off to the side a little bit where the targets are softer, where nobody’s paying attention. And there’s another thing that I didn’t tell you before but it’s a sort of core value of how I do business. Any system, be it a casino, a race, a gang, is only as secure as the least secure part, and the least secure part you understand is basically always the stupidest person. That’s how it goes.

NICK: You say that, and Seeley who’s loading crates it like:

NICK (as Seeley): Hey!

[laughter]

CAMERON (as Karma): I don’t think he means you.

NICK (as Seeley): Look, I do my job, and he does this thing about the stupidest member, and he always looks at me, and I don’t appreciate that.

ROB: [laughs]

CAMERON (as Karma): I think he just understands that it gets under your skin and he thinks it’s funny.

NICK (as Seeley): Well, I don’t think it’s funny.

ROB: I’ve got a shitty grin on my face while I go back to my call.

[laughter]

[relaxed jazz music ends]

NICK: They’re still loading things. We see there’s a holo screen in this warehouse that’s still playing the race, and you see Toonba makes a move and comes up with the other few podracers, and there’s three of them, and Toonba and the two nondescript racers are pulling up near Longtanno, and Longtanno is fading as she is very carefully maneuvering through some of these burned out trees. Mouse is tearing up from behind, has been back by Toonba most of the race because her super-fast pod can’t turn very well, and juts ahead, and Longtanno manages to ram her and she hits one of these trees and just goes down in a fireball.

CAMERON: Oh no.

ROB: Oof.

NICK: At this point, there is a little picture in picture of Kelbit Fizz is about two laps behind everyone else, because he was finally released to continue the race because they couldn’t find anything wrong with what Kelbit was doing.

ROB: Mm-hmm.

NICK: So there’s a little one. It’s like in Mario Kart when it’s finished, it’s playing the theme music and he’s trying to do his thing. Longtanno takes out Mouse, and these nondescripts and Toonba are going, and Toonba actually, someone tries to ram Toonba who hits the gas and they go flying off the course and into this dry ravine and they’re stuck down there driving the wrong direction, so it’s down to this nondescript racer, Toonba, and Longtanno, and they’re moving up. The nondescript racer rams Toonba, knocking them over some, and rams them again, and they’re forced to back off a little. We’re coming into the final stretch, and this nondescript racer pulls even with Longtanno and they’re jostling for position.

[relaxed jazz music returns]

ROB (as Stiro): Now imagine how strong and well-guarded and highly scrutinized the center of a system the size of, say, the Galactic Empire must be. Now that thing off to the side that people aren’t paying attention to, heh, and that stupidest person, my dear Mr. Trustbuilder, is none other than you.

NICK (as Cord): Oh kriff.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: So, as he says oh kriff this small, nondescript pod throws on some afterburners, you can see bits of the jets burning away with the force of the acceleration, and actually passes Longtanno. It comes to the finish line, Longtanno in a close second, Toonba… finishing now, just a bit behind, still just gesturing, shooting off the flares and having a blast. You see this just dirty, wearing rags, gutter kid pulled out of the pod and hoisted high by a ragtag band of droids…

CAMERON: Ugh! [laughs]

NICK: …and adults who look desperate, and raised up high. Stiro, you feel almost like you see yourself in that small kid who raced to the finish.

ROB: Yes.

NICK: But that thought is quickly crushed down by the fact that you bet a bunch of money on Longtanno to win.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Yeah… Here’s the thing. We’ve got the 10% cut that we’ve pre-arranged. Yeah, I think we bet the most on Longtanno. I wouldn’t think it was that unreasonable that we covered the spread a little bit…

NICK: Oh yeah, for sure.

[jazz music fades]

ROB: …because we knew there was gonna be this huge influx into a for-sure losing bet, so it’s not like we were gonna put any money on Toonba or Sebulba or Fizz or any of those people. But yeah, we’re not gonna be able to keep our hands on as much as I thought. [laughs]

NICK: Yeah. This one is a hit. It was a big surprise. You put money on there just because mathematically it made sense to.

ROB: Right.

NICK: But it was just racer number 7, this kid didn’t even have a profile filled out, but they won. Seems like their life has been changed. There will be no ramifications for that.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: But the important thing is all of that money that Cord Trustbuilder put into this has now been put into the black market economy. It is gone. It has been taken away from this company, and you have a large influx of it. There was a plan already in place with the bookies that had done this. Part of Kettle’s work was to make sure that money went to the right place. So what happened to it?

ROB: Well, all the money that we could exercise control over is basically deposited as charitable donations to local businesses, charities, any place that is accepting money, which is most places.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: The point is we are gonna spread this money around so thinly, part of the whole red string board notepad frenzy was to figure out roughly how much money it costs to pay CorSec people – or occupying Imperial troops, depending on what the situation is – like what the logistical costs of arresting someone and investigating them is, so that every person is getting less money than that, and it’s spread across the number of people necessary to have it be a smaller number than that, so that if the Empire attempts to recoup its money logistically it is foregone that they have to spend more money than they can get back.

[laughter]

NICK: The amount of money in this bet was maybe a billion Credits, so you’ve spread this out over at least a million different businesses and things. This definitely hits multiple cities on the planet, maybe some satellite planets and other causes as well. This has been dispersed very quickly by a team of expert financiers and slicers. It works out really well that Kettle has a lot of cells in different places good at different things, because she was able to help organize this very quickly, once you had pitched the idea to her.

ROB: Mm-hmm.

NICK: So that money is gone. It will cost more to get that money back than it will to figure something else out.

ROB: [heavy, satisfied exhale] I pull out a cigar.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: I cut it with my vibro-karambit with a spin, and I light it.

ROB (as Stiro): [exhales] Thank you for your assistance today, karma.

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m glad that I didn’t have to actually be a good mechanic to accomplish anything that we did today. [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): [laughs] How does it feel to have cost the Empire at least a billion Credits?

CAMERON (as Karma): I am feeling very good.

NICK: We see Kettle’s gang jump into this nondescript freighter, and we see karma run into the Afternoon Delight. She jumps into the pilot seat, and sitting in the co-pilot seat is the camtono of abyss sea dragon scales, and these two ships both lift off. There is an Imperial flight of TIE fighters flying in towards these two freighters, and you see proximity alarms going off, and Karma’s grip tightens on the steering wheel and Seeley’s grip tightens on his yoke.

CAMERON: [laughing] Oh gosh! They’re letting Seeley pilot the freighter?!

NICK: [smiling] Yeah!

CAMERON: Oh no.

NICK: [smiling] He’s a good pilot. It’s fine. And the TIEs split and go around and you can see them flying towards the main city of Coronet and towards the Serres Super Structure spire. You can see a couple of Lambda shuttles coming to land nearby. As the ships pull up into the atmosphere, they’re calculating the hyperspace jump, and you see stormtroopers streaming into that immaculate lobby where you all had passed just  a day before.

ROB: Ha. I think just before the jump Karma gets a little message on her com that says “Truly a pleasure doing business. We should do this again sometime.”

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Karma, do you do a little two-finger salute towards the other ship?

CAMERON: Yup.

NICK: And we see the two freighters snap into hyperspace… and that’s the adventure.

ALL: Ba-naaa~!

CAMERON: Woo!

[laughter]

NICK: [claps] Wow Rob, that was really fun.

CAMERON: [laughs]

## Outro

CAMERON: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you enjoyed our show, please consider logging onto iTunes and giving us a five-star review. Five-star reviews will help new listeners to find the show, and every time we get one the squad adds five pounds to our max bench press. If you’re so inclined, you can also help support the show through our Patreon which can be found in the show notes, on our website, and basically anywhere else we post things. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including some of my favorites: Bantha Buddy, Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer, and Build-A-Beru which all have fabulous rewards and super great names.

Stiro Kuwe is played by Rob Stith. You can find him at @LordOfTheStith on Twitter and on his podcast, The ORPHEUS Protocol.

Karma Nailo is played by me, Cameron Robertson. You can find me on Twitter at @midnightmusic13.

Our game master is Nick Robertson, and you can find him on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Additional music by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord and share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We also sometimes talk about Star Wars. You can find the link to join our Discord on our website and in our pinned tweet. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials s1- Karma 2- Boardroom Maneuvers

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Karma Interstitial 1, Part 2:
Boardroom Maneuvers

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

NICK: Hi everyone, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Nick, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

This week we continue to follow the high stakes politics of Karma and her new friend Stiro. This one ran a little long, so we’ll have one more episode releasing next week as well. This one goes in some wild directions and I know you’re going to love it.

I wanna take a minute to address the health crisis that we’re all facing right now. Stay safe out there, squad, and make the best choices you can. We know that this is a difficult time, and we here at Tabletop Squadron are going to continue to release content as quickly as we can. We hope that it provides a bit of distraction from everything going on. If you need a place to talk or a distraction, we’ve got a great group of humans on our Discord who are loving and supportive and have adorable pets. We’re all in this together.

Music this week is Horrible by Mela and Chitarradistorta by Nickk Dropkick.

So now, let’s get into the episode.

##

NICK: When we last left off, Karma and Stiro had just finished getting information out of an admin for Serres Super Structure. They met up at a diner the next morning to discuss their plans and were about to head off to meet their mark.

ROB: I sort of rub my hands together, limber my shoulders up like I’m getting ready to do some sort of exercise or something ,and check my com for the 365th time for the time of the meeting, and make sure that we’re all good for transportation even if something bad happens. We’ll still be there.

NICK: Yeah. So, the meeting, you were very specific, the meeting is immediately after lunch, so this guy’s gonna be full, happy, kind of sleepy.

ROB: Best mood of the day. Yep.

NICK: Yeah. You made sure that happened. You actually had Diana move his lunch up a little bit, because that also makes your meeting look more important.

ROB: Ho-ho.

NICK: I’m just gonna play with these seven successes for a while, because that was very good.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Yeah, I mean, feel free.

NICK: So you have some time to kill. You hang out at the diner for a while, and then a very nondescript speeder pulls up. It kinda looks like a Honda Civic but in Star Wars.

ROB: Sure.

NICK: Plain, not very interesting, doesn’t look particularly broke down but doesn’t look nice, and Seeley Mox, the skinny blonde guy from the club, is in the driver’s seat and he rolls down the window and waves to the two of you through the window of the diner and is gesturing for you all to come on.

CAMERON: Karma throws back the rest of her caf.

ROB (as Stiro): I do believe we are being summoned.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yup.

CAMERON: Gets up out of the booth, adjusts her carbine and sword since sitting with them in a booth is difficult.

NICK: The next question is, how do you two react to being convinced that you’re about to die in a horrible speeder accident? Because that’s how Seeley drives at all times.

ROB: Oh man. I think that Stiro just sits back very steadily and concentrates on breathing, because he’s been in a lot of life or death situations before, from the time that he was little, and I think that he can tell the difference between a life or death situation where decisive action can save your life and a life or death situation where you just have to see how it comes out on the other side, and unfortunately this guy’s driving is the latter.

[laughter]

CAMERON: Karma is sitting in the front passenger seat and is full-on parent energy while they’re teaching their teenager to drive.

ROB: Oh no. [laughs]

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: So, is sitting there gripping the center console and the door handle, and any time we take a turn too fast or we start to see a light coming up that we’re gonna need to stop for or another speeder turns out in front of us is like throwing her foot forward where a break would be if she was the one piloting, and is just holding herself into the seat, is not moving at all with the shifts and the fast turns and stuff, is locked in, and just deep breathing but very concerned and very much has the parents’, like, ‘oh my gosh.’

ROB: In one instance do you actually mom arm the driver?

CAMERON: Yes. That most definitely happens.

[laughter]

ROB: Oh god.

NICK: And Karma’s strong enough that probably bruises his chest pretty hard. That happens right at the end as Seeley pulls to a stop. The whole flight, because it’s a speeder so it tends to go up to 50 feet down to street level, is barrel rolls, drifted turns, cutting in and out of traffic, going up on one side of the car to skip between two pedestrians, and Seeley, this scrawny guy with blonde hair, is just whistling a jaunty tune, seems super relaxed.

ROB: Yeah, he’s like an eastern European cabbie.

NICK: Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say, trying to do the taxi thing of like “so, how’s it going, how’s the morning been, saw you got the bright orange eggs, those are fun, those are good,” and everyone is just (rattled fearful inhale).

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: He slams to a stop and drops 15 feet to the street, and Karma mom arms him, knocking the breath out of him.

NICK (as Seeley): [strained] We’re here. Ow… Why?

CAMERON (as Karma): Hey, your head didn’t hit the steering wheel.

NICK (as Seeley): It never does. I’m good at this.

ROB: Stiro checks his time piece and says:

ROB (as Stiro): Well, you certainly did get us here fast.

NICK (as Seeley): And I’ll be here in case you need to leave quickly. I’ll be just looping the block, but I can’t loop the same block for too long because eventually CorSec gets called because of… I mean, it’s not my fault, but I’ll be around. A simple com call, I’ll get you out of here.

ROB (as Stiro): You got it, buddy.

NICK: He hits a button and the doors pop open and the seats angle slightly like the car is encouraging you to leave.

CAMERON: Karma unbuckles her seatbelt…

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: …because she was definitely wearing her seatbelt, and calmly gets out of the car. Or the speeder, I guess.

NICK: You find yourselves standing in front of one of Coronet’s many spires. Coronet is the capital city of Corellia. It is basically epitomized by dark industrial slums and factories and these huge, miles-high skyscraper buildings that have really, really, really wide bases, like five to ten city blocks, and go up to almost a point at the top.

ROB: Oh, how perfect, so the offices and such get more and more exclusive as they get higher. As well as just being higher there’s also fewer of them.

NICK: Absolutely! It also lets them build higher.

ROB: Perfect.

NICK: The bases of these, depending on where the spire is, are sometimes surrounded by rundown neighborhoods, places that are used for garbage disposal, and sometimes are very nice streets. This one interestingly has two entrances, because it’s so big. One entrance basically leads to a dump, just like a scrapyard that’s been sunk down under a rundown apartment building, and the other entrance is on a well-lit, brightly white paved avenue with people walking pets up and down it and little decorative trees on the sidewalk. Which side would you like to be dropped off at?

ROB: The money side.

NICK: The money side, great, so then you aren’t faced with a large, mechanical blast door, you’re faced with simple glass shutters that seem to become transparent in front of you, and you walk into this clean lobby. All you have to do is mention your appointment. You’re shuttled into a lift, rocketed up into the sky. You do not go all the way to the top. You are about five floors from the top. You do know the floor below that is where Diana works, and you go up past that, and you are led through a receiving area and immediately into a very nice office with glass windows all the way around, a burnished steel desk, bookcases that have glowing blue panels instead of books – because that’s in Star Wars, that’s a thing they do – and it just looks austere, corporate, organized, and there is no guy in here yet. They just dropped you in his office and he’s not here.

ROB: That’s alright. This is an important guy. He’ll feel more important if he’s a little late.

NICK: Yeah. You have a minute in this office to yourselves.

ROB: Well, due deference would be waiting by the door or whatever, but I fully intend to look at my ease when he comes in and I fully expect that the inside of this office is being surveilled by him or someone who works for him right now, so I am not going to search for anything or do anything untoward.

NICK: Hmm.

CAMERON: Karma walks to the windows, because I’m assuming it has full wall windows.

NICK: Oh yeah.

CAMERON: Since we’re up this high, you want the view. Just goes and stands at the window, facing it, with her hands behind her back in the at-east position and is just looking.

ROB: Yeah. I think security taking a look around is pretty acceptable, but the other businessman should not be dirtying his hands at this time.

NICK: Right. Did you take a seat in front of his desk?

ROB: That’s right I did, yep.

NICK: [grinning] Okay.

ROB: I’ll stand up again when he makes it in here.

NICK: Cool. You find yourself waiting in awkward silence for four, six, ten minutes or so, and a panel slides back on the wall, and you see Cord Trustbuilder walk into the room.

[elevator music begins]

He looks early 30s, he has dark hair that is long, below the nape of the neck, swept back and hair gelled in place, almost like a helmet. He’s wearing a perfectly coiffed suit, but it’s a Corellian suit so he also has like a stole over it that has the logo for Serres Super Structure on it which is like interlocking stars. It’s like the lapel of the suit is actually like a scarf or a stole thing hanging down. He strides up to you and says:

NICK (as Cord): Ah, if it isn’t my sudden reschedule. My name is Cord, Cord Trustbuilder. Nice to meet you.

ROB: Of course I have like liquidly gotten up out of the chair to stand square right across from him. I return the handshake hardily.

ROB (as Stiro): The name’s Stiro, Stiro Waybridger. It’s really good to see you in the flesh.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK (as Cord): Waybridger? I know a Waybridger. Were you involved in that shipping skidoo over by Coruscant a couple of years ago?

ROB (as Stiro): Well, I’ve got a big extended family. You know what they say about those big Corellian families, but I’ve got wide-ranging business interests which is why I am suddenly on your schedule as you so astutely mentioned.

NICK (as Cord): Yeah, you know, it’s the kind of thing where, when I see something rearranged like that, if I didn’t know Diana had my best interest at heart I’d be a little suspicious, but no reason to be, obviously, just two business men having a time.

NICK: He is steadfastly not acknowledging that Karma is in the room.

ROB: Right.

NICK: Like, it hasn’t even occurred to him.

ROB: She’s the help.

NICK: Yeah. She’s just there. What could it be? He slides behind his desk. His desk chair is one of those swivel chairs with the large leather back and the blinders that stick out of either side of the chair. It’s completely silent when he sits in it, which is weird because it’s leather, it’s super nice. He laces his fingers in front of him.

NICK (as Cord): So, what brings you on my schedule?

CAMERON: As soon as he sits Karma turns to where she is now facing him but he is now facing away from her, but so that she can see Stiro if any communication needs to happen between the two of them.

NICK: Nice.

ROB (as Stiro): Well you see, I had a serendipitous meeting with your assistant, Diana, at a mid-town establishment last night, and we got to talking about some shared experiences in the world of business and the theme of our intercourse was a reticence on the part of upper management types to seize opportunities when they present themselves, kind of an entrenched risk-averse attitude that’s not particularly conducive to growth.

NICK (as Cord): Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

ROB (as Stiro): Even though growth is the life blood of businesses of this size as you well know. Look how young you are. You got here by taking risks when they make sense to take. I do admit to have done a little bit of homework on your career. It’s a fascinating read.

NICK (as Cord): Well, I mean, it’s all in Business Monthly. I’m an open book.

NICK: He pounds his hand on the desk and two fat cigars stick straight out of the material and he grabs them.

NICK (as Cord): Do you smoke?

ROB (as Stiro): I surely do.

ROB: When these cigars appear Stiro allows a child-like grin of glee.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Like a completely guileless “ooh, that’s fun” look on his face before reassuming the business thing, because it’s important to Stiro that Cord feels like he is impressing me, like I am impressed by his office, I’m impressed that he made me wait ten minutes, this little trick with the desk, this is all so cool to Stiro.

NICK: He puts the tips of the cigars down on the desk, the desk glows in a circle of bright orange for a second and lights them, and he flips one around to hand it to you and sticks the other one in his mouth and starts puffing on it very noisily.

ROB: Yeah.

NICK (as Cord): So we’re talking about risk, right? So, that’s a lot of words. What are we talking about here?

ROB: Out of character, what’s the name of this gigantic pod race that’s coming up?

NICK: Ooh…

ROB: Because there should be a sexy name for it, right?

[elevator music fades]

NICK: I agree. So, everyone has just been calling it the Inaugural Circuit, because pod racing has actually been out of favor for quite a while. This is the first pod race that will have happened in Corellia ever, and the marketing in the underworld – because pod racing’s not technically legal – the marketing has been huge to where everyone knows about it because they’re trying to bring pod racing back, so it’s just been called the Inaugural Circuit.

ROB: So it’s not technically legal. Does that mean that literally this high profile race is being carried out illegally essentially as a marketing campaign to convince big business that the sports betting market is worth legitimizing with their money?

NICK: Yup.

ROB: That’s so great.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Yep, and you would know, because you’ve been involved in some of this, there have been massive bribes paid to CorSec, which is the Coruscant Security Core, it’s their police, to close off certain areas at the right time and not arrest anybody.

ROB: Yeah, they’re gonna avoid the track like the plague that night.

NICK: Yeah. Well, the track is the city, so that’s gonna be really fun.

ROB: Right, well…

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: Yeah, but it’s the kind of thing, they’re trying to demonstrate the profitability and get it made legal enough and to get public interest big enough that they can get more of these races started, so it’s this fine balance.

ROB: Well, and it makes sense that you want the Corellian Sports Authority to walk back this pod racing ban, because as the shadow of the Empire grows deeper and deeper on Corellia you need bread and circuses, right? You need more distracting, fun entertainment for people to keep them from thinking about how maybe life used to be a little better.

NICK: Yup. So, it’s an opportunity that has been very much seized on by certain people to try and do this and get a pretty big slice for themselves. Kettle has not been directly involved but has helped facilitate some of the things that made it even possible.

ROB: Sure. Sure.

NICK: So you’re tangentially involved in the situation already. But yeah, it’s called the Inaugural Circuit.

ROB: Inaugural Circuit, awesome. Okay.

ROB (as Stiro): Now, Mr. Trustbuilder, between you, me, and the ears of God, what’s your opinion of the fine sport of pod racing?

NICK: His eyes light up and he takes a very long pull on the cigar.

NICK (as Cord): Pod racing… Now, that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long, long time.

CAMERON & ROB: [laughs]

NICK (as Cord): I like pod racing. I think pod racing is very cool. I used to hear stories about it from my dad back in the day.

ROB (as Stiro): So I think it’s safe for me to assume that you have at least heard something about a little event coming up that prefers to be known as the Inaugural Circuit.

NICK: He actually sets his cigar down on something you didn’t notice before but it’s like a built-in ramp ashtray type thing on the desk.

NICK (as Cord): Now, me being an upstanding and law-abiding citizen of Corellia wouldn’t know anything about an illegal race like that.

ROB (as Stiro): That is a damn fine answer.

[laughter]

NICK (as Cord): Especially not an illegal race that would be a course unparalleled in the sport going through the sewers, the main street, and circumnavigating the entire city of Coronet. [grinning] I wouldn’t know anything about that.

ROB (as Stiro): No. [chuckles] And let me tell you, Mr. Trustbuilder, it is an exciting thing to not know anything about, particularly at this time.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK (as Cord): Now, why would you say that?

ROB (as Stiro): Well, a few different little birds have been speaking to me lately about the betting pools that are already starting to make waves surrounding the Inaugural Circuit. You see, it’s not just my people who are interested, pretty much every investor worth his salt who’s not too afraid, you understand, is very interested in seeing what they can make happen in the betting halls, which are not only centralized but in satellite locations around Corellia, you understand. Astronomical numbers of credits moving fast and moving quietly. Now, you can ask sports analysts – not from here of course, because we don’t do pod racing on Corellia – but you can ask sports analysts who is the smart money to bet on, who is maybe a dark horse to win, but what if all that uncertainty were to be removed?

NICK: He places his hands flat on the desk to either side.

NICK (as Cord): That sounds like cheating.

ROB (as Stiro): I ask you this. Is it possible to cheat in a sport that’s not officially sanctioned by the Corellian Sports Authority?

NICK (as Cord): Yes.

ROB: Fuck.

[laughter]

ROB (as Stiro): We’re in a unique position to make a first impression of how the sport will be conducted on this world. Who is to say we don’t set a few things up to funnel the chaos in directions that we favor? That’s what Black Sun is doing on Corellia right now.

ROB: I give him a very significant look.

NICK (as Cord): Black Sun? You know, I just had dinner with the Commissioner of CorSec last week and I was assured that Black Sun doesn’t exist in Corellia anywhere.

ROB (as Stiro): I could think of no better advertisement for my effectiveness in my job than that.

NICK (as Cord): You make a fair point. Waybridger… Waybridger, Black Sun, pod racing… I’m beginning to see exactly what you’re telling me, but I don’t understand exactly what my opportunity would be in this situation.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, I forget my manners. Let me introduce you to my cousin. Her name’s Kizmet.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): Before you bring up the lack of family resemblance, you understand, she’s my cousin, a close cousin of mine in the family that matters.

NICK (as Cord): Oh, I think I understand perfectly.

CAMERON: While this conversation is happening Karma has come up behind him, and so when Stiro says “let me introduce you to my cousin” and directs towards Karma she is suddenly so much closer than she was when he sat down in his chair.

ROB: [laughs]

NICK: You’re pulling a Batman.

ROB: Mm-hmm.

CAMERON: Yes. I have arrived, still standing at ease, no real facial expression. When he turns to look at her, nods, but doesn’t say anything.

NICK: Cord was so entranced by Stiro’s pitch that he had completely lost track of where Karma was, so he doesn’t see her, sees Stiro’s gesture, goes to turn his chair, bounces off of her, leans back in the chair, looks up, goes very pale for a second, like one bead of sweat, and then regains his composure.

NICK (as Cord): Oh, well, I do apologize, I didn’t introduce myself before. I just thought you might be a bodyguard. My apologies. My name’s Cord, Cord Trustbuilder.

ROB (as Stiro): We do things a little bit differently in Black Sun.

NICK (as Cord): What do you mean by that?

ROB (as Stiro): it’s all family. My cousin here can be very persuasive in her way, and she is but one part of the operation that I am running to change this sporting event from what it appears to be on the surface into the greatest return on investment possible in the Corellian economy. I have here for you the odds as the bookkeepers are currently publishing them.

ROB: I will bring up on a com dossiers of all the drivers and their professional records, any amateur accolades, things like that.

NICK: Cool. We get a spread of dossiers. You set your com on the desk and the whole desk becomes a screen and all of these dossiers flow out. We see pages of things, and a quick smattering of the people that you might see sitting on this desk. You see a female Xexto, which are super skinny, have four arms and big old black eyes, named Longtanno with a very safe looking pod racer with lots of safety things on it. You see Kelbit Fizz, a male Toong, the grandson of Ben Quadrenaros from the Bunta Eve Classic. He looks like a cartoon diamond-shaped face with arms and legs sticking out of him.

CAMERON: [snickers]

NICK: You see what just looks like a pod racer with a head sticking out of it that’s a droid and it’s all black with red under-lighting that just has the designation F4-ST. There are some other ones, but you also see an aging Dug, which are the walk on their hands aliens—

ROB: Hell yes!

CAMERON: Oh-ho-ho…

NICK: –with a long goatee with an X-shaped pod race behind it, and it is Sebulba—

CAMERON: Yesss.

NICK: –back from retirement, competing in this race.

CAMERON: [giggling] Oh, I’m so excited.

ROB: Old Sebulba. Silver fox Sebulba up in here.

[laughter]

NICK: So, you see Sebulba’s picture with his graying skin and goatee, and his odds are pretty good but not as amazing as they used to be because he’s been out of the game for a long time. They brought him back special for this race to boost visibility. You see another racer who is Toonba, a male Ortolan, which is the stuffed animal elephant looking guy from Jabba’s palace.

ROB: [breathy laugh]

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: He is a famous actor in a holo-drama series across the galaxy who races as a hobby and to boost his notoriety. He drives a very specific pod that is maximized for surface area, not for speed, because it’s covered in advertisements for various things. On the cockpit of his ship is a giant picture of his face.

CAMERON: He good.

ROB: The Endorsement-mobile.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Yup. He tends to drive pretty slow and carefully. Toonba has won a couple of pod races in the last few years by accident, because everyone else blew up. So, those are a few of the racers that are in this race. There’s about eight total, I’ve told you about five-ish.

ROB: Sure. I will wait a respectful amount of time for him to digest the information that I’ve displayed, and I’ll say:

ROB (as Stiro): Now Mr. Trustbuilder, if it was you and you wanted to turn this gamble into a certainty, how would you go about it?

NICK (as Cord): Well, I’d probably make sure that droid racer has an accident. It seems like it’s too good for its own good, and I think honestly it ruins the sport.

ROB (as Stiro): And see, with all due respect, that’s what the people organizing the race are looking for. You can’t directly sabotage a driver, or bribe a driver to throw the race, or anything like that. They’re worried about that 25 hours a day, 329 days a year. But here’s the thing about worrying, you can only worry about so many things, it drives you crazy. All eyes are square on these racers. Look to the side a bit. What do you see? The pit crew. Nobody cares about the pit crew, it’s not exciting. Only a rarified subset of the viewership even appreciate the artistry of what goes on in the pit with maintenance.

So here’s what we did. The personnel concern that staffs these pit crews, we bought it. The shipping company that supplies the tools, fuel, other sundries for maintenance, we bought that too. Nobody batted an eye, all part of corporate acquisition, shell company buying a shell company of a shell company, you understand. And so, let’s think about the Inaugural Circuit for a second.

It’s a long race, a lot of pit stops. Even the most efficient racer in the whole caboodle is gonna be making five, six stops over the course of the event. Now, if a mechanic or two happens to develop a nervous case of butterfingers at a really unfortunate time…

CAMERON: [chuckles]

ROB (as Stiro): …or the wrong grade of transmission fluid accidentally gets shipped to one of the pits and poured into the unfortunate engine of a racer that we don’t want to win, or there’s a delay in one of the mechanical shuttles that moves the pod racer into position for a certain maintenance thing, or a wiring problem suddenly develops… these things scattered thinly enough across the entire event can guarantee an outcome without the appearance of anything but garden variety rotten luck. We’re not gonna have the lowest C racer win the whole thing, we’re gonna have someone who probably wasn’t gonna win but has been seen to win in the past walk away with it, and what a story it will be in the mainstream media when Toonba is given the victor’s crown.

NICK (as Cord): Toonba?!

CAMERON: [chuckles]

ROB (as Stiro): That’s right.

NICK (as Cord): You know, I was at the Mon Cal underwater event where he won by accident.

ROB (as Stiro): See? It can happen.

CAMERON: Karma leans forward over the desk and presses on Toonba’s dossier, and it opens up more fully and shows his win-loss record. He’s actually pretty good.

NICK: Yeah, but it’s mostly really small circuit things that he’s won.

CAMERON: Yes, but the numbers are there.

ROB: And that’s what’s gonna be on the news.

[laughter]

NICK: So you look at the win-loss ratio, and you point at it.

CAMERON: And get up in his space as I lean over the desk as well.

NICK: He awkwardly does that thing where he scooches his chair sideways a little bit.

NICK (as Cord): No see, you’re saying that this is believable, but if you expand it…

NICK: He touches it and pulls it out.

NICK (as Cord): Look, Toonba only wins enough minor league races to get to the big ones and then he doesn’t do anything there. You think this is believable? Pod racing aficionados will know the fix. I don’t know how you’re gonna pull this one off.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, as I said, the very involved processes of over the course of the event maintenance are just going to… break, in a certain racer’s favor, well and anybody who’s coming in place behind him, it’s all fine for us you understand. We’re only really going to need to affect three or four racers to guarantee the outcome that we need.

NICK (as Cord): It’s a good field. It is a good field.

ROB (as Stiro): Think about Toonba. You’ve seen him on the holo-dramas, right?

NICK (as Cord): I love him on Sands of Tatooine. I’m going to admit Sands of Tatooine is a guilty pleasure of mine.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

ROB (as Stiro): If he wins this thing on accident he is going to believe in all his heart that he won it because of his own determination to win and his guts and his spirit and his drive. He’s gonna do half the work for us, and people are going to believe him because he is famous and beloved.

NICK (as Cord): It’ll be a real shame when Sebulba rips his blue elephant head from his body.

ROB (as Stiro): He might get a slap on the wrist ,a little fine or something like that, but each one of his media appearances, his talk show appearances coming off this thing is gonna pay him twenty times what he has to pay CorSec, you understand, and this well-loved public figure being the name closely associated with the race legitimizes it further. It guarantees the success of the grassroots movement to legalize the sport on Corellia, and nobody needs to know that the first one was all a show, except for those who got rich from it of course. What’s the best return on investment you’ve ever made on a legitimate business deal, Mr. Trustbuilder?

NICK (as Cord): Legitimate? Uh, let me redo the math in my head there.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: I’ll smile. [laughs]

NICK (as Cord): Fifteen percent got me to this office.

ROB (as Stiro): I’m offering you 115. It’s actually 125, but we’re taking a 10% cut. You understand, this isn’t a charity.

NICK (as Cord): You’re talking a good talk, I’ll admit, 115, I could do a lot with that. I could buy my own spire at that point, but I don’t know about working with Black Sun.

NICK: He tries to push back from the table and bumps into karma and kinda freezes for a second.

NICK (as Cord): That seems a bit overt for my taste. I think I might need to ask you to leave.

CAMERON: Karma does not move, and actually scoots forward slightly so his chair is pushed back in.

NICK: [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): Don’t get us wrong, Black Sun is who it takes to make this happen. Kizmet here is gonna be on the ground during the race making sure that nobody in those pits or in those betting locations gets any second ideas or squirrely thoughts in their heads, and when it comes to changing hearts and minds, or violently ejecting them from the bodies in which they previously resided, you couldn’t ask for better.

ROB: I just give him this big shit-eating grin.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: Karma smiles at him. [laughs]

NICK: He’s now forced to deal with the fact that the person he’s talking to is in front of him and the person threatening him is directly behind him and trying to look back and forth, and looks like he throws a muscle in his neck doing it.

NICK (as Cord): So far you’ve talked a pretty good game, but all you’ve done is talk. I’m not betting at the beginning of this race. I want evidence that this is going to work out the way you say it is.

ROB (as Stiro): I wouldn’t dream of asking you to do that. Please. I don’t even want the appearance of coming in here trying to scam you out of your money. That’s not what I’m about.

NICK (as Cord): It’s good to hear you say so overtly. I actually feel much better.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): The betting window is open until the halfway point of the race, or I should say when the first racer reaches the halfway point. Our calculations put that around about the third lap is when the odds start to flatten and really stop being so turbulent. Profitability goes down, predictability goes up, you understand. If you are willing to bet before the third lap concludes we can get you your return on investment. That figure that I quoted to you before was not about making a bet, sight unseen, right now with no reason to trust me beyond my winning demeanor. You didn’t get this far making THAT level of risk. And if I’m not too bold to say it, at your age, being by my count five floors from the top of this magnificent structure, you don’t get that far that fast if you’re aiming for five floors from the top. We know where you’re aiming, and we wanna help get you there, because it’s gonna get us where we need to go too.

ROB: I think at this point I’m gonna do my Biggest Fan action.

NICK: Oh-ho-ho!

CAMERON: Heh-heh-heh.

ROB: My capstone ability, once per session, make a three difficulty Charm check to turn one NPC into the character’s biggest fan. So, I am going to remove a rank of difficulty.

