Sunday, June 26, 2016

Star Wars - part 2 "A Walk in the Park"

Episode 47: "A Walk in the Park"
June 25, 2016

Following the successful rescue of the prisoners from the Imperial star galleon Discord Anvil, the prisoners who were not members of the Rebel Alliance were released in small groups at various location to avoid any Imperial entanglements.

In the wake of their successful mission, the members of the New Jedi Order and the leaders of the Antarian Rangers traveled to the Rebel headquarters at Echo Base on Dagobah. This was Taanar Ryl's first visit to the steamy swamp planet. She landed with her master Niranya Repp aboard the Star River Venture, and they were greeted by Princess Leia and her protocol droid C3PO, who appeared to have a particular affection for First Ranger ADX.

Princess Leia called ADX away to have a private discussion, while the rest of the group split up to take care of their own affairs. Lowarra wanted to restock her supply of missiles and get in some time in the Rebel's pilot training module, while Dash had some maintenance done on the Star River Venture, and Neri showed Taanar around the base and told her about her time training there with Master Yoda - including his peculiar practice of riding around on Neri's back while she ran through the swamp. Taanar wondered if this was a normal part of Jedi training.

Neri also introduced her new padawan to her favorite meditation aid, her much-loved koogle tube (a device like a cross between a rain stick and a lava lamp). Neri swore by it as an aid to her meditation, but Taanar discovered that her shipmates had no love for the device and kept threatening to pitch it out the airlock. Taanar herself didn't find it very helpful or appealing.

After concluding his meeting with Princess Leia, ADX located his teammates to tell them that Leia had asked them to conduct an important mission on behalf of the Rebel Alliance. A high-profile intelligence resource known only as "Harvest Purple" needed to be retrieved from the planet Columex within Imperial territory. The instructions told them to leave a message on a social media holonet site looking for "swoop bike" enthusiasts. The code phrase to use to confirm the contact was "I saw the Queens of Fluxx play on Brental", to which the response was "You can dance the skippit to them."

Due to the heavy Imperial presence on Columex, it was decided that only a small team should make the contact. Neri, Lowarra, Dash, ADX, and Taanar took a YT-1210 class ship, the Mithrim Montes, which was one of the ships the team had acquired from the Banking Clan stash they had found. To pass through Imperial customs, they pretended to be an empty cargo ship looking for cargo. Everyone had to put away their weapons, as Columex was under Imperial weapons restrictions. Neri and Taanar hid their lightsabers in ADX's internal hidden compartment, along with a grenade Lowarra wanted to bring. Neri and Dash strapped on holdout blasters, much to Taanar's surprise. It turned out that the restrictions applied only to energy weapons; Lowarra's bowcaster didn't count.

After landing at the Flavian City spaceport, the group ran into some customs agents who questioned that they were bringing a proscripted species onto the planet - meaning Lowarra. Neri was able to convince the inspector that he didn't need to see her documentation by using her Jedi mind trick. The group then leased a large ground speeder and sought lodging at an inexpensive hotel near the spaceport. Once at the hotel, they observed that the major news story on the local holonet involved a woman named Mellie Limgu. Taanar didn't pay much attention to the reason the woman was attracting so much attention from the media.

Unfortunately there was a Biscuit Baron restaurant not far from the hotel, a favorite dining location of the whole group (with the exception of Taanar, who had never been to one before). Dash tried to no avail to talk her friends out of going to the restaurant and possibly drawing attention to themselves. Later she lamented having to be the responsible adult in the group. She reluctantly accompanied the others to the Biscuit Baron, where they all bought happy meals but were disappointed to find that the toys inside were no longer 'Adventures of Bleedo' figures but instead were 'Heroes of the Empire'. Everyone but Neri got stomrtrooper figures. Neri got a bantha.

While they were introducing Taanar to Biscuit Baron's enormous biscuits and lamenting that this location didn't have their favorite blue sauce, the group was interrupted by the arrival of some local constables, who wanted to know why ADX didn't have a restraining bolt, what Lowarra was doing there, and where Taanar's parents were. Neri managed to explain away all of these things by claiming that her droid didn't need a restraining bolt, that Lowarra was her hired bodyguard (which had been true in the past), and that she was Taanar's guardian. After this interruption muted their mood they returned to their rooms at 'The Flophouse'.

The following day, they drove their rented speeder to the Cerulean Gardens, where the contact had told them to seek a message on a specific park bench. Dash went to look for the message, while Neri and Taanar roamed the park pretending to be casual visitors. ADX and Lowarra remained in the speeder to avoid attracting too much attention. As Neri and Taanar sat down on a bench not far from the one Dash was heading for, Neri happened to notice that there were an unusually large number of droids about, some in the park and others in flyers overhead. The pair were approached twice by men trying to sell them spice. They began to wonder if perhaps local law enforcement were conducting a sting operation in the park.

Meanwhile, Dash found the message from the contact and left the token to show that she had picked it up, a bag of hazel sprouts. But a service droid told her that littering wasn't allowed, and she was forced to pick up the bag and take it to a waste receptacle, where she tried to make it obvious while at the same time blending in with other rubbish. Neri had warned her by commlink about the large number of droids in and around the park, so they decided to meet at the speeder and return to their hotel.

As they drove toward the hotel, Dash opened the message from "Harvest Purple" and found that it was instructions to meet the contact that night at a club called Club Syndrome, and wear a red jacket. Fortunately the swoop biker jacket Dash had acquired just after their arrival in Flavian City happened to be red.

On the way to the hotel they went through the Biscuit Baron drive-through and picked up more happy meals. This time Neri got an Emperor figure, but it sadly melted when Lowarra dropped it in a cup of soda after being told by Dash that such toys were reputed to be equipped with listening devices.

That evening they went to Club Syndrome as instructed. Dash went in alone, while the rest accompanied Neri as her entourage. Dash was soon approached by a woman who spoke the code phrase to her. This woman turned out to be Mellie Lemgu, wearing a brown wig to disguise her blond hair. Just after Lemgu made contact, two ISB agents appeared in the club, blocking the exit. Neri and Lowarra staged a distraction so Dash and Lemgu could leave, while the two women tried to deflect attention from Lemgu by kissing and pretending to be a couple. Lowarra feigned intoxication and Neri pretended to be angry with her, and the group left the club.

Dash and Lemgu took a lift to the roof garden, where they encountered some swoop bikers who began to flirt with them. While the two women chatted with the bikers, Lemgu purloined one biker's keys. Dash then used her holdout blaster to blast another, and the duo stole two swoop bikes and escaped the club. When the bikers tried to pursue them, the rest of the group in the speeder briefly blocked their way.

As they left the club behind and headed back to the Mithrim Montes, Mellie Lemgu announced, "Take me to the Wheel."

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