Awaiting the completion of repairs on the Nameless YT, Hakken Thul and Rylon Corsair attempt to occupy themselves at Titan Base. As the tredwell droids patch the hull, crawling over the craft like ants, the spacers are visited by Quartermaster Yen.
Yen has arranged for them to act as procurement specialist with Rylon aboard the YT. He then reports they’ve a briefing with Commander Elemack, Captain Aleene, and Captain Jannis and excuses himself after warning Rylon to watch his sarcasm and remember he’s still an Alliance Pilot and as such expect to follow protocol.
Exiting the craft into the hanger, they find the place a hotbed of activity, with flight crews readying Titan Base’s Nightmare Squadron. Chief Engineer Sorren, a kindly Sullustan, greats them and promises to get their ship fix back up as soon as he can as well as put in the ion cannon alterations. When asked about the X-Wings being prepped, he tells them it’s only his place to see it done, but he knows it involves the Imperial’s Base known as “The Hammer”, an Imperial pilot training facility.
Captain Aleene meets them and escorts them to the briefing room. As they enter conversation among the officers dies down. Commander Elemack waves, “Take your seats, please. We have little time for pleasantries. First I must say you were not our first choice for this mission. Titan Base’s Special Ops team is missing in action and believed captured. None of our other local assets are available and we don’t have the time to bring outside help in. If you have concerns, now is the time to voice them.” The spacers object to not having a ship for any mission. Elemack nods and assures them they will be outfitted properly for this mission. He lifts a remote and the lights dim and a rotating hologram of an Imperial freight ship rises from the conference table.
Captain Jannis steps forward, “This is Imperial freighter IM-873X, a star galleon model that has been making precisely scheduled trips to Corva Sector for more than six years. Recently, the ship was delayed by a period of eight days, something that has never happened in the better part of a decade. This anomalous incident caught my attention.”
The Bothan Captain Aleene steps forward and continues, “Analysis of the Galleon’s fuel capacity and range provided a limited number of ports the ship could have used for refueling. The list of the Imperial grade starports was eliminated from the list through slicing into the Bureau of Ships and Service records. The stellar cartography data gathered by Intelligence estimated the Galleon’s delay was due to a trip to the Stylar Nebula, a region where the Alliance has suspected a secret Imperial development facility is located.”
The human captain Jannis takes the floor. “Coupled with an single unencrypted communique we intercepted, we believe the freighter has delivered a secret Imperial project know as Shell-cracker to the facility here in the Corva sector called, The Hammer. Contextual clues from the communication suggest it is some sort of small-scale ship designed for use against capital ships.”
The Bothan officer concludes with, “We received this data four days ago. Our special ops team was mobilized and sent in three days ago. They’re overdue with no communications”.
“Simply put, I want that prototype! You two are going to infiltrate The Hammer, confirm the nature of this Project: Shell-cracker, and steal it.”, Elemack demands. They bring up the possibility that the other team has put the base on alert or the prototype moved, but there’s been no activity to suggest that’s happened. “That said, if the prototype can not be taken then you are to destroy it and any other threat to the Alliance.”
Jannis takes the floor again to explain their cover story, “Four months ago, an Imperial Survey shuttle stumbled on an Alliance safe world. Thankfully SpecForce teams were training and able to capture the vessel before transmission of the planets location. We’ve been submitting false reports to maintain the illusion the crew is still operating. You will become that team and request repairs. Our last report places the craft relatively close to a neutron star to have sustained significant electronic damage, so that’s your cover story. Nightmare Squad will be ready to jump in and escort you out. You’ll be outfitted with an electronic lock-breaker and droids if you need them, as well as anything else you’ll require.” The pair request munitions, a crate of 8 concussion grenades and a missile for the missile tube. They have eighteen hours.
Along with their droids, RA and B3, they ready to board the Lambda class shuttle. B3 is loaded with coordinates for the hyperspace jump out. Commander Terrill of the Nightmare Squad asks they take out as many TIEs as the can before taking off with the prototype to help even the odds and ensure mission success.
After a short jump through hyperspace, the blue clouds drop away and the Hammer hangs before them. The refitted Firestar-class defense station is a holdout from the days of the Old Republic. Twelve TIEs running maneuvers nearby in an asteroid belt, but could arrive within moments. Over the comm, “Attention unidentified ship, you are not scheduled for arrival in this system. Identify yourself immediately or face military censure.” Rylon responds with his cover story, “Imperial Pilot AX-798 of the Emperor’s Vision requesting repairs.” After transmitting their credentials and waiting a few tense moments the comm crackles, “Imperial Survey Emperor’s Vision, follow the transmitted heading and dock at Imperial station HM7-R where your physical credentials will be examined.”
There is a series of thuds as the station’s tractor beam deposits the vessel on the deck of the separated freighter hanger bay. A half a dozen stormtroopers and an Imperial officer wait for them at the bottom of the landing ramp. Dressed in Imperial Survey Team uniforms they walk down and present their credentials. “Imperial Survey Vessel ISV-7XB. You’re a little far away from your normal rounds, aren’t you?”, the officer asks accusingly. Rylon explains the electrical damage from the neutron star. “Very well then, your credentials check out, your vessel will be processed as soon as it can be worked into the duty roster. Droid crews will complete a diagnostic within 48 hours, at which point the actual repairs should be completed shortly thereafter. You are being issued 72 hour level one security passes. You will have access to all common areas of the station and have temporary quarters assigned. Any failure on your part to adhere to your security restrictions will result in disciplinary action and insubordination charges. Now please present your droids for inspection and downloading of memory banks.”
Rylon tries to bluff his way out of turning over the droids, saying the the neutron star damaged their systems as well. The officer believes his story, but he still must take the droids – “standard procedure” – though he assures the two that the droids will be fixed. As they’re led away, RA looks back over his shoulder, even without facial features to read… he’s worried.