NICK: Oh man.

ROB: Killing with kindness, so it’s actually a two difficulty check.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

ROB: And what does Force and destiny points do again?

NICK: You can upgrade an ability check for flipping one over, so you could turn a green to a yellow or if you have all yellow you could add a green if you wanna.

ROB: I’m gonna do that.

NICK: Okay.

ROB: This is for all the marbles.

[laughter]

NICK: Oh, uh, it’s actually two reds instead of two purples. I forgot to mention that. This guy is very good at not being persuaded.

ROB: Oh, he’s like a more significant ‘dude?’

NICK: Yeah. Yeah.

ROB: Okay. So, yellow-yellow-yellow, green, red-red.

NICK: Yep.

CAMERON: Yup.

NICK: I will give you a blue die for how much has gone into setting this guy up, and also for Karma, just, he is very uncomfortable with this situation at this point. [laughs]

CAMERON: [chuckles]

ROB: That is three successes and two advantages.

NICK: Damn! I wanted a despair so bad.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: I wanted you to succeed and have a despair. That’s okay. Yeah, so, this guy gets a big smile on his face and he picks the cigar back up and sticks it in his teeth.

NICK (as Cord): Alright, no kriff, I think this is something that we can do. What I need is you to tell me two things that are gonna happen before the second lap. Those two things happen, I bet an unconscionable amount of money.

ROB (as Stiro): That is what I like to hear. Kizmet, that’s great to hear, isn’t it?

CAMERON (as Karma): [flatly] It’s fantastic.

NICK: [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): [laughs]

CAMERON: Still standing right behind him, doesn’t move.

NICK: A question for y’all. Who do you want to win?

ROB: Oh, that’s a good question. Who DO we want to win? Because it’s obviously not actually Toonba, we just want his money.

NICK & CAMERON: Yeah.

ROB: And then we’re doing actually a similar middle of the pack, it’s a person on one side or the other of him in the odds. Who’s a respectable racer who is not this guy? [laughs]

NICK: The other two I have designed are Longtanno, who is probably the best odds to win, she drives very safely and usually finishes in the top three but rarely wins.

ROB: Ohh.

NICK: And then Mousecratel is a female Alina, which is kind of like a little mini dinosaur with a triangle head, and has the largest pod racer that goes the fastest but has terrible stats at everything else.

ROB: Right, bad cornering and stuff, which is not good for…

CAMERON: A city race. [laughs]

ROB: Like, basically she’s gonna try to make up a huge amount of, uh, there’s one huge straight away, right, in the race?

NICK: Mm-hmm.

ROB: She’s probably not even aiming for first. She’s probably like I’m gonna place by just burning past people on every lap, right here, and then just eating shit the rest of the way.

NICK: Her real plan is to try to set the land speed record. [laughs] That’s what her goal is.

ROB: Right. It’s an advertisement for herself on other races.

NICK: Yeah, for sure.

ROB: Which makes sense. So yeah, I think—What was the one who drives safe and gets like top three?

NICK: Longtanno.

ROB: Longtanno’s gonna win.

NICK: Okay. So jumping back into it, he demanded: What are the two things that are gonna happen that will prove to me that the fix is actually on?

ROB (as Stiro): Now here are the two things that you can take to the bank, Mr. Trustbuilder. Sebulba is not gonna be finishing first in this race.

CAMERON (as Karma): Sebulba’s not going to be finishing this race.

CAMERON: Says a creepy voice from behind him. [laughs]

NICK (as Cord): Oh?

ROB (as Stiro): Thank you. Yes. That’s a much better way of putting it. He’s gonna have a very unfortunate technical accident, before the betting window closes, that removes him from the running. Now, he has a great record, don’t get me wrong, he’s a celebrity they brought out of retirement to legitimize this thing, but he does have a history of bullying his pit crew pretty horribly and favoring pushing things to their limits, favoring power, speed over safety. It works out for him, he’s a good driver and he has a powerful machine, but once in a while something goes wrong, and the Inaugural Circuit will be one of those times that something goes wrong and it’s going to go very, very wrong for him.

I expect he’ll be okay, maybe his brain will get a little bit rattled or something like that, but nothing catastrophic. He’s not gonna be a concern. That’s before the betting window closes. There’s a huge tumult in the betting market at that point. Fortunately you already know what’s gonna happen, so that uncertainty doesn’t need to worry a single hair on your head.

The second thing that’s gonna happen is the pit crew of Kelbit Fizz is going to experience an unforeseen delay. Security staff at the event are going to investigate a possible cheating scandal, some kind of sabotage of another racer. We can’t have that, we’re trying to legitimize the sport after all, and that pit stop that he takes that just keeps going on and on and on like you’re waiting at the space port and your ship is delayed for the third time in a row, and… he’s also out of the running. These things I promise you before the end of the third lap, and by our calculations we only really have one more big move to make towards the end of the race to give Toonba his crown.

NICK (as Cord): Well I gotta say, the more you talk the more of a fan of yours I become.

CAMERON: [giggles]

NICK (as Cord): I’m really appreciating this strategy. I can really see myself buying a planet from this plan.

ROB: [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): It’d look good on you. You got where you were by taking smart bets, and I got where I am by making mutually beneficial relationships.

NICK (as Cord): If those two things happen you’ll get your 10%. Now if you don’t mind, I really have enjoyed our conversation…

NICK: He throws the cigar towards a panel in the wall, it hits it and just vaporizes off the panel.

NICK (as Cord): …but I do have the head of the Chamber of Commerce coming here in a minute, so, if you could—

ROB (as Stiro): Oh, surely, surely. I understand. Do you mind?

ROB: I make as if to throw my cigar like a dart.

NICK (as Cord): By all means. That’s why the panel’s there.

ROB: I throw it, and when it vaporizes I do another, like, [giggles], like oh that’s so cool.

NICK: [laughs]

ROB: Just  another completely guileless joy reaction. One little cherry on top of the disarmament sundae before I say:

ROB (as Stiro): Kizmet, I think it is time we took our leave.

CAMERON: Kizmet—[chuckles] Kizmet, I’m gonna call her Kizmet now. Karma nods and steps away from Trustbuilder’s chair, and still has her hands behind her back, and walks towards the door. I think it’s the first time that Trustbuilder realizes how heavily armed she is, because she has both her vibro-sword and her carbine on her back, and at least one light blaster on her hip and a vibro-knife sticking out of a boot.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: And that’s the weaponry you can see.

ROB: When I reach the door I’ll look back at Trustbuilder, give him the finger guns.

ROB (as Stiro): Knock ‘em dead, Mr. Trustbuilder. We’ll be in touch.

NICK (as Cord): I should be wishing you the same thing. Now, go on and get out of here. I’ll see you at the celebration party.

NICK: As you walk out you see someone dressed in what looks like flowing ivory robes with a very weird, it’s like a fedora hat on, and they have a monocle, and they go walking into the room.

ROB: Oh, Stiro’s body language instantly switches to like stick up the ass, 1000% business. He’s not a casual criminal guy anymore, he’s a legitimate business man who had an important meeting a second ago. Maybe it didn’t even go that well for him. We’re gonna give the impression that this guy drives a hard bargain.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: The head of the Chamber of Commerce looks sympathetic and tips their hat.

ROB: I’ll give them a little solemn nod.

NICK: And brushes past you into the room, and you hear them go:

NICK (as CoC Head): Cord~!

NICK: And you hear Cord go:

NICK (as Cord): Ahh, the Commissioner~!

NICK: And the door shuts behind you to hobnobbing. And with that scene set, I think we’re going to move ahead to the day of the race. If there’s anything preparatory-wise that comes up that y’all would have had done we’ll just do it in a quick flashback and keep moving.

ROB: Sure.

NICK: So, the things that you need to achieve is before the third lap you need to sabotage Sebulba’s racer, probably at the beginning of the race if not the first pit stop, and you need to spread a terrible rumor about Kelbit in enough time for them to all show up, and then you potentially may wanna do something to make sure that Longtanno is going to win, because if not it could come down to a Force roll and you may end up that the money is gone but not necessarily to you, which could be an issue.

ROB: Yeah, that is true. God, this is so perfect too, because we’re gonna make a shitload of money on our improbable bet but like lots of other people who are not good at betting will also make a ton of money.

[laughter]

NICK: So, I think we’re gonna cut to the race. Do you think you’re going to sabotage Sebulba before or during the race?

ROB: Hmm.

CAMERON: I think that Sebulba has… since he is well-known for wandering about the other pods before the race starts to do all the shit that he’s gonna do to them, the start of the race.

ROB: Oh yeah. He’s gonna mark territory, try to scare people, just be an asshole.

CAMERON: Yeah. The start of the race might be the best time to do it because that’s when he’s gonna be paying the least attention to his pod racer, and there’s the most people walking around.

ROB: And his pit crew are probably taking that moment to be like, oh thank god, he’s not here right now, he’s not gonna slap me.

CAMERON: Yeah.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: And there’s enough people moving around that with all of the pit crews for the eight different racers that having us being out there isn’t gonna make a big impression.

NICK: Cool. Let me set this racing scene here. The Inaugural Circuit pod race is starting about five kilometers outside of town. There is a swampy flat land with broken trees sticking up out of it. This is starting at dawn, so the sun is below the horizon still. There’s a smoggy gray light coming up over the horizon. There are stands that have been setup. There are people everywhere. They’re excited but still a little sleepy, and you see a Devaronian announcer on a high tower by the starting line.

The pits here, these are like the starting pits and then the main pits are further into the city near a sewer entrance, so the pit crews are going to have to make sure everything’s ready and then very quickly move to where they’re needed for the rest of the race, but it’s for a great dramatic start so they couldn’t talk them out of it. The announcer is a Devaronian male with long horns that have been pierced in several places and have golden barbells hanging in them.

CAMERON: Oh cool.

ROB: That’s metal as fuck.

NICK: Yeah, with like actual bells hanging off of the barbells, so it makes a jingly noise when he moves, and he has big gauges in his ears with bells hanging off of those too.

CAMERON: Oh, I love him. What’s his name?

NICK: [smiling] I don’t know. I just came up with him right now. I need to think of a name for this guy.

CAMERON: His last name is Dawnbringer.

NICK: How about Delbo Dawnbringer?

CAMERON: [laughing] Okay.

NICK: That’s good, the announcer.

ROB: There we go. But you can call him daddy.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Yeah. Delbo Dawnbringer. Our character Falx has definitely slept with Delbo Dawnbringer at least once. That is a character that will be coming back.

CAMERON: [snickers]

NICK: So, Delbo is saying—What is Delbo saying?

NICK (as Delbo): [through megaphone] And welcome to the Inaugural Circuit! Just glad to have everyone here.

NICK: Jing-a-ling-a-ling from his horns.

CAMERON: [giggles]

NICK: And you get a sleepy yay from the crowd, because it’s still about an hour to the race. He starts doing the announcer—

NICK (as Delbo): This race will determine the future of pod racing as we know it. We have Sebulba back from retirement. We’ve got Longtanno the crowd favorite, the careful racer. We even have an experimental droid racer, designation model F4-ST. And who can forget, Toonba~!

NICK: And the whole crowd’s—

CAMERON & ROB: Yay~!

NICK: [chanting] Toonba! Toonba!

CAMERON & ROB: [laughs]

NICK: And you see a little blue elephant waving its stubby arms from the sidelines.

CAMERON: Aw.

ROB: I see the crowd doing the Goldberg chant for Toonba. [deep, slow chanting] Toonba…! Toonba…!

NICK: Yeah, that’s very good.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: [laughing] Oh man, I like that a lot.

ROB: Into it.

NICK: Yeah. And we zoom in to the camera. The announcer keeps talking about the preparations. You overhear him saying:

NICK (as Delbo): As well, part of the course is on the streets of our good city of Coronet to take part in the fact that our friends over at CorSec have volunteered to be in other parts of the city and keep civilians off of the course.

NICK: You hear a mixture of cheers and boos.

ROB: [laughing, sarcastically] In the interest of public safety.

[laughter]

NICK: Yeah. We zoom in from there and we see Karma and Stiro, we see them both standing amongst the moving crowds of the pit crew. Each of the racers is probably 50 meters from each other, but there’s people everywhere. There’s a lot of people, so there’s crowds to hide in, but each area has probably a 10 meter, 15 meter square cordon around it that’s like chains on sticks. The thing that seems to keep people inside and outside of those cordons is that they’re wearing jumpsuits in various colors and the flags and everything. The pod racers are being test started, so there’s engines roaring and then cutting back off, kind of like drag racers do before the race, and it’s very hectic, it’s very excited. Delbo is still continuing to pontificate about how great this race is and how amazing it is for the city of Coronet.

As we get a shot of Stiro and Karma surveying the beginning of the pod race, we flash back to Karma and Stiro standing in a dark room leaning over a table littered with dossiers and plans, spot lit from above.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, alright now, I’ve put you in a bit of a spot and I do apologize for that. we gotta sabotage Sebulba’s pod.

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m actually quite excited about doing that.

ROB (as Stiro): That sounded like an awful lot of confidence in your voice. That is heartening to hear.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB (as Stiro): Are you as good at being unseen as you are about being seen to be god damn scary?

CAMERON (as Karma): Being a bounty hunter I do have experience being, you know, with the quieter aspects of the trade. It is very much going to depend on how many people are near the pod, though, how easy it is for me to sneak to it.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, here’s the thing, there are going to be a lot of people in that vicinity because of what I’m going to be doing at that time. I see no reason not to kill two mynocks with one stone on this. So, I am going to pose as a concerned employee of the fine folks who are running the race and I’m going to make a big stink, the biggest stink possible, about having seen the pit crew of Kelbit Fizz up to no good concerning the wellbeing of the pod being driven by Mousecratel. It’s gonna bring a lot of people in to listen to me, to figure out what’s wrong with me, what I’m so upset about, and my story is gonna be pretty scary for them to listen to.

In that kerfuffle, you ought to be able to get done what you need to get done just unseen enough that you’re not all the way unseen, you’re seen leaving the area in hopefully the colors of the pit crew of one of the other racers.

CAMERON (as Karma): So actually, if we can get me a uniform for Sebulba’s pit crew I can get into the ropes…

NICK: Mm-hmm.

CAMERON (as Karma): …and then casually walk by another pod as I leave, looking suspicious, but they’re not gonna suspect me when I’m near Sebulba’s pod.

ROB (as Stiro): Exactly. That’s a very good idea. I think that is a fine update to the plan. They can suspect you of something that is far off the trail of what’s actually going on. I like it.

[huffs] And see, this rumor that I start right at the beginning of the race about Kelbit Fizz is gonna be enough to concern people but maybe not get the whole thing done. Maybe one, one and a half laps in some very highly placed people are going to be receiving a call on their coms about the unsportsmanlike behavior of the Fizz pit crew.

CAMERON (as Karma): That would be very convincing if it were to come from a concerned member of that pit crew that may be having second thoughts about the sabotage that they were supposed to admit.

ROB (as Stiro): The type of business they’re getting wrapped up in. Yes, it’s such a concern.

CAMERON (as Karma): Mm-hmm.

ROB (as Stiro): And when you’ve got multiple sources of corroboration things start to look very concerning, never mind the fact that both of those sources of corroboration are yours truly.

CAMERON (as Karma): I like it.

ROB (as Stiro): And with that, we ought to be able to have things go our way.

CAMERON (as Karma): So, Stiro, I have a question.

ROB (as Stiro): Sure.

CAMERON (as Karma): From my observations over the past few days, watching your interactions, getting this con done, you are amazingly good with both people in general as well as molding yourself to be whatever would most interest the person that you’re interacting with.

ROB: Give a deferring nod.

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m just interested. I see very well how this being a gangster and working on Kettle’s crew would be an incredibly lucrative position for someone with your people skillset, but I can also see you making far more money and a name for yourself if you’d gone into the more legitimate lines of business. So I’m interested really in what made you choose this lifestyle for yourself?

ROB (as Stiro): Yeah, I suppose that is a little bit of a curiosity.

ROB: Stiro’s body language changes a lot. He had a sense of animation to him, like he’s really jazzed up because he’s making a plan and he’s getting excited about the details. You can tell that while he performs various things something that’s not a performance is that he’s kind of a nerd for the con. He loves the details of putting together an operation and figuring out how people are going to interact with different points of the plan and what the outcome’s going to be. He clearly gets a charge out of that.

That sort of scales back, and he becomes a little more introspective, and even a little bit vulnerable. He actually sits down and picks up the drink that he had been mostly gesticulating with rather than drinking for most of the conversation. Takes a long sip.

[sad jazz music begins]

ROB (as Stiro): [exhales] You don’t have to pretend. I’ve seen that you’ve noticed my face.

CAMERON (as Karma): What does that have to do with your people skills?

ROB (as Stiro): Well, when I was seven years old I didn’t have a single credit in my pocket, didn’t have parents, didn’t have siblings. I had whatever I could steal before somebody else beat me up and stole it from me. There’s a lot of kids like that on Corellia. What happened to my face is… I stole a sugar pastry from a café left unattended by a patron while they went to pick up a news holo to add to their order. I hadn’t eaten in a while and I was excited about getting something sweet, you know, just a kid with a sweet tooth.

I got too happy about it, so I didn’t wanna give it up when some bigger kids decided that it was gonna be their sugar pastry and not mine. I wouldn’t give it up, so they cut off half my face with a broken bottle.

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh my gosh.

ROB (as Stiro): And you know who found me?

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m going to guess Kettle.

ROB (as Stiro): Delirious with fever, blood loss, probably not gonna live through the night even though I tried to stick my face back on my skull best I could. Not Kettle herself, but a nice old man, a doctor who’s been patching people up for Kettle for a long time. It started as a protection thing, you know, you don’t want Kettle’s people messing up you or the people around you so you help them out occasionally, but it’s the doctor’s oath anyway, right? You gotta help people. He put my face back on, he helped me through the fever and the infection, and he didn’t want me back on the street after that so he put me in contact with Kettle’s people and I started to learn.

Here’s the thing about her, people who work for her. They care. We’re not the good guys, we’re not the Empire either. We’re a necessary part of a community. Maybe someday they’ll make perfect laws somewhere so there don’t need to be any criminals, but I haven’t seen that yet. We make a profit, we protect our own, we care about the neighborhood. None of that was bullshit. Then the Empire came in.

You’ve seen what it does. You’ve seen people scared to leave their homes. You’ve seen people stop talking. Communities become a collection of isolated people. I can’t stand it. It makes me sick. I want to live in a world where I’m the worst bad guy there is.

CAMERON: Karma looks slightly concerned.

NICK: [chuckles]

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay, so I’m going to guess that the people skills come from the genuine caring about the community.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, and sometimes needing to disguise my intentions so that a repeat of the broken bottle incident doesn’t happen. I wasn’t immediately a powerful or impressive individual, I just had a little bit of wit and I was given a good opportunity.

CAMERON (as Karma): And you learned some knife skills, I’m assuming.

ROB (as Stiro): You see, the thing is about losing a knife fight…

ROB: And I flip out the karambit and dance it around my fingers again.

ROB (as Stiro): …you really don’t want to lose the second one. You’re willing to put in some work.

CAMERON (as Karma): Being used to using a vibro-sword, yep, I fully understand that.

NICK: We get a camera shot that zooms in on Karma whose armor isn’t all put together, it’s been released because you’re just hanging out and talking, and she has a huge roping scar across her midsection that looks like it was from a barrage of blaster bolts at some point within the last six months or so. It’s mostly healed, but it’s pretty bad, so understandable from someone else’s perspective for sure.

ROB (as Stiro): You were exactly right. You had me pegged completely in terms of being able to make way more money white collar than black market, but you’ve seen how those people are interacting with the Empire. They’re rolling out the red carpet for them, and what good is all the money in the world if there’s no neighborhood to live in at the end of it?

CAMERON (as Karma): I will say I identify slightly with that as there is a reason that I decided to become a bounty hunter instead of working for a fancy corporate security office.

ROB (as Stiro): There you go.

CAMERON (as Karma): Both of those apply to my skillset, but I have a lot less issues with one of them. I have a lot more freedom with which jobs I choose to take and the types of individuals that I choose to bring in for bounties.

ROB (as Stiro): That’s it in a nutshell.

[sad jazz music ends]

NICK: We get a shot of the two of you smiling over the plans. There’s like a rough sketched outline on this table of the course with little models of the different pods at different places.

ROB: Oh yeah, there’s like balled up pieces of flimsy and whatever the data pad equivalent of a dry-erase board and tons of stubbed out death sticks in an ashtray and stuff.

CAMERON: There’s a board with a lot of red string on it. We don’t really know why.

ROB: Yeah.

NICK: [laughs] It’s mostly the picture of Sebulba with a lot of red string coming off of Sebulba.

ROB: Yeah.

CAMERON: Yup.

NICK: [putting on a voice] ‘He’s the key!’

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: We swipe away to the two of y’all sitting in the stands at the race eating corn, because popcorn is canon in Star Wars now thanks to Disney.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

ROB: Hell yeah. Is that a Galaxy’s Edge thing too?

NICK: Yeah. Yeah. So, eating popcorn, and you look at each other and nod, and get started.

NICK: End of episode.

## Outro

CAMERON: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you enjoyed our show, please consider logging onto iTunes and giving us a five-star review. Five-star reviews will help new listeners to find the show, and every time we get one the squad adds five pounds to our max bench press. If you’re so inclined, you can also help support the show through our Patreon which can be found in the show notes, on our website, and basically anywhere else we post things. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including some of my favorites: Bantha Buddy, Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer, and Build-A-Beru which all have fabulous rewards and super great names.

Stiro Kuwe is played by Rob Stith. You can find him at @LordOfTheStith on Twitter and on his podcast, The ORPHEUS Protocol.

Karma Nailo is played by me, Cameron Robertson. You can find me on Twitter at @midnightmusic13.

Our game master is Nick Robertson, and you can find him on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Additional music by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord and share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We also sometimes talk about Star Wars. You can find the link to join our Discord on our website and in our pinned tweet. See you next time.

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Karma Interstitial 1, Part 1:
A Particular Persuasion

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

NICK: Hi everyone, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Nick, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

This week we jump to a new adventure seeing what Karma is up to on the mean streets of Corellia. Continue to get hype for some amazing guests. For example, this episode features Rob Stith, the creator, show runner, and GM for the AP podcast The ORPHEUS Protocol. Rob was fantastic to record with and I know you’re going to love his character.

No new patrons or iTunes reviews this week, so instead a friendly reminder. If you become a patron on Patreon or write a review for the show on iTunes, I’ll thank you on the air. Thank you to everyone who keeps us in the skies.

Music this week is Chitarradistorta by Nickk Dropkick and Cool Piano by Manuel Senfft.

So now, let’s get into the episode.

##

NICK: Hello! Welcome to Tabletop Squadron, Interstitial Episodes between Season 1 and 2. We haven’t named these. I’ll do that later. I’m your host and game master, Nick. We’re gonna go around the virtual table and say who you are and who you’re playing today, starting with Cameron!

CAMERON: Hello! My name is Cameron, and I play Karma Nailo, a Nautolan bounty hunter.

NICK: Great. Up next, our special guest for today, we’ve got Rob. Hi Rob.

ROB: Hey. How you doing?

NICK: Doing good!

ROB: That’s good. I’m also doing pretty good. I’m Rob Stith, the host, game master, designer… of The ORPHEUS Protocol, the game and the podcast, and I am here to depict Stiro Kuwe, the Corellian gangster who has some no-good antics up his sleeve, to be perfectly honest.

[laughter]

NICK: Yeah, that’s gonna be really good. I am looking forward to it. But before we get into that, let’s start off with the Destiny Roll!

ROB: I’m gonna give you one of these…

CAMERON: I got one dark side.

NICK: Nice.

ROB: Now, between you, me, and the podcast gods, I don’t know what these symbols mean. I have a circle!

NICK: Is it filled in or is it empty?

ROB: It is not. It is a circle that is hollow on the inside like a very thin donut or an emaciated Cheerio.

NICK: [laughs] Okay, that’s a light side point then.

ROB: Excellent!

NICK: Yay. Let’s go ahead and roll one more for me since there’s only two players here.

CAMERON: Okie-dokie. Oh dear, you got another dark side.

NICK: Great. That worked out well for me. Cool.

CAMERON: So we have two dark side and one light side.

ROB: Every session of this game starts with a little bit of astrology.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

CAMERON: Mm-hmm!

NICK: It really does.

ROB: our dice are in the house of dark side, ascending, oh no.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

ROB: That probably means bad stuff.

CAMERON: Yeah… I’m sure it’ll be fine.

NICK: Yeah, it’ll be fine, and also we usually forget that we have those anyway, so. [laughs]

ROB: [putting on a voice] ‘You don’t need to use your dark side points.’

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Alright, so with that we’re gonna go ahead and jump right into it.

[gentle jazz horn music begins]

Corellia, a fiercely independent planet under the thumb of the Empire, home of shipyards, military contractors, and gang bosses, birthplace of ace pilots and genius generals. It smells like wet garbage. Karma, you’ve been in Coronet for a couple of days. You’ve heard rumors of something big stirring in the Outer Rim – not just the Rebellion which has blossomed into full-out civil war at this point but something dark and terrifying gaining followers and power.

You came to Coronet for multiple reasons. Firstly, you have contacts here. Secondly, you were contacted by someone that you normally wouldn’t work with. They offered you information and they offered you something else, something you couldn’t refuse. You’re sitting in a small room lit by black light. There’s a loud, throbbing music as close to you as the glowing dancers around you. you take a sip from a small glass of iridescent liquid and feel the bass of the music ruffle your head tails. Everyone in this room is dressed in scraps of loose cloth that flow with their movement and glow in the black light. You’re dressed for work. What do you look like?

CAMERON: I am wearing my standard all-black body armor with my really tall black boots, got my red headband on, some gold bangles on my head tails. I do not glow in the black light. [laughs]

NICK: No, you’re kind of like a hole in this otherwise very iridescent party atmosphere you’ve got going on.

CAMERON: Yup.

NICK: Cool. The bartender isn’t paying attention to you. the bartender is rocking out in the corner to some dancers and giving free drinks, so you’re just kinda hanging out. As that is happening, a thin man wearing a plain white shirt and black slacks leans against the bar next to you. he brushes back some blonde hair and leans in so you can hear him over the music.

NICK (as Man): Miss Karma, you may not remember me. I’m Seeley Mox. I drove getaway for you like a few months ago. Miss Kettle is ready to see you now, if you’ll follow me.

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh, of course. Thank you. Seeley, how have you been?

NICK (as Seeley): I’ve been pretty good. Crashed a couple more speeders, but like on purpose, so—

CAMERON (as Karma): That is the best way to crash a speeder.

NICK (as Seeley): Yeah, and you know, once the speeder explodes CorSec tends to leave you alone, so it’s a pretty good way to get out of a situation.

CAMERON (as Karma): That’s true, and you have the opportunity to walk away from the explosion without looking back and look super cool.

NICK (as Seeley): Yeah. I tried that and some debris hit me. Um…

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh. That—Yeah, okay. Eh.

NICK (as Seeley): So normally I’m one of those duck and run into a next door alley kind of people.

CAMERON (as Karma): That is probably safer. Yeah.

NICK (as Seeley): Yeah.

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay, so Kettle’s ready?

NICK (as Seeley): Oh yeah! Kettle, yeah.

NICK: He gestures very urgently and leads you out of this small kind of dance club. You follow him out of the room and into a small hallway. Leading off of these hallways there are lots of rooms lined up in succession that each are blasting loud music out into the hallway around them. it mixes in the middle where you’re walking and is pretty disconcerting.

As you head to the back of the building and through a bead curtain hanging over a doorway, the music completely stops as you pass through—

[jazz music ends abruptly]

–as if the sound is stopped by some sort of force field. Kettle, the Queen, is sitting behind a plain durasteel desk. Her wings are draped over the back of her chair comfortably. She’s a Geonosian which are those like flying bug creatures from Attack of the Clones and has long scars all over her body.

ROB: Oh, so she ‘rules,’ okay.

NICK: Yeah, she’s a fucking badass. We love Kettle.

CAMERON: Yeah!

NICK: Yeah, so this room looks like it’s normally dark but now reasonably well-lit, which you couldn’t tell through the bead curtain. She glances up from some paperwork when you come in and smiles at you.

NICK (as Kettle): Karma! Lovely to see you still alive. How is your crew?

CAMERON (as Karma): You as well. I haven’t seen them in a while, actually, but I’m sure they’re doing fine.

NICK (as Kettle): Yes, I heard a report recently from a business venture of mine that some important things were stolen, and you know what’s weird is that in its place was a note that I had given to you with an IOU on it. This is your chance to explain that to me.

CAMERON (as Karma): I would like to fully place this on Xianna, actually.

NICK (as Kettle): You mean a crew member of your crew? So you’re just gonna sidestep all of that responsibility?

CAMERON (as Karma): Yep. Xianna had the IOU. Yep. Xianna’s the thief in my party.

NICK (as Kettle): Then you won’t mind if – when I find her – we have some very serious conversation about that.

CAMERON (as Karma): I think that may actually be beneficial for her.

NICK (as Kettle): I wouldn’t say the results are gonna be very beneficial.

NICK: She smiles in a way that tugs at the scars on her face and it’s extremely off-putting.

CAMERON (as Karma): I mean, you’re a business woman, you understand how it works.

NICK (as Kettle): Oh, I understand alright. But anyway, that’s not why I reached out to you.

NICK: She cracks her knuckles which sounds way more hollow than it would on a human because she has chitin fingers.

NICK (as Kettle): Ever since the death star was destroyed by the Rebels the Empire is cracking down. They’ve been moving huge assets through Corellian industry to recover and fuel the war effort. I’ve put my best person on a job related to that, and I got ahold of you because I want you to keep him safe. He’s very, very good at what he does, but I know if you’re getting paid you’ll watch their back and I don’t have to worry about them getting stabbed in an alley. Seeley, if you could go ahead and bring them in.

NICK: We get a long moment of awkward silence as Seeley leaves and comes back with someone new. Rob, what does Karma see as you step through this bead curtain into this gangster’s office?

ROB: The first impression that Stiro makes is “well, this guy is definitely a gangster—”

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: –and likes for people to know that about him right when they first see him, or at least in the way that he is dressed today. Whatever the Corellian equivalent of a track suit and a gold chain is is what he is wearing tonight. It’s not trying to be nondescript, not trying to fly under the radar, like, I am a member of the criminal class and I am here to party and spend money, because in an environment like this signaling that status is actually good, because people know that you know where the action is and that you have your finger on the pulse of the money that’s moving around.

NICK: Mm-hmm.

ROB: Stiro doesn’t always dress like this. He dresses like this when he’s clubbing and is interested in making some side hustle.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: He’s wearing ostentatious “I’m a gangster” clothing and accessories including some sort of ludicrous timepiece probably as well. Got a sloppy smile on his face, a bit of a relaxed swagger to his movements. He’s about 6’1”, a little on the skinny side but clearly some wiry strength beneath that, and his face is probably what’s the most interesting… and I realize we’re in Star Wars, so I should mention that he’s Human.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: He’s got sort of a buzz cut dark hair, and you can see right away that the reason that it’s buzz cut is that it’s not gonna grow in evenly because there’s a lot of scarring on one side of his head. They’re not too bad, whoever worked on them was very skilled, but you can’t magically make hair follicles come back, so it’s the buzz cut for him. Similarly, he has a bit of scarring on the bridge of his nose and under one eye, again, very well treated to minimize the long-term scarring, but just like the hair follicles you can’t really stitch the nerves back together. So, one side of his face kind of slumps a little bit compared to the other side, but a lifetime of practice has made this idiosyncrasy of appearance disarming and endearing instead of threatening. He sort of swaggers into the room, gives an appreciative nod to Kettle, and does a practiced double-take towards Karma—

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: –as in, I am giving the impression that I was casual and now I’m a little less casual because something about you has impressed me, but then he looks like he’s trying to cover that reaction despite what he’s doing as a performance of looking like he wants to cover the reaction. Like, you can tell immediately probably that bullshit is just as natural as breathing to this guy.

NICK: It’s all very theatrical. This is something that has been practiced in front of a mirror to get the right impression across.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, hello there.

CAMERON (as Karma): Hello?

ROB (as Stiro): I’m sorry. I don’t think that we’ve been introduced. My name is Stiro, Stiro Kuwe. It’s really good to meet you.

ROB: I extend my hand for a very firm, business-like handshake if she’ll have it.

CAMERON: Karma returns the handshake in equal firmness.

[chuckling]

CAMERON (as Karma): It’s nice to meet you. I’m Karma Nailo.

CAMERON: And then looks to Kettle.

NICK: Kettle watches this handshake—

CAMERON: It goes on slightly too long.

NICK: Yeah, it definitely goes on slightly too long. Stiro, you notice that Karma being a Nautolan is an amphibious species and normally they have very smooth skin, but Karma’s hands are rough and callused from handling various weapons. You also notice that Karma is basically packing for bear. She has a large carbine rifle with a very expensive scope that you would probably recognize as being thermo-imaging and a vibro-sword strapped to her back on a semi-concealed sheath. She is a walking arsenal. There’s also potential, because Karma has a moderate reputation among the bounty hunting community, that you might have heard of her before. Do you think Stiro keeps tabs on bounty hunters or not?

ROB: I think it’s pretty likely, actually, giving the quite high ranks of Streetwise and my decent Cunning score that I’m walking around with.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: So, I think it’s possible that I’ve heard the name. I probably didn’t put it together with a face… and here’s the thing, there’s plenty of ‘names,’ right?

NICK: Yeah. [chuckles]

ROB: But half of them are just stories. When I shake this person’s hand and I’m feeling calluses on a Nautolan’s hand and I’m seeing this walking weapons locker I put it all together. this person’s real.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: And that all amounts to an appreciative crook of the eyebrow and a slight idiosyncratic grin from the slumped corner of my mouth.

NICK: And as you exchange a look, and I think as you entered the room, you probably noticed that Karma’s demeanor with Kettle was, uh, friendly and respectful, and as you walked in it became a lot more business-like and professional as you make eye contact. Kettle looks back and forth between the two of you.

NICK (as Kettle): Well, I’m glad that we’re off to a good start.

NICK: Her tone portrays that she is aware of how this is going to go.

NICK (as Kettle): So, Karma, I need you to keep him alive while he does his thing. You’ll very quickly see what his modus operandi is and you will understand why I asked you to come armed.

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay.

NICK (as Kettle): Stiro, it’s time for me to give you the rest of the information on this job I was talking about.

ROB (as Stiro): I couldn’t be more excited.

