Star Wars Darkness Falls

01b Flying Coffins

Time: Morning, 20 Days after the Third Moonrise, “Summer”
Place: Kuugila Machine Parts, Oolong Station, Myposia
Characters: R2-Z3, Hamish Kuugila

Hamish swirled the still liquor in the former lubricant can he was using for a cup and stared out into the rain. Rain was nothing new on Myposia. In fact, it rained more than 2/3 of the year. In the winter tilt of the axis, the rain could be cooling or even cold but in the dogs of summer like this? It was like standing under someone else’s sweat.

Great puddles were forming on the landing field, refusing to conform to the half-assed drainage system. It was supposed to be morning or at least that’s what his droid told him. And that ship was still just sitting there.

It was a Barloz Freighter, pretty much the same as any other of thousands plying the trade routes across the galaxy. She looked pretty beat up and a crude repair job showed where a turret of some type had been clean ripped off the ship. Back to being underarmed like a stock model. Flying deathtrap if you asked Hamish. She’d been sitting there for three days: nobody in, nobody out. No signals.

He sucked down the liquor with a fire and relish before dropping the can. His fingers absently scratched the end of his left arm, stopped just above the elbow where he’d lost the rest. He could hear the droid messing around in the storeroom again.

“”/campaigns/star-wars-darkness-falls/characters/r2-z3" class=“wiki-content-link”>Zee-three! Come on. Let’s have us a look!" he bellowed out and stepped into the rain, walking toward the Barloz.

Z3 scanned over Hamish with disgust. He had reluctantly attached himself to Hamish in trade for a few extra credits. This clearly was not working out. Hamish rarely offered opportunities to collect interesting information. Z3 spun his head (although sex neutral, Z3 seemed to think of himself in a male sense, unlike that flirty R2D2 unit) and scanned over the ship. His fired up his commlink and pinged the ship – no response. Z3 wondered (for he is one of the Astromechs that can wonder) what secrets the ship held. Finally, something interesting happing around here.

<excited> Z3 set out his third wheel and followed along.

The rain pattered on R2-Z3‘s outer skin introducing a noise level to his audio pickups. An unconscious adjustment took care of that. The sound of the rain hitting the mystery ship was a little muted but could still be heard. Hamish swaggered across the field, focused on the ship but also aware that any number of station rats would be watching him. He’d been tempted to keep the droid at his shop to discourage pilfering, but he decided to rely on his reputation to do that job. Hang a thief by his ankle for a day in front of the shop and it tended to dampen the enthusiasm of others.

The closer he got, the more interesting this Barloz was becoming. There were definite heavy blaster scoring on its rear quarters. Running from somebody with firepower was not a smart choice in a stock Barloz. The fact that it survived gave Hamish hope that it wasn’t entirely stock. Pilots or mechanics were known for tampering with the basic engine structure, modding it up with all manner of bizarre methods.

“Zee, open her up,” he instructed his droid. There was a hesitation and soft retort in binary that made Hamish glance down to make sure the surly droid’s restraining bolt was still firmly attached. Hamish wasn’t one of those rare humans who could actually understand the lightning-fast droid speak but he knew enough to tell that Zee would be a runner if that ever came off. Of course, on Myposia, the distances an astromech could roll were extremely limited.

Z3 easily identifies a data port on the side of the ship near the closed access ramp. He rolls over to it and finds the cover immovable due to some sort of corrosion. A quick application of his arc welder cuts away the cover and allows him to extend his scomp. It fits snugly and whirs as he performs standard access procedures. There is a rattling as the port physically resists his attempts to open it.

After a series of sharp bloops and squeaks, the lock gives way to Z3’s machinations. With almost a mechanical sniff of disdain, Z3 begins to explore the primitive systems of the ship.

Z3 spent some time exploring the ship’s systems. The computer core was a replacement, not the standard issue CEC-45y7 series the Corellians normally used. Had more memory and seemed a little faster. He reviewed control over the life support systems, external lights, flight computers and navigation computer. There were some anomalies but he’d have to get into the engine computer to really understand why.

The ship seemed to be on full power setting, not turned down as most ships would be that were parking on solid ground for even more than a few hours. He could tell that the engines were not running but beyond that, the ship was ready for flight. Maintenance logs on internal activities have a last entry minutes after the ship landed. Whoever was in there, they weren’t doing anything to the ship while they waited.

Z3 whistled and beeped at Hamish the “all clear.” He continued to scanned the ship’s/captain’s log and looked for a crew roster and cargo roster.

The ship shudders and then hisses as the entrance ramp finally unseals and grinds down, an open maw underneath the cockput. Inside the ship, the lights are on.

