Saturday, March 1, 2014

Endgame Team Aurek: The Big Job (Light Side Ending)

Team Aurek got the full 12 sessions that I was planning on running  (although I would have liked to have expanded the finale into one more episode, but I've got a hard limit this time around).  Before we jump straight into The Big Job finale, though, there was a story that I planned between the end of the Fade arc and the Big Job to give the team some breathing room.  Sort of.

A professor from the Tapani sector asks Cid to send Team Aurek to Manaan to recover an artifact that he lost when one of his associates left with it.  It turns out that the artifact is from the Infinite Empire, and may be a little dangerous.  Team Aurek heads to Manaan and finds out that the artifact has been stolen by a student.  Manaan has been turned into a resort world, and the native Selkath don't really have any important positions that don't involve the tourist industry, and the student is using the artifact to sacrifice tourists to the Progenitor in an effort to restore the Kolto trade to Manaan.



Side Note:  The original theory posited by the team was that if the artifact was stolen by a college student, it was probably being used as a really dangerous bong.

Team Aurek manages to track the student and his followers to a bombed out undersea city on Manaan, and they end up fighting both a patrol of Sea Troopers and the cultists.  In the end, the student is killed after unleashed the artifact to do horrific, painful damage to various members of Team Aurek, and one of the other cultists attempts to use the artifact and his life is drained away.  The team is very careful with the artifact, but it still manages to do something while the team is traveling in hyperspace.



Donra is told by TK-655 that he is being transferred to Vader's flagship, but that he got an offer from Grand Admiral Grant to serve as a guard at the Tapani consulate on Imperial Center, but he wouldn't want to do something like that unless he was going to settle down.  Donra eventually realizes what he is asking, and despite the fact that TK-655 does not realize she isn't human, she wants to stay with him, and tells him that she will go with him to Coruscant . . . er . . . Imperial Center.  Then TK-655 mentions that they should get Max transferred to a mental institution there, where they might be able to better care for him, and Donra is less than thrilled.

The team arrives home, turns over the artifact, and is told by Cid that his silent business partner  (that the team has already figured out is an Assembler) wants them to go on an exploratory mission into the Unknown Regions to research an ancient Varlian treasure ship and determine what and how valuable that cargo might be.  The team buys up lots of exploratory gear and prepares for their trip into the unknown.



The first set of coordinates take the team to the lost world of New Agon, a world of Tion survivors subjugated by "the goddess," who is in fact a Hutt warlord that goes into stasis for years at a time to prolong her life, and has been ruling the lost world and others since before the founding of the Republic.  She has awakened early this time, and is pushing her servants to search for Infinite Empire technology, so that she can return to Hutt Space and take over, ruling it as an Empress.

When the team is ordered to land their ship and surrender their technology for it to be scavenged for other projects, the team decides to leave, but not before convincing the people of New Agon that they have a Hutt on board their ship as well.  They find that the Goddess has moved her ship to another world under her control, and Team Aurek follows.  Unfortunately they also find out that they have had information implanted in their brains by the previous artifact, and Wyrrlryyn, the Wookiee doctor, creates a drug to help remove the deep seated psychological suggestion.  Everyone seems to deal with the drug well, except Drifter, who apparently has a reaction with compounds already in his body, and develops a split personality, one of which is extremely precise and proper in all things that he does.

JX-244 meets a tiny spider droid, hiding in the escape pod of the Squibbed  (the party's ship), who convinces him that he is being repressed by Udu-Vochar, the Assembler that Cid is beholden to, and that the tiny droid would be better treated under Scheduling, a node of Udi-Vochar's that is developing a separate personality and is attempting to take over the hive mind.  JX-244 vouches for the droid, but doesn't fully explain what it has told him to the rest of Team Aurek.

Arriving on Vchoota, the second world of Charkuta's domain, Gahto the toydarian merchant attempts to speak with Charkuta, continuing the ruse of the party having their own Hutt master on board.  This goes poorly, and Gahto enrages Charkuta.  The party takes flight from the ancient starfighters attempting to destroy them, but Donra gets a message from the planet, and convinces the mysterious stranger on the comm call that the team can be trusted, and he sends her coordinates on the planet where they will be safe.



The team ends up at the mountain stronghold of Tasha'anri'alari, known as Aanrial, who is Charkuta's administrator.  He is a Chiss explorer who crashed on the world and is now secretly in league with a group of monks who wish to return to the old Tion religion and way of life.  Donra convinces him that the team is upright and honorable, causing Prawn great confusion, and the Chiss offers to sneak them into Charkuta's compound to scout out the treasure ship and assassinate the Varlian warrior goddess.

At the starport, Team Aurek splits into three groups.  Drifter and Donra wait outside of Charkuta's domain, and JX-244 and Gahto sneak in.  Prawn goes his own direction and attempts to sneak into the treasure ship, and no one else in the party notices his curiosity or absence.