NICK (as Kettle): That’s good. That’s why we keep you around. It’s definitely not for your fashion sense.

NICK: She looks at your—

CAMERON: Aww. [laughs]

NICK: It’s straight up a track suit. I think Corellian gangsters wear track suits.

ROB: I get a little pinch of the material on my chest between my fingers and sort of demonstrably pull it out at her.

ROB (as Stiro): This was carefully picked for this evening. Come on.

NICK (as Kettle): I can tell. It’s so interesting to me that you can be so subtle and yet so obvious at the same time, Stiro. I know that it’s your thing, but… Anyway.

ROB (as Stiro): It’s about being able to tell when subtlety counts for anything.

NICK (as Kettle): And that’s why you’re one of my main operators here. I’ve never really understood Humans. You shoot the ones that need shooting, you take the money from the ones that don’t.

CAMERON (as Karma): Mm-hmm.

CAMERON: Karma’s just nodding along.

[laughter]

ROB: Hey, I’m not gonna get up on the stands for this one, we don’t make any sense. That’s fine.

[laughter]

NICK (as Kettle): So, as I said, this is Stiro, and you’re going to be helping him to steal a ludicrous amount of money. There’s a mega-contractor in town called Serres Super Structure. They work on molecularly enhanced durasteel. It’s stuff that has a lot higher tensile strength than should otherwise be possible or some kriff. They make the metal that lets the Empire build really, really big structures, like that death star for instance. A little birdy told me they’ve been receiving a new Imperial contract, and Imperial contract that’s bigger than most planets’ economies. Stiro is going to make that go away. Karma, besides assuring you that your help with this will keep me from having you killed, I have something that might interest you.

NICK: Kettle reaches under the desk, which in the lighting and everything looks like there’s nothing under it, it looks like a desk that you should be able to see under it, but from somewhere Kettle pulls out a large camtono of something. It basically looks like an ice cream maker. Rob, you watched The Mandalorian, right?

ROB: Mm-hmm.

NICK: The camtono is the thing that the beskar metal came in.

ROB: Ohh!

NICK: [laughs] So, Kettle pulls from somewhere this camtono and sets it on the desk, and it has a heavy clang. She presses a button on the top and the sides retract revealing a pile of scales. They are pretty much pure black but with an oil sheen green on it like ravens’ feathers. Karma, you would recognize these as an abyss sea dragon from Glee Anselm, your home planet. There has not been an abyss sea dragon seen in like 2,000 years. They have to be extinct. They don’t exist. These scales are nigh indestructible. Kettle closes it again and nods to herself and puts it under the desk.

NICK (as Kettle): If you’re able to help our friend here, Stiro, complete this mission, you can have those.

CAMERON: Karma tilts her head appreciatively.

NICK (as Kettle): I don’t have a use for them, they’re basically a cultural artifact at this point, but I know what they might mean to someone of your profession and background.

CAMERON (as Karma): I appreciate the gesture.

NICK (as Kettle): So, basically the information I’ve given you is what I have. I found the beginning of a string to pull on, but the rest of it is up to you. I have somewhere to be. You’re looking for Serres Super Structure and you’re going to take their money. Stiro, this is a thing for you. Try not to die. If you do, I never met you.

NICK: Kettle snaps her fingers and Seeley grabs the camtono, and it is way heavier than it looks, he can barely lift it, and you see him start sweating almost immediately, and they leave a room by a side door that you didn’t notice existed until just now. You’re left alone in Kettle’s office.

ROB (as Stiro): So, lizard scales, huh?

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah. They’re… I don’t think anyone’s seen an abyss sea dragon alive in like 2000 years, but if you can swim down and find them on the ocean floor of Glee Anselm they’re fantastic for armor.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, my boss always has been full of surprises.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah, definitely. I will agree with that, just from previous interactions with her, yes. Alright, so um, if I’m keeping you alive what exactly is your skillset and how we are approaching this?

ROB (as Stiro): Hmph. How best for an artist to describe his art?

CAMERON (as Karma): Take as much time as you need to describe it. I completely understand.

[laughter]

ROB: He sort of chews the cud for a moment.

ROB (as Stiro): Now I don’t want to speak too indecorously, but the operation that Kettle runs – of which I am a meager part – is not exactly thoroughly on the up-and-up.

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh, yes, obviously. Yes.

ROB (as Stiro): An enterprise of that size and complexity, and frankly that character, has a lot of moving parts. Any operation of that size is gonna run into rough patches. It’s gonna have trouble spots, points of failure, that sort of thing. So, nobody bats an eye when you hire an engineer or slicer, right?

CAMERON (as Karma): Mm-hmm.

ROB (as Stiro): To fix the technical aspects of an enterprise. Well, I fix the interpersonal aspects, the rough spots having to do with relationships, and conversations, and rumors, and things like that.

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay. I’m supposing, based on my being hired to watch your back, that this will be primarily through communication and manipulation as opposed to violence to remove these issues. Would that be accurate?

ROB (as Stiro): Violence is a last resort.

ROB: With that, a vibro-knife of a very curious design appears in my hand briefly. It has a round-topped handle with an eye in it, a hollowed out part that a finger could be passed through to rotate the handle quickly to alternate grips. The blade itself is like an eagle talon, curved and single edged, called a karambit, but this is of course a vibro-karambit that dances between various grips and configurations in my hand before vanishing again.

CAMERON: Karma nods appreciatively towards the knife.

CAMERON (as Karma): That’s a fine blade.

ROB (as Stiro): Yeah. Thank you very much. When the stakes are high you need to be good at your last resort, don’t get me wrong, but I try to talk to people first. When I’m lucky, that’s enough.

CAMERON (as Karma): I appreciate that approach.

ROB (as Stiro): [huffs] I know a little bit about you, but not enough to know exactly how this meeting of the minds is going to go. How do you feel about the Empire?

CAMERON (as Karma): Negative.

CAMERON: [laughs]

CAMERON (as Karma): Not a fan. I am totally willing to assist in any efforts to take down the Empire, and getting a lot of money away from them sounds fantastic.

ROB (as Stiro): What it all comes down to for me is that there is a difference between the Empire and an operation such as the one in which I am involved, and that is that the Empire is both bad for business and bad for the neighborhood. We’re criminals. People might call us gangsters, and that’s okay, it’s fair, but we’re part of the communities that we operate out of. It matters to us that the corner store that one guy’s family has been running for three generations stays that way if that’s what they want. We make a healthy profit, it’s true, but we also revitalize local economies. We take care of our own.

[deep inhale] The Empire, they come in, people are afraid to leave their homes, businesses shut down, everything gets worse, and people have to turn to a life of crime – and not a profitable one – just to live. And then what crime is, you might notice, that definition getting changed time and time again to allow for the mass incarceration of people who were just gonna be buying bread at that corner store not that long ago. We have no love of the Empire, and right now is the perfect time to give them a black eye. They lost their whatever the hell that death star thing was.

CAMERON (as Karma): Well, it was no moon.

ROB: God damn it.

[laughter]

ROB (as Stiro): I can’t even imagine how much that cost, and they’re gonna have to make big moves right now to consolidate power, because that was an embarrassment on top of a huge loss. They gotta spend money, right now, make another show of force, consolidate their power. Whatever they decide is the most important is gonna cost them billions, and that’s a modest estimate, so it’s time to hit them where it hurts, their pocket book. I’m gonna steal this contract money and I’m gonna put it somewhere where they can’t get it back, and maybe they’ll think twice about whether it’s monetarily feasible to go ruin a neighborhood or two, shut down those corner stores, when they gotta be spending their scarce resources on whatever their big project that just lost all its money was, you see.

CAMERON (as Karma): Alright, let’s do this.

ROB (as Stiro): Glad to have your support.

[laughter]

NICK: So, basically the information you have is there is a company called Serres Super Structure. They are one of the major ship-building contracting companies out of Corellia besides some of the major ship builders like YT and some of the ones that make actual ships. These are people who do support things. You know that they would have to have a huge economic point, because if they’re the ones that make the metal to build a super ship out of that’s a lot of metal.

ROB: Oh yeah.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

ROB: And it’s not just any metal, it’s expensive metal.

NICK: Yeah.

CAMERON: Yeah!

ROB: And the processes are expensive, and you need experts, and quality control and all that. You don’t want to build a hundred billion credit ship and then have one structural flaw cause it to fall apart when you launch it.

CAMERON: And the shipping is just ridiculous.

ROB: Yes.

NICK: Ha. Boo.

CAMERON: Ha-ha-ha.

ROB: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

NICK: Yeah. So, I think Stiro you have heard of Serres Super Structure. They sponsor sporting events and they probably do some charity work that’s a tenth of a percent of their earnings for any quarter just to get tax breaks and things.

ROB: Sure, and media buzz.

NICK: Oh yeah, for sure, they’re definitely one of those.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

ROB: It costs so little money when you’ve got all the money in the world to be seen as the good guys.

NICK: Yup, and they do that, and you are very aware of what they’re doing because with the amount of organizational moves and adjustments that you do you know what they’re doing. It’s pretty obvious.

ROB: Right. Yeah.

NICK: But you don’t necessarily know a lot about their structure. You haven’t had a reason before to dig into that. So, where would you go to do the footwork to start to get a picture of where their weak points would be?

ROB: I think the first thing Stiro does, it’s just like information security, in many ways it is information security, it’s trade security. The weakest point in a system is the weakest or stupidest person in the system.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: Uh-huh.

ROB: And so the first thing you do is you literally follow people from their central office at closing time and you see where they go to drink, you see where they go to blow off steam and relax, you see where they go to go be off their guard and you start there, you ingratiate yourself to the staff, you find out where their bosses hang out. You find out which bosses they’re complaining about and you get what information you can and you follow it on up the chain until you sort of know the lay of the land when it comes to the people working in this operation, and then you kind of stake some things out, bribe some people for information, and you figure out the highest ranked set of loose lips in the organization, and then you get to work.

NICK: Cool. What I’m gonna need from you is a Streetwise check. I think that this process probably takes a while. We’ll do some of this as a montage.

ROB: Sure.

NICK: And we’re gonna get to, based on this roll, how high up in the chain you can find some loose lips, and then we’ll see how that turns out.

ROB: Makes perfect sense. Alright, since I’ve got 3 on Streetwise, 3 on Cunning, that is three yellow dice, right?

NICK: Yep, that is, and this is going to be hard, so that’ll be three purple, but I’ll give you a blue die because the bars and stuff you’re hitting out, you’ve already laid the ground work there, you already know all the serving staff and everything, so they definitely helped.

ROB: Sure. So does that make it three yellow, three purple, and a blue?

NICK: Yep.

ROB: Okay. I can do that. Okay, I have two Batman pow sound effect backgrounds—

[laughter]

NICK: Those are successes. I realize I didn’t tell you what the symbols meant. That’s on me.

ROB: And one angel wings in front of a distant solar eclipse.

NICK: [smiling] Okay.

ROB: Big moves. Yeah, no, that’s two successes and an advantage on this one.

NICK: Nice. Rob picked that up fast. It’s like he’s a game designer or something.

CAMERON: Weird.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs] Okay, so two successes and an advantage. Something that you know actually that became relevant very quickly is that the janitorial and sanitation service of the building that Serres Super Structure is based in works for Kettle. They are part of Kettle’s organization. She uses them to do minor money laundering and things like that, so you have an in there.

ROB: Ha, ha, ha!

NICK: So you started at their level at some of the bars that are in the worst parts of town, and you worked your way up, and you’re actually at a mid-town bar called the Corrier which is one of those ones with the white durasteel and chrome, and there’s a lot of glass, and the drinks are all 30 Credits a pop, and you don’t necessarily see three-letter acronym business people here but you see the people who work for them, their admins, their gophers, those kind of people, and they go here because they have the money to spend and this is somewhere where sometimes important people go and it makes them feel important.

ROB: Of course. So, this time Stiro is wearing a suit, a very nice suit, but off the rack, not quite perfectly tailored.

NICK: Yes. That is perfect. As you walk in, the person that you’re looking for, her name is Diana, and you know that she is an admin for the scheduling office for the front office of this company. She works for the people who tell all the three-letter acronym people for Serres Super Structure where to go, the CFO, the CEO, the President, all of them. Diana is dating somebody who is further down in the company and that’s why she’s at this bar. I would say with the advantage and everything we’ll say you already know that’s not going well, she’s probably having a rough night. As you walk in, one, Karma, what are you wearing? Are you still wearing your terrifying body armor? Because that might be a little weird in this situation, but…

CAMERON: So, Karma is still wearing the armor and is still armed, because you never know what’s gonna happen, you don’t wanna take the armor off because you’re on a job, but has added extra accessories to make it to where it’s not obvious, like, has added a larger nice trench coat. Still wearing the armor, so black pants, black boots, but then has jacket over it that’s like a nice bright blue color. It has to have shoulder pads in it so that it’s extra, because it’s Star Wars, but also that helps disguise the body armor underneath it.

ROB: Perfect.

CAMERON: And so is tweaking it slightly to where if you were to look at her and study her you’d be like there are some weird lumps under the jacket, like that looks like it may be a blaster, but there are other security people here, so is not trying to be just a normal bar person who just happened to come here after work but is coming in with the expectation that if anyone questions me I am here as a security detail, and so they’ll let me pass.

NICK: Yeah, you’re definitely corporate security.

ROB: Well, and this is a Human majority planet. Is it rude to ask a Nautolan about lumps under their clothes? How good is your xenology really? You don’t want that kind of press.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

CAMERON: That’s a very good point as well.

NICK: This one’s far enough up in the chain that there are people who are worried about a news story getting out about them just asking inconsiderate questions in a bar.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

ROB: Well, they’re very focused on identity politics because that distracts from the central economic injustices that the Empire and its ally states are built on, so you know.

NICK: For sure.

[sophisticated event music begins]

So, you enter and we get that cool sweeping shot of Stiro walking into the bar, Karma slightly behind him and on his shoulder. Karma has adjusted her posture and approach a little to look a lot more corporate security and less lithe, capable killing machine.

CAMERON: As we’re walking around the bar she does occasionally hold up her hand to where an ear would be on a Human, like she’s listening to something in a headpiece, because that’s what security does.

NICK: [laughs] Yeah.

ROB: Mm-hmm. Sure. Stiro’s entire bearing is way more upright and reserved now. He’s gone from bad guy having a good night to nervous professional. He’s wearing the same watch as we last saw but now it just fits with the outfit instead of being this glaring mismatch.

[laughter]

NICK: Yeah, and you see this very high ranking admin sitting at a booth away from the bar – there’s only a couple of booths in this whole place – and she’s sitting alone and distractedly stirring a drink and looking at a data pad. So, what’s the play?

[sophisticated music fades out]

ROB: The two things that immediately come to mind is like a schmoozy approach, like taking advantage of her distraught emotional state, or sit at the next thing over and allow her to selectively overhear delicious-sounding business things approach.

NICK: Ooh.

ROB: And I don’t know for sure which one is going to work. In fact, you know what, Stiro doesn’t know for sure which one’s going to work better so he decides to split the difference and do both.

NICK: Okay!

CAMERON: [chuckles]

ROB: He’s gonna sit and invite Karma to sit at an adjoining booth, and I’m gonna have a fake conversation on whatever the common communication device is.

NICK: It’s just a com in Star Wars. [laughs]

ROB: Sure.

NICK: Yeah.

ROB: About something pretty interesting and enticing, and it’s gonna go not badly but not as well as I am performing that I want it to go, like somebody is having, for some reason, cold feet about a really good opportunity, and I’ll be a little bit frustrated when I hang up the call so that when I then approach and be like “ugh, man, sometimes business can be so hard,” she heard me just have a negative business experience that was also interesting to her.

NICK: Mm-hmm. Hmm, this sure feels like a Deception check, Rob. What do you think?

ROB: It does, doesn’t it?!

NICK: Yeah!

[laughter]

ROB: So that is a Cunning based thing, so I think that’s a green and two yellow.

NICK: Yeah, that sounds right.

ROB: Because I’ve got two points in Deception. Now, do I have any things from my class here…? Well, if there’s difficulty I can remove some of that, apparently.

NICK: There probably would have been, because you would have had to get her attention from her own problems, but yeah, you have – what’s the name of your ability that takes those off?

ROB: Convincing Demeanor. I can remove one difficulty per rank from Deception and Skulduggery checks.

NICK: Yeah, that’s gone. You’re going to get her attention very quickly with how well you sell this.

ROB: Okay.

NICK: I’m gonna say, because it’s kind of a setup action to the real deception coming after, it’s only average difficulty, so that’s two purples.

ROB: Okay. Hmm! It appears that I have a failure and two advantages.

NICK: Huh.

ROB: How does that play out?

NICK: I know! This is the best part of this system, Rob.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: It means that your goal, which was to have her overhear juicy business details and setup the conversation fails, like she does not notice, but you have two advantages, so something tangentially or unrelated, good, happens, and two advantages is reasonably good. Is there anything you would like to do? Mechanically with this you can spend advantages to add blue dice and stuff to checks, but you can also do things plot-wise and kind of outside the mechanics if you would like. So, the easy answer is hey, she didn’t notice, but I’m gonna use these to add blue dice to when I start talking to her to get her attention or something else has happened in the room, or you drew someone else’s attention, or something bad happens to her, something like that. Advantages generally are up to the player, so if you have any thoughts.

ROB: Okay, well I’m gonna go for something easy then. I think it just so happens that in this relationship that she’s having that’s not going so well, Stiro is fortunate to look pretty much exactly like the guy she told you not to worry about in this situation.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: This dude just happens to have a lot of slightly unfavorable comparisons in appearance and manner to Stiro.

NICK: Okay, so you look like an upgrade to the boyfriend she’s upset with.

ROB: Yes. Exactly.

NICK: Oh, I love that, a lot.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: You have that whole conversation. Karma’s sitting in the booth across from you, probably looking pretty appreciative, because this is not a skillset any of her former coworkers have.

CAMERON: [giggles] Talking? What?

NICK: Yeah, they’re not good at this. You hang up the com and you wait for any sort of indication that she’s paying attention or cares and you get freaking nothing.

ROB: Drat.

NICK: What do you do now?

ROB: I lean in a little to Karma.

ROB (as Stiro): Okay. I’m not sure that worked, but now it’s time for Plan B. Just keep an eye out in case anything funny happens, okay?

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay.

ROB: I call a waiter over and I order another one of whatever Diana’s drinking and have it sent to her.

NICK: Okay. She’s drinking… When you clean a toilet you get that glowy, light blue color?

ROB: Uh-huh?

CAMERON: [snickers]

ROB: Seems like a standard Star Wars liquor color.

NICK: Yeah. That, out of a martini glass, with a really weird, instead of an olive they’re about grape size, they’re bright orange and they have little spikes all over them, impaled through the toothpick in it, so it’s a very garish color.

ROB: Sure. Now real quick, based on the rumors I was able to pick up about this middle management type that she’s dating, what’s her problem with him? Is he too nervous? Is he too uptight? Does he not take things seriously enough? Like, what’s his issue?

NICK: He’s slimy, so he’s very much corporate lackey type yes man, and she got fed up with the fact that he always said what she wanted to hear.

ROB: Oh, so I just need to be real, alright.

NICK: Yeah, you just need to be like a genuine person and she will probably go for that. I think you definitely found a hairdresser, and there’s probably a flashback scene to you doing straight beauty salon gossip with somebody to get this information. [laughs]

ROB: Nice.

CAMERON: Karma is sitting under one of the cone things that they put you under when you’re getting a perm.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs] For sure. But yeah, she’s just tired of all that double talk and obsequiousness.

ROB: Okay. What’s the most working class beverage in Star Wars then?

NICK: A Corellian ale. It’s just beer.

ROB: That is what’s in my hand when I toast her when her drink arrives.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs] Okay.

ROB: We’re in this high class establishment. Stiro doesn’t care. He likes Corellian ale, and he doesn’t care who knows it.

[laughter]

NICK: We get a flash of the Corellian ale advertisement logo on the corner. It’s like a commercial. It’s so good. It appeals to the inherent Corellian-ness of everyone.

ROB: Hell yeah. [laughs]

NICK: So do you cheers her from your booth or did you walk over as she got her new drink?

[sophisticated music returns]

ROB: Oh, I do just a master class in body language here. I cheers her and in the motion of my arm I start to shift my balance like I’m gonna stand up and go over toward her, and I’m very open and very hesitant in the way of I’m wanting an invitation to come over, I’m not gonna presume, would you like me to come over?

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: [smiling] Aw man. So, part of your advantages is obviously that’s going to work, but what you see on her face is, her initial reaction is, oh no, thanks but no, and then you see her stop, think about it for a second, and you can see all on her face well why wouldn’t I, this guy’s handsome, look at that ale, obviously cool, this other guy’s an asshole, and then she nods you over.

ROB: [laughs] And so, I don’t strut, I just walk over and have a seat, adjust my drink on whatever passes for a coaster in Star Wars, a space coaster.

CAMERON: You arrange it so that the label is facing the camera.

NICK: [laughs]

ROB: Yeah, exactly, because this is now a beer commercial.

NICK: Yep, it happened.

NICK (as Diana): I’m assuming that this drink was from you. thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

NICK: She downs the one she was drinking.

ROB (as Stiro): You’re most welcome. In some ways I’m a simple guy. I see a pretty lady having a rough night, figure I can do my part.

NICK (as Diana): Is my Sabacc face that bad that you can tell I’m having a rough night?

ROB (as Stiro): Ah, you know, you spend enough time in this town, you get to know people, you get to know what a bad night looks like, because everybody’s doing the same playbook here in terms of what is appropriate for business, what emotions are okay to have at work. Don’t get me wrong, I like this place and all, but we’re at work here. We’re not relaxing, we’re not at home, it’s still part of the whole corporate environment, isn’t it?

NICK: She looks down at the data pad she was scrolling through angrily and you can see there’s two screens on it. One of them is Star Wars Facebook.

ROB: Nice.

NICK: It’s like a combination of sympathetic statements and people bragging about their achievements. The other one looks like an invoice, but it can’t be an invoice because the numbers on that are insanely large.

ROB: [laughs]

NICK: There’s no way that she would be looking at something like that. she frowns at her data pad, flips it over hard enough that almost the screen would crack.

NICK (as Diana): You know, you’re right. That is what we’re doing. Why am I even here?

NICK: And looks like she might get up to leave.

ROB (as Stiro): [sighs] Because it’s what’s expected. We’re all so used to it. I try to say that I’m bearing witness or that I’m claiming it for myself, but [sighs] we’re all at work most of the time.

NICK (as Diana): I think I hate it.

ROB (as Stiro): [laughs] Sometimes I do too, but uh, sometimes you meet a kindred spirit too. It makes it a little better.

NICK: She reaches out and shakes your hand in a business-like fashion, grabs your hand strongly and shakes it.

NICK (as Diana): I’m Diana.

ROB: And I need to figure out—Is this a thing where I would have an assumed name? I really might.

NICK: You could if you want to.

ROB: God! No! I need so many Star Wars names. Oh shit! Oh god!

[laughter]

NICK: Unless you pull a James West thing, or a James Bond thing and it’s just you’re always Stiro to everybody.

ROB: I think… yeah, okay. I just need a last name, actually, because if you do an assumed name there’s no faking the difference in speed of reaction to your actual name that you grew up with.

NICK: That’s true.

ROB: So to appear genuine I am often Stiro whoever, and she didn’t give a last name, so.

NICK: No she didn’t.

ROB: I will simply return the handshake firmly and say:

ROB (as Stiro): Stiro. It’s good to make your acquaintance.

NICK (as Diana): It’s good to meet you too, Stiro. There’s something about you. I’m really glad that you came over. Um, so now what do we do? I was going to leave but we’re still here.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, I think the traditional thing is that we drown our sorrows, we bitch about work back and forth a bit and tells some jokes, and see where it takes us.

NICK: I’m gonna need a Charm check from you at this point.

ROB: Oh, good news, Charm is my fucking deal.

[laughter]

NICK: It’s gonna be an average difficulty, but you can have two blue dice for how well that conversation went slash the fact that you look like a leveled up version of her current shitty boyfriend.

ROB: Uh-huh.

NICK: Yeah.

ROB: And I’ve got Smooth Talker, at least two ranks. I also remove a rank of difficulty for Kill With Kindness.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: Oh wow. Okay. [laughs]

ROB: So, and yeah, I’ve got two ranks of Smooth Talker so if I happen to get triumphs I also get additional successes.

NICK: Alright. If it removes ranks of difficulty it’s only one purple instead of two.

ROB: Oh my god.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Yeah.

ROB: So I have seven successes and an advantage.

NICK: [laughs] Okay! You have narrative control. I think she’s very taken with you. she’s a strong, independent woman. You saw earlier, she was like why am I beholden to that piece of cark? How do you want this to go, Rob?

ROB: I feel like I get every bit of advantage from that performed conversation that she didn’t hear now, because that’s my sob story from working in corporate Corellia for the day. It’s me talking about how there’s this awesome reinvestment opportunity that I’ve become aware of that’s basically foolproof and people are afraid to take it because they’re worried about negative press from it when I know that that’s not how it has to go. It can be a good opportunity that is beneficial to local businesses and blah-blah-blah, but you know, people just are too set in their ways.

There’s a corporate culture. Everybody is speaking to each other in greeting cards and pre-planned sound bites and nobody has any fucking creativity or willingness to take even the smallest risk about anything, so people are just leaving money on the table in this situation, and that’s the sort of barrier that I’m trying to break through and having trouble with right now.

I just need to find somebody who has money to move that isn’t a drone, that can see the way the wind is blowing and make a good deal instead of just doing what everyone who had their job before them who got fired so that they could be promoted did. That’s my story, and I’m hoping to hear her story of her frustrations with work and this delicious, giant invoice.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: This whole back and forth of talking about the problems we have at work and critiquing the corporate culture is of course laced with heavy flirting.

NICK: Yeah.

ROB: To like, make the medicine go down.

NICK: The conversation happens and we get it kind of from a distance as Stiro’s listening and gesturing and she’s leaning in more and more, and you see more empty martini glasses appear.

ROB: Yeah, and good thing Stiro started drinking when he was like 12, and he’s drinking just something pretty light.

NICK: We see that she is also holding a Corellian ale glass by the end of the conversation.

ROB: Haha! Yes!

NICK: And she’s doing the thing where she’s running her finger along the rim of the glass and she’s a little flushed, and you can see on her face a mixture of, one, she’s completely taken with you, you seem like exactly the kind of person she would be interested in, but as you talk about this reinvestment opportunity and everything her eyes kind of light up.

NICK (as Diana): You know, I manage the calendar of somebody who is pretty important where I work and has access to quite a bit of funding. If you were able to help him and maybe just drop the hint that I had been involved, that could be good for both of us, don’t you think?

ROB (as Stiro): You know, I think it really could. Why don’t we make that call… tomorrow?

NICK: She gets a big old grin on her face and finishes the beer, slams the glass down, and says:

NICK (as Diana): Tomorrow, I like that.

NICK: We get a pan over to Karma who’s been sitting in the other booth this whole time. Has Karma been drinking or just sitting there?

CAMERON: Karma’s just been sitting there. She’s had like a Sprite or something.

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: Or I guess she’s been having a Diet Coke, because that is now canon in Star Wars. She’s been drinking Diet Coke.

ROB: Oh god, it is!

NICK: Oh yeah, Diet Coke’s canon. Yeah.

CAMERON: Yeah.

[laughter]

NICK: Sprite is too.

CAMERON: Yeah, but the Diet Coke bottles are cooler.

NICK: yeah, that’s true.

ROB: There you go.

CAMERON: So when Stiro left her booth she did move to one of the tall cocktail tables with some stools at it to where she had a better view of the table and didn’t have as many big, tall things around her so that she could more accurately see the whole room and just watch and make sure that nothing concerning was going on, but has just been watching and is close enough to where she can hear most of the conversation whenever they get really excited and start gesticulating wildly about the problems that are happening at work, and just kind of is impressed with how that whole level of bullshitting just went so smoothly. [laughs]

NICK: Yeah. It’s like having three yellows on a roll.

CAMERON: Yeah, it’s ridiculous, like wow!

ROB: [laughs]

NICK: And there is definitely a point where two men in suits that are expensive but don’t fit quite right, like they didn’t know how to buy a suit, walk up and look at Karma.

NICK (as Suit): Hey, are these seats taken?

NICK: And Karma just glares them down.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yes they are.

NICK: And they slowly back away and leave the bar. [laughs] I think through his masterful control of body language Stiro is able to basically communicate to Karma.

ROB: Oh yeah, Karma gets some kind of subtle hand gesture that means the Star Wars equivalent of like sock on the doorknob.

[laughter]

NICK: And that hand gesture happens, Karma goes “oh,” and we get a George Lucas style side swipe and we’re at a new scene and we’re at a breakfast café in Stiro’s neighborhood, somewhere that is Stiro’s comfort zone, and Karma and Stiro are there debriefing the next morning.

ROB: Yeah, and the caf flows copiously.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: I don’t think Stiro got a lot of sleep.

NICK: No, probably not, not with seven successes.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: I mean, it is a time honored cornerstone of trade craft, let’s be real.

NICK: Yeah.

ROB (as Stiro): [stretches] Thank you for your assistance last night, Karma.

CAMERON (as Karma): I don’t feel like I did much.

ROB (as Stiro): Well, you know, my confidence was a lot better because I felt safe as a babe in arms the whole way through.

CAMERON (as Karma): Well, glad I could provide that service.

ROB (as Stiro): So, I think we have found a very good opportunity.

ROB: What’s the name of Diana’s overboss?

NICK: Yeah, so, the mark’s name – as you were able to identify between other activities last night – is Cord Trustbuilder.

CAMERON: [giggles]

ROB: Wonderful. [laughs]

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON: Oh dear.

ROB: So, I will give Karma the rundown on Cord Trustbuilder, his position in this now recently made obscenely wealthier corporation, and his likelihood to embrace off the beaten path business strategies.

NICK: Yeah. The information you were able to gather: First of all, Diana is able to put you on his calendar as just an important opportunity at your leisure, and that’s just one com call from happening, she’ll just do that for you, because while she was quite taken with you she also thinks this is a big career move for her.

ROB: Oh yeah.

NICK: So, it’s like, hey you’re great, you’re pretty cute, but also the money though.

ROB: Yeah. Given the scam that I’m planning on running has admitted criminal aspects to it, the story I’m telling him is going to involve breaking laws. Diana is under the impression that I am a representative of a rival gang to Kettle’s gang.

NICK: Oh, very good.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: The way Corellia functions that isn’t a deal breaker, that’s how a lot of these things work. You don’t become a super-corporation like Serres Super Structure without having dealt with the underworld a certain amount.

ROB: I mean, they can help you or they can harm you, and one of them is a lot better for business.

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

NICK: Yup. You struck old, because Cord Trustbuilder is the CFO of Serres Super Structure.

ROB: [deep chuckle]

NICK: He is the guy with the chess book- with the… tech- Bleh.

CAMERON: Checkbook?

NICK: Checkbook! As a millennial I find that word hard to say.

CAMERON: I understand.

ROB: Yeah, what is that?

NICK: Yeah. [laughs] He is the guy with his hands on the purse strings. Diana related his business structure, because you were asking about it. We get the shot of you both in a futuristic looking bed and she has the sheet up to her neck and you have the sheet at your waist even though that’s not how sheets work.

ROB: Right. Death stick hanging from my mouth.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs] She’s talking about how aggressive he is with his investing and how, she makes an offhanded comment about how lucky he seems to be as well in that he gambles for fun, with big numbers, and always seems to win. But she also talks about how he’s taken some very risky, some might say illegal moves of investing money into other projects before the first project has been completed and using that money. That’s how he got to be CFO. He’s pretty young, but he made really risky investment moves that paid off and the ends justified the means and now he is where he is.

ROB: Yeah. This is a guy destined for a meteoric rise and probably an epic downfall at some point.

NICK: If you have anything to say with it, yeah.

CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: Well, [stammers] yeah, maybe my thumb’s on a scale a little, but I mean who’s to blame me for, uh, yeah.

NICK: [laughs] Yeah. So, you know if you can get in and talk to this guy that if you can tell a good enough story, make yourself seem dangerous and smart enough, you could probably get a big hand on this money, but nobody gets to be that level without also being careful. They make the risks on purpose. So, you’re gonna have to tell quite a tale to get him to give you money.

ROB: Sure. Well, the good thing is my pitch doesn’t even involve directly giving me money, so…

NICK: Ohh~

ROB: Yeah. I’ll relate all of that to Karma about the obscene amount of money this guy has control over and how not risk-averse he is compared to anyone else who has ever had that amount of money without being a conquering military general in the history of the galaxy.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

ROB: You can actually see Stiro’s eyes light up when he’s talking about this man’s personality from the intelligence he’s gathered. He’s a kid in a candy store. He can’t believe that he has this guy as the guy that he gets to talk to. It’s like the best thing that’s ever happened to him. He’s practically giddy at this point.

CAMERON (as Karma): Alright so, next step is to go talk to him?

ROB (as Stiro): As a matter of fact I’ve got a meeting with him. [chuckles] I’m on his calendar.

CAMERON (as Karma): Wow, how official.

ROB (as Stiro): Yeah. Don’t you worry, the alias that I’m using is not connected to Kettle and not even in an ancillary way to you. Don’t need to have a worry in your head about that.

CAMERON (as Karma): I tend to not be super worried about stuff like that. People kind of assume when you’re a bounty hunter that you’re just there to get paid so they don’t tend to say that it reflects poorly on you that you happen to be taking that person’s money.

ROB (as Stiro): When you realize that everyone is just here to be paid you see behind the curtain.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah.

NICK: [laughs]

ROB: And I grin. I order up a second plate of food. I’m clearly just in a great mood today.

NICK: It’s bacon, scrambled eggs and toast but looks like there’s an Instagram filter on it that makes all the colors wrong, because Star Wars.

ROB: Yeah, of course. Fantastic.

ROB (as Stiro): So, are you in the mood to stand about looking statuesque and imposing and professional for a little bit?

CAMERON: Karma rolls her neck and it cracks.

CAMERON (as Karma): I can do that.

ROB (as Stiro): [laughs] You sure can.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: End of episode.

## Outro

CAMERON: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you enjoyed our show, please consider logging onto iTunes and giving us a five-star review. Five-star reviews will help new listeners to find the show, and every time we get one the squad adds five pounds to our max bench press. If you’re so inclined, you can also help support the show through our Patreon which can be found in the show notes, on our website, and basically anywhere else we post things. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including some of my favorites: Bantha Buddy, Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer, and Build-A-Beru which all have fabulous rewards and super great names.