Hamish tries to not get jumpy but he’s realizing that his blaster is still laying on top of the cash box under the counter in his shop. He waits a few moments.

“Zee, go up and check it out.”

Z3 emits a long beep/moan at Hamish as if he is a coward. He pops open his short-range sensor and sees what registers.

After a few moments of scanning, Z3 recorded no movement inside the ship. Keeping the sensor module active, he rolled up the entrance ramp boldly. Maybe he would determine why he’d been unable to reach any logs on the computer…

The layout of the ship was easy enough to navigate: maintenance corridors, storage, cargo hold. Ship appeared to be flying empty although there were a few crates and barrels secured in the hold. He found the lift and went up to the main deck.

Z3 rolled foreward in search of the crew areas. He rolled up the starboard passenger corridor and found a pressure-seal door closed in his way. A data port gave him access and the door whooshed open. He rolled into the Transverse Corridor and turned to the bridge.

The bridge on the Barloz is elevated from the rest of the deck, but the stairs were designed for astromech accessibility. The door to the bridge is closed but has strange markings on it, almost organic rather than machined.

Bloody handprint

Z3 chirps and whistles the design to Hamish, curious if he recognizes it.

“Messy Biologicals” flash acrossed Z3’s internal processor. “Always leaking the strangest of fluids.”

Z3 does scan for more of the biological fluid leak.

Swiveling his head, Z3 finds many more of the biological fluid marks on the walls. Their bizarre patterns give no overriding direction. They appear to have been made at multiple times in different directions. He finds a clean data port and triggers the bridge door to open. Rolling out on the observation trench, he extends his periscope to look around the bridge. Two biological forms: one in a chair, one laying on the ground. More fluid leaks all over the place. The tang of blaster discharge in the air.

“What’s going on up there?” called out Hamish. He didn’t hear Z3’s indignant retort.

The blaster residue could have been caused anywhere from two to seven days ago. Connecting to the main computer, he downloads the ship’s flight records for the last year ending with its flight and landing on Myposia. The only log-type entries on the system are the bare minimum to pass inspection if there was a bribe on top of them. Last entries are:

  • Seven weeks ago: “Hymnosia hired with bonus. Steward.”
  • Five weeks ago: “G. Kheel dismissed from crew. Wages pending.”
  • Four weeks ago: “J. Mhundat deceased on Jharssun. Struck from crew.”

The bodies are pretty scrungy-looking, typical for Rim merchants or smugglers. Z3‘s arm carefully explores the first body and extracts a leather fold from a pocket in which he finds 200 credits in notes and a beaten up ID: “”/campaigns/star-wars-darkness-falls/characters/120063" class=“wiki-content-link”>Kale Muggers, Pilot Certified on Varsoona" Z3’s database shows Varsoona as a highly populated trade nexus in this sector of the galaxy. Not surprising.

The other male body in the chair doesn’t appear to have any identifier and much of its face has been burned by a blaster shot.

Z3 pockets the credits in a storage area before he searches the ships systems to get the crew roster, seeing if Kale Muggers is a registered crew member or is in any of the logs. The Crew Registry displays text and grainy low-res ID images:

  • Viana Talon – Owner, human female
  • Kale Muggers – Pilot, human male.
  • Auros Corcer – Engineer, Sullustan.
  • Sia Hymnosia – Cargomaster, human or Zeltron female

The ship systems are pretty primitve. Z3 has gotten pretty much what he will.

Using the comm system keyed to the outside speaker, Z3 unleashes a series of whoops and beeps. He could have activated his primitive voice synthesizer but he’d not let Hamish know he has it yet. The message wasn’t too hard: “”/campaigns/star-wars-darkness-falls/characters/120082" class=“wiki-content-link”>Hamish, come inside and meet me at the bridge."

Hamish whistled as he got to the bridge of the ship. His hand reached out but didn’t quite touch the blood smears on the walls. He checked the dead crew for ID but found nothing.

“Anyone else on board?” he asked absently to the droid.

“Zoop!” – “Unknown.”

“Beep whistle blurb” Hamish leans over to read the read-out on the front of the droid. “Need to physically explore rest of ship. Mother has no other information. One crew Identified of four. Two of four bodies found.”

“Go on then. I want to know if there is anyone left to claim ownership of this ship,” said Hamish with greed. He sat down at one of the consoles, ignoring the bodies and exploring the computer system slowly and crudely.

Z3 replied with a long series of beeps that just about anyone could decifier, then rolled out of the bridge.

“Don’t get mouthy or I’ll sell you for scrap!” barked Hamish as Z3 rolled away.