JX-244 misses with his first shot to assassinate the Hutt, but his disruptor manages to completely disintegrate what it hit instead, so it makes no noise, and he fires a second shot.  Charkuta has taken a lethal wound, and is dying, but her Hutt constitution won't let her die easily, so as she is dying, she sees only Gahto in the hallway, and charges him on her hoversled, hitting him with her vibro axe and embedding the poor Toydarian in the wall.  She then dies.



Prawn accidentally alerts the partially Rakatan droid brain that runs the treasure ship, and it arms its weapons and fires on Drifter and Donra, who are badly hurt.  JX-244 hides behind the Hutt and maneuvers her in front of the guns, so the droid brain will not fire again.  Gaining access to the ship, the uninjured members of the team look for a way to shut the ship down, and are forced to fly it away without the help of the now damaged droid brain.

After three days in the wilderness, Wyrrlrynn finds enough preserved Kolto to revive Donra, Drifter, and the Weequay sidekick Ti-Kaz, and she finds the proper controls to save Gahto, who was placed in suspended animation in order to keep his critical injury from killing him.  The team revives the monk that traveled with them so that he can give the access code to Aanrial's stronghold, and when they arrive, Aanrial begins to attempt to negotiate for a ship of his own, so that he can go back to his homeworld.  In the midst of this negotiation, three ships drop out of hyperspace.

The team gets ready to slave the Varlian treasure ship's navigation computer to the nav computer of the Squibbed to make a quick get away.  They ask for Aanrial's help, and Aanrial still trusts the team at this point in time.  He rallies the planet's defenses against the three ships, implying that they may be in league with the murderers of their goddess.  On the way out of the system, however, these turn out to be mercenaries working for Scheduling, the Assembler node attempting to betray it's primary, and they set up a place to meet in Wildspace, and Team Aurek fails to mention that the starfighters attacking the three transports were set upon them by Team Aurek and their ally.



In the long hyperspace journey  (at pre-Republic speeds, due to the treasure ship), Aanrial begins to not trust the team, and attempts to slice into ship controls from his cabin.  A great debate begins about trying to kill the Chiss since he is a "loose end," with Donra and Wyrrlryyn firmly against killing the Chiss.  Prawn sneaks into his cabin and shoots the Chiss, but doesn't kill him.  JX-244 attempts to shoot the Chiss and hits Prawn instead.  Wyrrlryyn knocks out the Chiss and stops the fighting, and the Chiss is tied up in the cargo hold.

During the more than two weeks in hyperspace, Drifter is alone on the treasure ship experimenting and teaching his droids how to dance.  No, really.  But he determines that the treasure ship's "treasure" is chemical weapons, including an adaptive virus, a powerful neurotoxin, and a will sapping compound.  Drifter develops an antidote from some of the notes on board the ship.

Upon finally meeting with Scheduling's mercenaries, they outline Scheduling's plan, which involves Team Aurek talking to Udu-Vochar while the Scheduling shuts down the security systems and his mercenaries keep most of Udu-Vochar's attendants away from the throne room.  They then begin to move the compounds from the treasure ship to the three faster, modern transports.

Drifter is upset over the team's behavior with the Chiss.  He mentions that his entire purpose in maintaining his conspiracy blogs and posting videos to the holonet is to help fight oppression in the galaxy, and if they kill off people just because they are "loose ends," they are no better than the Empire, Black Sun, or any of the other villains in the galaxy.  The group is a bit stunned by the normally medicated Drifter and his passion on this topic, and Drifter convinces Prawn to help him set explosives that will crack open the compound stasis pods, releasing the toxins, and set the detonators for three days.



The team manages to assassinate Udu-Vochar and survive, and Scheduling explains that he now holds Cid's debt and that they should inform him of this development when they return to Polis Massa.  The team sets out, and while they are in hyperspace, the stasis pods detonate in Scheduling's cargo bays in his space station, killing everyone aboard and ending his operation, as well as keeping the compounds off the black market.

Cid welcomes the team home.  The new facility has been completed, but he is confused that he can't communicate with Udu-Vochar.  The team intimates that he may no longer owe the Assembler anything, and Cid is thrilled.  He is upset that he won't have Donra has his right hand anymore, and the team puts forth Aanrial, the captive Chiss, as a potential replacement, and Cid and Aanrial come to an agreement.



Drifter says his goodbyes and tells the team that it's time for him to move on, buys a one man ship from Cid's surplus, and heads out.  Donra starts to pack, and the rest of the team begins to discuss how the team will be organized now, and when the group argues about who will be captain, the Weequay Ti-Kaz volunteers for the job.

And thus we have the light side ending.

Side Note:  The team increasingly asked for the almost non-speaking Weequay's advice, which he constantly gave based solely on the Quay diviner that he carried with him.  By the end of the campaign, almost everyone on the team except Donra was impressed with how unerringly the device worked, causing Donra to exclaim, "you're making major decisions based on a toy!"

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