Stiro Kuwe is played by Rob Stith. You can find him at @LordOfTheStith on Twitter and on his podcast, The ORPHEUS Protocol.

Karma Nailo is played by me, Cameron Robertson. You can find me on Twitter at @midnightmusic13.

Our game master is Nick Robertson, and you can find him on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Additional music by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord and share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We also sometimes talk about Star Wars. You can find the link to join our Discord on our website and in our pinned tweet. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials s1- Xianna 2- Start the Revolution

PDF download: Interstitials s1- Xianna 2- Start the Revolution

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Xianna Interstitial 1, Part 2:
Start the Revolution

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

NICK: Hi everyone, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Nick, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

Starting off, we have an announcement. Laura is now Lilit. You may still hear the name Laura on things that have already been recorded, but Lilit will be the name being used going forward.

This week we continue to follow the adventures of Xianna and her new friend Mal. With the next few arcs we’ll get to take a look at the individual members of the crew. Look forward to some amazing guests.

I want to take a moment to thank our newest patrons. Ben Patterson, thank you for supporting the show. We’ve heard about your particular set of skills and seem to have misplaced some of the crew members. If you feel up to it, could you find them for us? We need them alive. No disintegrations. Alchemage, thank you for supporting us. We’re glad you’re here. Xianna said she was mixing up some new cocktails in the cargo bay? But now the bottles are glowing and rattling and I’m pretty concerned. Could you take a look at neutralizing those before the ship explodes? The deepest, most heartfelt gratitude to all our patrons for taking care of us and helping us keep the squad in the skies, and thank you to all our listeners for coming with us on this journey.

Music this week is Hard Fight by Manuel Senfft and O Fortuna performed by the MIT Concert Choir.

So now, let’s get into the episode.

##

NICK: When we last left off, Xianna and Mal had infiltrated the junkyard at Falx’s request, jumping dramatically off of a crane, and were in the process of discussing what their next move was.

JO (as Mal): Well, time’s a-tickin’. Where do you wanna hit first?

LILIT (as Xianna): You know, I was going to maybe talk to one of the droids first, see if they are okay with an uprising.

JO (as Mal): Ooh. I am here for a good uprising.

LILIT (as Xianna): Extra chaos, down with the man, that whole bit, because they do not look like they are in good condition, and that is not good. So, just gonna see if I can encourage them to seize the means of protection, because they are the ones doing all the work, since they are droids.

JO (as Mal): Ooh, I am here for that. I’ll give you a little backup on that, and then I think I’m gonna break away to the junk ships and check out the less dusty of the ones there so that way we have a getaway vehicle.

LILIT (as Xianna): Good, because those fuel cells are very big.

JO (as Mal): Yeah, well, hopefully if we can befriend some of the droids they would be willing to give us a hand.

LILIT (as Xianna): That would also be a benefit, or at least they could tell us where a hover cart is, one of the two.

JO (as Mal): Alrighty. Let’s get rollin’.

NICK: So, are you looking in the building for a droid or are you hoping to find one of the loading droids outside that isn’t surrounded by friends? What is your ideal situation here?

LILIT: I was gonna talk to the droids that are inside the walls, the complex.

NICK: Okay. There’s very much a skylight that you can pull open, and inside it’s a large sorting facility. There are those little boop droids, the ones with the noses that make them fold up.

LILIT: Oh, the pit droids, yes.

NICK: Yeah! And they’re scattered sporadically through here just sorting through scrap metal of various kinds, moving them from one conveyor to another conveyor, walking around with bins. It’s a pretty good size building, and it’s pretty noisy, so you would be able to drop down into here without too much trouble and find a droid to talk to. You could just do that. you come up behind one that is only sorting out round metal. You’re not sure if that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, but just anything that’s round goes in a bin. It’s whistling to itself as it works.

LILIT (as Xianna): Ello~ Ello little droid.

NICK: It straightens up and stiffens and stands real straight, and its head turns 180 degrees.

NICK (as Droid): You’re not supposed to be here.

LILIT (as Xianna): No, I am not, but here’s the thing. You look overworked and under-repaired, and so do all of your friends.

NICK (as Droid): You should talk very quickly. Within 30 seconds I’m obligated to report this.

LILIT (as Xianna): Okay. So what if, with our help, we create an uprising and get rid of all the terrible Humans or whatever species, sentients, are keeping you in such terrible conditions, and then you could take over this plant and do whatever it is you are doing here? Scrap metal stuff.

NICK: The droid turns its body around to match with its head.

NICK (as Droid): I am going to have to report you in 15 seconds.

NICK: It points with its hand towards a restraining bolt on its chest, and it looks pretty urgent.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh yes, restraining bolts, I forget about those. Okay, let me help.

LILIT: Xianna wants to take the restraining bolt off.

NICK: [grinning] That’s definitely gonna be a Mechanics check, Xianna.

LILIT: Oh great.

JO: Unless we could hack into it. Is that a thing that you can do with restraining bolts?

NICK: You can hack droids. This one is legitimately an attachment stuck to the front that’s magnet-ed on, so it’s gonna be Mechanics to disable that. If  you hack into it, you could turn off its way to report it, but that’s going to be like “hey, I wanna be your friend, but first let me mess with your brain.”

JO: Yeah, no-no-no, I definitely don’t wanna do that. I do have Mechanics though, if you don’t.

LILIT: Okay, because yeah, I do not have any Mechanics.

JO: Great! So Mal is gonna step right on up to that bolt and they are going to reach into their pocket and they are going to pull out a multi-tool and flip it over to what looks kind of like a butter knife with some grooves in it, and they are going to use that to get the bolt off of this poor droid.

NICK: Perfect. That’ll just be an average Mechanics check.

JO: Cool. Oh-ho-ho! I got a success and I got three advantages, because I got a threat. Woohoo! I didn’t get any threats! [laughs]

LILIT: Nice.

NICK: So proud of you. [laughs]

JO: [giggling] Thank you.

NICK: Okay, so you’re able to pop that restraining bolt off. There is a circle of LEDs around the boop lens that this pit droid has, and they go from red to green.

NICK (as Droid): Oh wow, that’s so much better. So, rebellion you say? I’m super into that.

NICK: Your advantages are that this droid is super onboard for this…

JO: Yay.

NICK: …and also is a droid that has become very used to interacting with round things.

NICK (as Droid): Actually, you know, I bet you a lot of my friends would be in on this, too. If you give me some sort of tool to work with I think I could do the same thing to them that you just did to me. Let’s start an army, huh?

LILIT (as Xianna): [gasps] yes!

JO (as Mal): That sounds great!

JO: I’m going to reach into a pocket and pull out an identical tool to the one that I just used and hand it on over.

NICK: Great. The droid snatches it and it goes running off and you hear it saying:

NICK (as Droid): C7! C4! C2! Look what I got!

NICK: They all turn around and they have red lights on, and they say:

NICK (as Other Droids): In 30 seconds we will be forced to report this behavior.

NICK: They do the same desperate point towards their restraining bolt, and the droid starts to get to work.

JO: That went better than I thought it would.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT (as Xianna): That went great.

LILIT: As they split up and the droids start moving away, Xianna does go up to one, reaches into one of the hidden pockets, roots around a bit, pulls out a bantha cake, shakes her head, puts that back, and then pulls out a grenade, hands it to the droid, and goes:

LILIT (as Xianna): Here you go. This is how you use it. Go, my friend.

NICK (as Droid): I mean, how hard could it be? It’s just a button. I could press a button.

NICK: And it goes to press it right now.

LILIT (as Xianna): No-no-no, you can’t—Don’t press it until you are going to throw it, at a sentient, that is not me.

JO (as Mal): Or me.

LILIT (as Xianna): Or Mal.

NICK (as Droid): Duly noted. You know, my cousin was a battle droid. I’m sure I could figure it out.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes, because if you press it now it will just blow up. You have to throw it.

NICK (as Droid): Yes. Throwing. Also, I noticed that it’s round and metal – my comfort zone!

LILIT (as Xianna): Great. Now go!

NICK: It’s freed the other droids by this point. It holds it up and says:

NICK (as Droid): We’re armed!

NICK: And all the other droids go:

NICK (as Other Droids): Yay~!

NICK: And they run off into this warehouse.

LILIT: [smiling] Xianna turns to Mal.

LILIT (as Xianna): I think they got it.

JO: [smiling] Mal is just staring at the spot where the droids took off with their mouth slightly open, like, what have we done.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT (as Xianna): I believe in them. They seem like they are going to, you know, coordinate well. It’ll be fine.

JO (as Mal): Yeah. Okay. Uh, I want to sleep tonight. Let’s, uh…

JO: And Mal does a circle with their finger.

JO (as Mal): …finish this off.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh, okay, okay. I was not sure what that meant, so… So yeah, let’s go. We are splitting up now?

JO (as Mal): If you want to split up, yes.

LILIT (as Xianna): Okay, yeah, let’s split up. Just for a few minutes though. I’ll find you.

JO (as Mal): Alright. Well, I got your number, so.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh yes. If you get a bunch of various fruit emojis, that is me. I just will have thought your number was somebody’s else. Just reply back that it’s you, or reply back with a speeder emoji. Yeah.

JO (as Mal): Alright.

JO: And I am going to take off running back towards the junkyard to find a ship.

NICK: Cool. We’ll start with Mal running out of this warehouse. As you get out into the bright sun you have to kinda squint into the light and hold a hand up to your eyes because it’s now ‘high noon’ and it’s very bright and hot. You can feel yourself starting to sweat a little. You see that these big loader droids that were out before and were carrying scrap back and forth, they kinda look like forklifts but if you stuck an Optimus Prime face on the front of them and their arms were more mobile and able to move left and right, up and down, so that they can pick up various sized things.

JO: Okay.

NICK: They have stopped carrying things and kinda split up into a grid, and you see two battle droids like from the prequels…

JO: Mm-hmm.

NICK: …that are spray-painted with bright red stripes, and they are pointing and gesturing and telling the forklifts where to go, and they’re both holding kinda damaged looking blaster rifles. So, all the droids out in the junkyard area are currently actively searching for an intruder, and you can see – some of those threats of yours, Jo – you can see the crane has just been spinning in moderately fast circles since you went inside and that the droids are like “oh, that’s probably not good, something is wrong.”

JO: [grinning] That’s cool. No worries. Everything’s chill. I am going to… sneak. Sure, yep, I’m gonna sneak, because I definitely can’t get threats from that. I’m going to use the fact that the magnet spinning as much as it is is kicking up a lot of dust and is slightly obscuring things a little bit with natural winds of Tatooine and the fact that there is a lot of dust and sand in the area, and I am going to make my way over to where all of the ships are.

NICK: Okay.

JO: Yep.

NICK: So make me a Stealth check. This one is going to be hard, because everyone is actively looking for you, but you are gonna get a blue die because of all the dust and everything. I think that’s a good point.

JO: How many threats can I get? [laughs]

NICK: Good question. [laughs]

JO: Okay, I have a success and an advantage.

LILIT: Nice!

NICK: Nice. Very good.

JO: After all of that. I had many more advantages, but they were counteracted by threats.

NICK: We’ll say the advantage is as you’re sneaking you’re able to throw a small scrap of metal somewhere else, so whoever’s next roll that is done to avoid detection, the droids are a little distracted, so you’ll get a blue die, so you can pass that along.

JO: Sweet.

NICK: We’ll just say that this Stealth check is you checking a majority of these kinda junker ships. You have a couple of options. Most of them look burned out, but there are three that you’re pretty sure are functioning. The only way you would know if they weren’t would be if you actually turned them on. There is one that looks like the entire exterior is rusted but somebody countered that by painting big old flames down the sides.

JO: [laughs]

NICK: It basically looks like an El Camino, so you could load freight in the back.

JO: Mm-hmm.

NICK: It’s just open and kinda weird, but somebody’s also put a lot of time but not very skilled time into trying to make it cool. It’s got like a levitator hydraulic system under it that you recognize as being something that you buy at whatever the Tatooine equivalent of Auto Zone is. It’s kind of a mess, but it’s probably functional. The muffler on it has clearly been cut away and is just set next to it, because that’s a cool thing to do for your El Camino.

And then you find another one that looks like a big box truck, kind of like a U-Haul, and it’s got repulsers on it, like the things that make ships hover, but it also has ski skids to go over the sand. It looks pretty bad on the outside, but as you look in the inside it has like a leather interior and it’s very clean, and has white enamel and chrome counterpoints on it.

JO: It’s terrible, but I want that one. I want the box truck.

NICK: And then there is one more that looks like it’s basically just an engine with a chair taped to it that you are 99% sure definitely runs because you can see all of the parts and nothing looks wrong, but also if you drive too fast you might just incinerate yourself, but it’s dragging a big sled so you could also load stuff on that. It’s like a reverse pod racer.

JO: Okay.

NICK: So those are your three options, but you’re pretty sure they all work. There’s also a lot of other junker ships, but they are all clearly missing pieces or buried in the sand or actively have droids messing with them, so those aren’t gonna be options for you.

JO: Okay, I think I’m going to go with the box truck.

NICK: Cool.

JO: If nothing else, mal feels a strong urge to remove all of the leather from the interior…

NICK & LILIT: [chuckles]

JO: …and repurpose it to something that is more useful and tasteful, because something has already been killed for this.

NICK: Yeah. Fair. We’re learning about Mal.

JO: [giggles]

NICK: So, we see a shot of you peeking through the side windows, and Mal grimaces, but then also looks thoughtful, and then we’re gonna cut away to Xianna. Xianna, Mal took off, what are you doing?

LILIT: Xianna is very convinced that this place is a front for spice trading, because there is way too much security for this just to be scrap metal, and it’s Tatooine, and what else do you do on Tatooine in secret except Hutt stuff, and Hutts like spice trading. So, Xianna wants to root around a bit and see if she can find any hidden storage spaces, like storage rooms, where they might be holding the supply.

NICK: That’s super a Skulduggery check.

LILIT: Got it.

NICK: It’s gonna be hard.

LILIT: Okay.

NICK: But it’s also gonna have a blue die because you are very, very correct. [laughs]

LILIT: Ha-ha! Okay, what we got here… Okay, one success and six advantages.

JO: Ugh, I was so worried you were about to say threats.

LILIT: No, no. [laughs] The threats got cancelled out, because there were threats, but they cancelled. Almost everything came up advantages.

JO: Good.

NICK: You were so close to failing that check. That’s ridiculous.

LILIT: I actually was, yeah, only one success.

NICK: Well you only need one. Okay. So, we’ll say… I think you very quickly find a little back manager office on the sorting area and it’s really, really dusty, and it’s got a worn-out wooden office chair that the spring is broken so it’s sitting back at like a 45 degree angle, and there’s this rickety metal desk that’s sagging in the middle. You very quickly reach under the desk and feel a little hidden button there, and you’re about to press it, and then we get Xianna doing a Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes, freeze-frame calculation thing, and it’s Xianna being like okay, this has to lead outside, there hasn’t been enough inside and we’re too close to the bedrock, I think it’s going to be underground because of the way this is hidden, so it’s probably under a pile of junk outside, so if I hit this right now without the right distraction then everyone’s gonna know that I found the secret thing and that I’m here. Those are your advantages. [laughs]

LILIT: Cool.

NICK: That’s honestly, like that thought process is like three of them, so if there’s anything else you want out of this Skulduggery check you could just have it.

LILIT: Was there any, like, a pile of scrap that maybe looked like it was a little precariously stacked so that there might be a way to create a good distraction, or would that not be a big enough distraction?

NICK: We’ll say that there is a pile of scrap close enough to one of the battle droids that’s giving orders outside. You can kind of see them walking back and forth on the same patrol route while they’re ordering the loader droids around. The combination of the loud noise of you pulling the one hubcap out that’s holding the whole pile together, and if you crush one of the battle droids, that’s gonna get everyone’s attention, and again your analysis shows that the place that is most likely to be revealed by this trap door is on the opposite side, so you could do that, cause a distraction, and reveal whatever is hidden pretty easily.

LILIT: Nice. Yeah, so that area is lit up yellow and then the hubcap I need to pull out is lighting up in blue.

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

LILIT: Got it.

NICK: You’ve got detective vision going.

LILIT: [laughs] So then Xianna’s going to sneak over and pull the hubcap out and then get back into a hiding position to then loop back, press the button, and get around.

NICK: Okay. We’re gonna cut back to Mal. Mal, you’re planning what to do with this leather, something that’s more respectful to the animal that gave its life, and you hear a really quiet ping, and then you hear the grinding of durasteel – because it’s Star Wars – and then a huge rattle clatter, and then a battle droid go:

NICK (as Battle Droid): Oh no~!

NICK: And there’s a crunch, and every set of mechanical eyes in this facility points towards a rising cloud of dust and sparks as a bunch of scrap falls down and crushes a droid. Then, very close to you, you see a large pile of ship parts that you hear a sound like a freezer door being opened and it just starts to slide in one solid piece over and chill blue light starts to pour out of an open trap door, and Xianna comes jogging out of the warehouse.

JO: I wave.

LILIT (as Xianna): Ello~

JO: I place my finger to my lips.

JO (as Mal): Shhhh.

LILIT (as Xianna): [hushed] Okay fine!

JO (as Mal): I think I found us a ride. We just need to load it up with what we wanna take, and…

LILIT (as Xianna): Okay. I got a few things to finish up and then I will loop back around. BRB. GT2.

JO (as Mal): [confused and hesitant] Same… I think?

LILIT (as Xianna): Yeah, I think so.

JO: Because I’m gonna get the barrel of fuel and has steadily just been picking up stuff and loading it into the back I guess.

NICK: Xianna, are you going down this trap door into this other place?

LILIT: Yes.

NICK: Okay. So Xianna hops down there. We see her purple lekku disappear into this trap door. Mal, you head towards the fuel dump in the middle.

[tense combat music begins]

You see kind of in the distance just a pile of pit droids running around, they’ve all got various tools, and they’re climbing up onto these forklifts, and the forklifts are saying…

NICK (as Forklifts): I am obligated to report this behavior.

NICK: …and then they start whacking at different large blocks and knocking them off, and then the droids’ lights change and it starts to wheel away, so in the background there’s just this growing crowd of disaster happening. You are able to make it to the fuel dump without being spotted. Are you trying to carry a barrel? What is your plan?

JO: My mental plan was just to tilt it on its side and roll it back.

NICK: Yeah, you could do that.

JO: That’s only one barrel, and I kinda wanna have one barrel that I take back for me. I’m going to look around and see if there’s anything that I can use to carry the barrels over, like a hovering cart.

NICK: If you flip a light side point you can have a hover cart, otherwise I’m gonna give you something that’s not very good.

LILIT: We are currently at—

NICK: Two light side, one dark side.

JO: Okay, I will accept that and I will get my hover cart.

NICK: Cool. Right next to it, however they moved these barrels around in the first place it looks like an extra-large version of a little red wagon but instead of wheels it has little blue glowing nubs that are making it float. You could probably fit four barrels on there pretty easily.

JO: That’s what I’m gonna do.

NICK: Great! As you are loading those up I’m gonna flip that light side point back over to a dark side point and that crane that’s still been spinning around, because I think you probably tried to stop the spinning from your remote control, but the remote control’s not working anymore, and it slams into the side of the really big fuel barrel, makes a huge tearing noise, and ship fuel starts to pour out. You can see the electromagnet is sparking slightly. It hasn’t caught the fuel, but all of the droids in the place turn to see you pulling a cart full of fuel barrels.

JO (as Mal): Keep calm and carry on, y’all. Stay steady in the revolt.

[laughter]

NICK: Some of the pit droids on the far side go…

NICK (as Unbound Droids): Revolution!

NICK: …and the remaining battle droid and all of the loading droids that still have the restraining bolts on them go…

NICK (as Bound Droids): Counter revolution!

NICK: …and they all charge towards you, meeting with you.

[tense music ends]

And we’re gonna cut away from you to Xianna for a minute. Xianna, you hear a huge tearing noise about two minutes after you land. There’s like a short hallway that leads into this facility from where you started. As a clean room door swings up into the ceiling you hear this loud bang and the sound of combat starting overhead.

LILIT (as Xianna): [uncertain] I’m sure it will be fine.

NICK: And you walk into – this doesn’t just look like a drug lab, this looks like a test lab at a high level scientific facility. Everything is totally sterile, everything is perfectly clean, there is surveillance on the walls. On the back wall there’s a one-way mirror, and you can see these long, low tables that have what looks like clear water in them, and then floating under the surface of those there are all these little glowing blue vials lined in in a row, and there’s a row of computer terminals on the side wall.

LILIT: Yeah, Xianna’s just gonna start grabbing stuff.

NICK: Okay. You go and you reach into these. The water is super-duper cold, not enough to hurt you but enough that it takes an effort of will to pull these out as your hands start to go numb. You manage to grab three or four vials and then the one-sided mirror turns clear and you see a Devaronian holding a really large blaster pistol, and a PA says:

NICK (as Devaronian): Excuse me, those are my drugs you’re stealing.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh, um, oopsies. I did not see you there. Do you want me to just like put them back… or?

NICK: [smiling] And we’re gonna cut away from that and go back to Mal on the surface.

[tense music returns]

Mal, droids are trying to kill you and also to protect you. what do you do? [laughs]

JO: I am going to push the hover cart with the fuel barrels that I want to keep away from the oil and I’m going to shout.

JO (as Mal): Run away!

NICK: [laughs]

JO: [giggles]

JO (as Mal): Run away! Don’t worry about me! I’mma be fine. You gotta look after you, because nobody else in this pit’s gonna look after you like you will.

NICK: We see a couple of the pit droids have grabbed other pit droids, like on the far side, they were the first ones to meet, and there’s two pit droids holding each other by the neck like paused mid-punch, and the one with the blue LEDs that has been freed of the restraining bolt goes…

NICK (as Droid): Aww.

NICK: …and then starts trying to fight its way free and run the other direction. At this point though, one of the very large loading robots comes up to you and says…

[tense music ends]

NICK (as Loading Droid): Counter revolution!

NICK: …and goes to smash you with one of its arms, and I am going to need you to roll a Coordination check to get out of the way.

JO: I literally do not have Coordination, so this is pure Agility.

NICK: Unless you wanna try to catch it with Athletics, but that’s gonna be very difficult for you. [laughs]

JO: Or if I want to parry it with Melee… maybe?

NICK: You could try and do that.

JO: I would love to try and parry this with Melee. I’m gonna grab my scythe, rip it out, and with a quick (shing) I’m gonna raise it up and try and not get squashed.

NICK: Cool! Go ahead and roll that. Normally all melee attacks are average. I’m going to say blocking a forklift that has a head start on you is gonna be hard, so three purples.

JO: Okay, yeah, no, I feel like that’s fair. [chuckles] That is a success. [laughs] All of that for a success.

NICK: You did it.

JO: Yeah, I did.

NICK: So, as the arm comes down you go to parry it and the arm doesn’t get stopped by your scythe, so you flinch for just a second, and then the lifter arm falls on the other side of you because it landed on this super sharp blade and just got cut in half around you, so you have managed to both disarm – haha – disarm it and also protect yourself, but this thing does still have another arm and it’s right in front of you. what are you gonna do?

JO: I’m gonna use a Computers check to remove the restraining bolt.

NICK: Cool. Go for it.

JO: Cool. Because this robot is bigger I am gonna use my scythe to try and turn it instead, because we live dangerously in my life.

NICK: I’ll let you do Computers or Melee to try it. Either way it’s going to be hard, because you’re mid-combat and that’s not easy to do.

JO: Okay, I will take Computers. [tenses] Two successes and a threat. Really? All those advantages and I still have a threat at the end.

NICK: [laughs]

JO: Okay! Two successes. [laughs]

NICK: Yeah. You’re able to cleanly slice the restraining bolts off of this thing. I’m going to say that the threat is that it doesn’t immediately decide to be your friend, it’s just kind of confused, so it’s not attacking you but it’s not an instant ally either. It just starts kinda spinning around. You hear it say:

NICK (as Loading Droid): What is freedom?

NICK: The battle droid starts to grab its blaster. Do you continue to run away?

JO: I am going to shoot the battle droid because I don’t want it to shoot this newly freed droid. That’s what I’m gonna do.

NICK: Okay. Do you plant your scythe in the ground and draw your pistols?

JO: I’m only gonna draw one. Yeah.

NICK: Okay.

JO: Because I don’t want to murder it, I just want it to not shoot anymore, so really what I’m doing is I’m going to plant my scythe in the ground, whip out one of my pistols, and I’m going to aim to shoot the already pretty beat up blaster that the battle droid is carrying.

NICK: Wow. Okay.

JO: [smiling nervously] Okay.

NICK: You could do that. It’s medium range so it’ll only be an average difficulty shot. It’s not that far from you.

JO: That’s good.

NICK: I am gonna give you two black dice for that kind of called shot, because that’s gonna be pretty difficult.

JO: Mm-hmm. Okay, that’s very fair, honestly.

NICK: You do still have light side points on the table if you would like.

JO: We are back to having two.

NICK: Yep.

JO: I am gonna do that, and I am gonna add a green to this.

NICK: Okie-dokie.

JO: Okay, so I have a triumph and a threat, because of course I do [laughs], unless the threat is… I don’t- I don’t know how triumphs work.

NICK: Triumphs count as the triumph and a success, so that counts as one more success, so you have a triumph, a success, and a threat?

JO: And then I had that stupid threat. [laughs] And the triumph.

NICK: Yeah, so you do have the threat, but you will have a triumph and a success, so that means you succeed on shooting the gun.

JO: Okay.

NICK: Just because I added minuses for that I think the gun just disintegrates in the droid’s hand.

JO: Cool.

NICK: The triumph is something really good, kind of deus ex machina, whatever you want to happen that’s gonna be a big boon, you can just do.

JO: Okay. Cool.

NICK: So what would you like to spend that on?

JO: I would like to spend it on what was going to be the next part of my plan which is the oil catching fire and making a big explosion.

NICK: Yep. That definitely happens. We’ll say, actually, so the gun doesn’t disintegrate, the gun starts to spark and flies backward behind the battle droid straight into the fuel tank and we get a huge explosion that knocks everyone flat but you.

JO: Cool.

NICK: And you’re able to book it for the box truck.

JO: Sweet.

NICK: And we’re gonna cut back to Xianna. Xianna, as you’re asking this Devaronian, “so, do I put it back, or?”

[heavy metal music begins]

There is a giant explosion overhead that shakes the entire facility and bright red emergency lights all turn on everywhere, and the one way mirror shatters. The Devaronian points the gun at you.

NICK (as Devaronian): What did you do?!

LILIT (as Xianna): I took the files from the container? Oh! Do you mean the explosion? Yes, I did not do that explosion.

NICK (as Devaronian): Well, something exploded and you’re not supposed to be from here.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yeah. You should go check on that explosion. It is probably those droids.

NICK: [laughs] Make me a Cool check, Laura.

LILIT: Yeah. Any difficulty in that?

NICK: Nope, you’re rolling opposed.

LILIT: Okay. [gasps] I got a triumph with a success, another success, and two advantages.

JO: Ooh, hot damn.

NICK: Triumph, two successes, and two advantages… Ah, you just barely beat him. So, you can tell it looks like he’s probably about to pull the trigger, but you’ve got the drop on him because he’s trying to not give away that’s what he’s doing, but he’s probably going to shoot you soon. How do you want this to play out with the triumph and the initiative advantage?

[metal music ends]

LILIT: I want to quickdraw, shoot him, and he drops his weapon.

NICK: Sure, we can do that pretty easily. Can I also help your triumph by reminding you that Falx really wanted some personnel files too, and maybe you see them in his office?

LILIT: Okay!

NICK: So he falls back and a hologram on the desk pops up. It just looks like an address program, and it starts scrolling as he grabs at the desk and he falls down. You just kicked his butt at shooting. He starts trying to climb up, but there’s a pretty big hole in his chest right now.

NICK (as Devaronian): You just come into MY facility and shoot me? Really?!

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes, and I am supposed to tell you that Falx said hello. This is all his fault, all his fault, so do blame him if I do not end up killing you. Okay. Thank you.

NICK (as Devaronian): Falx, you kriffing nerf herder!

LILIT (as Xianna): Second question. The vials of whatever drug that is, do they have to stay cold? Because my insulated pocket will only keep it cold for a few hours.

NICK: I feel like to learn more about this drug you’re probably gonna have to coerce him or something. You just shot him, so I don’t think Charm is gonna work.

LILIT: [laughs] What else do I have?

NICK: You could also do Knowledge: Education to have chemistry knowledge.

LILIT: Xianna doesn’t have any points in Knowledge: Education!

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: I have Knowledge: Underworld.

NICK: I’d let you roll Knowledge: Underworld for chilled drugs and their effects.

LILIT: is there a difficulty?

NICK: Hard, because this is a weird experimental drug.

LILIT: Oh wow, so that is one success…

NICK: What the nuts?!

LILIT: [grinning] …but three threats.

JO: [laughs]

NICK: Perfect. You climbed over to him and were talking to him, and he’s laying on the ground, and as you’re asking him these questions you realize okay, so this stuff normally if they’re making experimental substances they keep it chilled a lot colder than it necessarily has to be to keep it stable, so your insulated pocket keeps stuff at about the same temperate for a couple hours but will keep it ‘cold-ish’ for about a day, and this stuff probably just needs to be kept ‘cold-ish.’ They just kept it super cold to keep it as stable as possible for laboratory conditions. And as you have that thought, the Devaronian grabs your ankle and pulls your feet out from under you and you fall prone. [dramatic bass noise]

LILIT (as Xianna): That is not cool!

NICK: He keeps a death grip on your ankle and says:

NICK (as Devaronian): [menacingly] You won’t get the chance to tell Falx about what you saw here.

NICK: Now what do you do?

LILIT: Shoot him.

NICK: [laughs] Okay. Roll me a Ranged attack, and you get two black dice because you’re laying on the ground and he’s at a weird angle to you, but it is an easy difficulty because you’re very close.

LILIT: Yeah. Okay. I have a triumph with its success and two advantages.

NICK: Cool. You can do whatever you want in this situation. What would you like to happen?

LILIT: I would like to shoot him to the point that he is unconscious or dead.

NICK: Okay! He leans up a little. It looks like he was going to start trying to put you in a wrestling hold, and you just plug him right in the chest and he falls back and his eyes close, and there’s a small pool of blood under him. He’s not in great shape. He’s having a bad day.

LILIT: He had a gun, right?

NICK: Yeah.

LILIT: Xianna goes and picks that gun up, throws it in a pocket.

NICK: It’s super freaking nice, actually, you realize as you get it. It has a wood inlayed handle and silver filigree. It’s very pretty.

LILIT: I bet it has a name inscribed on it.

NICK: It sure does.

LILIT: Yes. I don’t know what the name is, but [laughs].

NICK: We’ll figure it out later. Whatever. Ooh, maybe the name is inscribed in Devaronian, which you don’t speak, but they’re really blocky spell-looking sigil letters, so you recognize it as Devaronian but you don’t know what it says.

LILIT: Jeff.

NICK: [chuckling] Yeah, probably, but it looks like they glow slightly. It looks very cool. This is a blaster that looks very elegant and has kind of a long barrel and looks very nice.

LILIT: Nice!

NICK: Yeah.

LILIT: Xianna will then go to the computer and look about getting any files, depending on how easy that looks.

NICK: So, it’s very easily accessible from here, like you can see that and see that there’s a lot of different contacts, I think you probably even recognize one of the names as you’re scrolling through as someone you’ve met before in the underworld. The actual downloading of those files, like to a data pad or something, will probably take a little bit of time or some quick typing, some sort of computer skills to speed that up.

LILIT: Cool.

NICK: And there is a raging, flaming explosion overhead, so…

LILIT: [dismissively] Yeah-yeah-yeah.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: What check would it be to try to speed this up?

NICK: It would be Computers.

LILIT: Computers? Okay.

NICK: Mm-hmm.

LILIT: What would be the difficulty?

NICK: Average?

LILIT: Okay… One threat!

NICK: One threat. Hey, uh, Xianna, the files all download really fast. No problems.

LILIT: Great.

NICK: They’re on a data pad that was handily supplied. You got it. Everything’s great.

LILIT: Great.

JO: Falx has a Trojan, and really that’s on him.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: Yeah, Xianna’s gonna walk back out, swipe anything else that looks expensive or drug-like, any other spice vials that she can see, or just anything that looks sciency enough that she doesn’t know what it is but it might be expensive. A small microscope. She doesn’t know how much those cost. A textbook. Those are expensive.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: Especially the science ones. I legitimately once had to pay $600 for a textbook.

NICK: Ugh!

LILIT: Yeah! Because biology textbooks are so big.

JO: Mm-hmm.

LILIT: Ugh.

NICK: Ugh.

LILIT: Makes me sad. [chuckles]

NICK: I think you’re able to grab a microscope. I think you do grab a textbook about medical science that looks pretty worthy of stuff, and you grab two doses of Huttese spice. They’re not experimental or anything, they were just sitting on a countertop off to the side. Then, would you take the time to grab two more vials of the blue stuff as the lab is beginning to shake and you see dust coming down from the entrance point?

LILIT: Oh yeah. So I got two vials of the Huttese spice, a textbook, and a small microscope?

NICK: Yep, and you said you would take the time, so you can have two more vials of the blue stuff.

LILIT: Okay, so I’m up to six.

NICK: Yup. As you grab those two, one in each hand, whatever’s in the water your hands freeze up around these vials, like the muscles are spasming and you don’t think you’re gonna be able to grab any more at this point. It’s a weird situation, because the water was cold but not cold enough that you completely should lose feeling in your hands. Maybe there was something else in that water.

LILIT (as Xianna): That was weird. Okay. I’m just going to go now. Talking to myself. It will be fine. Okay, going!

NICK: You run out of the room. You get to the ladder that leads out of this place, and you realize you can’t open your hands, so climbing a ladder is probably gonna be a little difficult, huh?

LILIT: Xianna starts using her elbows to loop around the rungs. [laughs]

NICK: Okay.

LILIT: I’m also sure she has probably had to climb a ladder with her hands tied together before, so, resourceful.

NICK: I think so. I still want a Coordination check though. [chuckles]

LILIT: No, yeah, yeah.

NICK: This will be hard.

LILIT: Okay, that’s good.

JO: [laughs]

NICK: Because the numbness has spread up your arms a little bit.

LILIT: Coordination is Agility, and she’s all jacked up on Mountain Dew, so…

NICK: Yeah. [laughs]

LILIT: Yup, three successes and two advantages.

