With a Squadron of TIE Fighters bearing down on him Bixel Anderon aims the ship Rimwards and ignites his Afterburners. The TIE Fighter Pilots push their machines to the limit to try and make-up the gap. The Gladiator-Class Star Destroyer isn't in the correct position to influence the escape from the system, having elected to try and block a Coreward jump.
Meanwhile onboard Rolos awoke and decided he wouldn't like to be returned to the Hutts. He attacked Sister S'swon in the Medical Bay and nearly kills the young Nexu Xim when it tries to defend her. Dashing to her rescue Darius Bel, climbs down from the turret and engages the mighty Chevin in fist a cuffs, not wanting to open fire onboard his own vessel. Salmith Chejel joins the fray after leaving the cockpit and young Arden Jeht takes over as Co-Pilot for him.
The fight is difficult. Rolos is monstrous in size and strength, he nearly kills Sister S'swon and Xim while he battles Salmith and Darius. Blood is everywhere and Darius fractures bones in his fist punching Rolos right between his eyes and breaking part of the Chevin's skull plate.
After a particularly devastating blow from a power-armored fist, the Chevin elects to surrender. Darius Bel is exhausted having been slammed into the floor and carried into the workshop by his throat. Salmith did open fire with his heavy blaster pistol, aiming for the legs but inexplicably the blast had no effect at all. Darius knocks the giant out and Sister S'swon hurriedly sees to Xim who was badly injured in the fighting. Bixel reaches the safe distance away from the planet Jhantoria and they leave that world behind them. The TIE Fighters having no hyper-drives are forced to break off their intense but fruitless pursuit and return to the Star Destroyer.
The crew jumps to Jaminere, capitol of the Allied Tion Sector. A busy, polluted trade-world with a high volume of traffic. They make a brief stop at one of the busy planet's Space Stations and take on some additional food. The 24 miners and guardsman aboard have a had rough flight and are in poor shape. Most haven't eaten in days. Rolos refuses to talk, he has resigned himself to his fate. One of the Weequay Guardsman cast suspicion on the Chevin for revealing the location of the mine to the Iotranian Mercenaries. Rolos was one of the few individuals that knew the clandestined operations details.
On Nar Shaddaa they are greeted by Aruk the Great and Sias Oppal. They return the Hutt's workers and Durallium ore, which was thought to have been stolen. Their master is exuberant with their successes. The traitorous Chevin Rolos is taken away to rot in a cell, Aruk will have to think long and hard about how to best display his outrage.
The thirty tons of pure Durallium is an excellent recovery, as the mine was already completely exhausted of its pure ore. Aruk the Great is delighted that it was not stolen after all. It is shipped off immediately to the treasure-world of Kor Besadii. The Hutt mentions that he is proud of them for understanding that this of course was supposed to be included in the original arrangement. The rest of his cargo, having been delivered in tact he pays no mention to at all. As for the slaves and workers, Aruk will see to it that they are provided for. Many of them were in the Guardsman Guild, however this blemish on their record will likely make future employment doubtful. The others that were skilled workers and laborers, paying off their debts and sentences by committing to work in the mine. These likely will be moved to some other locale were they can serve their terms. Regardless most those saved from the Iotran express their various degrees of gratitude.
The computer which Arden took from the Durallium mine, is an expensive piece of machinery fitted with a Holo-Net Receiver. The last transmission originated from space within the Jhantorian system, though aside from a coded numerical series it gives no other details as to the precise location or nature of the originating transmitter. The actual transmission was not saved to the computer's memory (or perhaps it was erased), but the computer does contain information linking it to the 387th Free Irregulars a defunct group of Mercenaries which fought for the Confederates during the Clone Wars. The data stored within seems to indicate that these Mercenaries are the owners of the Y-164 Slave-Transport and that they have fallen on hard times in recent years. The most recent job which they took on involved ambushing an illegal Mining operation and stealing exactly 38 tons of the pure Durallium ore. Their employer paid fairly well for the operation: 125,000 credits. The Mercenaries were provided with special equipment necessary to complete the mission. No record of the employers identity can be found on the device. These types of computers are no longer common, but during the Clone Wars they were disseminated by the Separatists for the purpose of communicating with their auxiliary military forces. The Iotran intended to take slaves, in order to make an extra profit after the jobs completion. It appears that they purchased the extra consumables and medical supplies necessary to keep sentients for a long voyage. They seem to be no strangers to the practice at all.
