Under a Black Sun

Episode 3

Shadowport Blues

episode3.jpg

Having finished their mission on Coruscant, Lady Valarian’s operatives race to Bespin, where they hope to meet the enigmatic “M”, the employer who promised vast riches for a simple job to the groups last mark, Rockbottom. Arriving at the mining station, they are quickly greeted by Aris Shen, who asks their help in distracting her chaperones so that she can meet with them in private. Feigning drunkenness, Reen kisses the Lutrillan leader of the bodyguards, catching the squad off guard and giving Aris the window she needs to escape. Meeting the crew nearby, she speaks with them only briefly before taking them to an apartment to meet the elusive “M”.

M turns out to be her father, Arend Shen, a man of means by all appearances, who welcomes the crew and lays out his plan. He plans to steal the legendary Jewel of Yavin, the largest known illegal corusca gem in the galaxy, which is currently in Cloud City waiting to be auctioned. Having somehow already heard of Rockbottom’s demise, he extends the same offer to them, allowing them to join the heist.

Shen leaves Aris to lay out the details of the plan. With support from Arend and Aris, the crew will need to manipulate the bidders to ensure the gem sells for the maximum price at auction. They will then slice into the central banking computer, diverting the funds to an off-world dummy bank account. Finally, they will need to break into the art museum where the gem is being held, bypass security, and nab the gem, before meeting with Arend at his ship for a quick getaway. In order to manipulate the bidding, the crew will need to gain access to the auction gala. As registration is closed, the best option is for them to enter and place in the Cloud City Grand Prix, a starfighter race through Bespin’s upper atmosphere.

With only three days until the race and auction, the crew gets to work, researching potential bidders, casing the art museum, and digging for information about the Jewel and its current owner.

Elkhi, discovering that one of the bidders is Shreya Ordassa, one of the students responsible for the destruction of his career, sets out on a vendetta. Gaining entry to her hotel room, he discovers that the money she plans to use to bid on the gem has been stolen from the Coruscant University under false pretenses. This information may prove useful, not only for the immediate mission, but for Elkhi’s need for revenge as well. Calling one of Ordassa’s rivals, he intimidates the student into increasing the funds available to the larcenous professor.

The crew also discovers that the list of registered bidders included a reclusive old woman without the resources to bid, a young technician who faked his credentials to get into the auction, a mining corporation executive operating with Imperial encryption codes, and a wealthy young businessman with ties to Cloud City’s underworld. They also learn that corusca gems were once used to focus lightsabers, a clue as to why they have been labeled as contraband by the Empire.

Casing the museum, the crew learns from the curator that the museum dates back to the earliest days of Cloud City, and that while station schematics are illegal to own, there may still be copies with early investors, including the Incom Corporation. The museum itself is nice but kitschy, and an unlikely place to find the largest corusca gem in the galaxy. Buying a biography of Ecclesis Figg from the gift shop, they head back.

With two days left before “go time”, the crew prepares for a call from Arends regarding their ship for the race, plans some more research, and considers a double-cross. The clock is ticking.

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Zafrod

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