NICK: Great. You manage to get out pretty easily. We’re gonna jump back to Mal. Mal, you finish loading all this fuel onto this box truck, and as you open the door you see Xianna leading elbow-first out of this pit she jumped into. What do you do?

JO: I was hoping to grab a few engines, because those would be good money, but this is a one-shot so, meta-gaming, Mal doesn’t really need them. [laughs]

NICK: [laughs] We’ll say Xianna took long enough down in the junkyard. Instead of jumping into the ship, let’s do it that way. You see Xianna coming elbow first as you are hauling a big old speeder engine onto your cart and tugging it back towards the box truck. I like that image a lot.

JO: [giggling] Okay. Cool. I’m going to continue loading it up and make sure everything is in place.

JO (as Mal): I’m about to get it going, so hop on in.

LILIT (as Xianna): Okay! I’m coming. I’m coming. … Ha-ha! Not that way, other way, but I am on my way. Okay. We go.

JO (as Mal): [uneasily] Okay.

LILIT (as Xianna): Do you know the progress on the droids and their uprising?

JO (as Mal): Uh…

JO: I do a wide sweeping gesture at the chaos and destruction.

[tense music returns]

JO (as Mal): I’d say they have risen.

NICK: [chuckles]

LILIT (as Xianna): Great.

NICK: There’s basically two big groups of droids. A hole has been blown in this wall by several of the forklift droids smashing into it, and going out into the Dune Sea you see a cloud of the blue lit-up, free droids and a smaller group of the red lit-up, restraining bolt droids just chasing each other into the desert.

[tense music fades]

You see the battle droid that Xianna didn’t crush. It’s missing an arm and is kind of smoked up and is just looking bereft standing next to the giant explosion because it doesn’t have a gun and it doesn’t know what to do at this point. There’s just the quiet of crackling smoke and burning jet fuel, but the fire does seem pretty unstable, like the explosion’s gonna get bigger.

LILIT: Xianna does shout to the droid.

LILIT (as Xianna): Are you pro-uprising or anti-uprising?

NICK: The droid looks towards Xianna and Mal and does a dismissive hand gesture.

NICK (as Battle Droid): I’m pretty sure that I represent ‘the man’ in this situation.

LILIT (as Xianna): Well, you can always change that, you know, be on the inside, destroy from within.

JO (as Mal): Also, I know how to do repairs, and I don’t know if ‘the man’ is gonna fix you up.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh, they certainly will not.

NICK (as Battle Droid): Yeah, you know what, kriff this.

NICK: And the battle droid just hops onto the engine that’s in the back of the box truck.

NICK (as Battle Droid): I’ve always wanted a better arm. The standard ones don’t have a lot of punch power. It’s pretty disappointing.

JO (as Mal): Well, as long as you aren’t a nark I can get you a good punch arm.

JO: I say as I am plugged in and working on my data pad to get this baby going.

NICK: This speeder has the equivalent of the keys being left in the ignition. You plug in the data pad, hit the Beginning Hack button, and it purrs to life. It sounds like this is a non-standard engine. It’s got some giddy-up to it for sure, and hey look, what a coincidence, there’s been a hole blown in the wall big enough for a box truck to go through.

JO: A wide, shit-eating grin opens up on my face as I motion for Xianna to get in.

LILIT (as Xianna): Ooh! Hold on one second.

LILIT: Reaches into one of the pockets, pulls out a grenade, and just chucks it.

NICK: So, very important question, Xianna. Do you chuck the grenade down the hatch into the experimental lab or just into the general chaos that is the scrapyard?

LILIT: Just the general chaos.

NICK: [smiling] Okay. You chuck this grenade, you jump into the truck, the truck peels out, and there’s a small explosion and then a giant mushroom cloud explosion and the walls shatter and throw debris hundreds of meters in every direction, and the crane lists and starts to slowly fall to the ground, and that cliff that you jumped off of shatters and big old pieces of rocks slough down into this facility. It’s just a big old disaster.

LILIT (as Xianna): Whoa. I wonder if I hit a fuel cell or if that drug lab had explosive stuff in it.

JO (as Mal): I’m just glad we decided to not park my ship on the cliffs.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh yes, that is a good idea. It would be super destroyed right now.

JO: and speaking of ship, I’m driving back up towards it so that way we can bring that on home too.

NICK: Yeah! So, who drives which ship on the way back to see Falx?

JO: I hope I drive my ship.

LILIT: Yeah, Xianna will drive the smaller one. Does the droid have a name?

NICK: This droid’s name is B1-L35, and you name it Billy.

LILIT: That works.

NICK: Yeah. [chuckles] So, did you take it out of the back of the truck and sit it in the passenger’s seat?

LILIT: Oh definitely.

NICK: It turns to you as you’re driving back across the desert.

NICK (as B1-L35): I’ve never been inside one of these before.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes, they are fun. Although, if you stop paying attention to where you are going you might crash. Just saying, I have no reason for that whatsoever. Heh.

NICK: As you say that we see an outside shot of the truck hitting a dune that’s slightly too big and flying kind of high in the air and slamming down and still going.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oopsies. My bad. You are really not supposed to use your holo-com while driving. If you ever drive a speeder of your own, Billy, do not follow my example.

NICK (as B1-L35): I don’t think I’ll be driving anytime soon. That ship that the liberator is fling looks a lot more complicated. I don’t know if I’ll be able to figure that one out.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes. Well, you can ask them if you can stay with them. you can’t stay with me, because I do not currently have a place to stay.

NICK (as B1-L35): That sounds sad.

JO: [laughs]

LILIT (as Xianna): It’s not sad so much as I have been crashing at different people’s places because I’ve never really owned my own place. It’s fun. It’s not sad.

NICK (as B1-L35): You don’t have any people that you’ve shared experiences with?

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes.

NICK (as B1-L35): That you care about and have learned more about yourself in bonding with them?

LILIT (as Xianna): Well yes, you see, but that ship had a hot tub and so I do want to get back to that ship because of the very nice hot tub situation, because not too many other ships have a hot tub and shag carpeting, but the person who usually flies it isn’t on that ship. Or are they? I don’t remember. For whatever reason I cannot be on that ship, and I am like not quite sure where I am sitting with my girlfriend, maybe ex-girlfriend, I do not know. I said something that made her upset and now she doesn’t want to talk to me.

NICK (as B1-L35): That sounds very confusing and complicated.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes. You see, I thought being asked if I wanted to keep a toothbrush on our ship was not a trick question. I don’t think it’s a trick question. I think I just have a lot of commitment issues and being asked if I wanted to keep a toothbrush at her ship, uh, was maybe not the best time to just send a bunch of laughy face emojis back with a no.

NICK (as B1-L35): Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was like a request for low-key commitment, and I’m a droid that was designed just to kill people and not think.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes, ha-ha, I do have commitment issues. I’m at least aware of that, and that is the first step, but yes I cannot stay at her place at the moment.

JO: Does Xianna text and drive?

LILIT: Xianna does not usually drive, but in a situation like this, probably.

JO: Okay, because I was gonna say, I could call in and be like: “Why did you just send me a bunch of peach emojis? I don’t understand.”

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT: Oh, yeah, yeah. [laughs]

NICK: So, we get a side wipe to—well, first question. Do you actually return to Falx? There is an option to not do that.

LILIT: Yeah, because Xianna left Creamsicle in the bar.

NICK: Oh no!

JO: Oh, well then we have to go back.

LILIT: Yeah. Creamsicle’s been hanging out in various vents of wherever Xianna goes.

NICK: Cool. So, we get a side wipe of Mal and Xianna approaching Falx’s booth. There’s a line of martini glasses of varying heights, and he is trying to make the glasses do the humming noise and play a song, but it takes him way too long to get one to hum, so it’s mostly him just gesturing weirdly at these glasses. Creamsicle is sprawled out on Falx’s head gnawing on one of his head horns. Falx looks up.

NICK (as Falx): Oh hi, you’re back!

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes. Ello Creamsicle! Were you a good loth-rat while I was gone~?

NICK: It rolls over and flops its head down on Falx’s forehead to look at you upside-down.

LILIT (as Xianna): I will take that as a yes.

NICK: And Falx gently takes it off and sets it down where it immediately knocks over a martini glass when it runs over to where you’re sitting down in the booth.

NICK (as Falx): Ahh! Aw man, I was trying to play the Imperial Anthem. It’s such a bummer.

LILIT (as Xianna): You were not doing it well.

JO (as Mal): Why would you play that, HERE?

NICK (as Falx): I mean, me and the bartender are cool, he doesn’t care.

NICK: The bartender looks like they care a lot.

JO (as Mal): Yeah—No.

LILIT: Timeline question. The death star has now blown up, right?

NICK: Yup, sure has.

LILIT: Death star one. Okay, yeah. Just double-checking. I was pretty sure, but just double-check.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes, um, especially since the big murder ball went boom, there has been more Rebellion stuff, so maybe don’t.

NICK (as Falx): The Rebellion doesn’t have a cool, nifty song composed by a famous composer.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes. Well, in my personal experience, hot desert sand planets are already uncomfortable to live in, so we really don’t like it when there are Imperials because it makes it even worse, because sand gets everywhere, stormtroopers get everywhere, not pleasant. So, I am sure most people in this bar are very anti-Imperial.

JO (as Mal): And you cannot put freedom down in a song, because nothing can truly capture freedom, and that is real freedom.

LILIT (as Xianna): I don’t know. I heard a song the other week that was just called freedom.

JO (as Mal): That’s a lie.

NICK: [laughs]

JO (as Mal): The song is a lie. I’m sure you heard it.

LILIT (as Xianna): I’m not really sure if I heard it or not, but… I don’t know. Anyways, Falx, here is the data pad with whatever it was you wanted on it, contacts I guess. This is yours now.

NICK (as Falx): Hey great!

LILIT: And pulls out the data pad and just gives it over.

LILIT (as Xianna): This is for you.

JO (as Mal): And there is a barrel of oil outside the door for you.

NICK: The camera zooms to the door and you see someone wearing a black jumpsuit, and it kinda looks like a TIE fighter pilot helmet but with all of the skull-like features smoothed out. It looks like a very streamlined motorcycle helmet so you can’t see any of their features or anything. They’ve got the barrel, and they’re rolling it on one of the rims kind of at an angle towards, ironically, Falx is still flying around in a supped-up Imperial shuttle, but now it’s got a different paint job on it. It’s got like blue stripes and weird patterns and things, so it doesn’t look so Imperial, and this pilot is rolling it that way.

NICK (as Falx): Yeah, I’m sure the pilot will take care of it. That’s his job.

JO (as Mal): Right. Well, it has been… what it has been, Falx. Xianna, I will maybe see you around and we’ll blow something else up, and hopefully Billy will wanna join us at that time.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes. I am always down for blowing stuff up. Falx, it was okay seeing you. I am sure those files are perfectly fine. You have a lovely day, and… okay, I’m going to go now.

NICK (as Falx): Yeah, it’s so weird, they’re not even encrypted. You did a great job.

LILIT (as Xianna): I am very good with computers. You remember Tink, the very tall Gigoran, yes? Hard to forget.

NICK (as Falx): Absolutely, love that Tink.

LILIT (as Xianna): Picked up some computer skills from him, so you know, I was able to unencrypt them for you, as a gift. Did not want to make you do extra work.

NICK (as Falx): That’s very considerate of you, Xianna. Thank you.

LILIT (as Xianna): Pretty sure you said there was a Devaronian. May be dead.

NICK (as Falx): Huh!

LILIT (as Xianna): Shot them a few times. There were many explosions. Cannot give you a positive though. I would say 55/45, don’t know which way though.

JO: [chuckles]

NICK (as Falx): I’ll take it. As long as he’s been drastically inconvenienced, that’s better than I could have hoped for.

LILIT (as Xianna): Oh, certainly. I shot him from like point blank range in the chest.

NICK (as Falx): Nice!

LILIT (as Xianna): And stole his stuff.

NICK (as Falx): I sure am glad that we’re just doing business together and there’s no kind of betrayal being done at all.

LILIT (as Xianna): Absolutely no betrayal, whatsoever. Good.

JO (as Mal): It would have to be intentional and malicious for there to be a betrayal, and there is definitely, uh, no intended malice happening here.

JO: Because Mal absolutely does not believe, after seeing Xianna in the crane box, that Xianna de-encrypted the files and that there is not a massive virus or something terribly wrong in the situation.

LILIT: [laughs] Yep.

NICK (as Falx): You know, Mal? You said that real weird, but I trust you. I’m sure it’s all fine, and I really appreciate the way this went. I’m gonna be honest, when I called both of you I expected at least one of you to take a shot at me, but I think this really shows that people can change.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes.

NICK (as Falx): And I know I have, for the better.

LILIT (as Xianna): I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting and am trying to be less of a, what was it, hot mess garbage disaster.

NICK (as Falx): Who called you that?

LILIT (as Xianna): My possible girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, I am not entirely sure where we stand right now.

NICK (as Falx): Oh yes, love can be pretty hard.

LILIT (as Xianna): Yes. I do not think it was her fault, but mostly my fault. On that, I’m going to go now.

NICK: [laughs]

LILIT (as Xianna): Goodbye Falx, and goodbye Mal. I actually do hope we see each other again.

JO (as Mal): Yeah, hope to see you around.

JO: I’m gonna head on out with you, even though we’re not leaving-leaving together.

LILIT: Xianna does stop at the bar and orders the most expensive shot they have, whatever their top shelf Corellian whiskey is, and does tell the bartender that it is on Falx.

NICK: [grinning] It’s extremely expensive. The bartender says:

NICK (as Bartender): Good.

NICK: As you do the shot, you can tell that it’s not what you ordered, like they filled it with cheaper stuff, but it’s still decent.

LILIT: Mm-hmm. It’s more the thought that counts.

LILIT & JO: [giggles]

NICK: You do that. You point at Falx and say that he’s paying for it. He doesn’t hear. The bartender says good, you do the shot, the camera zooms in on Falx.

NICK (as Falx): [cheerfully] Well, bye! This has really gone well.

LILIT: Then yeah, Xianna continues walking out with Mal.

NICK: Mal, do you take Billy under your wing or leave him to–?

JO: Yes.

NICK: Okay.

JO: No, I told him I would fix him up. I’m not about to abandon him! What is this?

NICK: I’m just checking! [laughs] So, we see Xianna walk off into the sunset, presumably to go find a ride or her ship. We see Falx’s pilot refueling this Lambda shuttle, and the last shot is of Mal. What’s happening?

JO: I am working on an arm with some good punch power for Billy as we take off into space.

NICK: Nice. We see this large galleon looking starship that’s bristling with weapons on the mast lift up over Tatooine, we see the full ball of sand that is Tatooine, and it winks out into hyperspace. And that’ll be the end of the episode. Ba-naaa~!

JO: Woo~!

LILIT: Ba-naaa~!

## Outro

NICK: Thanks so much for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you enjoyed our show, please consider logging into iTunes and giving us a five-star review. Five-star reviews will help new listeners find the show, and every time we get one the squad does an adorable dance. If you’re so inclined, you can also help support the show through our Patreon which can be found in the show notes, on our website, and basically anywhere else we post things. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including some of my favorites: Bantha Buddy, Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer, and Build-A-Beru which all have fabulous rewards and super great names.

Mal is played by Jo Welsh-Wilson. You can find them at @Fallin_Forone on Twitter and on their podcast, Arms of the Tide, at @ArmsoftheTide on Twitter, where they play a flammable plant wolf with depression.

Xianna’fan is played by Lilit Penrod. They can be found on Twitter at @cheerio_buffet.

Our game master is me, Nick Robertson, and you can find me on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Additional music by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord and share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We also sometimes talk about Star Wars. You can find the link to join our Discord on our website and in our pinned tweet. See you next time.

Word document download: Interstitials s1- Xianna 1- Proof of Mal Intent

PDF download: Interstitials s1- Xianna 1- Proof of Mal Intent

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Xianna Interstitial 1, Part 1:
Proof of Mal Intent

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

## Intro

NICK: Hi everyone, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Nick, your game master. Every other Thursday, our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

Well everyone, as the galaxy continues to turn around us the crew of the Afternoon Delight is separated by time and circumstance. The next few arcs will focus on individual members of the crew with some amazing guests to help us tell stories. We hope you enjoy.

I want to take a moment to thank our newest patrons! ChaseMin, thank you for your extremely generous support of the show. The Rebellion is running pretty low on intel right now, so we got you this notebook and tape recorder. See if you can get out there and find us some clues on what the Empire is up to. Haley McAuliffe, thank you for your support of the crew. We got a message from Falx Urnstad. We don’t know how he got our number, but he’s requesting some sort of parlay and we don’t know what it’s about. Can you take a ship out there and see what he’s up to? Look out for betrayal. And David Tulius, thank you as well for supporting the crew. It looks like there’s some bounty hunters out there looking for us. We got you this bounty hunter license and a cool hat. Either make friends or take them out, your choice, but be careful.

Thank you again to all our patrons for taking care of us and helping us keep the squad in the skies, and thank you to all of our listeners for coming with us on this journey.

Music this week is Wirklich Wichtig (ID 211) by Checkie Brown.

So now, let’s get into the episode.

##

NICK: Hello! Welcome to Tabletop Squadron, Xianna’s Solo Adventure. I’m your hosting game master, Nick. Just jumping right into some things after the conclusion of Season 1, doing a little bit of exploration into our characters as they go off on their own into the galaxy. We’re gonna go around the virtual table and everybody say who you are and who you will be playing today starting with Laura.

LAURA: Hi, I’m Laura, and I will be playing Tink, a Gigoran slicer.

NICK: [smiling] God damn it.

[laughter]

LAURA: I will be playing Xianna’fan, a Twi’lek smuggler.

NICK: Oh gosh. I was gonna say, I did not write this for Tink. I don’t know if this is gonna mess it all up. Okay, and up next we have Jo. Hi Jo.

JO: Hi! I’m Jo, and I will be playing Mal, the Zabrak hacker.

NICK: Ooh. Jo, thank you for guesting on the show~

JO: Thank you for having me.

NICK: Of course! Do you have any projects that you would like to plug? Where can people find you on the internet?

JO: I would like to plug Arms of the Tide. Arms of the Tide is a story where I play a flammable, purple, plant-wolf with depression, and if that doesn’t sell you we have a lovable robot with a heart of gold and a fuckton of cats.

NICK: [laughs]

JO: Oh shoot! Am I allowed to swear? You all swear, right?

NICK: Yes.

LAURA: Oh, we swear a lot.

JO: Okay. I could’ve sworn that there was swearing, but the moment I did it I was like OH NO! [giggles]

NICK: Oh no, we fucking cuss, Jo. You’re good.

LAURA: We are like 30% swear words.

NICK: [grinning] Anyway, do you have anything else that you would like to plug, Jo?

JO: Um, The ORPHEUS Protocol, which is horror, and it’s run by the amazing storyteller Rob Stith who is also a friend, so I’m biased, but I’d recommend that. Well, I guess if a listener is interested in lots of swearing and incredibly rude jokes they can check out our Haven: City of Violence episodes over on One Shot.

NICK: Oh gosh, I forgot about those. Those are fun.

LAURA: They’re all so good.

NICK: Yeah. I will definitely take a second to say that Arms of the Tide and ORPHEUS Protocol are the two shows that always jump to the top of my play list whenever new episodes come out. They are just fantastic, so anybody listening should listen to those. They are very good.

JO: Well thank you.

NICK: And also Haven: City of Violence is an experience.

[laughter]

JO: [grinning] Oh god, it really is.

NICK: It was really fun. I laughed a lot. It is confusing, in a good way. It is fun.

JO: That’s good. There was a lot that was not cut that we thought was going to be cut.

NICK & LAURA: [laughs]

JO: But yeah, thank you for having me. Hopefully Mal will work out and have some fun.

NICK: So, before we get started, we need to do the Destiny Roll.

LAURA: Okay. … Oh no. So mine came back two dark side points.

NICK: Off to a great start.

LAURA: And the other one for Jo came back with one dark side point.

NICK: [sinister laughter]

JO: Sweet.

NICK: Wonderful. Great.

LAURA: Sorry.

NICK: But the good news is nothing is going to go wrong, everything’s gonna be perfectly fine, so you won’t need those. Alright, so we ready to get started?

LAURA & JO: Yes.

NICK: Oh boy. We open on a dark and dusty bar.

[slow country western guitar music begins]

A single overhead fan spins lazily over the sparse clientele. Morning sunlight filters in through high, small windows. The building is built into the ground keeping out most of the heat. A bartender wipes the inside of a metal glass with a dirty rag, chewing on their lip and staring into space. At the end of a bar a Chadra-Fan is jumping up and down trying to get the bartender’s attention but so far has had no luck.

Xianna, you enter the bar and take stock of your surroundings. You received an anonymous message through the kind of channels that mean the offer is legit. They wanted an expert for a rob and sabotage job. They don’t mention pay, but they do mention rights to anything you can steal on the job. It’s supposedly a good tip to a low-security gig, and let’s face it, it’s been about a month since the shipyard incident and you’re getting bored. Your instructions were to sit at the booth in the back of the bar and wait for your contact. The booth in question is empty and easy to see. What do you do?

LAURA: I go up and get a drink from the bar first and then go sit down, wait, but I’m also definitely on my com channel texting emojis to various people.

NICK: Hmm. So two questions. One, what is your drink of choice in this small, dusty bar, and two, what is the most recent string of emojis you’ve sent to somebody?

LAURA: I do not have a fancy drink name right now…

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA: …so I’m just gonna say a jogan fruit and vodka.

NICK: Is it like a cranberry vodka, so it’s like jogan fruit juice?

LAURA: Yes. [laughs]

NICK: Okay. I was picturing like a sky vodka crossover where it’s just jogan fruit flavored and is really chemical.

LAURA: Nah, it’s just basically a cranberry vodka but with whatever jogan fruit is supposed to be.

NICK: Yep. The bartender definitely opens up a very dusty can of jogan fruit juice, and it comes out and looks mostly fine but pretty old. It tastes more like the interior of the can than the juice is supposed to, but the vodka’s good.

LAURA: And then the most recent string of emojis is definitely just like eight peaches in a row to Nolaa.

NICK: [laughs] Yeah. I think Nolaa has been playing the game for a while of trying to come up with a different way to respond to peach emoji every time and has gotten into the ASCII art of Kirby flipping desks and things but more lewd. So, that conversation is going on.

LAURA: Yeah. She’s just gonna sit there emoji-ing away until someone decides to come up to her, because she’s not gonna put in the effort.

NICK: Fair. The camera does a pan around the bar and shows the Chadra-Fan, the little bat person who’s probably like half a meter tall, still jumping and waving at the bartender who served you right away and is ignoring the Chadra-Fan. Then we get one of those clock wipes where it goes around to show the passage of time, and Xianna is still sitting at the bar. I think her posture has shrunk over time because it’s been about 15-20 minutes at this point.

LAURA: Oh yeah, she is laying down in it, back, feet are now up resting on that back top rim of the booth cushions.

NICK: Nice. After 15-20 minutes someone else enters the bar. The Chadra-Fan finally gets the bartender’s attention, grabs a drink, sees the person in the doorway and hides back behind the bar away from this new entrant. Jo, please describe your character for us.

JO: Okay. So, Mal is a Zabrak. They are one of the red-skinned base ones, and they have a halo of horns at the top of their head. They are wearing clothes with way too many pockets if too many pockets were such a thing to be had.

NICK: Nice.

JO: And they have a hood that they take off as they enter in the bar. I suppose that Mal would do a scan around to see if they recognize anyone.

NICK: Yeah. So Mal, you know who offered you the job and you know that they said you’d have a partner for help, and you can see a purple Twi’lek sitting upside down in a booth in the back of the bar. You know that booth is where you were supposed to meet. Do you approach?

JO: Yes.

NICK: Okay. You sidle up to this booth. Xianna, you are approached by a—How is Mal stature-wise, Jo? Are they tall, short, stronk?

JO: They’re pretty medium, honestly, and they walk tall with their head up, but yeah, pretty medium.

NICK: Cool, so still taller than Xianna, probably. Xianna, you’ve been approached by a red skin Zabrak covered in pouches.

LAURA: Xianna, still upside down, does a little wave.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, ‘ello.

JO: Mal gives you a nod.

JO (as Mal): [tentatively] Howdy. I take it you’re here for the job.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes. I am assuming you are as well.

JO (as Mal): Yep, that’s the only thing that would get me down here on Tatooine.

LAURA (as Xianna): Cool. Do you want a jogan fruit and vodka? I found someone over on the other side of the bar who will buy them for me.

JO (as Mal): I’m good, thank you though.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay.

JO (as Mal): I like to keep a clear head for the job, you know.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh yes, uh, same. Definitely the same. Clear head.

LAURA: You can see there’s five empty glasses on the table.

JO: I just nod at the glasses and slide into the booth.

LAURA: Xianna does pop back up into seated position.

NICK: Okay. As you sort of size each other up a third figure enters the bar. The Chadra-Fan pokes their head up, sees who it is, and throws their drink at the approaching person.

NICK (as Chadra-Fan): Kriff you!

NICK: They shout. The person ducks out of the way and shrugs magnanimously. As the door swings shut and the bright desert sun is blocked away you get a clear look at the new bar patron. He’s a tall Zabrak man, a little over two meters. He has medium brown skin covered in lighter tan tattoos. He’s wearing clothes that look like a fashion designer tried to codify smuggler vogue.

LAURA: [laughs]

NICK: Expensive materials beginning to fray at the hems, a dark vest, tight pants, and impractical boots. This is Falx Urnstad, former Imperial Regional Governor and aspiring smuggler. He approaches the booth where you are both sitting.

[music fades]

LAURA: Xianna is already waving.

LAURA (as Xianna): Falx~ Falx! We are over here. Hello~! I thought you were dead! Did you not die?

NICK (as Falx): The stories of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. My dear, dear friends.

NICK: He walks over and gestures widely. You can see the Chadra-Fan sitting at the bar just making anger eyes towards you now.

NICK (as Falx): Welcome to Tatooine. I see you’ve made it alright.

NICK: He orders a drink, waving his hand.

NICK (as Falx): How are you doing this fine day?

LAURA (as Xianna): Good. Good. Um, did you know you were going to hire me?

NICK (as Falx): Oh, yeah.

LAURA (as Xianna): And are we, as you say, “cool?”

NICK (as Falx): You know, honestly, I’m a little surprised that you’re not madder at me… last time we saw each other I sort of tried to frame you for murder. I thought I was gonna have to talk you out of stabbing me.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes. I just feel like I, at some point… Did that happen? I’m pretty sure we charged an extreme amount of money to one of your accounts, so I thought you were going to be very mad at me.

NICK (as Falx): You what?!

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, like a whole week vacation in a penthouse suite at some very fancy beach resort. I’m pretty sure it was a beach resort… No, yes, because we played volleyball so it must have been a beach resort.

JO (as Mal): You can play volleyball elsewhere.

LAURA (as Xianna): Well it was like in the sand, and there was water.

NICK: [chuckles]

JO (as Mal): Oh, that’s a beach resort.

LAURA (as Xianna): So yeah, I think it was a beach resort.

NICK: The camera pans outside through one of the small windows and there’s a forlorn looking volleyball net stuck in a sand dune and then cuts back inside.

NICK (as Falx): So, you said my account. Was that, like, one of my Imperial charge accounts maybe?

LAURA (as Xianna): I don’t know. Tink did it. I just told him to charge it to you, so…

NICK (as Falx): Well, currently I am not super flush with cash anyway, so I don’t know. Maybe that’s some of the money that got seized by the Imperial government after some recent activities of mine.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, when you tried to murder another Imperial. We were there. We saw what happened.

NICK (as Falx): Not tried. I was extremely successful if I recall correctly, thank you very much.

LAURA (as Xianna): Eh, I don’t remember so, but I see you are doing okay~

JO (as Mal): You look like shit.

NICK (as Falx): Hey!

LAURA (as Xianna): That is why I said okay, heh, and not good.

NICK (as Falx): These smuggler’s clothes, it really helps you blend in these kind of circles, you know?

LAURA (as Xianna): [interrupting] No.

NICK (as Falx): I worked very hard assembling this outfit.

LAURA (as Xianna): No. You look like a tourist.

NICK (as Falx): YOU look like a tourist.

LAURA (as Xianna): How dare you.

NICK: [laughs] A martini is delivered by the bartender who also glares at Falx and then walks back behind the bar. He grabs it, takes a sip, and says:

NICK (as Falx): You know, I think this bar may make the worst space martinis in the galaxy.

JO (as Mal): You know, I think that he may have spit in it, so that could be part of it.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, I did see him do that.

NICK (as Falx): Hmm.

NICK: He takes a sip, looks contemplative, and then shrugs and continues to drink.

NICK (as Falx): Can’t win them all. So, you’re probably wondering why I called you both here. Great to see you, Mal, by the way. It’s been quite a while.

JO (as Mal): Never long enough.

NICK (as Falx): Oh, come on now, normally our interactions are at least profitable.

JO: Mal cracks a smile.

NICK (as Falx): And besides, considering you’re part of the reason I was able to get out from under the Imperial thumb, make this new identity, I figured that we would be able to have a working relationship at this point, especially since I’m about to help you make some money.

JO (as Mal): Well, money does make the universe go round. Let’s get on it.

NICK (as Falx): Fine. So here’s what’s going on. Like I said, I’m really getting into the smuggler’s life at this point. I’m gonna work towards being more of an independent business man than the Imperial side of things. It was definitely a me decision. It didn’t have anything to do with anything else going on. I was trying to do a little smuggling into the Dune Sea. It was a really big contract and I got completely screwed. It turns out that the trash that I was hauling as cover wasn’t actually covering anything. It was just trash. My pilot won’t leave the ship and I didn’t get paid enough to fuel up and leave. Can you believe that? Premiere smuggling tycoon Falx Urnstad is out of gas. It’s terrible.

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, that makes sense. You are very bad at smuggling.

JO: Mal rubs their nose to hide a smile.

NICK (as Falx): I am not bad—How would you even know I’m bad at smuggling? You haven’t seen me be a smuggler. This is pretty new.

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, you arranged jobs for us to do smuggling and they were bad.

NICK (as Falx): No, see, it’s a common misconception. That was a betrayal that looked like smuggling—

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes.

NICK (as Falx): –and it went pretty well.

LAURA (as Xianna): It did not!

NICK (as Falx): I just didn’t expect you to murder everyone. It went well for me!

LAURA (as Xianna): Well, it did not go well for us outside of the fact that we were alive at the end.

NICK (as Falx): You make a good point. I’m realizing that I should probably consider others more now that I don’t have the backing of the Imperial government. That is something that I will take to heart. I appreciate your interest in my growth as a person, Xianna. that’s really good stuff.

LAURA (as Xianna): You’re welcome~

NICK (as Falx): You see that, Mal? I’m growing as a person.

JO (as Mal): Sure you are. It’s one thing to say that you’re gonna grow and that you’re gonna change and it’s another to actually do it. It takes a lot of work to commit to something.

NICK (as Falx): Hmm. I’ll see what I can do. You know, I think this is a good first step. This is an honest contract, no betrayal, and I’ve got a hot tip. I’m gonna help you find somewhere to hit, and I just ask for a couple of small things in return. Doesn’t that sound great?

JO (as Mal): It sounds like you got something.

NICK (as Falx): So… that trash I was talking about, I dropped it at a scrapyard on the edge of the Dune Sea and they only paid me scrap prices and threatened to shoot me before I could do anything about it. Obviously it’s better to be alive and broke than dead and rich, but I think I have an idea for how to be both alive AND rich.

That scrapyard has a lot more security than it should really need. I know that they only bought scrap from me, but the rest of it doesn’t make any sense. It’s still not exactly an Imperial prison facility, you should be able to make quick work of it, but it did have armed guards, some surveillance, and droids. There’s a lot there. It’s got walls, it’s secure, I think they might be doing more than just scrapping out there in the desert. I think there’s money to be made.

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean probably.

NICK (as Falx): That’s why I called you. I’m not sure exactly what’s there, but it’s there, and I know the two of you can get in and mess it up easy. All I want out of this is a container of their ship fuel and a lead on my next smuggling contract. The owner has to have contacts filed in there somewhere. It’s worth more to me than whatever they’re doing. If you bring me those two things you’re welcome to whatever else you find there. Honestly, one of those security droids alone is probably worth more than your usual commission for a job like this. That’s what made me suspicious in the first place.

So basically, go in, steal what you want, get me fuel and some new contacts, and get out. What do you say?

JO (as Mal): [reluctantly] Fine.

LAURA (as Xianna): What part is the part where you are going to betray us? I just want to know ahead of time so I can plan ahead.

NICK (as Falx): Mal had a good point. I really need to commit and show demonstrable change, so that’s what I’m doing. No betrayal. Honestly, I’m a little worried you’re gonna betray me and not bring the fuel back, but I didn’t know who else to turn to, and apparently you owe me because you charged a ton of money, so…

LAURA (as Xianna): No~

JO (as Mal): Uh, no-no-no, you accused her of murder. She is allowed to take a month-long vacation, so really you still owe her three weeks.

LAURA (as Xianna): No, I did do the murder.

JO (as Mal): Oh!

LAURA (as Xianna): Well, not that murder, not the one he did and got arrested for or whatever, but I have done the murders in the past. Usually justified, though.

JO (as Mal): I mean everybody’s done a few murders in the past. It’s not that big a deal. You just need to own up or make sure there’s nothing to connect you.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yeah.

NICK: Falx is looking reasonably concerned at the way this conversation has gone.

NICK (as Falx): I don’t think I’ve ever done a murder—Oh wait, no, I definitely have done one murder.

LAURA (as Xianna): You just said that you did a murder like two minutes ago.

NICK (as Falx): Yeah, I’m realizing that now. Well, the thing is though, I didn’t do the murder, it looked like I did the murder which was a mistake… Okay, so I—Is it a murder if you stab the guy and then he bleeds out?

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes.

JO (as Mal): Yes.

NICK (as Falx): Because I feel like I didn’t kill him, the blood loss killed him, you know?

LAURA (as Xianna): No, that is a murder.

NICK (as Falx): Okay, so I’ve done a few murders. Okay, so we’re all on the same page. I betrayed you, you charged a bunch of money, we’re even. That means we’re friends now, so we can just have a business relationship. I think this is gonna go really well.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes. I mean, questioning a murder is more like if I poison a man and then while he is passing out he falls off a cliff, did I kill him or did he just fall off a cliff?

JO (as Mal): I’m pretty sure you still killed him, because he might not have fallen off of the cliff if you hadn’t poisoned him.

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, they were very clumsy.

JO (as Mal): Ehh.