Fast Tony Corellian invites his nephew Darius over to his luxury apartment in New Vertica City. He tells him that he is worried that he will be selected to replace Sias Oppal. He is one of the senior-most Lieutenants and undoubtedly he makes the Cartel rich like no other. The only thing saving him from the undesired promotion is his humanity. In the current political climate the Hutts have to prove in many ways that they are not pawns of the Galactic Empire, lest their Empire collapse all around them. The trouble is that Fast Tony doesn't have much faith in the other branches of the Hutt's organization. None of his Commanders among the Weequay (O'Garn, Son of O'Gar), Klatoonians (Sokhan Ree Yeet), Cyborreans (Mandible Kexx) or Jilruans (Lysos Ajodan the Heartless) have any spark of creativity. Aruk is surrounded by violent thugs and Sias Oppal served in his position greatly to keep them all honest and focused on the success of the Cartel.
He also tells that there is talk of Rott Okk coming out of retirement and returning to the arena. The old Gamorrean gladiator is now in training on Nal Hutta. There is some talk about the Desijilic Clan and the Besadii Clan needing to settle a dispute and naturally it will involve the blood of their subordinates. Now that the "Butcher" is back, the word is that the Desijilic have recently behaved in a more subdued and polite manner.
Anasha Kanaj suggested to Arden Jeht that the Hutt Cartel Security Forces could make use of her talents. She wonders out loud that the "girl" would not be better off; safe in some server-room, rather than traipsing all over the Galaxy with whores, murderers and slavers. Anasha implied that she has contacts that are looking for anyone with some talent with computers, droids and electronics. She says that she really doesn't see any reason for a little girl to remain around a dangerous place like Blaster Alley Motor Pool & Garage. With Bixel Anderon present, Arden Jeht refused politely and when Anasha pushed; Bixel ended the topic. Since he is not her direct subordinate, she decided to table the matter for the present.
Naadira Calos has been asked to stay on Nal Hutta as a "guest" of Aruk the Great. The Zeltronian Business-Woman overstayed here welcome and bribed her way into her own imprisonment. Her Yaka Body-Guards were "escorted out of the Bootana Hutta Sector" (which might be another way of saying they were exposed to vacuum) and her ship was impounded.
Bixel Anderon's name came up during recommendations for the one who would interrogate the woman, given his understanding of Zeltronians, the Core Worlds and his background with Law Enforcement and the Sector Rangers. Should he have refused it is likely that she would have just fallen into far less careful hands.
Naadira was kidnapped by Aruk's goons shortly after she was allowed entry to Aruk's Cantina. There is no way she could have sent a transmission as she was closely guarded and monitored by Hutt Cartel Security the entire time. Her possessions were all confiscated and her ship seized. The Yaka crew were taken away, most likely killed in some cowardly and senseless manner. Bixel questions her and he senses her loyalty to her "secret" employer is based in willingness and love, it is not coerced or purchased.
The experience with Naadira reminds Bixel of his early marital bliss with Luna Anderon. She asks him if he is the sort to come rescue her in his ship, like a fairy tale princess. It is harsh to relive his past, Bixel is confused and almost immediately turns to drinking very heavily and hard drugs. She accepted that she would have to undergo torture, most likely at the hands of the Weequay Lieutenant O'Garn.
Darius Bel is selected to be among those who carry out the reprisal against the Swoop Gangers of the Nova Cross in South New Vertica City. He is accompanied by the Quarren Golwoch, a Gamorrean named Zugr and a Weequay Cult Warrior of Quay, named Kar Wehd'jix. A squad of Gank Killers is also on hand to flush the gang out, likely to their swoops. The raid is an absolute massacre. The Ganks end up shooting up the gangs base of operations, an abandoned warehouse near the Under-City Limits. Darius Bel captures the leader; a Rodian named Chapel while he is trying to escape and discovers that the reason for the gang's attack against the Motor Pool was because Jantel murdered his son.
