The unexpected visit from Teemo The Hutt’s men turned out to be a very fortunate twist, and the appropriately weary team only received what seemed to be an ally. Unknown to them, their actions over the previous few days have not gone unnoticed – but to all intents and purposes, it seems like those watching reported to Teemo the Hutt, who claimed to have been forced into an alliance with the Empire. A situation he is not very fond of – Hutts do not look lightly on having to report to someone, and Teemo already has his cousin – the great Jabba The Hutt to show appropriate respects to. So Teemo offered the team both some advice and a deadline – they had 2 days to cause whatever mischief they need to, in order to complete their visit to Mos Shuuta. His men would overlook their actions over this period of time, but after those 2 days this option will end and they will not have any options left. Teemo will act quickly and get rid of them personally. Unaware of the reasons behind the 2 day deadline, the team took the risk of taking Teemo’s promise of a ‘blind-eye’ at face-value.
They faced a difficult decision. Back in the Metal Forest, they sat down to make the call. Whether to risk exposing their presence and get to the hyperdrive data in the modified Z95 (thereby potentially saving the lives of the Rebel cell who loaned the ship to them), or to stay safe and just leave immediately – an option left open to them by Teemo the Hutt. They made the call. They stayed.
A hastily drawn-up plan to have two people get into the warehouse under cover of night, using a hidden entrance into Mos Shuuta and having their ship fly over the nearest hill piloted by Helmsman was prepped. Sandon left to get the necessary gear and a location from which he can shoot the transmitter on the roof of the warehouse. Helmsman returned their speeder and got his hands of detailed Tatooine maps from the surveyors (looking for a hiding spot), Max and Kameron went looking for an alternative way into Mos Shuuta. All worked perfectly well, and as the two suns fell behind the horizon, 3 members of the Phoenix Rebel Cell climbed into Mos Shuuta through the Shantytown. Inside the warehouse, with Sandon positioned on an opposite roof covering the transmitter in case things go wrong, Max and Kameron found the Z95 – surrounded by a series of motion detectors, as warned by Kameron a few days before. Aware of the presence of an Imperial Lieutenant, Max knew that once the alarm is triggered they will not have much time.
Kameron ran for the Z95, Max prepared to open the warehouse gates to fly out. The alarm went off, its deafening siren heard all across Mos Shuuta and the nearest few miles.
It took 8 seconds for the first Stormtroopers to appear in the doorway, opening fire. The warehouse gates began opening, the Z95 started to turn, and a thermal detonator rolled along the floor towards the Stormtrooper line – Max managed to jump and climb into the cockpit of the fighter just in time for a hasty withdrawal. An explosion shook the walls of the warehouse, and the Z95 took off – joining the rented freighter with Sandon & Helmsman onboard. Sandon confirmed that the Gammorean guards of Teemo the Hutt hid inside the barracks, and did not intervene – a blessing for the team, as it is them who control AA weaponry in the barracks.
Once in space, the team was meant to catch their breath and head for a safe haven on the other side of Tatooine. The moment of respite was cut short with the appearance of an Imperial ship, a class which none of the team have seen before. Not of the traditional KDY shape, but with Imperial symbols on its side. The open channel came alive:
“To all ships within hailing distance, this is Imperial-Starship Merciless. You are to land your craft in the vicinity of Mos Shuuta and prepare for inspection under the orders of the Imperial Security Bureau”
Responses came from two local spacecraft – together with Helmsman’s command to quickly retreat into the atmosphere, stay low, and head in formation for a spot he has chosen. A spot filled with hundred of narrow plateau’s and cliffs, with just enough space for the both the team’s craft to land.
Bottles opened, music was played, celebrations were permitted by squad leader. Sandon took out his bag of spice and shared it with the rest – without so much as a raised eyebrow from the usually quite official Helmsman. He, however, only enjoyed two stronger drinks and decided to retire to the ship – letting everyone else let loose without the commander watching.
Halfway through the first bottle (each), stories began. Tears of joy and released stress poured, mixed with honesty and spice.
To the surprise of both Sandon and Kameron, Max Veers Jr. showed he has a completely other string to his bow – as a chatty and entertaining partner-in-crime. He shared some of his stories of past exploits, with his recount of an alcohol-induced decision to sneak into a Tie-Fighter Dock & deactivate the holding arms before activating anti-grav to see if it will switch on automatically (a foolish bet that he lost) drawing particularly loud laughs. Some new names appeared from his past, including Scarlet, Silver, Smokie, and particular reverence was paid to a man he named as Tor – only described as the ‘greatest officer, most talented marksman, and best uncle’ Max has ever seen before or since.
As Kameron joined in on the honesty, some truth of her past came out. While she never regretted her escape from home, she did mention that losing contact with her older brother was something she never hoped would happen. But as she began flying with the pirate Aliant, she was left with little choice. In fact, her circumstances of joining the rebel cell are quite unusual – two extended series of nagging and negotiations between her and the then squad leader failed. She wanted to remain a pirate, spending all she earned quickly and foolishly and having no regrets about how she celebrates. The arrest and detention of Aliant and the crew of the Crow forced her hand – with no alternative but to either join the rebel cell or return to Bespin as a fugitive.
The usually silent and ponderous Sandon stuck to some of his memories of Abregado-Rae and his rum-runs to mid-ocean mining facilities. What was the greatest surprise of all, was that despite being under the heavy influence of spice and alcohol – Sandon’s shooting abilities excelled. While perhaps a shooting contest was not the best idea while drunk, drugged, and in a canyon – this very pleasant surprise made up for it. Sandon claimed this experience came from his short and sweet stint at an Imperial academy as a junior – a chapter in his life ended when he decided that sex with the academy commander’s daughter inside his office will make for a great celebration of failing his psyche tests.
The party went on into the early hours of the morning, but the team did not see the suns rise. Both on account of the shadows falling from the surround plateaus, as well as due to the fact that not one of them can remember what happened after around 1AM.
With sore heads, all began waking up.
As Kameron opened her eyes, she saw she is on the floor of her cabin – but under a duvet and with a pillow under her head. Perhaps the bunk was a little too high up. She was also utterly naked, which impressed her momentarily – she had the strength to prepare for sleep! That was when she saw her pillow on her bunk. Her aching head still resting on Max’s chest, she heard the rhythm of his breathing change. He woke up as well. Did they…? If only she could remember, at least she could form an opinion… Damn… She needed a drink.