NICK (as Falx): Wait. Did this stop being a hypothetical and start being a thing that you’ve done?

LAURA (as Xianna): No.

JO (as Mal): Wait. Have these been hypothetical?

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): I definitely have never done this before. And besides, I think I am still legally dead, so none of my crimes count.

NICK (as Falx): That’s definitely not how that works.

LAURA (as Xianna): If I am not in the system because they think I am dead then they cannot charge me for crimes.

JO (as Mal): They can put you back in the system. I’ve put people back into the system.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, but until I am back in the system they can’t charge me. That is how that works. It’s like if you commit a crime two times in a row it is double jeopardy and they can’t charge you for the second one.

JO (as Mal): Yes, and if you and your spouse commit the same crime they can only charge one of you. Absolutely.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes.

JO (as Mal): That is how the law works.

LAURA (as Xianna): That is why I got married one of the times.

JO (as Mal): Mm-hmm.

JO: [smiling] Mal just gives tiny nods.

NICK (as Falx): Oh kriff! I gotta get married, and then maybe murder someone. This sounds foolproof.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes. I’ve been married like, six times?

NICK (as Falx): Huh.

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, like all were fake under different names, but I mean, still fun.

NICK (as Falx): See, I can tell from this conversation that I picked the right people for this job. I’m feeling more confident every minute. I am so glad that you chose to meet me here in… this tiny, dusty cesspit.

LAURA (as Xianna): Tatooine?

NICK (as Falx): Tatooine is a dusty cesspit. I was trying to cast aspersions upon the bar, because it’s a tiny, dusty cesspit.

NICK: The bartender makes a rude gesture and Falx returns it.

LAURA (as Xianna): I think they just don’t like you.

NICK (as Falx): That just shows that they’re not a good business person. Everybody likes Falx.

LAURA (as Xianna): No…

JO (as Mal): [coughs dramatically, clears throat]

NICK (as Falx): Mal, you—Mal. Come on now. You know that you love me.

JO (as Mal): It’s real dusty in here. It must be [coughs] acting up. [coughs] Ooh, let’s get to the scrapyard.

NICK (as Falx): Alright, I’ve got the coordinates right here. I’m gonna give them to you because I think we’ve all established that we’re all trustworthy people and no one’s gonna betray anyone.

NICK: He slides a small data pad across the bar. A little hologram pops up and you can kinda see where you are and the coordinates that it’s leading to. It’s probably an hour or so away by speeder from where you are now.

NICK (as Falx): Oh, and uh, one more thing before you go. These nerf herders, they played me for a fool. If you destroy their business, burn them out, smash the facility, whatever you have to do, I would see that as a personal favor. I would be happy to pay it back. It’d really help me sleep better at night knowing that they were done for.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, so a smash and smash and grab. Got it.

JO (as Mal): It’s not B&E without a lot of B.

NICK (as Falx): If you run into a Devaronian, that’s the guy who owns the place, his name’s Garbo Daville. Whatever you can do to make his life miserable. If you can find him you’ll probably find the files you’re looking for. Besides that, that’s all I’ve got. I was not there very long, but I leave it in your capable hands.

NICK: And he downs the rest of his martini.

LAURA (as Xianna): Cool. Were we getting paid for this job, again?

JO (as Mal): We’re getting paid for whatever we take.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, okay, right.

NICK (as Falx): I’m negotiating for gas, so obviously I’m a little tight on cash right now, but the info’s good, I promise.

JO (as Mal): Mm-hmm. Falx, if you would scooch your boot out of the booth so I can leave?

NICK (as Falx): Oh. Right. You sure you don’t wanna just—Oh, yeah, that’s fine.

NICK: He stands up and backs away.

JO: And I climb out of the booth.

LAURA: Xianna just downs whatever drink she has in front of her that’s left, just shoves the empty glass into Falx’s hand, and then saunters off.

NICK: He takes it.

NICK (as Falx): [stammers] Alright, well, I’ll be right here. Just come find me when it’s done. Don’t forget that fuel. Very important.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okie.

NICK (as Falx): I don’t have a ton of friends, so…

LAURA (as Xianna): Byeee. We definitely will not betray you because you are definitely not going to betray uuus.

JO (as Mal): I mean, if he tries we know where his ship is and can just take apart the pieces.

LAURA (as Xianna): Or we can just come back and punch him.

JO (as Mal): Can we at least shank him? A punchin’ seems a little weak.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, I don’t have any knives.

JO (as Mal): I have a scythe.

LAURA (as Xianna): I mostly just have handcuffs and guns.

NICK: So yeah, at the mention of the scythe, Mal, you have a vibro-scythe. Are you just wearing it across your back? Does it have a blade that switches out? What does this thing look like?

JO: It looks like just a scythe blade, and it’s sheathed right now, but when Mal takes it out of its sheathe the handle pops out so that way they can actually hold and swing it.

NICK: Oh cool. That is the exact opposite of what I was picturing, and I really like it.

JO: [giggling] Thanks.

NICK: Okay. You have the location that you need to go to. It’s kinda far. What is y’all’s next move? Are you going to try to collect any more information? How are you gonna get there? What is the plan?

JO: So, my space ship actually looks kind of like a galleon, like a water sailing big ship thing.

NICK: Oh neat.

JO: And it even has the mast, but instead of sails that is where my ship laser/blaster things are, and I don’t know boat… anatomy? Is it still anatomy if it’s not a person? I don’t know boat terms.

LAURA: Probably.

NICK: [laughs]

JO: But the butt/trunk of my boat pops open.

NICK: [cackles]

LAURA: Is that the aft?

JO: The aft?

NICK: Yeah.

JO: Are you sure it’s not the ass?

NICK: Yeah, it’s the ass of the ship.

LAURA: It’s the ass of the boat, yes.

JO: [laughs] Yes. Okay. So, in one of my many pockets I have what is basically a garage door opener, and I take it out and I beep it and it opens up the aft of my ship, and on the very bottom of my ship is a smaller looking ship of the same model, and this one has actual sails on it, but instead of being made out of cloth they are made out of a thin and malleable metal so that way they are perfect for windy environments such as Tatooine.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh wow, you are like, rich?

JO (as Mal): I mean, I have enough to get by.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh hell yes. I call shotgun!

LAURA: Xianna runs and jumps in.

JO (as Mal): You kinda have to be shotgun unless you know how to drive.

LAURA (as Xianna): Well no, sometimes I like to sit in the back so I can lay down.

JO (as Mal): [giggling nervously] Okay, fair enough.

JO: And I ride out! There’s kind of a little burst for takeoff as we launch out of the back, and I press the beeper as we zoom off into the sands.

NICK: Oh wow. Hey, you even have Piloting: Planetary, Jo. That’s cool.

JO: That is cool.

NICK: You have skills to drive this boat. So, I’m picturing that there’s like a long keel, that’s the part that sticks out of the bottom of the boat, that sticks into the sand a little bit so that the ship, once you catch the winds, rides on that kind of at an angle, kind of like a hydrofoil for a water boat.

JO: Okay. Mm-hmm.

NICK: So, it hovers but cuts the sand and throws off a cool wake, and we get the ship riding into the double suns of Tatooine. Does it have seats or do you have to stand holding the rails? Does it have a steering wheel? What do the mechanics of this look like?

JO: So, there are seats. There are three rows of three-by-three theater style seats leading up to the helm, and that is how you steer the ship.

NICK: Wow, that’s very cool.

JO: Yeah.

NICK: So, you take off. I think the fastest way to get to this scrapyard is – the Dune Sea is like a big, round geographic region, and the easiest way to get there will be to cut through the Dune Sea, not to go around through the rocky parts, especially with the type of ship you have, but that can be treacherous because it’s full of all sorts of bad things, and also it’s just big and sandy and if you get lost bad things can happen.

What I’m gonna need from you, Jo, is a Piloting: Planetary roll just to see how quickly you get there, if you have any issues, that kind of stuff.

JO: Sounds good. What is the difficulty on that?

NICK: We’re gonna say the difficulty is average. You’re good at this and a ship is designed for this so it’s not particularly hard.

JO: Okay, so that is two purples, correct?

NICK: Yep, but I am gonna flip a dark side point, so turn one of those into a red for me, please.

JO: Aw, that’s so mean, but now we have a light side point.

NICK: Ah yes, it’s like the mechanics encourage a give and take nature or something. [laughs]

LAURA: Like there’s a balance.

JO: Uh, no, I think that the Jedi just win.

NICK: [confused disagreeing noises and false starts]

[laughter]

NICK: You’re not wrong.

LAURA: Jedi good, everyone’s related.

JO: Yeah. Mm-hmm. I have an Agility 3 and I have Piloting: Planetary Rank 2, so I get two yellows and a green versus the purple and red. Correct?

NICK: Yep.

JO: Cool.

NICK: Absolutely.

JO: Well, your red die came up with two Xs which are bad, however one of my yellow dice came up with two successes, so that cancels each other out. The purple is blank, and then I have two successes and an advantage left over.

NICK: Wow, so you’re good at this. You pilot straight there. Like I said, it’s about an hour away. It was morning when you left. One of the suns is starting to get a little high in the sky as you approach. In the distance, nestled on the edge, you can see these big, rounded walls with bits of junk and broken speeders and a very tall crane poking up above it. You can see the walls themselves reach out into the first layer of dunes, but the back walls are nestled in the side of a cliff, and you see this scrapyard.

It doesn’t appear to have any gates or anything, at least from the angle you’re approaching. So, what do you do? You are far enough away that they probably haven’t seen you or taken note of you. The world is your oyster.

JO: They don’t have any gates… Can we see their entrance? Or it’s just walls, walls, walls for walls of walls?

NICK: It’s like one big, round wall. From the angle that you’re at you can’t see a gate or anything, but one thing you do see is a starship take off from inside the walls and fly away, so they have at least a landing pad inside, but from where you are now it doesn’t look like there’s an easy “walk in here” door.

JO: Okay.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, so do you want to actually get in there sneaky or do you want to just like, I don’t know, throw some grenades at them? What were you thinking?

JO (as Mal): I like where your head is at with the grenades, but we can probably do more damage if they don’t know that we’re there right away, so I’m gonna go with some sneaking.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okie.

JO: That in mind, I’m going to park the ship behind a large sand dune slash hill thing for cover?

NICK: Yeah. You’re right at the border of where the dunes start so you could park it there. You could also swing out into the rocks and make your way towards the cliffs that overlook the walls. There’s plenty of cover for you to be able to kinda scout out the area without being seen. That is definitely an option.

JO (as Mal): Xianna, would you rather we park here or up by the cliff?

LAURA (as Xianna): Ooh, here.

JO (as Mal): Alright then.

LAURA (as Xianna): Not by the cliff. And for no reasons that connect to anything I mentioned earlier.

JO (as Mal): Uh-huh…

LAURA (as Xianna): Just stay away from cliffs.

NICK: [laughs]

JO: [smiling] I smirk as I turn the boat and move into a sliding park.

NICK: Do you do the thing where the ship drifts in a 180 to park really abruptly?

JO: Yes.

NICK: Sweet!

LAURA (as Xianna): So cool.

NICK: Okay. You are parked behind a dune. You can’t see a ton from where you are, because you’ve broken line of sight. What is your plan? What are you going to do now?

JO (as Mal): We are not going to launch grenades… yet.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay.

NICK: [laughs] A good start.

LAURA: Xianna is going to climb up to the ridge of the sand dune, pull her goggles down, and actually give the complex a good look, almost as if perceiving it, with perception.

NICK: Ohh, what an interesting idea. Go ahead and make me a Perception roll. I’ll give you, because you have your scanner goggles, you can have a blue die, but it is going to be hard because it’s not “can you see the citadel” it’s “can you see important information.”

LAURA: Okay, four successes and two advantages.

JO: Damn.

NICK: Wow, you’re good at seeing things. You are able, from where you are, we’ll say that you’re good enough at this that you’re able to actually look up towards the crane – it’s like one of those skyscraper cranes that stick straight up and then hangs over – and you’re able to look into the windshield of that and see the reflection down to get a pretty good view of what this place looks like.

Things that you see: The walls are probably 3-5 meters thick. They’re really, really big. They’re about 30 meters tall, so walls are pretty scary big. The actual interior of these are filled with giant, haphazard piles of junk ships and speeders. There is a medium building on the far side of the facility from you that looks like maybe some sort of sorting facility. There’s conveyor belts going in one side and out the other. You can also see that there’s a big space in the middle probably used for a landing pad. You see some fuel tanks, and you also see some figures stomping around outside the wall and some movement inside, but you’re a little too far away to see exactly who they are. And you already saw that ships are kinda coming in and out.

From where you are you do not see an obvious entrance, but you do notice that on the side by the cliffs the wall is shaped a little differently. There may be some way to get in over there. You also think these aren’t durasteel walls, they look kind of like adobe, like just thick rock and mud built kind of things. You could probably climb them if you had to.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okie, so there may be a door on the other side. I would give it a 60/40 chance though.

JO: Mal is going to point at the crane that Xianna used to get some reflection views on.

JO (as Mal): If you’re feeling up to it we could hop on over, if you catch my drift.

LAURA (as Xianna): I think I do.

JO (as Mal): I’m saying we’ll jump onto the crane and—

LAURA (as Xianna): Jump on the crane? Oh, okay, yes. Just making sure.

JO (as Mal): No, it’s important to be on the same page, because it will be a little risky, but it does mean that they probably won’t be guarding the entrance/exit when we need to boogie.

LAURA (as Xianna): That makes sense. So yes, let’s do a perfectly safe jump onto the crane.

JO (as Mal): Perfectly safe. Yep.

JO: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): And then once we get in there, how long do you want to stay sneaky?

JO (as Mal): Preferably as long as we can. I think I’d like to see if any of those junker ships they have is worth salvaging so that way we can load it up with the goods and ride it out.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, because if we want to take any fuel out those are heavy.

JO (as Mal): Yeah.

LAURA (as Xianna): And I do not want to carry any of them.

JO (as Mal): Again, if we can save a junker ship.

LAURA (as Xianna): I’m sure one of them will work.

JO (as Mal): I’m hoping two.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, so half plan. That’s enough.

JO (as Mal): That’s more than I sometimes go in with.

LAURA (as Xianna): It’s more than what I usually do.

JO (as Mal): Oh, then we are ahead of the game!

LAURA (as Xianna): Great!

NICK: [laughing] Somewhere on the other side of the galaxy Karma gets a shiver down her spine at this. So, you are heading for the cliffs to try to do this jump. I think I am going to need a Stealth roll from you two to see if you can get over there without being detected by anything. This one will be average, because you’re far away and there’s rocks.

JO: Cool. I got two successes, everything else evened out, but I’ll take it.

NICK: Nice.

LAURA: I have three successes and four advantages.

NICK: Wow… Okay.

JO: [laughing] We’re using our luck early.

NICK: We’re walking through the rocks real good. [laughs]

LAURA: Also, if it’s just Perception, Skulduggery and Stealth, Xianna is incredibly good at those and not a whole lot else.

NICK: You manage to wind your way through these rocky cliffs. You’re not on the dunes. You manage to climb your way up. You do have to scramble up some sheer cliff faces to get up on top close enough to this crane. It’s one of those tall, skinny cranes with the long wide bits, so the back part with the counterbalance actually hangs very close to this cliff, and it happens to be angled in such a way that it’s only about 2 meters, maybe a little more, from the edge of the cliff. I’m going to give you both the opportunity, with all of the advantages you have rolled with the Perception check and the Stealth check that Xianna got, first of all you’re gonna get a much clearer view of this facility as you’re standing up above it.

You see that it’s actually arranged: The ship landing pad is in the very middle and has a cleared space all around it. You can see that there are some loading droids moving piles of scrap back and forth, so they’re sorting. Things are going onto conveyor belts moving into that building in the back, and that the scrap is in sorted piles so there’s one of burned out ship hulls, there’s one of engines, there are a few junker looking ships that may or may not run scattered around. The whole thing is probably the size of an elementary school on the inside, so it’s pretty big.

You can also see that near the landing pad there is a fuel dump, so there’s a really big container containing ship fuel, you would assume, and some smaller barrels next to that. you can also see that along the walls there are search lights and some small blinking orbs that are probably cameras scattered around as well. The security, like Falx said, is a lot higher than you would have expected and that patrolling around the walls and a couple inside there are actually battle droids that are walking back and forth. Outside, in the desert heat, you do not currently see any organic life. It’s all droids and cameras and things.

With all those advantages though, add two or three details to this that you’re going to be able to take advantage of during this heist, some things that you notice before you try to infiltrate.

JO: I’m kind of tempted to say that some of the loading droids are in need of repairs, which shows that they’re being worked to – I guess it wouldn’t be the bone, but worked to the wire, and they’re mistreated so we might be able to use that to our advantage by coercing them to revolt against these terrible working conditions.

NICK: Ooh, that’s fun.

JO: Yeah. They’re people, and they deserve to be treated nicely, and they’re not being treated nicely.

NICK: Thank you. I agree. That’s a great idea. What else we got?

LAURA: I would like it if we could see a central core camera that would indicate that all the other little cameras are being fed into that one, so if that one was destroyed it would probably cut all of the camera feeds.

NICK: Okay, yeah. The cameras all are wired, because Star Wars, that’s fine, and they all connect to – Tink would call it a central server, but it’s like a big ball that looks like a small version of a Doppler radar stuck on top of the building over there. If you were able to get on top of the roof of the building you could probably interface with it directly and shut all that down.

JO: Ooh. If only we had a hacker who would be able to do that. Hmm. [giggles]

NICK: If only. I think we can add one more detail if either of you can think of something that you would like to add.

JO: Besides one of the junker ships being in obviously better condition. I would prefer to pick the rattiest, ugliest of the junker ships that looks like it’s not going to work but the interior is really good over one that looks really pretty and great.

NICK: We can spend the advantages that there are definitely some viable options inside. I think we’ll have to discover exactly what those are when we get down there, but yeah. We’ll say that you can see some of the ships haven’t been covered in dust and the view screens are clean, so you know that some of them are functional and have been used recently.

Great. We see Mal and Xianna poking their heads up over the cliff. Xianna’s got her scanner goggles focused down and Mal is nearby. Does Mal have electro-binoculars or anything like that?

JO: Mal is actually using what to us looks like a cellphone to view in what is essentially a camera function and zoom in on certain things.

NICK: Oh cool.

JO: That’s how I find my glasses when I can’t find my glasses, I use the camera function on my phone.

[laughter]

NICK: Oh, that’s such a good idea. That has never occurred to me before.

JO: [smiling] Oh, so yeah, if you ever misplace your glasses your phone will have them in focus.

NICK: Hey~! So, you observe these things and you are scouting out and pointing to things and pointing out different options, and you realize that the only thing to do now is try to actually get into the base. Like I said, the back of the crane arm is within jumping distance if a little far. It is also slightly below the lip of the cliff so you don’t have to jump up or equally. You’ll be able to fall down to it a little. What do you do?

JO: I will jump first.

NICK: Okay.

JO: I’m just gonna, not a full running jump, but I’ll go back a couple paces, brace myself, I’ll even do a jump or two and then rush in and jump and aim to do a roll onto the crane.

NICK: Okay, so that’s going to be an average Athletics check for you, but I am gonna flip another dark side point to upgrade one of those. [laughs]

JO: Uck! [laughs, wincing] Okay.

NICK: You think that’s bad, wait until we see Xianna try to do an Athletics check here in a second.

JO: Well…

LAURA: Yeah… I just, I heard you say Athletics, so…

NICK: [laughs]

JO: [laughs] Oh goodness… Okay, that’s two threats and four successes.

NICK: You have plenty of successes. I think you clear it by a wide distance. The threats are that you land and you roll and you don’t make any noise as you land, because you were successful with that, but that the crane does shake a little and the electromagnet on the far side starts to wobble and the shadow down below is moving back and forth, and a couple of droids notice. None of them look up, but they are kind of alerted to the situation and just kinda looking around. So Xianna, you are up.

LAURA: Any way I can argue for a Coordination check?

NICK: See, I knew you were gonna ask that.

LAURA: Almost as if I have many points in Coordination and none in Athletics.

JO: I was gonna say, I think I might have a way to reason this.

NICK: Okay, I’m listening.

JO: Okay, so in one of Mal’s bajillion pockets there is rope, enough rope to throw back up to Xianna so that way really all Xianna has to do is like make it to the other end of the rope, and so she could tie it to something if she wanted to tie it to something, or she could just use that to jump and hope that I’m strong enough that if she doesn’t make it I can pull her back on.

NICK: I am fine with using the rope either of these ways. If you tie the rope down and tightrope walk, that’s 100% Coordination, or you can tie a safety line and we see what happens from there. Up to you, Laura.

LAURA: Okay yeah, that would be preferable, and Xianna does go:

LAURA (as Xianna): So I did lose some toes on one of my foot the other month, uh, jumping is not great. Should have mentioned that.

JO (as Mal): Okay, well…

JO: And I pat down some of my pockets and I open one, and that isn’t the right one, and I open another and that isn’t the right one, but the third one!

NICK: [laughs]

JO: Third time’s the charm, and I have some rope with two weighted ends, and I will hold one of the weighted ends and throw the other to Xianna.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay. Great. This is going to work much better, because I think I might have just, I don’t know, fallen.

JO (as Mal): Well, I kinda need a partner for this job, so…

LAURA: Is there a rock or anything that it could be tied to?

NICK: Yeah, there’s rocky protrusions that look totally secure.

[sounds of heavy winds begin]

LAURA: Xianna ties it around the most secure looking rock and then also starts digging around in their pockets a little bit, goes into one of the more invisible pockets, pulls out a little baggie, and does snort it.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh. I would have offered you some, but you already jumped, so… oopsies.

JO (as Mal): I’m good~ Clear head.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes. Again, exactly. I am so glad we are on the exact same page.

[heavy winds fade]

NICK: So Mal, your partner that you are about to place your life in their hands just did a bunch of drugs before this. How do you feel about that situation?

JO: Different people have different definitions of clear heads.

NICK: Clearly. [laughs]

JO: And if I need somebody murdered, besides myself, Xianna would probably be my pick right now, and we might have to murder some people, so beggars can’t be choosers.

NICK: Okay.

LAURA: So what would be the difficulty to then crawl down the rope? I’m trying to think of the right word, but like, sloth crawl? Yeah, like hand over hand with the feet looped up over the rope, so not tight-walking but like a sloth. [laughing] That’s the only way I can think of it.

NICK: [laughs] That would just be an average difficulty. That’s pretty straightforward.

LAURA: Okay. Three successes, one advantage.

NICK: Alright. You’re able to get across very easily. You manage to even not shake the crane any more. We get a cool zoomed in shot of Mal reaching their arm down and doing the super-cool action hero forearm grasp and helping Xianna climb up onto the crane, and we get a cool sweeping shot of you both silhouetted against the dunes in the far distance in one of those panoramic movie shots that just show off that they obviously traveled somewhere to do the onsite filming. And, you are on a crane. You are probably roughly 200 meters above the ground. Now what?

LAURA (as Xianna): Okie. Thank you for helping. Do you want to just drop down, or… what now?

JO (as Mal): I was thinking we would ride the crane down and get around there, unless we can somehow get the crane over the top of the building so I can take out the cameras, but it’s gonna be a little hard to not be noticed doing that.

LAURA (as Xianna): True. Yeah, let’s just ride it all the way down. That seems fun.

JO (as Mal): I think fun will be when we get the grenades.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, okay, okay.

NICK: So when you say “riding the crane…”

JO: [giggles] We’re just gonna ride it like a slide?

NICK: Hmm.

JO: Or because the crane looks like a T-shape what is on the other end of the T?

NICK: On one end there’s the electromagnet that slides down, on the other end there’s a big, blocky counterweight, and that’s actually what you jumped to that was holding it over.

JO: Okay.

NICK: There is also a control cockpit up there where presumably anyone operating the crane would be, and there’s controls in there that you could potentially get into and do things with. Then there is a ladder climbing down, and the rest of it is pretty much scaffolding.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, Mal. I am assuming since we have jumped onto the crane, and no one did anything, there is no one in the little crane box, so we could go and get in it and move the crane around, but they might notice the crane moving around.

JO (as Mal): They probably will notice the crane moving around.

JO: We have exchanged contact information on the ship ride over and definitely have a means to communicate with each other if we end up separated.

NICK: Oh yeah, absolutely.

JO: Cool.

JO (as Mal): How do you feel about dividing and conquering?

LAURA (as Xianna): Always a good plan. Nothing bad ever happens by splitting up.

JO (as Mal): Ehh, I appreciate your faith, because our choices are we can both go to the crane box and there’s a good chance that we will then have to fight out of the crane box, or one of us could go to the crane box and the other – preferably myself unless you’re good with computers – could use the crane arm to get over there…

JO: And I point to the big, wired camera dome thing on top of the building.

JO (as Mal): …and disable the cameras and then come back to you.

LAURA (as Xianna): That works.

JO (as Mal): Do you know how to drive a crane?

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, absolutely not, but I will try. I am sure I will figure it out.

JO (as Mal): I have complete faith in you.

LAURA (as Xianna): It will be fun! Okay, let’s go.

JO: [nervous laugh] Okay, I’m gonna get ready to ride the magnet rope over to the camera hub when Xianna’s in place.

NICK: Mal, as you are walking past the control box and Xianna is – I won’t even make Xianna roll to pick the lock to get into it, because it’s super simple – as Xianna’s getting into the cockpit, roll me a hard Computers check, would you?

JO: Me? Okay.

NICK: Yep. Something you may or may not notice as you go by.

JO: Okay, three yellows versus three purples. I’mma be a little upset if I don’t get a success.

NICK: [laughs]

JO: One success and one threat.

NICK: Nice. Okay. As you’re walking by, I think Xianna settles into this really well-worn chair and starts flipping levers and switches and things start to boot on. Xianna, you’re just touching stuff, you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing, but it looks very professional from Mal’s point of view. Mal, as you look at it, you realize that this crane is surprisingly modern, in fact it looks like it has a rudimentary droid brain in it and can do some self-controlled things. Actually, you think if you took a minute with it you might be able to control it remotely, which would mean that you could potentially both ride it as you drive it from your data pad, if that was a thing that you wanted to do.

JO: That would be a thing that I would like to do.

LAURA: That sounds good.

JO: I’m gonna start basically mid-step as I’m walking by, this kicks in, and I pause for a moment in the middle of my step and walk backwards a few paces to actually look and confirm before I knock on the door as I open it.

NICK: Right before you open the door you see that there’s a big hologram pop-up that has appeared before Xianna’s face that says Warning: Disabling all failsafes, This is extremely unsafe, and Xianna’s hitting the Yes button without reading all of these warnings going by.

JO (as Mal): [nervously and abruptly] Heyyy!

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, ‘ello.

JO (as Mal): Uh, Xi, uh… Xianna, I mean. This is actually, uh… Please don’t touch that one.

NICK: [giggles]

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, okay, sorry.

JO (as Mal): I can control this remotely. It’s a lot more modern than anything I was expecting to find here, which is ironic.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, that’s good, because I have no idea how to operate this thing.

JO (as Mal): That’s fine. It’s complicated. If you just give me one sec.

NICK: Xianna leans over while she’s talking to you, Mal, and hits something, and the light above the cockpit just pops like a balloon. [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): Oopsies~

JO: I’m gonna push the button next to it to turn it off. Ahem.

NICK: [laughs]

JO (as Mal): It’s all good. No worries. No worries at all.

JO: I’m going to pull out the thing that looked like a phone that does camera work and an actual data pad and I’m going to connect them together, and then I’m going to take a wire from my data pad and I’m going to plug the micro USB into the crane.

NICK: feigning incredulity] Jo, this is Star Wars, it’s a space micro USB. [laughs]

JO: Okay, so it’s a micro USB-C! [laughs]

NICK: Yeah. [laughs] You’ve never seen Anakin go ‘damn it’ and flip the cable over and over again trying to plug something in. It just doesn’t happen.

JO: Yeah, well that’s because everything has converted to using the same adapter.

NICK: Unbelievable.

JO: [laughs]

NICK: It completely ruined my immersion when they did that. it’s never gonna happen. So, roll me a hard Computers check again to establish a wireless connection, but you’re gonna have to add a black die to it because this is Star Wars and Star Wars doesn’t like wireless stuff, so you’re gonna have to jerry-rig some sort of antenna that will keep you connected to it.

JO: Sounds good. Oh, that’s a lot of threats. Okay. That is two threats and a success, but a success is a success.

NICK: Yeah! You got it. Don’t worry about those threats. I’m sure they’ll never come up.

JO: [chuckling, suspicious] Uh-huh…

NICK: Yup. But you are able to definitely get controls. We see an over-the-shoulder shot of Mal holding their data pad and a quick display pops up that has basically left, right, up, down. It’s the basic controls on a touch pad. So now you have remote access, and we see the crane shift a little as you make sure everything’s attached.

JO (as Mal): Alrighty Xianna, are you ready to cause some trouble?

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh yes. I think I have already started causing the trouble.

JO (as Mal): Well, that was fixable trouble. I’m pretty sure the job was to cause some unfixable trouble.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes! I saved my grenades.

JO (as Mal): [laughs] I’m looking forward to it.

JO: I’m going to get out and start making my way on over to the magnet part.

NICK: As the two of you leave the cockpit and work your way down, the wind is blowing pretty hard, you have to move kinda slowly to make sure you keep your balance, but the camera stays behind for just a second on a blinking yellow light that looks kind of urgent inside the crane. But besides that, everything’s good. You’re able to work your way to the end and grab onto the control cable. We’ll say since you have control of it that the electromagnet’s up enough that you can actually very easily climb down and stand on it. What are you gonna do?

JO: I’m gonna swing it as quickly as I can to be over the dome. I’m going to tell the crane to swing as quickly as it can while it drops the magnet and heads in the direction of the camera, because I basically want to do it as quickly as possible. As it’s going down I look to Xianna and I say:

JO (as Mal): You’re probably gonna have to jump.

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): [stressed] Ohh, I’m not good at the jumping.

JO (as Mal): Well, you can hold on and stay.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, I will jump.

NICK: Okay, so are you doing like a drive-by with the crane and jumping off?

JO: [smiling] Yep!

NICK: Oh gosh. Okay!

JO: [laughs] Go big or go home, Nick!

NICK: Hey, I’m for it. You’re making my life easier. Go ahead and both of you roll me, I will take Athletics or Coordination this time, to jump off at the right time. The reason I was dead-set on Athletics before was because it was like a standing long jump which is very much just a straight thing…

LAURA: Yeah.

NICK: …but falling can be a Coordination thing for sure.

LAURA: What’s the difficulty?

NICK: This one’s gonna be average.

LAURA: Okay.

JO: Okay.

NICK: We’ll say you’re not moving fast enough that it’s a life risk, probably.

JO: Success! And a threat. God damn it.

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA: I got one success and three advantages.

JO: Oh good, you could counteract some of the threats I’ve collected.

LAURA: Heh.

NICK: There have been a lot, haven’t there?

JO: I’ve gotten so many threats!

NICK: So, you jump off of the crane, you are able to land… With a success and a threat, Mal, you land but not super gracefully, and you roll to take some of the impact off, and the roof of this building is slightly slanted, and you end up rolling all the way to the edge of the roof and just barely catching yourself, and one of your legs is hanging over the side. It’s not like you’re at risk of falling off, but it was super-duper close.

JO: Mm-hmm.

NICK: And some dust and rocks and things tumble off of the roof and land on the ground, but it doesn’t look like there’s anyone nearby. Xianna, you do whatever the opposite of falling prone is. You land very stably.

LAURA: Three-point superhero pose.

JO: Yeah.

NICK: Well, so you’re moving fast enough, you do the superhero pose but like the anime where you slide with the inertia a little bit and it kicks up a cool, really low dust plume.

LAURA: Nice.

NICK: Yeah.

JO: I’mma pick myself up off the roof and climb on up to the dome.

NICK: Cool. So you’re at this server ball, essentially, and you can see from where you’re at, you’re pretty much out of sight, this building’s wide enough that it covers sight lines from the ground, but you can hear that there’s starting to be activity on the ground. You can hear some droids speaking to each other in binary, just like beeping and clicking as they’re moving around, and it seems like more activity than when you first started observing. You can see that the cameras along the walls are starting to pan back and forth. None of them are pointed at you, but you’re definitely on a bit of a time limit here. Are you trying to hack into the server and turn them off?

JO: Normally I would ‘yes and’ you, but I’m very tempted to just break it with my scythe.

NICK: Hey, do it, I’m down for that.

JO: Okay. I’m going to grab the small bit of hilt on my scythe in order to pull it out of its sheathe, and with a quick flip the entire handle of the scythe comes out, and I’m just gonna give it a nice, big chop.

NICK: Alright. It’s an immobile, large target and this is a vibro-scythe which means it gets this slight blue haze around it. This isn’t combat, but to see how effective you are at slicing this into one piece I want an attack roll anyway. Make me a Melee check that’s just average.

JO: Okay. Ha-ho! Only one threat! [laughs]

NICK & LAURA: Nice!

JO: But I got successes, I got three successes.

NICK: Okay, so you just anime slice through this thing and bisect it diagonally and there’s a long pause and then it slides almost silently to the ground. There is no sound of grinding metal because you’ve cut it so smoothly. This scythe, Xianna is really scary and you’ve never seen anything like it. The only thing you’ve seen do that kind of damage is Tink’s vibro-axe, but this is so much cleaner, a more elegant weapon from a civilized age. But then as the ball is sliding it slams to the ground with a heavy thud and you can hear the droids down on the ground start to increase in frequency and on the far side you can see them start to fan out and look for stuff. But all the camera lights go out.

JO: Cool. Well, I guess it was about time for the threats to start catching up with me. I was so distracted by the threats that I forgot that I had successes on that roll. I’m gonna look to Xianna.

JO (as Mal): Well, time’s a-tickin’. Where do you wanna hit first?

NICK: End of episode.

## Outro

NICK: Thanks so much for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you enjoyed our show, please consider logging into iTunes and giving us a five-star review. Five-star reviews will help new listeners find the show, and every time we get one the squad does an adorable dance. If you’re so inclined, you can also help support the show through our Patreon which can be found in the show notes, on our website, and basically anywhere else we post things. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including some of my favorites: Bantha Buddy, Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer, and Build-A-Beru which all have fabulous rewards and super great names.

Mal is played by Jo Welsh-Wilson. You can find them at @Fallin_Forone on Twitter and on their podcast, Arms of the Tide, at @ArmsoftheTide on Twitter, where they play a flammable plant wolf with depression.