If this were anyplace but this backwater, Z3 would signal the authorities to put Hamish in an uncomfortable position. However, Z3’s observations of Oolong Station led him to conclude that it likely would result in yet another set of biologicals trying to claim him.

Z3 began a systematic search of the ship, keeping a sensor out for any further signs of biological leakage.

The ship’s upper and main decks appeared be in order mechanically if a bit of a mess with trash and such. No sign of droids to do maintenance, cleaning, or hauling.

Z3 headed down to the lower deck, confirming that heavy cargo lift appeared to be working well. The lights were off or partially malfunctioning on the lower deck, leaving it in shadows and darkness outside the light from the cargo opening above.

Z3’s light plays back and forth in the gloom of the lower deck. The droid moved slowly on his wheels among the crates in the cargo section until he stopped unexpectedly. He straightened and flashed his beams lower. A body. Sullastan, mostly likely the engineer. Beaten to death, splashing biological fluids everywhere. Z3 realized he had the fluid on his front wheel.

“Ick, Biological Fluid” thought Z3. He will have to get a through cleaning after this. He does a quick scan of the body and analyzes the fluid to determine, based on consistency of the fluid and the environmental conditions of the ship, about how long ago did the biological spill its fluid. He will also scan around to determine if there are any other indicators of the event (say bloody footprint, blood trails, etc).

Z3 lets out a pleased whistle as he tucks another leather fold into his storage compartment with 45 credits in it. Examining the area, Z3 finds the biological fluid around the lower deck. It isn’t clear if it is just this body’s fluid or others, but there is a lot of it.

Z3 played his sensors over the splattered fluid and the original container, er, body. Considering the tackiness of the residue, the man had likely been dead a couple days or more.

Z3 estimates 3 of 4 crew has been accounted for, although 1 is not identifable. Whatever happened, it happened approximately 2 days ago. Although Z3 does not understand biologicals completely, he does know they tend to defend themselves even when not really threatened. Z3 suspects the recent crew addition may have played a role in all this leaking. He continues his sweep of the ship.

Z3 hears Hamish’s cursing and he completes his sweep of the ship by returning to the bridge area.

“Stupid machine,” growls Hamish as his hand slams down on the keypad in front of him. He notices Z3 whirring up to the area.

“Zee, anyone else on board? Log into this thing. Who is it registered to? If it is one of these losers, I’m claiming salvage rights.” His eyes began to glow with the idea of owning a ship, or at least the money that selling the ship would make him.

Z3 whistles and beeps, indicating that the ship is registered to Viana Talon, unaccounted for. He lists the bodies found, identification, and the fact that one of the bodies here on the bridge does not align to the crew roster (basically, regurgitate my prior post for his benefit).

Z3 accesses the cargo logs and compare that to what he found in the hold (or go back down, the place seems secure).

Previous paid cargo was delivered (offloaded) three weeks ago on a desert world called Tatooine to a Hutt. No cargo was registered as being picked up there so the few remaining crates and such in the hold are likely left-overs from supply runs, old specualtive cargo, and the like. There was one crate R2 Z3 saw while he was down there that had been pulled apart roughly (pieces of fibrowood scattered on the deck) but he found that it still contained the listed contents (1 industrial lubricator). Some of the packing material had been pulled out and thrown about as well.

The droid downloads the last 5 hyperspace jump coordinates as well.

“Frazzat!” spat Hamish. “Where did the bitch go?” He seemed to be talking to himself.

“You sure you checked everywhere? No little hidey holes for Talon?”

<beep><whirp><whiz> “The ship’s computer did not indicate any non-standard storage areas,” Z3 quipped coldly.

“Naturally… ask a droid to do a man’s job,” soured Hamish. He extricated himself from the bridge seat and began to walk back through the ship slowly, looking left and right, up and down, prying at wall plates and floor plates and even roof plates at times… many minutes later…

“She must not have been on board. This lot killed each other off after landing. She doesn’t come back to claim her in four more days, she’s mine,” concluded Hamish as he stood by the top of the boarding ramp. “Let’s lock her up. Change the security codes to the ones we use in the shop and let’s head back. If a ”/campaign/star-wars-darkness-falls/wikis/protectors" class=“wiki-page-link”> Protector comes nosing around, we were never here." Hamish tromps down the boarding ramp and heads slowly back to the shop in the rain.

Annoyed, Z3 changes to the codes, but only to ones he knows (actually, he changes them to an ID code assocated with Hamish, but not to the shop codes. If it ever becomes “public”, it will look like Hamish did it still). He then chirps happily and returns to the shop with Hamish. He then accesses an online store do plot out his next mechanical upgrade.

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