The Chronicles of The Annabel Lee

Dawn of Defiance: Episode 4

A Wretched Hive: Part 1

The briefing room aboard the Resurgence is clean and white, with several benches wrapping smoothly around a holographic projector seated on a raised dais in the center of the room. The projector springs to life, and the blue-tinted hologram of a Hutt appears to hover a few inches away from the projector’s three curved prongs.

With a brusque clearing of his throat, former Imperial officer Gilder Varth begins to speak, wasting little time on pleasantries. “Before the Empire decided my conscience was a liability,” he says, “I was involved peripherally in a top-secret plan known as the Sarlacc Project. While the details of the project are unknown to me, I was involved in the transfer of large sums of credits and resources to the project. Whatever the project entails, it is taking up a lot of the Empire’s time and effort. Moreover, I believe that this Sarlacc Project is destroying the lives of thousands of sentient beings; casualty reports crossed my desk on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, I don’t know much more than that. However, during my brief brushes with the project, I discovered that the Imperial Navy was hiding the program’s existence from the Senate by transferring resources through secondary sources. Resources were routed through the Corporate Sector, through fake contractors, and through the criminal underworld to keep a trail from leading back to the project.

One such secondary source was a Hutt crime lord named Darga. Like all Hutts, Darga is a slimy gangster whose love of credits is exceeded only by his love of power. Part of my job involved transferring resources to Darga, and in turn arranging for Imperial agents to take control of other resources from the Hutt’s organization. These were not simply transfers of credits. The items being traded were not specified, but physical resources were definitely being exchanged. Though it’s not much, this is the only lead we have.

Captain Verana has charged me with helping to uncover more about the Sarlacc Project, and he has authorized me to use you as my agents. We need you to travel to the planet of Cato Neimoidia and find Darga the Hutt. See if you can learn what he is trading in and how it relates to the Sarlacc Project.”

After a short debate, and haggle about fees, the crew of the Annabel Lee find themselves in their ship heading out to Cato Neimoidia. There is a short skirmish with some TIE-fighters but nothing they can’t handle, even with Trooper suffering from food poisoning, and the ship soon lands at Zarra spaceport.

Leaving Trooper to guard the ship the crew make their way into the ruined city. They are quickly hassled by a localswoop gang. The Vipers, a rough gang of thugs who terrorize Zarra on a daily basis, always look for fresh prey when an outlander starship arrives. The swoop gang’s leader is a violent Human woman named Kessra. She is the only female member of the gang, but she bears the scars of several past battles. From the Vipers’ demeanor, it is clear that they follow her unquestioningly. Kessra taunts the heroes from the back of her swoop bike, claiming that they’ve failed to pay for a landing permit from the Vipers. If they wish to pass unharmed, they’ll have to dole out 1,000 credits each. Psort opens fire immediately so the party are forced into a gun battle which they win fairly easily, driving off Kessra and the reaminder of her gang.

With nothing more to go on than a city and the name of a Hutt, the heroes don’t have many leads to follow. Asking questions about a Hutt crime lord can be a dangerous business in Zarra, and most citizens rebuff the heroes if they try. However, after a few attempts to find Darga, the heroes should come to realize that the Hutt lives in the city and is, in fact, well known, even if no one will reveal his exact location. But there is one way for the heroes to learn where Darga resides. One of his flunkies, a young Devaronian thief and errand boy named Warrick “Womp Rat” Raden, spends a great deal of time in the city. The heroes are told where to find Raden—a nearby ruined warehouse.

When the heroes finally locate Warrick Raden, they quickly discover that he does not want to be found or to talk about Darga. The Devaronian is willing to fight his way free and is not afraid to fire a few blaster bolts to put the heroes off his scent. Withdrawing after an initial parlay is refused the party return all guns blazing. Despite his re-programmed excavation droid guards and a bunch of handy thugs, the fight is fairly one-sided and soon Reden is the team’s prisoner.

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stevie

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