2 ABY – 06 Echo – 27 Taungday (Tirhann). Kantarra and Cheebs discover C4-BL3’s remarkable data stores include many subjects of interest. Having concluded their shopping on Tirahnn, they hear about a starship facility on nearby Kirian that specializes in exactly their type of vessel. Traveling there, they meet the owner who offers to give them the targeting computer they’re after if they will go fetch it for him and fix his stranded ship. The party is mystified when the vessel they’re meant to find and repair has gone missing from the nearby world, reportedly undamaged. Following it to another nearby planet, they find it smoking on a landing field and are suddenly beset by unknown attackers.
Her long day of shopping concluded, Kantarra announces that she needs a drink! Despite feeling that he now has a large backlog of projects to work on, Cheebs amiably goes along, as does C4-BL3. They find a nearby cantina with a table full of friendly ship captains. Cheebs learns from them of a salvage yard and custom shop on the nearby world of Kirian; the shop specializes in shuttle-sized vessels, especially Clone Wars-era ones. On the way back, thinking that C4-BL3 might be seeking out data and perhaps holovids or holobooks while planetside, Cheebs gives the droid a short list of subjects he finds interesting and would like to study. To everyone’s surprise, “Cable” already possesses a wide range of this information, obviating any further search.
The following day, Cheebs runs one more quick errand to buy Cable a more serious blaster, and also hears from the curly-haired woman running maintenance at their hangar: Her bid for a new paint job/disguise for the party’s ship is high enough to appear that she doesn’t want the work. The party therefore boosts for Kirian. Cheebs asks Kantarra to fly this routine trip so that he can work on some of his new projects, such as C4-BL3’s blaster upgrade and installing a commlink in Kantarra’s new helmet.
2 ABY – 06 Echo – 28 Zheliday (Kirian). Kantarra gets them to Kirian without incident and lands very primly in front of the custom shop in question (Kirian Vintage Shipworks and Customs). Heading to the cockpit to observe the landing, Cheebs discovers Kantarra has taken the front seat, which causes him much stress, as he spends so much time there and feels it’s his home more than anywhere else on the ship.
The whole group goes in the shop, including R3-M3 this time (“I have a shopping list too,” the astromech says). The owner, a Kel Dor by the name of Vaha Nacc, seems troubled by a recent setback. He has a spare Mark IV targeting computer that would work well for the Green Phoenix/Intrepid Porg, but it is currently in transit back to Kirian along with other parts critical for a time-sensitive job. Unfortunately, Vaha Nacc just heard from the pilot of the shuttle making the parts run (another Nu-class shuttle!) that their primary hyperdrive failed. The backup drive would bring them back to Kirian much too late for the custom job in progress. Nokk and Cheebs strike a bargain: The targeting computer will be theirs as payment for repairing Nacc’s shuttle and taking its cargo back to Kirian. Paint and other matters can be discussed later; time is of the essence.
2 ABY – 06 Echo – 28 Zheliday (Asrat). The party boosts immediately and jumps to the nearby world of Asrat where Nokk’s shuttle was to pick up its cargo. As usual, Cheebs spends his time in jump on repair projects, finishing the upgrade to C4-BL3’s integral blaster. Cable tries some short-range target practice in the hold. Making planetfall on this seemingly lawless or independent world, they don’t find Nokk’s shuttle, they do find out from the port authority that there were no apparent problems with it, however. The pilot (Darius) and his suspiciously white-haired first mate (Khytra) had picked up the cargo and lifted off without incident. The port authority even shares the cargo manifest, which appears in order, and their flight plan: a backwater world called Ktil. Kantarra has a bad feeling…
Tying into Asrat’s comm systems, C4-BL3 connects Cheebs to Nacc’s shop on Kirian without any apparent effort. Cheebs tells Nokk the bad news and asks for advice, being highly skeptical that the errant shuttle would’ve gone where Darius said they were headed. Cheebs also shares his suspicions that – if Darius’ loyalty was beyond reproach – that the more newly hired Khytra may in fact be an Echani. Nacc allays these suspicions and offers to up the payment if the party follows the only lead and heads to Ktil. They agree and make the 12-hour jump to the backwater planet (an agrarian and xenophobic world of only 10,000 souls, and a theocracy to boot). Anticipating trouble, Cheebs spends his hyperspace downtime modifying his blasters and armoring up his new engineer suit.
2 ABY – 06 Echo – 28 Zheliday (Ktil). A low-orbit scanning pass over Ktil hints at the errant shuttle’s presence on the planet’s landing field – which is in the middle of nowhere. Making planetfall and circling the field, the party sees the familiar shape of a Nu-class shuttle much like their own. Its drop-ramp is down, and smoke is pouring out of the ship! What’s more, there appears to be a body lying on the ground near the ramp. Cheebs also notes what seems to be a small craft – he thinks an escape pod – approaching the field. Dropping the landing feet and folding up the Intrepid Porg’s stabilizer wings, Cheebs lands 20 meters in front of the ship. But as soon as he does, all the Porg’s military sensor warnings go off. The approaching small craft has somehow multiplied – now there are four! They are of an unfamiliar design and deploy some kind of semicircular S-foils. And they’ve locked weapons on the Porg!