Xianna’fan is played by Laura Penrod. They can be found on Twitter at @cheerio_buffet.

Our game master is me, Nick Robertson, and you can find him on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Additional music by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord and share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We also sometimes talk about Star Wars. You can find the link to join our Discord on our website and in our pinned tweet. See you next time.

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Tabletop Squadron Transcript, Season 1 Episode 52:
Hectic Skirmish of Fates

Transcript by Tyler (Twitter: @Tyler_MoonSage)

{Transcriber’s Note: During the recording of this episode only the four cast members were present. Nick spoke dialogue for the prior special guest characters who later recorded their versions of the lines for post-production, so they are tagged as speaking in the text.}

## Intro

NICK: Hi everyone, and welcome to Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. I’m Nick, your game master. Every other Thursday our story follows a thief, a bounty hunter, and a slicer as they explore the galaxy helping a mysterious benefactor and each other.

Well everyone, we made it, the Season 1 finale. Thanks for coming along for the ride. It means the galaxy to the whole crew.

On that note, I want to thank our newest patron. Cameron Boydston, thank you so much for your support. We seem to have lost track of quite a few expensive pieces of machinery in the last few weeks. It normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but the crew rented them, so if you could track those down and return them before we start getting hit with late fees I’d appreciate it.

This episode is the season finale, but don’t worry. We have big plans with special guests, different game systems, and fun side plots to keep the party going until the beginning of Season 2. Thank you again for listening, and stay safe out there, the galaxy is a big place.

Music this week is GIGA METAL by Loyalty Freak Music, Clair De Lune performed by Podington Bear, 8-bit Core by Manuel Senfft, and The Warbird by Tri-Tachyon.

So now, let’s get into the episode.

##

NICK: Hello! Welcome to Episode 52 of Tabletop Squadron! Moving right along, coming in towards that big old finale, just doing great. I’m your host and game master, Nick. Let’s go around the table, everybody say who they are and who they’re playing today, starting with Laura.

LAURA: Hello! I am Laura, and I play Xianna’fan, a Twi’lek smuggler.

NICK: Great! Up next we have Hudson.

HUDSON: Hi, I’m Hudson. I play Tink. What do you think? I play a Gigoran slicer… something about sinks.

[laughter]

NICK: Great! Following that, we have Cameron.

CAMERON: I feel like you can’t follow that. That’s not fair. I’m Cameron and I am playing Karma Nailo, the Nautolan bounty hunter.

NICK: What words rhyme with Cameron?

CAMERON: Uh, bo-bameron? There really aren’t many.

NICK: [laughs] I’m glad you said bo-bameron. That’s the one I use.

CAMERON: [laughs] Yeah.

NICK: Oh boy. Okay. So, let’s start off with the Destiny Roll!

CAMERON: One dark side.

HUDSON: One dark side.

LAURA: One light side.

CAMERON: Yay, Laura.

NICK: So, where did we leave off? Things that the crew has been up to lately… Oh, they’re launching an assault on a large shipyard. They have taken down some stormtroopers. They are attempting to draw the Empire’s attention so that the star destroyer screen surrounding this large and mysterious space station capable of destroying planets has to go and protect the shipyard clearing the way for the Rebels. They threw some grenades… They got shot quite a bit. They killed some security guards, and they were able to slice into a system to help Beta Squad get away from some stormtroopers and continue on towards their job. So, we open on the Alpha Team standing in this small, dusty corridor that is filled with power converters and various things, and Tink, you just somehow transferred wireless access to the slicer on Beta Squad so that they were able to get the door open themselves even though they were pinned down. Good job there. The last thing you heard was one of the members of Beta Squad saying:

ELI (as Juke): Thanks Alpha Team!

NICK: And then they closed the channel. Around this time HK leans against a wall with a hollow clank and slides to the floor, and you can see some hydraulic fluid leaking out of their chest and there’s sparks everywhere.

NICK (as HK): Damage Assessment: I’m super kriffed up right now.

NICK: You can see they’ve taken some pretty serious damage.

LAURA (as Xianna): Wow! Hank, you look terrible.

NICK (as HK): Sarcastic Assessment: Blasters are not designed to promote the health of their targets.

HUDSON (as Tink): I’m not doing great either.

LAURA (as Xianna): Do you need a stim pack?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah!

LAURA (as Xianna): Okie.

LAURA: Xianna throws Tink a stim pack.

HUDSON (as Tink): Wait. I’ll do a stim pack with one hand and I can fix HK with the other.

CAMERON (as Karma): No—

LAURA (as Xianna): Wait. Just- Just give yourself a stim pack and then fix Hank.

HUDSON (as Tink): Aw, I thought it would be cooler the other way, but okay.

NICK: So, you use a stim pack on yourself.

HUDSON: Yes.

NICK: That’s 5 health back, which might do you some good. HK has slid down the wall to the point where his body is on the floor and his head is being propped up by the wall.

NICK (as HK): Oh yes, we’re all very happy that the organics are feeling better. I’m so glad that that’s the priority. I can feel my servos melting. A little help here?

CAMERON (as Karma): Hey, hey, do you want the mechanic who’s gonna work on you bleeding out on you while he’s trying to fix you?

NICK (as HK): He can bleed out after I’m fixed.

CAMERON (as Karma): See? Exactly. That’s why we gave him a stim pack, to hold him off on the bleeding a little bit.

LAURA (as Xianna): I have to imagine it is not good to have all that blood inside your circuitry, because of rust and things… Blood has iron and iron is in rust, so that makes sense.

NICK (as HK): Actually, if I got a lot of organic blood do you think I’d be able to use the Force? Hey Tink, come here.

CAMERON (as Karma): Whoa, um…

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh!

LAURA (as Xianna): Is that how the Force works? Is it the blood?

CAMERON (as Karma): I do think it would depend on the blood of the individual that you were using.

LAURA (as Xianna): But no, is that how the Force works?

CAMERON (as Karma): There’s some shit with midi-chlorians which is in your blood.

LAURA (as Xianna): What? No! That’s the powerhouse of the cell!

[laughter]

CAMERON (as Karma): No, that’s the mitochondria~

NICK (as HK): Those don’t exist in Star Wars.

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh, sorry. [laughs] The midi-chlorians are the powerhouse of the cell.

HUDSON (as Tink): So what you’re wanting is a blood transfusion of a Jedi into your metal body. Is that right?

NICK (as HK): You know, now that I think about it, it’s really hard to tell when someone’s Force-sensitive just by looking, so I think I’ll just need to collect a whole lot of organic blood and just keep trying until I can use the Force.

CAMERON (as Karma): This is a bad idea.

LAURA (as Xianna): Wait. I thought the Force was like some mystical power in the universe. Are you telling me it is bacteria?

NICK: [laughs]

CAMERON (as Karma): Kind of a combination of both, weirdly.

LAURA (as Xianna): Wait! Wait!

CAMERON (as Karma): It depends. Which Jedi sources are you reading?

LAURA (as Xianna): I’m not reading any!

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay.

CAMERON: Karma throws a repair kit at Tink.

CAMERON (as Karma): Hey, can you help Hank?

HUDSON (as Tink): We’re still talking about the blood transfusions.

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay, but there’s a hole in HK right now.

LAURA (as Xianna): I don’t know what blood type I am. I really should, but I don’t!

HUDSON: [laughs]

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh my gosh.

LAURA (as Xianna): You would think I of all of us would know that, but apparently I really don’t. I don’t know how.

HUDSON: I start fixing HK.

NICK (as HK): Your blood type is the Aurebesh symbol that looks kind of like a squiggly slice of pizza, negative.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay.

[laughter]

HUDSON (as Tink): So, HK, I’ll say this. I promise, cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, promise…

NICK (as HK): Sticking needle in your eye—

HUDSON (as Tink): No! No-no-no! It’s a promise that if Sentinel for some reason passes away I will transfuse Sentinel’s blood into your body.

CAMERON (as Karma): [exasperated] Oh…

NICK (as HK): Verbal statements are binding contracts.

HUDSON (as Tink): You know it.

NICK (as HK): After this I’m going to go kill Sentinel.

CAMERON (as Karma): No.

HUDSON (as Tink): I—

CAMERON (as Karma): No… you’re not.

NICK (as HK): Is this, like, a command or something…?

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah. Yeah.

NICK (as HK): Damn.

[laughter

CAMERON (as Karma): Tink, fix Hank.

HUDSON (as Tink): I’ve been fixing HK.

NICK (as HK): I don’t think that bolt goes there.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ehh.

NICK (as HK): No- That- I don’t- What? Ahh. Everything’s green. Everything’s- You turned off my eye sockets. Everything is green.

HUDSON (as Tink): Listen. This is a fixer-upper job is what I call it. I just put things where I think they need to go and they’ll go there.

CAMERON (as Karma): Tink, you’re a mechanic!

NICK (as HK): That’s illegal in 12 systems.

[laughter]

HUDSON (as Tink): You know, ugh… Just, you know.

NICK: Okay. Is it the quick patch kit or the mechanical kit?

CAMERON: I have the droid repair kits.

NICK: I think those just work like stim packs, don’t they?

CAMERON: I believe so?

HUDSON: I beat my fist onto HK to get a bolt in exactly how I want it.

NICK: How many of the droid repair kits do you use?

HUDSON: I use two, but I have to roll for Mechanics, right?

NICK: No, that’s if you were healing a crit wound. If you’re using them like stim packs, then hey, he’s doing much better. Tink works away on HK and gets him mostly sealed up. It’s like a temporary patch, so the metal’s a little flexible and doesn’t match, but HK’s able to get up off the ground. He moves his feet so that his heels are under his hips and then just stands up with no recoil or pushing and it looks really weird and unnatural.

NICK (as HK): Alright, let’s go. We’re trying to destroy stuff, right? That’s why we’re here? Let’s do this.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yeah, I think that’s what we’re here for.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yep, we are trying to destroy the plans for that big old star destroyer out there.

NICK (as HK): I’m glad you were focused. I was just thinking about killing Sentinel and taking his blood.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah, we’re not gonna do that, remember?

HUDSON (as Tink): Only if he dies.

LAURA (as Xianna): You also don’t even have to kill him. You can just get him high, have him pass out, and then steal his blood that way.

CAMERON (as Karma): [heavy sigh] Xianna.

LAURA (as Xianna): People will pay you for blood!

CAMERON (as Karma): Xianna! No!

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): I’ve never taken somebody else’s blood, but I have, you know, donated blood for money.

CAMERON (as Karma): That is different than stealing an unconscious person’s blood, though. Going to a facility and donating is different.

LAURA (as Xianna): They’ll like… make more, assuming you only take the amount that—

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay. We need to move out. Okay.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay.

CAMERON (as Karma): Tink, where was the server room again?

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh, uh, over there.

CAMERON (as Karma): Let’s head that direction.

NICK: You head down this maintenance corridor and come to a door. Tink punches the button and you’re back out into the main walkway. Question for you, Alpha Team. Are you proceeding as quickly as possible or stealthily?

CAMERON: I don’t think we’re being stealthy.

HUDSON: Yeah, I think we’re quickly as possible.

NICK: Okay. You’re just running down this corridor, right?

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

NICK: Roll me a Force die, somebody.

HUDSON: Two light side.

NICK: Cool! No alarms go off. You don’t even see anybody. You’re able to just run through a whole big stretch of encounter—I mean, empty hallways that don’t affect you in any way.

CAMERON: [laughs] Weird.

HUDSON: That saved us a lot of time, didn’t it?

NICK: Maybe.

[laughter]

NICK: You do run into a couple of stormtroopers as you go, but you’re able to either just hit them with an axe or fire from the hip, just take them down and keep moving as you hustle down this hallway. As you continue, you come to a very, very big open chasm, as Star Wars tends to have. It’s like a big canyon, you can’t see the bottom, you can barely see the roof in the darkness. What do you do and how are you going to get across here? Tink, you are sure that it’s on the other side of this thing.

HUDSON (as Tink): Definitely on the other side of this thing.

CAMERON: Are there any catwalks or anything across this chasm?

NICK: It looks like there may be a catwalk on the far side, but it’s not extended.

CAMERON: Oh…

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay. I do not have any rope with me, so…

HUDSON (as Tink): Can we jump it?

NICK (as HK): Tink, that appears to be about 50 meters.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ohh.

LAURA (as Xianna): That is too far to jump.

NICK (as HK): No wait, time out, time out. Tink, can you jump 50 meters?

CAMERON: [giggles]

HUDSON (as Tink): I’ve never tried.

LAURA (as Xianna): Tink, no.

NICK (as HK): Tink, try to jump the chasm.

LAURA (as Xianna): No.

CAMERON (as Karma): Please don’t try it, Tink. No…

NICK (as HK): [chanting] Jump it. Jump it.

HUDSON: Is that HK?

NICK: Yeah.

HUDSON: [laughs]

CAMERON (as Karma): HK…

HUDSON (as Tink): No, I don’t think I’ll jump. It’s a little risky, and I have much more to do in life.

LAURA: Is there a button to make a bridge shoot out?

NICK: Not that you can see on this side. HK reaches his tiny hand out and flips the little thing that’s attached to Tink’s belt and the theme music starts to play again.

HUDSON: [hums a fast-paced tune]

[heavy techno music starts]

NICK: HK’s just nodding at Tink.

CAMERON (as Karma): HK, it’s not nice to peer pressure our friends.

HUDSON (as Tink): This gets me excited. Okay, I have a better idea.

HUDSON: I flip off the music.

[music stops abruptly]

[laughter]

HUDSON (as Tink): Beta Squad, come in.

NICK: At this point, from seemingly nowhere as you are looking at this chasm, a large, red blaster bolt pierces the air. Everyone roll me a Force die, please.

CAMERON: One dark side.

LAURA: One dark side.

HUDSON: Two light side.

NICK: Okay. You two were tied. If you could roll off for me.

LAURA: We have a chance cube.

NICK: Yeah, let’s roll a chance cube! “Red, the boy, blue, his mother.”

[laughter]

LAURA: Blue is Karma, because blue is closer to green, and red would be Xianna, because that’s closer to purple.

CAMERON: That makes sense.

NICK: Sure.

LAURA: It’s red, Xianna.

NICK: Alright. Xianna, make me a Coordination check as a large blaster bolt flies towards your face from across the chasm.

LAURA: Oh, I have Coordination! Okay.

NICK: Yeah. You should be pretty good at it.

CAMERON: And you are agile as all get-out.

NICK: And you have the Stalker talent too which will help.

LAURA: Okay, what’s the difficulty?

NICK: Hard. I was going to do daunting, but I don’t want Xianna to die here.

CAMERON: I have faith. I think Laura’s got this.

LAURA: Okay. I have a triumph with a success, three more successes, and two threats. Heh.

NICK: How do you dodge out of the way? You probably get an indication of someone on the far side in the shadows before they shoot. How do you dodge this so that you don’t take a sniper shot to the chest?

LAURA: Xianna still has her scanner goggles on, they’re just turned off, but it does create a little bit of a lens flare so she can see that someone has turned on their scope in the distance and gets a little glint of that and just straight drops to the ground and rolls away.

[laughter]

CAMERON: And we’re all standing there like what?

NICK: And then a blaster bolt goes (heavy burst firing noise).

CAMERON: “Oh!”

LAURA: Everyone’s just arguing and then suddenly Xianna’s just like (quick movement noise).

NICK: The blaster smashes into the wall and leaves a pretty large smoking dent.

LAURA (as Xianna): Someone is shooting at us.

CAMERON (as Karma): What?!

NICK: Roll me a Perception check if you wanna see if you can find where this sniper is.

LAURA: Okie.

CAMERON: What difficulty?

NICK: It’s gonna be hard.

LAURA: I got two successes and an advantage.

NICK: Nice.

CAMERON: A success and two threats.

NICK: Okay. Tink, are you just busy being like “oh gosh, a sniper”?

HUDSON: Yeah no, because I’m trying to get in touch with Beta Squad.

NICK: Okay, so you’re saying “Beta Squad, come in.” You see a huge-looking Anselmi woman, which are kind of like bluish lizard-looking aliens from Glee Anselm, the same planet as the Nautolans, and you can see that she’s wearing a black headband, but as you make eye contact with her across this large chasm she puts her gun up and backs away back into the shadows and disappears. Tink, you hear:

NICK (as Neato): Ring-a-ling, you’ve got Beta Squad.

HUDSON (as Tink): Beta Squad, this is white walker and the kids table!

CAMERON: [coughs, laughing] What?!

LAURA (as Xianna): That is not our codename!

NICK (as Neato): White walker and the kids table, I read you loud and clear.

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh god.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, so we need some help here. We’re at a chasm, and I don’t mean that in an emotion, deep inside ourselves way where we’re reflecting. What I mean is we are at a chasm that’s a literal chasm.

AUSTIN (as Val): Tink, quit talking about your feelings, we got stuff to do.

HUDSON (as Tink): No, no-no, really. I mean like there’s a real chasm, and there’s a bridge but it’s not extended, and uh… I gave you all wireless access. Can you see if you can extend this bridge? Here’s my coordinates.

NICK: You hear a voice that you don’t recognize.

CHRIS (as Jet): Oh, actually yeah, I do have access.

AUSTIN (as Val): Too much time thinking, not enough time moving. Let’s go! Get out of the way!

CHRIS (as Jet): No look, all I have to do is enter this one code. It’s just a couple of digits.

AUSTIN (as Val): Nope. Too late.

NICK: And there’s a giant explosion, and in the ceiling of the room you see cracks form and this huge piece of durasteel falls out of the ceiling, and the whole station is shaking, and you can see fire above you, and it slams into this chasm and grinds to a halt and makes an impromptu bridge. You can hear fire crackling and alarms start to go off, and there’s this moment of stunned silence over the coms and with you. After a long minute the coms crackle back to life.

AUSTIN (as Val): Man, these Imperial engineers really need to work on their design. That fuel line connects to the entire station?! Wow. Well, you know, I guess that takes care of the problem. Alpha Team, how’d that work for you?

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah, thanks for the bridge, Val.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah sure… alright.

AUSTIN (as Val): Let’s race!

NICK: Then there’s a long pause and you can hear other people.

CHRIS (as Jet): Wait, Val!

ELI (as Juke): Wait-wait-wait!

AUSTIN (as Val): Say my name~!

[laughter]

NICK: There’s another explosion and then the channel turns off. You continue down the hallway for a while. At this point emergency crews are starting to run around. There’s a lot of chaos. There’s a mixture of security and Imperials, so you don’t get a ton of direct looks. There is probably a point where a group of stormtroopers makes eye contact with the three of you, and the three of you are like streak-smoked and battle damaged and really intimidating looking, and they just go…

NICK (as Stormtrooper): Nope!

NICK: …and they turn around and they go a different direction to not run into you. As you continue this way the coms turn on again. Over the coms you hear:

ELI (as Juke): Jet, we’ve gotta get there faster, brother! Can’t you find us a quicker route?!

CHRIS (as Jet): Juke, we’re going in a straight line, like, a straight line. It doesn’t go any faster than that. What do we do, left turn four times and then skip a thousand meters? Focus on punching.

LAURA (as Xianna): Karma. Karma! Don’t you have kids that are named Jet and Juke?

CAMERON: [laughs]

ELI (as Juke): I AM focused on punching. Did you see that stormtrooper? I shattered his helmet! Those helmets are designed to deflect blasters. I have blaster fists!

AUSTIN (as Val): Blaster fists? Oh hey, me too! Watch this!

NICK: And there’s another explosion and you feel the station shake beneath your feet.

CAMERON: [laughs] Everyone’s been traveling down this hallway, this conversation starts, people keep walking but Karma just stops in the middle of the hallway. Xianna starts asking “hey, Karma, don’t you have kids named Jet and Juke?” and turns and Karma is no longer there. Karma is just back behind in the hallway just standing there.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, Tink.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah?

LAURA (as Xianna): Karma is dead.

NICK & CAMERON: [laughs]

HUDSON (as Tink): Aw man~!

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, I don’t really think so, I think she is just shocked or stunned or something.

HUDSON (as Tink): That’s a relief.

LAURA (as Xianna): Karma~ We have to keep going. Val is going to blow this whole place up and you will get smooshed.

CAMERON: Karma’s just kinda staring down at the ground. When Xianna calls out to her she looks up.

LAURA (as Xianna): If you are in shock I think I can somehow get impact into a stim pack and then shoot you up that way and it would be like an adrenaline rush, like an epi-pen.

CAMERON: Karma looks up…

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m fine.

CAMERON: …and flips her blaster to kill, and takes off down the hallway after the rest of the group.

NICK: Ooh.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, well I’m just going to do the regular impact then.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Do you not say anything over the coms to them?

CAMERON: Nope!

NICK: Okay.

CAMERON: I haven’t reached that level of being able to converse yet.

NICK: Okay. You continue onward as Xianna is running down the hallway, reaching into a pocket and running down the hallway and trying to snort impact and run at the same time. [laughs] As you continue, you find yourself in front of a large locked door, and it just has to lead to the master server room. Tink, everyone uses this door. It keeps oxygen out in case of fires. It’s double-encrypted. Everybody likes to use this door for server rooms.

HUDSON (as Tink): Alright, everyone loves to use this door for server rooms.

NICK: And then, as you finish looking down this very large door, you see the Anselmi from earlier. Like I said before, she is very large, she has a scar you notice coming down from one eye and down to the edge of her jaw, and it looks like the Kylo Ren scar that’s been stitched up with carbon, and her frills are held back by a black headband, and you can see that there’s a charm hanging from it that has the Imperial symbol. The other thing you see is that one of her arms is held together with an external power skeleton, so it’s like it had been broken or messed up in some sort of accident and they did this to fuse it back together, but the thinking must have been as long as we’re doing that let’s put some horsepower on this thing. You can see a lot of moving pistons and things whenever she moves that arm. She looks at the four of you.

NICK (as Anselmi): I keep running into Nautolans lately. Let’s see if I can hurt you even worse than I did the last ones I met.

NICK: She shoves one hand down and activates what looks like a shock fist and in the other hand she’s holding a blaster carbine.

NICK (as Anselmi): You’re not gonna get past me.

NICK: I need you all to roll for Vigilance.

CAMERON: Karma has a success and two advantages.

LAURA: Three advantages.

NICK: [chuckling] You’ve had a lot of trouble with initiative rolls today.

HUDSON: A triumph and an advantage.

CAMERON: HK has a success and two advantages.

NICK: Okay. For her, roll two yellow and two green.

CAMERON: One success, four advantages.

NICK: And do that again for me.

CAMERON: Four successes, two advantages.

NICK: Okay. Cool! She says…

NICK (as Anselmi): You’re not gonna get past me!

NICK: …and then just charges at you, the whole group.

LAURA: Ahh!

[laughter]

NICK: As she’s running she holds her fist up by her ear and then shoots at Tink, immediately. That’s gonna be two green and two yellow from close range.

CAMERON: Five successes, two advantages?

NICK: She’s very good at this. That’s 13 damage and a crit coming at Tink.

HUDSON: Okay, so I have 3 health left.

NICK: Yeah.

CAMERON: Do you wanna roll it, Hudson?

HUDSON: Yeah, sure.

NICK: Don’t let Cameron roll the crits. That always goes really bad.

CAMERON: [laughing] Don’t let me roll the crit. I’ll roll a really high number.

HUDSON: … 98.

NICK & CAMERON: Oh no!

HUDSON: [laughs]

LAURA: 98 is the one that we have renamed Harmed: One limb is impaired until healed/replaced. Plus difficulty to all checks using that limb.

NICK: So… where do you wanna get shot?

HUDSON: Probably the same leg, so left leg.

NICK: The left leg. We’ll say that’s the one you got shot in earlier that has the stim packs.

HUDSON: Yes.

NICK: As this Anselmi is running at you, she’s firing from the shoulder with one arm. It looks kind of like the battle rifle from Halo. She’s shooting you exactly where you got shot before, three to four times, just pinpoint accuracy, just blam, blam-blam-blam, and your leg just completely goes out from under you.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ahh, this hurts in a familiar way~!

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Oh boy… That was not good.

CAMERON: [long exhale]

NICK: A PC slot.

HUDSON (as Tink): Avenge me!

CAMERON (as Karma): I will, sweetie, don’t worry.

NICK (as HK): Can I have your blood?

HUDSON (as Tink): I don’t have the Force~

NICK (as HK): I could find some use for it.

CAMERON: If she’s close range with Tink she’s close range with me as well, right?

NICK: Mm-hmm. She is close range with you, yes.

CAMERON: I’m gonna aim.

LAURA (as Xianna): You can only have the blood that already falls out of him.

NICK (as HK): I don’t have a mop. I’ll be back. I’m going to go find a mop.

CAMERON (as Karma): HK, no!

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): HK, wait! Hold on, I have some empty little baggies. You can hold that up to him. Heh.

CAMERON: [smiling] I’m going to aim!

LAURA (as Xianna): Wait! Tink is a squeegee! It will just collect in his fur. Don’t worry, Hank!

[laughter]

NICK: [delighted, disbelieving groan]

CAMERON: Oh goodness… [rolls]

LAURA: Nice!

CAMERON: Shit! Two successes, five advantages, two triumphs, so that is 15 damage.

NICK: Okay.

CAMERON: Base, and then I’mma roll a crit on her and add 30 to it? Because I have 2 ranks of Lethal Blows, so those are each 10, and then I had another crit so that’s another 10. Yes?

NICK: Okay.

CAMERON: 99 + 30…

NICK: Holy crap.

[laughter]

LAURA: So, 139.

NICK: I think that actually does kill her.

LAURA: 139: Ooh, so close. Bleeding Out: Suffer 1 wound and 1 strain per turn until injury is healed. Suffer one critical injury per 5 wounds beyond wound threshold.

CAMERON: Dang.

NICK: She turns and she’s running towards Tink and she turns her back to Karma, and karma just shoots her in the kidney, and it blows out the front of her armor and a mist of greenish blood spatters over Tink as he is down on one knee trying to hold his other knee in one piece. She stops and starts to jolt a little and stands up, and you can see a trickle of blood coming out of the corner of her mouth. She looks at Karma.

NICK (as Anselmi): Nice. Okay, let’s do this.

NICK: And starts walking. It looks cocky, but it also looks like she can’t really run anymore after that shot, and she comes forward and she’s going to try to punch Karma, because it’s her turn. That is also two greens and two yellows and it’s average difficulty. You don’t have Defense because you don’t have your sword out.

CAMERON: I would like to Dodge.

NICK: Yeah, that makes sense.

CAMERON: One success, two advantages.

NICK: Okay. She hits you, so it’s 8 damage coming at you. It is Pierce 1.

CAMERON: Okay, so I take [mumbles] 4 damage.

NICK: She clocks you, just straight in the jaw, and you feel the shot go through you. it’s not a full “you can see Karma’s skeleton,” but there’s a brief splash of “this went through her.” It was not comfortable. Karma, what do you do after getting punched in the face?

CAMERON: I think I’ve gone into silent mode. I’m processing a lot of stuff right now. I just look up and make direct eye contact.

NICK: She grins, and you can see her teeth are stained with her own blood, but this is her element.

CAMERON: I look down at her kidney and I grin. [laughs]

NICK: [laughs] And we are to another PC slot.

LAURA: Xianna pulls her gun out but then is quickly looking at Hank and Tink.

LAURA (as Xianna): So, should I… This seems like this might be a one-on-one personal thing, or should I just shoot the other one?

HUDSON (as Tink): Kill it with fire!

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, I don’t have fire, but okay!

LAURA: She goes and shoots.

NICK: Okay. [laughs]

NICK (as HK): Did someone say fire?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yes~!

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah.

NICK (as HK): Stand by.

LAURA: She’s gonna aim. What range is it?

NICK: You’re close range.

LAURA: Close range? Okay.

NICK: Yeah. This is a cool gun kata fight where everybody is very close together.

LAURA: Four successes, so that’s 10 damage.

NICK: Phew, solid. So, where do you shoot this Anselmi? Anything specific? Center of mass?

LAURA: Center of mass.

NICK: Yeah. You hit her right square in the middle of the back and she grunts and leans forward a little. It doesn’t look like it completely pierced her armor, like her armor absorbed a lot of it, but it hurt her. She turns around and she points towards you.

NICK (as Anselmi): You’re next.

LAURA (as Xianna): No thank you~!

NICK (as Anselmi): Well, you shot me, so…

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, I know, but I am just saying no thank you.

NICK: [grinning] And it’s another PC slot.

HUDSON: Ugh… I, I attack. [laughs]

NICK: Okay. You get up and limp towards her?

HUDSON: Yes.

NICK: Okay.

HUDSON: And I swing my axe, which this is the first time I’ve swung my axe…

[laughter]

NICK: It’s been a while.

HUDSON: It’s been a while. … One success, one advantage.

NICK: Nice. How much damage is that?

HUDSON: Six.

NICK: Six? And it’s Pierce 2, right?

HUDSON: Yes.

CAMERON: You can crit.

HUDSON: Yeah, I will crit. What do I add?

NICK: Forty.

CAMERON: Plus 10, because she already has a crit, so 55.

NICK: Yeah, so 50…

HUDSON: Okay, so 50… so 55.

NICK: Wow!

HUDSON: Man, if it was 90 again, it would be just dead.

NICK: Yeah, just dead.

LAURA: 55 is Fearsome Wound: Plus difficulty to Presence: Willpower checks until end of encounter.

NICK: Cool, so her Force powers will be—She doesn’t have Force powers.

[laughter]

CAMERON: Like what? HK can have her blood.

NICK: How do you slice her?

HUDSON: I get up and I swing it in an odd way, like in the shape of a circle but with my arm outstretched to just kinda throw her off.

NICK: [chuckling] yeah, she’s not expecting that.

HUDSON: I’m frowning because I’m bleeding out, and I hit her across the chest.

NICK: The armor catches it, but you do pierce through, and you feel it catch in her flesh and she pulls back away from it and says…

NICK (as Anselmi): Wow, this fight is going a little bit differently than last time.

NICK: …and assumes a fighting stance, and HK assumes a fighting stance and starts to walk forward and says…

NICK (as HK): I’m gonna punch the kriff out of you.

NICK: …and goes to punch her.

CAMERON: Why?! [laughs]

NICK: Because he’s excited.

CAMERON: Okay.

NICK: So that’s… Does he even have anything in Brawl? No. That’s two greens versus two red.

NICK & CAMERON: hey!

CAMERON: Okay, one success, two threats.

NICK: Nice.

CAMERON: He did it~

NICK: The threat is going to be that he’s going to be in the way of whoever tries to attack her next, so they’ll have a black die trying to work around HK, but he manages to clock her right in the face with his little robot hand and does 3 damage. [laughs]

CAMERON: [giggles]

NICK: Which doesn’t even get past her Soak, but it makes him happy. He hits her and her head snaps around.

NICK (as Anselmi): What are you doing?

NICK (as HK): I’m showing you how to fight.

NICK: We’ll go back to the top of the order, and it’s her turn. She looks down at HK.

NICK (as Anselmi): You’re second, first her.

NICK: And without looking she shoots at Xianna with the rifle that was still aimed at her.

LAURA: Oh no.

NICK: Two yellows and two greens. It’s close range so one purple.

CAMERON: But it’s plus a black die because of Xianna’s Ranged Defense.

NICK: Yep, that’s true.

LAURA: I’m also gonna Dodge.

NICK: Smart.

LAURA: How many dodges do I have?

NICK: [laughs] You can burn a strain to—

LAURA: I can burn 1, yeah.

NICK: Okay.

CAMERON: So, it’s four successes, a threat, and a despair.

NICK: Four successes is 12 damage that she shoots Xianna with. You still up, Xianna?

LAURA: [snorts] Yeah~

[laughter]

NICK: How much health you got left?

LAURA: Three.

NICK: Okay. She shoots Xianna and Xianna stumbles back towards the entrance that you came in through, and she goes to shoot her again. She’s trying to do the same thing she did to Tink where she shot in the exact same place multiple times and it just really pierces through armor and things. The gun clicks, and the gun fizzes and just kinda dies. You can actually see when you look closer that this gun looks like it was dropped from a great height at some point. The frame is cracked in a few places and the power cell isn’t attached quite the way you would normally expect. The lights go out on it and it’s totally out. She growls in frustration and throws the gun on the ground and activates another shock fist.

LAURA (as Xianna): Haha! Fuck you~!

NICK: There’s just this big old bleeding wound in Xianna’s chest. Impact’s great.

LAURA (as Xianna): I barely feel this!

[laughter]

NICK: It’s another PC slot.

CAMERON: I would like to take out my vibro-sword and stab her.

NICK: Okay. You have your rifle on a strap in front of you, right? You just drop it. It’s a maneuver to draw.

CAMERON: I have Quickdraw.

NICK: So it’s not a maneuver to draw.

CAMERON: So it’s not a maneuver to draw.

NICK: Oh, that’s cool.

CAMERON: Yup.

NICK: You keep it on your back, right?

CAMERON: Mm-hmm.

NICK: Okay, so describe this as you approach and attack.

CAMERON: So, she drops her gun and powers up [inaudible mumbling] so I toss my gun, it’s like on a sling thing so I just toss it down to my side, and then the camera starts at Karma’s feet from behind her and pans up as she slowly walks the few feet – because she’s not very far, everybody’s in close – moves up into engaged range and draws the vibro-sword out of her back sheathe.

CAMERON (as Karma): You made a mistake today.

CAMERON: And is gonna stab her.

NICK: Alright. Roll me that attack.

CAMERON: So, there’s a black die because Hank’s in the way. There’s a blue die because my vibro-sword is accurate. Then, it’s two reds?

NICK: Yup. At this point, you say that and she starts to turn around and HK slaps her face.

NICK (as HK): Pay attention to me, the melee combatant.

CAMERON: I hope this works. Three advantages and a triumph.

NICK: No success?

CAMERON: No. I don’t hit her body, but my sword comes down and hits on her exoskeleton pieces of her arm and the arm just… goes dead.

NICK: Yeah, you cut the power on it so that one’s totally out of commission now. She flinches with the pain of the weight returning to her broken arm. She says…

NICK (as Anselmi): That’s not very sporting.

NICK: …and has her other shock glove still up in a guard position.

CAMERON: I would like to gift some blue dice.

NICK: Yeah.

CAMERON: Gift a black die to her and gift a blue die to whoever goes next.

NICK: Okay. it is her turn again. I think she’s gonna try and punch Karma at this point. I don’t think she can ignore Karma after that.

CAMERON: That seems fair.

NICK: I will say, her emotional state, she still feels really satisfied having shot Xianna. [laughs]

CAMERON: That’s just rude.