Darius Bel confronts Jantel about Chapel's claim that she murdered his son. She laughs and says that Rodians and Devarronians can't interbreed. She tries to play the whole thing off like "Chapel" does Death-Sticks and has the intellect of a Womprat. It really isn't her fault that the local Gang-bangers are dumb enough to shoot up a Hutt Cartel business on a Hutt-owned moon. Darius crushes up her Death Sticks and makes her get back to work.
Sister S'swon has taken ill and Darius takes over watching Xim (who is still recovering from injuries) for a few days. She has elected to recover via a primitive method of smoke and strange jelly rubs. No doubt Bacta would be a faster method and it is likely she contracted the disease whilst she was among the Refugees in the Duros Sector. Anasha Kanaj curiously promotes Darius to Medical Staff for few days in her absence. Those who know her, realize that this is bad for her financial situation, there has been some talk about a fund being raised for her down at the Refugee Camp in the Duros Sector, but so far it doesn't look good.
Salmith Chejel is sent by Sias Oppal to locate one of the Galaxy's leading authorities on Corusca Gems; Bash Fateau who makes his business over the world of Yavin Prime, a massive gas giant located in the Gordian Reach Sector of the Outer Rim Territories. The human has spent his life in search of the gems and at great personal expense he has outfitted a vessel and hired on a crew to "dive" the Gas-world. Mr.Fateau is rumored to have sensory equipment capable of detecting the frequency of the power contained within a Corusca Gem. This seems unlikely however because he has yet to uncover a single gem, even after searching for nearly a decade. The Iktochi Scout elects to take Grandfather along, but they discover that the Yavin System is completely uninhabited. After consulting his star charts the Scout looks for answers in a nearby system, on a planet called Torque.
After landing on the small world, Salmith discovers from agents of Bwahl the Hutt that Bash Fateau has been recently kidnapped from a local cantina at blaster-point along with his Astromech Droid by a group of large Cyborgs who left by unknown means. No one saw a ship leave the planet, there was no way to stop it from happening just like it did. A member of Bash's crew was killed and they have put together a 20,000 credit Bounty for his return. Salmith notices that Bwahl entertains Imperial Officers in his establishments, this Hutt while not part of the Five Families, he helps facilitate arrangements between Hutt Space and the Galactic Empire.
Salmith searches outside the city limits and he finds some signs of a large ship having taken off, although he is fairly certain that due to its location it would have been plainly seen from the city by any observer. Especially ones who supposedly searching diligently for their companion. Grandfather comments that the "large cyborgs" could be the same Yaka that accompanied Naadira Calos before she was arrested. He returns to Hutt Space with news of the human "expert's" abduction.
Upon their return, Puskha the Greater, the Chief Mechanic of the Blaster Alley Motor Pool & Garage asked Salmith and Grandfather to borrow a sum of 10,000 credits. He says he can pay the money back in 11 days, (36 standard days). Puskha's nephew needs a number of items to enter the Duresian Shipwright's Guild as an apprentice. Puskha can't afford it right now, not with layoffs coming up and the Shop losing business. He has yet to receive an answer.
EV-9D3 casts suspicion on Besslich to Arden Jeht, the Supervisor Droid openly accuses the Givin of sending and receiving coded transmissions from the Garage on a daily basis. EV-9D3 blatantly confronted Besslich and he recoiled from her and has been avoiding her ever since. She claims he is a Desilijic Clan Spy and that he puts everything in danger by playing outside the rules and ignoring protocol.
Bixel Anderon is confronted in the local cantina by Logriss, the Dashade Bounty Hunter. The Lieutenants will meet soon and Logriss wants Bixel's/"Blaster Alley's" support in opposing O'Garn, Son of O'Gar's (the Weequay General) bid to become Chief of Lieutenants. O'Garn is popular, has reputable history with the Besadii Hutt Clan and he is an excellent warrior and veteran. However he is a General, not an Administrator. He is far too religious and primitive to ever be able to lead an organization such as their's. Logriss says he is biased against O'Garn. Logriss's threats are plain, if Bixel backs O'Garn there are going to be problems in the future.
After the harrowing experience with "Stonewall" Logriss, Jantel dubiously arrives to soothe the Boss-Man's nerves. Bixel and Jantel spend the night doing death-sticks and enjoying each others company. There is No illusion that she is trying to garner some kind of favor after her recent mistakes and the Shop getting shot up.
