When last we left our heroes (4/16/09):
The Gambit was renamed “The Maelstrom” by Desha. And as it took off from the Resurgence, it was soon met in space by 4 TIE Interceptors. They did not hail the vessel but instead flew straight towards them. Desha had plotted the course easily to jump to hyperspace but it was going to take 4 more minutes before they could jump. This gave worry to the crew as they opened fire on the TIEs without provocation. Quickly they learned it was hard to hit a fast moving target and their shields took a battering. They successfully jumped to hyperspace but not before Drax and “Lou” were knocked unconscious for the night. Upon arriving at Cato Neimoidia, this is the description they received:
The Arrival at Cato Neimoidia
The blue whirl of hyperspace recedes as you enter the Cato system. In a few hours, you approach the greenish hazy planet of Cato Neimoidia. On your approach, the automated Message to Spacers hails The Maelstrom, you note how little space traffic there appears to be, closer to the planet. The nav guides direct you toward a landing at the City of Zarra and you descend through the hazy atmosphere. Cato Nemoidia is the oldest of the Trade Federation Purse Worlds, and only the wealthiest of people were allowed to live on it. You see an ocean of white clouds, laced with of mountainous tree covered spires and archways poking above the cloud banks , with citys slung beneath and between them on massive bridge spans. The city is much bigger than you thought it might be, and the buildings are densely populated. The city was once incredibly opulent, full of ornately carved palaces, crusted with intricate facades, with even the road cobbles carved and often inlaid into mesmerizing patterns, but now is a smoking ruin, ransacked and burned – a product of the Clone Wars. You cruise above crumbled towers and rubble strewn streets, with a sparse population wandering in the desolation. The automated beacon directs you to a deserted spaceport landing pad that is relatively clear of debris, but you note with alarm as you cruise low, there are areas where you can see through the roads and see sky underneath. The light is beginning to wane. A female Neimoidian voice guides you in to land. You cruise past her starport control tower, which is dimly lit and has broken plasteel windows. “Welcome to Zarra, Cato Neimoidia. Purse World of the Trade Federation. May your business bring great profits.” It’s closing on the dinner hour. You smell the spices of cooking fires upwind in the breeze and you can see smoke rising from throughout the city and trailing off the side. There are tents and ramshackle shanties strewn amid the wreckage of the grander structures. You don’t feel the city swaying in the breeze, but you are aware of its position on the massive bridge. There is no horizon. Unlike in coastal cities you visited, you expect to see blue water behind that line, but there is only open sunset blooming in blue across the tops of the clouds. The entire city is shaded by a massive rock arch, which now seems impossibly large. You see a robed figure approaching from the tower. You recognize the voice as the Spaceport Administrator, a limping female Neimoidian. “Greetings, travelers. The spaceport fee is 200 credits.” Desha demanded I.D. from the elderly Neimoidian but quickly recanted after she gave her a stern talking to about who was in charge. Desha paid the 200 credits. Then the administrator talked about how ‘gangs and ruffians’ had started running protection rackets which caused her to charge 200 credits. Lash stepped in and told her that they were all secretly working for the Empire and that he could help. She started kicking and screaming and told the “ding-dang Empire types to take your stinkin’ money and leave cuz she didn’t need ‘em!” Lash demanded their 200 credits back at gunpoint and when she refused to pay he shot her dead. Watching from a breezeway was “Pa Kettle” and he turned to run only to be shot down by Lash. He threw the bodies over the skywalk before TeeO could see. They all wandered into town more wary of Lash now and were soon met by a ‘drunk’ Neimoidian who was looking for a handout and claimed to be a former Viceroy of the Trade Federation. Lash quickly kicked him in the face. Next, 6 members of a local swoop gang called the Vipers surrounded them and demanded 1000 credits for ‘taxes’. Lash flipped them off and started raising his voice bragging on how he’d ‘disposed’ of the last two who tried to collect from him. The leader, Kessra, gave the signal and they started attacking using vibroblades from the back of their swoops. Desha was hurt the worst but not before all of the swoop riders except Kessra were killed. She managed to get away. Two swoops were salvageable and Lash and Raymus successfully got them working. They spent the next few hours hitting local bars where Ados managed to bribe some local ruffians into revealing a contact name. Warrick “Womp Rat” Raden, a Devaronian thug and his gang hid out in the local warehouse district. If anyone could tell them where Tu’dah was, it would be him. They headed to the district where Raymus sensed the presence of at least seven minds in one building. Two Excavation droids removed rubble from a nearby building. Much to their surprise, when they approached the two droids literally ‘sprang’ into action using their circular saw attachments to attack. The droids were serving as lookouts and had been programmed by Womp Rat. One of the droids climbed to the top of a warehouse where Lash was hiding and almost caused the roof to collapse. TeeO shined in this battle as he took out three of the thugs guarding Warrick. The night ended as the gang threatened and cajoled Warrick to take them to see Tu’dah. He mentioned something also about a weapons shipment he was supposed to find.