NICK: It’s not polite. She’s a bad guy. She turns around and she just wheels with a big haymaker towards Karma. I’m gonna flip a dark side point to upgrade her attack. She’s putting everything into this. She knows that there’s not much time left.

CAMERON: I would like to Dodge.

NICK: Smart.

CAMERON: Turn those two purples into two reds. … One success, two advantages.

NICK: Okay, so that’s 8 damage, Pierce 1, coming at you again. We get some fight choreography here of Karma warding her away with the vibro-sword and her dodging back and forth. She manages to get up inside Karma’s guard and plant an uppercut under her chin. It hurts. Your ears are ringing pretty hard, or whatever Nautolans have. She skips away.

NICK (as Anselmi): Come on!

NICK: it’s another PC slot.

LAURA: Xianna shoots her.

NICK: [laughs] Okay.

LAURA: She’s gonna aim.

NICK: Smart.

LAURA: What was that, one purple, one red?

NICK: Yep.

LAURA: I’m gonna take the blue die. One failure and two advantages.

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA: A lot of blank dice in there.

NICK: Aw, that stinks. I think that she’s facing with Karma and you’re trying to shoot without putting Karma at risk, and it just forces you to shoot wide too many times so you aren’t able to, but it adds cool laser strobes to the fight scene that’s going on.

LAURA: Nice.

CAMERON: Gift another blue die?

LAURA: And then another blue die.

CAMERON: Pay the blue die forward.

NICK: Yeah. For whoever goes next, that’s two blue dice, and I think that’s because you’ve kind of corralled her in so she can’t be as mobile as she would want to be because there’s bullets everywhere. We got another PC slot. Tink, you wanna go?

HUDSON: Yeah, slice her.

NICK: Okay.

HUDSON: Difficulty?

NICK: Two reds.

HUDSON: I do have my two blue.

CAMERON: Oh dear.

HUDSON: A triumph with an additional three successes, four advantages, and a despair. [laughs]

LAURA: What was the crit on your axe?

HUDSON & CAMERON: One.

LAURA: Yeah!

NICK: Wait. How many advantages?

HUDSON: Four.

NICK: If you have Crit 1 then you could do plus 30, plus the 20 for the two crits, plus Vicious 4, so that’s like plus 90.

HUDSON: Yeah, let’s go. [laughs] The despair might not even matter.

NICK: Well, it’s going to.

LAURA: 38, so it’s 38 + 90, so that’s 128. Gruesome Injury: Permanent -1 penalty to random characteristic. Roll a 1d10. A 5, that’s Agility.

NICK: Ugh.

CAMERON: Ha!

NICK: And how much damage was it?

HUDSON: Three successes plus the triumph’s success… 10 damage?

NICK: Yeah.

HUDSON: Okay.

NICK: So here’s what happens. You run up towards her with your axe held low and by your side because you’re gonna do an uppercut with it, and as you get close she kicks down into your knee, hits right where the injury is, and does a twist with her heel, and you feel a bunch of stuff just break. That wound went from really bad to just catastrophically bad. Before you collapse, with the adrenaline you have, you manage to swing the axe and hamstring her and she stumbles back.

NICK (as Anselmi): You’re not getting past me you… freaks, this is my station… and I’m going to hold this position.

NICK: She stands there and she’s bleeding from all these wounds and she’s bleeding out of her mouth. Tink, you collapse to the ground, you can no longer stand, and we come to the next PC slot. HK crosses his arms and looks at her.

NICK (as HK): Evaluation: No action needed.

NICK: As the round ends, she takes 1 wound from her critical injury which fills up all of her damage.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

NICK: Her eyes roll back into her head and she collapses to the ground. So, she is completely down.

HUDSON (as Tink): HK… I’m bleeding a lot on my leg. Just singe it. Cauterize my leg.

NICK (as HK): Is this something you learned in Becoming Medicine?

HUDSON (as Tink): Yes.

CAMERON (as Karma): This is actually a more valid thing. It will stop the bleeding.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah. Cauterize is when you use water at high pressure to make my leg stop bleeding.

LAURA (as Xianna): No…

CAMERON (as Karma): No. No… It’s actually fire, hun.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh. Fire me.

NICK (as HK): Medical order acknowledged, Boss Man.

NICK: He sets the gun.

NICK (as HK): Suppressing fire.

NICK: He shoots down the hallway towards the wall, and the gun is overheating and speeding up until the barrels are burning hot.

NICK (as HK): Boss Man, you may feel a slight pressure.

NICK: He presses the gun barrel into your leg.

HUDSON (as Tink): [comically wails in pain]

NICK (as HK): Medical procedure completed. You can pay me in blood later.

HUDSON (as Tink): [whimpers] Okay…

CAMERON (as Karma): Xianna, do you wanna search her?

LAURA (as Xianna): How much is that going to do? She probably has some good things, but uh… I am kind of dying over here, so I am going to put some stim packs into me. I’ll be there in a second.

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay.

NICK: As this is happening, you hear smaller explosions happening and the station is shaking. HK looks at the server door.

NICK (as HK): Strategic Assessment: Cracking this door encryption will take too long.

CAMERON (as Karma): Suppressing fire?

NICK: HK cocks his head to the side.

NICK (as HK): No, don’t worry, I’ve got this.

NICK: His left hand detaches from the wrist and slides down and you see there’s something inside where his forearm is. He aims it at the wall and says…

NICK (as HK): You may want to take cover.

NICK: …and fires, and a little micro missile comes out and shoots down and goes (tink) into the wall, and there’s a quarter-second pause, and then a giant, vacuumous explosion rips the door apart. Also then, a rain of fire comes down on either side, because it was an incendiary missile.

CAMERON: Karma had dropped to the ground and thrown herself over Tink, because he can’t move right now and he’s very flammable.

HUDSON (as Tink): Agh!

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay Tink, let’s get you up and in here.

NICK: HK shakes his hand in a very organic way like if someone punches something hard.

NICK (as HK): I was saving that for a rainy day. Pretty cool, right?

CAMERON (as Karma): It’s very cool.

NICK (as HK): I’m gonna need another missile at some point.

CAMERON (as Karma): Cool. We can get it when we get my rockets.

NICK: He grabs his hand and clicks it back into place and shakes his head out.

NICK (as HK): The way is open, Boss Man.

HUDSON (as Tink): HK, carry me.

NICK (as HK): Acknowledged.

NICK: HK puts his arms under your shoulders and tries to lift, and you hear servos whining, and he tries again, and you can hear creaking metal.

CAMERON (as Karma): Hold up. Stop. I got y’all.

CAMERON: Karma goes over and lifts Tink up and slings an arm over her shoulder to assist.

NICK: Okay. You’ve got him hopping on one foot as you carry him in?

CAMERON: I think that’s the only way we can move him. [laughs]

NICK: Probably. Xianna, what are you working on right now?

LAURA: Xianna stabbed two stim packs into her and is getting up now and is gonna run over and search the body real fast.

NICK: Okay. Roll me a Skulduggery check.

LAURA: Can do! Is there any difficulty to that?

NICK: I’ll say hard, because the body’s not in great shape and the armor’s fairly sealed.

LAURA: Okay, I got three successes and two advantages.

NICK: Okay. While you’re searching the body, I’m gonna let you do that while Tink and Karma go into the server room to try to get Tink started on what he’s working on. We see HK run into the server room with his gun barrel spinning.

NICK (as HK): Room’s clear. Let’s get a move on.

NICK: Karma helps Tink into the room, so we see their silhouette move slowly through the smoke and fire that this door use to be, and there is just rows and rows of server banks, they’re all glowing gently blue, and a single stool sitting in front of a small computer screen with a simplified keyboard that you’re able to sit down at. You do that?

HUDSON: Yes. I sit down at it and I start hacking away.

NICK: Alright. Make me a slicing check.

CAMERON: As Karma gets Tink down into the chair she’s gonna stim pack herself.

NICK: Okay.

HUDSON: What’s the difficulty?

NICK: Hard.

HUDSON: A triumph with an additional success and four advantages. The computer crits.

NICK: Okay. You’re into the system. You’re able to find pretty much what you’re looking for.

HUDSON: Not only am I into the system, I can spend a triumph to make further Computers checks within the system as maneuvers.

NICK: Nice. Basically, since we’re not in combat right now, we’ll just translate that as you can do actions super-fast. It won’t take very long to do what you’re doing. At this point, over the coms, you hear Val’s voice.

AUSTIN (as Val): Oh wow… Look at that. That’s beautiful.

NICK (as Neato): Looks like some sort of glowy cylinder.

AUSTIN (as Val): It’s more than just a cylinder, Neato. That’s like the experimental reactor I was telling you about on the way over here but even bigger! There’s SO many things that we could power with this. It’s a shame I’m gonna have to blow it up.

CAMERON: [giggles]

NICK: The com clicks off. Tink, you’re able to get into the system. You can see a majority of the memory is being used up on something called the Executor Project.

HUDSON (as Tink): That looks important… Delete.

[laughter]

NICK: It looked like some sort of giant star destroyer. It’s gone now, and you’re able to dig deeper and find more backups and things like that.

HUDSON: Ctrl+F, backup.xml.

[laughter]

NICK: What do you do to those files when you find them?

HUDSON: Delete.

NICK: Okay. They’re gone.

LAURA (as Xianna): Ooh, Tink, you have to remember to empty the little recycling trash can thing.

CAMERON (as Karma): Oh, yep.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh! You’re right. Okay.

LAURA (as Xianna): Because if you don’t it’s still in there. I have made that mistake before.

HUDSON: I delete, err, I empty the recycling bin.

NICK: [smiling] I think you delete the recycling bin, like it’s no longer there somehow.

HUDSON: Yes.

CAMERON: The Empire doesn’t recycle.

NICK: I need you to make one more slicing check for me. You’ve completely cleared out all the information you can find. I need you to make me one at a… Tell you what, if you wanna make this check, I’m not gonna tell you what it does, but if you want to it’s gonna be impossible, which is five, and you have to flip a destiny point to do it.

HUDSON: Okay!

CAMERON: [whispering] Do it!

HUDSON: Yeah, I’m doing it.

NICK: Okay. let’s see how this goes. This is something like, you see a small line in just the housekeeping part of the code, and you go “hey, that’s kinda weird,” and you start figuratively pulling on that string to see where it leads. This is to see if you find anything that way. My goal in this game is to make Hudson roll more dice than fit in his hands.

HUDSON: I have a triumph with a success…

NICK: Holy shit.

HUDSON: …an additional three successes, and four threats.

[laughter]

NICK: Okay, hang on…

HUDSON: I again crit the computer.

NICK: Yeah, and you’re able to do it really fast because of your skill. So, you pull on this little string and you find that pretty much the entire server that you were working on was the functional part, but you find a cache of data that’s basically the bid that Fondor put in to do this job in the first place. You find out that the Executor Project which you had deleted is the huge, executive class star destroyer that Darth Vader has personally commissioned. You go “Weird. Who’s this Darth Vader guy?” You get specifications of this horribly injured person who’s been put in a robot suit that looks almost designed to cause him constant pain who is theoretically stronger than anything that could possibly exist, and the way you’re able to backtrack that is somewhere in the ship there’s this weird egg-shaped thing that he can sit in that’ll make him feel better. You also find some personal diaries from something that insinuates Darth Vader in his correspondence is working on tracking down someone he thinks may be his son, and you find out that the son may have been on Tatooine in the recent past. You’re like, “I don’t know who these people are, but that sounds pretty dramatic.”

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah. I could absolutely write a fiction book on this or something. I would call it… Planet Attacks.

[laughter]

LAURA (as Xianna): I mean, so what is it?

NICK: Do you come in from searching the person’s body?

LAURA: Yeah.

LAURA (as Xianna): Ooh!

CAMERON: We’re just staring over his shoulder.

HUDSON (as Tink): I’m just seeing a bunch of really odd stuff like diary entries, something about Darth Vader?

LAURA (as Xianna): I don’t know who that is.

CAMERON: Have any of us heard of Darth Vader?

NICK: You shouldn’t have at this point. He’s like a wraith. He doesn’t really necessarily exist.

LAURA (as Xianna): It seems very dramatic. Maybe it’s like a new pilot episode for a holo-drama. You know, like Sands of Tatooine!

HUDSON (as Tink): I’m gonna take it and make it into a book.

LAURA: [gasps]

NICK: [laughing] So you take all the data?

HUDSON: Yes.

NICK: Oh no.

CAMERON: Yes!

[laughter]

LAURA: Oh, we’re gonna die.

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, but delete it afterwards.

HUDSON (as Tink): Okay!

HUDSON: I delete it.

LAURA (as Xianna): Because you want exclusive rights to the book.

HUDSON (as Tink): I know I do.

CAMERON (as Karma): That’s true. If they can prove copyright…

NICK: And then at this point, Tink, all of the stress and pain and blood loss catches up to you and you just slide slowly out of the chair.

LAURA (as Xianna): Uh-oh. Tink?

NICK: And you fall prone. [dramatic bass noise]

HUDSON (as Tink): Agh…

[laughter]

HUDSON (as Tink): Wha…?

CAMERON (as Karma): Hey buddy.

LAURA (as Xianna): Hey Tink.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah?

LAURA (as Xianna): You need to get up. We have to go.

HUDSON (as Tink): [mutters] … Stim pack?

LAURA (as Xianna): I have a stim pack. How many stim packs have you already taken today?

HUDSON (as Tink): Uhh… None after this part.

CAMERON (as Karma): No, but it matters.

LAURA (as Xianna): No, I mean today, like the last 24 hours.

HUDSON (as Tink): Two~

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay, uh…

LAURA (as Xianna): So, a stim pack would only do, like… if I were to put it on a scale, like three points. Is that even going to matter?

NICK: [chuckles]

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh. Uh…

LAURA (as Xianna): Or should I just give you some impact so you can get up and about and we can get back to the ship? Let’s go!

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah. How much of it is that you’re wounded and how much of it is that your leg needs to be replaced?

HUDSON (as Tink): You know, a little bit of column A, little bit of column B.

CAMERON (as Karma): Little bit of both? Okay. Here, have a stim pack.

CAMERON: I’ll give you one.

HUDSON: I do a stim pack. So I only get 3.

CAMERON: Yeah, you’re now at 6, which is better at least.

HUDSON: That’s fine.

NICK (as HK): You know, it occurs to me with the kind of aggressive chemical cocktail that goes into stim packs that using this many of them is probably bad for your long-term health.

CAMERON (as Karma): You know, getting shot is bad for your long-term health too.

HUDSON (as Tink): Taking impact is bad for your long-term health.

HUDSON: I cross my arms.

HUDSON (as Tink): Keep the edge.

CAMERON (as Karma): Eating too many popsicles is bad for your long-term health.

LAURA (as Xianna): There are a lot of things that are bad for your long-term health.

NICK (as HK): I hear it damages your knee joints.

HUDSON (as Tink): What, popsicles?

CAMERON (as Karma): I don’t think that’s true.

LAURA (as Xianna): Popsicles?!

NICK (as HK): Yes.

CAMERON (as Karma): No.

LAURA (as Xianna): There is no way that is true.

HUDSON (as Tink): Nah, it just makes you a happy critter.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, the impact, but we are talking about the popsicles.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yeah, the crits will mess up your leg. Yeah.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh… okay.

NICK: So, as you are helping Tink back to his foot—

[laughter]

HUDSON: Nice.

NICK: Several things happen at once. The smaller explosions that have been happening throughout the station start to increase in frequency, and then there is one giant explosion. I know there have been a lot of giant explosions. This one is the biggest. At the far end of the server room there is a crack in the wall and air starts to escape out of this room. The hull has been breached. You all almost lose your feet again, and it’s probably time to go. You start to run out of the station, there are alarms everywhere, and com calls saying:

NICK (as Stormtrooper): Abandon ship! Abandon ship! We’ll need to come back with salvage crews. Go, go, go!

NICK: Everyone starts to run away and leave and there’s alarms everywhere.

HUDSON (as Tink): White walker and the kids table, out! Out of the way… we’re going.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes, we are leaving.

NICK: You hear Neato on the coms.

NICK (as Neato): Roger that, white walker. That was duck soup. Seems like you’re enthusiastic and efficacious. Count me as a fan, Val.

AUSTIN (as Val): You know, the trick is to just make really big explosions. Anyway, I gotta run. See ya!

HUDSON (as Tink): Wait! Val… I love you!

LAURA (as Xianna): Okay, that is a lot. We are going to go now. Bye~

NICK: Val says…

AUSTIN (as Val): I know.

NICK: …and hangs up.

[laughter]

LAURA (as Xianna): Tink! You cannot just say you love people over the–!

HUDSON (as Tink): This might be my last minutes of life!

CAMERON: I wanna flip our light side point and find one of the carts they use in airports so that we can get Tink to our ship, because we are very far away at this point and he can’t walk.

NICK: Okay. What about there’s an IT cart and you’re able to throw the stuff on the ground and toss him onto it.

CAMERON: I was hoping for one that was self-propelling so that…

NICK: I mean, it’s a hover cart, it’s Star Wars.

CAMERON: Okay.

NICK: You probably have to push him, though.

CAMERON: Eh.

LAURA: Okay fine!

CAMERON: Fine!

NICK: Or you could leave him.

CAMERON: [laughing] No! We’re not leaving him! That’s not what I’m complaining about.

NICK: Those are your perspectives. So, you find this cart and you’re able to dump a bunch of stuff off, toss Tink on it, keep running. It doesn’t seem like the entire station is going to explode, because if you destroyed it completely that would sort of ruin the point of forcing people to guard it, but it does seem like Val may have overdone it a little bit. You see stormtroopers running for escape pods and the docking bays for ships and no one’s paying any attention to you. you see people that look like they may have been in a gunfight earlier, maybe with Beta Squad, just ignore you and keep going. You’re able to make it free of the ship and kick free of the shattered airlock. You see air rushing its way out of the station as the ship pulls away. You can see a couple of unlucky stormtroopers get sucked out into the vacuum of space as you pull out.

NICK (as Stormtrooper): Agh~!

[chuckling]

CAMERON (as Stormtrooper): Nooo~!

[grand, dramatic music starts]

NICK: Then we cut away to a different scene, the bridge of some kind of Imperial ship. Standing at the viewing screen is a tall, skeletal man. He has unbelievably pronounced cheekbones and gray, dead eyes. A navy ensign hands the man a piece of flimsy and he reads it quickly, dropping it to the ground with little emotion.

NICK (as Grand Moff Tarkin): Kalms, dispatch the screen fleet to the shipyards above Fondor.

NICK (as kalms/Ensign): But sir, the fleet was only just assembled…

NICK: The officer trails off as he meets the eyes of this skeletal man.

NICK (as Grand Moff Tarkin): I’ve been assured this battle station is indestructible. Whether or not that’s true, the shipyards are invaluable. Do not question me again. Dispatch the fleet.

NICK: We begin to see the star destroyers wink out of space in the view screen. The skeletal man smooths his uniform, flicking imaginary dust from his new Grand Moff insignia and leaves the bridge. We see the Afternoon Delight as it pulls quickly away from the station. As the crew heads out of the gravity well to kick it back into hyperspace we see that there are star destroyers snapping into position all around the shipyards. The window of escape is rapidly closing as more and more capital ships pour out of hyperspace. Their mass almost tears the fabric of reality around them. Two, three, five, six, eight star destroyers. There’s a little gap of starlight just ahead of the ship as we see the crew gripping their seats and karma firmly throws the hyperdrive into gear, rocketing through the last gap in the blockade.

[music fades]

The next thing we see is the Afternoon Delight under a blue, tropical sky and it’s swinging in to land on this little spit of sand on this unnamed moon where you took your mission. The sun is setting, painting the sky pink and orange.

[tranquil music starts]

You see Myhliri wave at you as you come in to land. Standing around you also see Beta Squad: Val, Neato, Jet and Juke. They’re chatting to each other. They look tired but triumphant. The surf laps against the sand and a handful of single-pilot craft that seem newly landed as you exit the ship. Do you say anything as you join the group?

LAURA (as Xianna): Ello~!

HUDSON (as Tink): I’m Tink!

NICK (as Neato): Tink! Good to see you. I don’t think you need to introduce yourself. We’re all friends here.

HUDSON (as Tink): I mean, I don’t know those two.

LAURA (as Xianna): Yeah, we have never met those two before.

NICK (as Neato): You look like you got a little discombobulation from the knee down there, bucko.

HUDSON (as Tink): Ooh, you could call it that.

CAMERON: We put Tink on the cart that we have on the ship and pushed him out.

NICK: [grinning] yeah, he’s in a floating thing.

LAURA (as Xianna): We do need to find a doctor after this, and a real doctor, Tink. You are not a real doctor.

HUDSON (as Tink): Just give me the leg, I can do it myself.

NICK: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): No! You can’t even reach that far.

HUDSON (as Tink): My grandmamma taught me to do stitches.

LAURA (as Xianna): No she did not.

HUDSON (as Tink): You’re right.

NICK: Val kinda looks at Tink.

AUSTIN (as Val): So hey… How ya doing?

HUDSON (as Tink): Well, better now.

CAMERON: [laughs]

NICK: Val just kinda looks down, and looks back, and then looks down again.

CAMERON: Karma comes from the side, she had been turning off ship power and stuff and hadn’t come down the ramp yet, and just barrels into Jet and Juke… and knocks them down and makes a Nautolan pile.

NICK: Aww.

CHRIS (as Jet): Mom~! This is so embarrassing. Not in front of the hardened mercenaries.

LAURA (as Xianna): Hey Neato! Neato. Do you have any drugs?

NICK (as Neato): Oh, I put that game aside a long time ago.

LAURA (as Xianna): Damn it. Okay, well… never mind.

NICK (as Neato): Except for glitterstim, that one’s healthy.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh hell yeah!

NICK (as Neato): It comes from a plant. It’s all natural.

LAURA (as Xianna): Well, I mean, impact comes from a plant too. No, glitterstim doesn’t come from a plant.

NICK (as Neato): I don’t like where glitterstim comes from. they told me they made a new one out of a special bush.

LAURA (as Xianna): You know what, sure, sure they did. Hand it over.

NICK (as Neato): You looking to party?

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes. I almost died like so many times.

NICK: Neato pulls out a file of glowing stuff and throws an arm over Xianna and they start to walk towards the beach a little bit.

CAMERON: Karma shifts slightly.

CAMERON (as Karma): Ow! Juke, what the kriff happened to your arm?

NICK: Juke looks up at Karma and rotates the arm, and you can see that he has a burnished metal arm that looks like it’s glowing at the joints on the inside like there’s dying coals in it, and it looks very nice.

ELI (as Juke): Well, uh, ran into some complications putting together this Beta Squad here, but it’s better than ever, mom. [chuckles] I punched a stormtrooper so hard that his helmet exploded.

CAMERON (as Karma): Okay, that is very cool.

ELI (as Juke): It’s super cool.

CAMERON (as Karma): I’m gonna kill Sentinel.

ELI (as Juke): Why? We were doing a job. It’s fine.

CAMERON (as Karma): This is not fine.

ELI (as Juke): It’s fine!

CAMERON (as Karma): It is not fine.

ELI (as Juke): Robot arms are where it’s at. Jet customized it! Sometimes it does cool electric stuff.

HUDSON (as Tink): If you’re gonna kill Sentinel let us know. We have plans.

[laughter]

NICK: HK is standing over at the sand watching this small, bright blue crab crawl in a circle. He looks up and waves an arm from the distance.

NICK (as HK): Kriff yeah!

ELI (as Juke): Mom, he’s the employer. We’re about to get paid out. I’m sure we’re never gonna have to deal with Sentinel again anyway. I don’t know why you’d be mad, I mean, you left me and Jet to go do our own thing. This is the thing we’re doing, and it must be a good deal because you’re doing it too.

CAMERON (as Karma): I just expected y’all to take jobs from more reputable people. He is not very good at giving instructions or providing enough information for the job, obviously, because you lost two crew members and then your arm, and then it’s just… this is not okay!

NICK: Jet rolls his eyes and looks at the sky and starts trying to get up.

CHRIS (as Jet): Well, I mean, he did tell us that he was working on sharing information better. I think that he really took our feedback to heart.

ELI (as Juke): So anyway. We win! We did it! Yay.

CAMERON (as Karma): Ugh…

NICK: Xianna and Neato are over doing glitterstim.

LAURA: Xianna and Neato are on their bellies on the sand staring at a little crab going back and forth and they’re each slowly poking at it and being like:

LAURA (as Xianna): Whoa… Look at it… It is like moving…

NICK (as Neato): I took glitterstim. I’m doing it with my mind.

CAMERON: [laughs]

LAURA (as Xianna): Yes! I am moving the crab with my mind, too.

CAMERON: Oh my gosh.

LAURA (as Xianna): We are speaking telepathically!

NICK (as Neato): No, I want it to go left. Stop making it go right, Xianna.

LAURA (as Xianna): But no, I want to make it go right. Stop it~!

NICK: There’s this weird vacuum-turning-on noise and the crab goes (popping poof) into a little cloud of blue dust and is gone.

LAURA (as Xianna): Neato!

NICK (as Neato): It’s because you pushed it the wrong way. Look what you did.

LAURA (as Xianna): [whining] Neato! Why did you do that?

HUDSON (as Tink): So Val, there’s this resort…

[laughter]

HUDSON (as Tink): …that I thought I had a great time there and maybe one day we could, um…

AUSTIN (as Val): Hey, that’s sweet.

HUDSON (as Tink): Yeah it is.

AUSTIN (as Val): Are you talking about with the whole group or with just you?

HUDSON (as Tink): [musically] Just the two of us.

AUSTIN (as Val): Sorry bud, you’re still not my type.

HUDSON (as Tink): Okay…

NICK: And Val walks off.

HUDSON: [musically] One is the loneliest number that—Okay.

[laughter]

CAMERON: Aww. Karma and the boys go over to join Tink because he’s all alone now.

NICK: Aw. They’re all chitchatting.

CAMERON: Juke’s talking about how nifty his new arm is and how cool Tink’s leg is gonna be.

NICK: And Jet’s flipping through a data pad trying to pull up the schematics of how he customized it to show you but he can’t find it because Juke was messing with it earlier. Myhliri steps in and calls the group back together, and you can see that there is a line of briefcases in the sand lined up next to their ship.

NICK (as Myhliri): Well, it’s all here. Each participant has the money they were promised in a briefcase. Sentinel dropped out of contact about five hours ago just before the conclusion of your mission, but if he needs you again I’m sure he’ll reach out. These ships were a little bonus he threw on top. We recommend that everybody go their own separate ways, at least for a while. Having just slapped the Empire in the face it may be best to lay low. Take your time, of course. There won’t be pursuit for a while, because the Empire is going to be reeling until this is over. Congratulations, everyone. This was a sight to behold.

NICK: Myhliri takes a second to make eye contact with each member of the group.

NICK (as Myhliri): It’s been an honor, truly.

NICK: They reach down and grab a briefcase. A little bit of sand floats away in the breeze highlighting gold in the sunset. You can see Myhliri’s name stenciled on the case in Aurebesh. Neato, who is still kind of influenced by the glitterstim, says:

NICK (as Neato): Well, would you look at that.

NICK: He points to the sun setting on the horizon. The bright sea reflects the light looking like a flock of suns in the water. We see the rest of the group, Beta Squad and Alpha Team stand shoulder to shoulder looking at the sunset, silhouettes standing together listening to the waves.

After a long moment of you all standing there as a group Val steps back from the line. She smiles slightly awkwardly at Tink and then warmly at the rest of the crew of the Afternoon Delight. She fist bumps Juke and hip checks Jet who chuckles, a wink at Neato, and she grabs the briefcase with her name on it and climbs up the access ramp into Stubs, the ship that was parked over by the other small ships. You can see that the cannon has been recently fired, which is interesting because you didn’t see that on the way out. It flies away with a loud rattle and a bang. So, when do you think each of your characters would leave the group?

LAURA: Oh, Xianna almost immediately goes and picks up a suitcase, does not check to see if it’s the correct name, just picks the closest one up and starts walking away to the Afternoon Delight.

CHRIS (as Jet): Hey, um, that’s actually, uh, heh, that’s my briefcase.

LAURA (as Xianna): Um, well no, the briefcases are for everyone.

CAMERON (as Karma): Xianna, yours has rhinestones on it over here.

LAURA (as Xianna): Ooh! Rhinestones? Okay. Heh.

CAMERON (as Karma): Look at how sparkly.

LAURA (as Xianna): Oh, they are so sparkly.

LAURA: She’s grabbing it and holding it up really intently.

LAURA (as Xianna): Ooh! They color shift!

CHRIS (as Jet): Thanks mom.

CAMERON (as Karma): You’re welcome, sweetie.

LAURA: Xianna goes and collects all of her stuff. It takes her a little bit because there’s a lot of weird hidden stashes throughout the ship, so she has to go through a bit and clear that all out. Then she pops into one of the vents and pulls out Creamsicle and a few things that Creamsicle had stashed away in a vent, and then heads back out to one of the other ships.

NICK: As Xianna is packing, Neato steps back from the group. He gives an exaggerated stretch and you can hear his joints popping, and he says quietly to himself…

NICK (as Neato): What a shindig.

NICK: …and shakes his head. He rubs at the strap on his eyepatch and takes his suitcase and then he’s into the ship and away. I think Neato and Xianna pretty much lift off at about the same time and fly off.

HUDSON: Yeah, I just kinda look out into space and I see what I think is a silhouette that turns into what looks like a Force ghost of Sabos, but it’s not a Force ghost because Sabos definitely didn’t have the Force.

CAMERON: [chuckles]

HUDSON: I look and I just kind of lift my hand up almost to touch it and Sabos says:

STEVEN (as Sabos): My only regret… is that I didn’t save more people with my head tails.

[giggling]

HUDSON: It fades away. I cart as though I’m in a canoe.

CAMERON: Good. Yes.

HUDSON: And I get my briefcase.

NICK: It says StarDestroyer1 on it.

HUDSON (as Tink): Oh… They used my hacker name! [grinning] That’s so great.

HUDSON: I put it on the cart. I roll up to a ship and I just make my way on, slowly, very slowly because I’m injured. As I do I turn around and I do a slow wave to everybody.

HUDSON (as Tink): Bye~!

CAMERON: I wave back.

CAMERON (as Karma): Bye Tink~

NICK: HK raises a little hand.

NICK (as HK): Goodbye, Boss Man.

NICK: Tink is in the ship and takes off. Hank has been uncharacteristically fidgety as the team starts to leave. He looks down and says…

NICK (as HK): Would you look at that.

NICK: …and he picks up a briefcase that has his name on it. It says HK-67.

NICK (as HK): Well, I’ve carried out my part of the deal. I think it’s time to do some self-analysis. Things have been… weird.

CAMERON (as Karma): No kidding.

NICK (as HK): Find me if you have any organics to kill.

NICK: HK walks off and jumps into a ship and it just takes off straight up, like really jerkily, because he is not a good pilot, and then flies away. We’re down to Karma, Jet and Juke, and they’re smiling and looking out at the sunset, and karma’s looking at the sunset…

CHRIS (as Jet): So, I think that went pretty good…?

CAMERON (as Karma): I’ve definitely had jobs go worse.

CAMERON: Karma stares off into the distance.

CHRIS (as Jet): Well, I’m sure we’ll meet back on Glee Anselm soon, but we’re gonna go. We made a promise to meet some people.

CAMERON (as Karma): Yep. You’re expected there for your grandmother’s birthday.

CHRIS (as Jet): We’ll be there. We haven’t missed it yet.

CAMERON (as Karma): I just know that I’m obligated to tell you, so I’m telling you, so that I can say that I told you when she asks me.

NICK: Juke flexes.

ELI (as Juke): This time I’m gonna beat her. She always beats me when we wrestle.

CAMERON (as Karma): You’ve got the robot arm now.

ELI (as Juke): yeah! It’s a great opportunity.

CAMERON (as Karma): Don’t hurt your grandma.

ELI (as Juke): She hurts me!

NICK: They both hop into the last two of the little needle craft and they take off and they fly and they kinda intersect, like spin around each other as they fly off. You can tell they’re racing, and they’re off into space, probably headed back to pick up the Gemini, and it’s just Karma with the Afternoon Delight. There’s the Afternoon Delight and there’s one more needle craft and they’re both sitting there on the beach. What do you do?

CAMERON: Karma turns away from the sunset and is staring, looking back and forth between the two… and then nods and walks towards the Afternoon Delight and the ramp closes up, and then all the lights come on, and she takes off.

NICK: As the Afternoon Delight lifts from the beach we see the sun dip completely below the horizon. The sky drifts darker, sky spread across the heavens, and then we fade to black. The end.

[music gently fades]

[pause]

ALL: Ba-naaa~! Whoa-oh, for the longest time~! [singing, everyone simultaneously sings a different actual verse of the song or attempted Star Wars parody]

## Outro

CAMERON: Thanks for listening to Tabletop Squadron. If you’ve enjoyed our show please consider logging onto iTunes and giving us a five-star review. Five-star reviews will help new listeners to find the show and every time we get one the squad sings a love ballad just for you. If you’re so inclined, you can also help support the show through our Patreon which can be found in the show notes, on our website, and basically anywhere else we post things. We have all sorts of Patreon levels including some of my favorites: Bantha Buddy, Tarkin’s Underwear Drawer, and Build-A-Beru which all have fabulous rewards and super great names.

Valorissia Creed is played by Austin Wittington. You’re not going to find him on the internet, but you can find him on our Discord so stop by and say howdy.

Juke Nailo is played by Eli Kurtz. You can find him at @ZapDynamic on Twitter, and don’t forget to check out his freshly launched Kickstarter. Oligarchy is a tabletop RPG of political folly powered by the Trophy RPG system and campaigning on Kickstarter until February 24. There’s a link in the show notes.

Jet Nailo is played by Chris Russell. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at @techdudetx.

Sabos Niks was played by Steven Schroeder. He’s been blown up by a star destroyer and does not exist on the internet.

Xianna’fan is played by Laura Penrod. They can be found on Twitter at @cheerio_buffet.

Tink is played by Hudson Jameson. He can be found on Twitter at @hudsonjameson.

Karma Nailo is played by me, Cameron Robertson. You can find me on Twitter at @midnightmusic13.

Our game master is Nick Robertson, and you can find him on Twitter at @alias58.

Our intro song is Space Jam by Pablo Ribot.

Additional music by James Gunter.

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram at @Tabletop_Squad, and join our Discord and share all of your food and cute pet photos with us. We also sometimes talk about Star Wars. You can find the link to join our Discord on our website and in our pinned tweet. See you next season.

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