Arden Jeht investigated the claim and discovered the encrypted code. After deciphering it with the help of her Archive Droid, she discovered that Besslich is making arrangements to send credits to a male, family member. There is nothing nefarious taking place, in her estimation despite the Supervisor Droid's paranoia.
The Birth of Durga the Hutt will be celebrated by all members of Aruk the Great's employees. The festivities will take place at Aruk's Cantina and although it is not a Hutt Elder Council sanctioned event (there will be no official representatives) it is expected that a modest gift be given and libations be made in his honor. Everyone at the Blaster Alley Motor Pool & Garage has had a mandatory lean on their pay (according to their grade) to afford a suitable gift. The shop has ordered a custom Ubrikkian Industries Floater, that has been modified to reflect the Young Hutts scholarly pursuits. The vehicle has been made safe and especially sturdy and it is likely that this vehicle will last him for a century or two, before he outgrows it. There is a lot of pressure on the garage to get it right. Word has it that the Galactic Standard Motor Pool & Garage are planning the same gift, though Durga is not of the Desajilic Clan which certainly is odd. Some extra finances would enable Blaster Alley to upgrade their vehicle and provide all sorts of Bronzium overlays and extras like a back-up repulsor.
In his dreams Salmith Chejel sees a cloudy blanket of grey and he is cold and wet, he feels anxious but he does not know why. There is a light nearby and he hears familiar voices calling to each-other.
Sias Oppal has been placed under a bizarre sort of house arrest by the Besadii Hutt Clan Elders. His failure to discover the nature of the disappearance of Arok the Smoking Hutt has led to their desire to find his replacement as Chief of Lieutenants. During this transition period Oppal is still being used as an Advisor, however he no longer has the Authority to issue commands and direct the Syndicates activities. He will likely be executed in some spectacular fashion at a later date. Sias's many enemies openly mock him now and say that he was the one responsible for the loss of the Smoking Hutt and that he must face justice. Truthfully nobody knows the hierarchy or had the respect of the Lieutenants like Sias Oppal. No one is qualified to replace him, but someone surely must and the Hutts take a poor view of sentiment or misplaced loyalty.
Sias Oppal from his own jail cell has bid that the crew leaves immediately for Rhen Var, an icy and inhospitable world. Aruk the Great seeks a Corusca Gem that is the size of sentient's clenched fist. This is perhaps the only way that Sias can see that his life is spared. Yavin Prime is reputed for Corusca Gems in legend, but Rhen Var is historically known to contain them.
The Imperial Listening Post is located along one of Rhen Var's snow-covered northern mountain chains. The Tower and dishes are part of a larger network of sensors located all across the Galaxy. These posts spy on the movements and communications of the Galactic Empire's many perceived enemies and once functioned to gather scientific data for the Grand Army of the Republic. Unlikely as it seems this ice-world was contested during the Clone Wars. Though its operation is largely automated by droids, it is patrolled and defended by a Garrison of Imperial Snowtroopers, from the 12th Oversector Army. Their primary Fortification, Landing Platform and Barracks are located at lower altitude on the same face of the mountain as the Tower.
Sias Oppal knows that the Planetary Commander Milon Landem is as corrupt as they come. Certain preferred individuals are allowed access to Rhen Var and its ancient Ruins. Bribing one's way onto the planet is easy and it will take the pressure of the Imperial Garrison off of the search for the gem. Not much is widely known about Rhen Var, It is assumed that the Corusca Gems would need to develop beneath extreme pressure and very likely powerful mining equipment would be needed to drill deep beneath the ice and rock.
Commander Milon Landem is starved for the comforts of the Core Worlds. He foolishly spoke out of turn about the Emperor and was caught by COMPNOR. His punishment could have been a lot worse, at least he still draws breath. Landem is from an influential family and was a decorated soldier during the Clone Wars, though it matters very little now. He is corrupt and greedy, craving all the luxuries which he has been denied these last several years. Milon has given up hope that Rhen Var hides anything of value, he will let fools wander around freezing all they like, so long as they provide him with entertainment or a distraction from his life of tedium.