Having performed successfully at the PentaStar Alignment's military review, the members of Beta Flight return to their barracks at a nearby Imperial base. The pilots discuss what to do now that the full measure of Grand Moff Kain's genocidal plan has been revealed. Warik says the three nanocarriers have to be stopped before they leave the system. Kero observes the choice comes down to attacking the nanocarriers now, before they've departed, or delivering a warning to the Gatecrasher for guidance. The pilots discuss the feasibility of destroying one on the ground and then warning the Gatecrasher, but Kero points out that the ships will be at their most vulnerable when passing through Dorval's Wall, as their deflector shields will be inoperable. She suggests trying to get assigned as the nanocarrier's escort and then attacking at an opportune moment.
The pilots decide they need to determine who has been assigned escort duty for the nanocarriers and, if not the TIE-Defenders, then to see what can be done to get placed on that duty. Warik decides it may be necessary to break into Jax's office to slice into her computer system to gather the information, while Kero and Mikaela are to use their "feminine wiles" on the base commander to get permission for more practice flights (in order to deliver a message to the Gatecrasher), and Keth plans to gather the escort information the old fashioned way: asking around.
Mynock's quietest member is quite successful, as (while fulfilling janitorial duties) he lurks in just the right place to hear TIE-Interceptor pilots discuss how 8 of the snubfighters will be assigned to escort each nanocarrier, but that the vessels will taking different routes to Dorval's Wall before entering hyperspace on the far side. The nanocarriers and their escorts are scheduled to depart in just two days' time.
Kero and Mikaela, meanwhile, have a practice session on flirting (led by Kero) and then track down the base commander. He castigates them for hair and clothing that do not meet Imperial regulation, but Mikaela's expertly-timed hair flip and mention of her father (an Imperial Admiral) are enough to persuade him to allow more training flights for the Defenders.
When the pilots reunite to share the information they've gathered, Warik says the plan to break into Jax's quarters will still need to go forward, as now they need to learn the flight paths of each of the nanocarriers so that the Gatecrasher can plan a coordinated attack. A plan is also discussed to make it seem like the Defenders were accidentally destroyed by asteroids during the "training mission" so that the Imperials won't realize their secrets have been leaked, but the plan is dropped as obstacles to its implementation are realized. Although Kero questions the wisdom of taking the risk of breaking into the Alignment's Executive Flight Commander's office, Warik cuts off debate. He says that he and Keth will do the infiltration at midnight, leaving Kero and Mikaela behind--if the infiltration fails, he says, the two female pilots can still try to escape and warn the Gatecrasher.
Midnight arrives and Keth and Warik put their plan into operation. Knowing that his rank is sufficient to gain entry to the lobby and general area of Imperial HQ, but not high enough to access the turbolift to the upper floors of the building where Jax's office is, Warik expertly uses a computer terminal in a low-security area to slice into the building's maintenance mainframe. There, he masterfully forges a work order for janitorial assistance to stop a leak on the same floor as Jax's office. He then leaves, and both he and Keth return shortly thereafter disguised as maintenance men. With the work order lodged, the turbolift guard gives them permission to access the upper floors: but with a two-member escort of Stormtroopers!
When they reach the floor with Jax's office, the two pilots enter a refresher in the corridor and break pipes until water starts pouring out. As Keth tries to "plug the leak" in the refresher, Warik starts pounding on walls along the corridor, telling the Stormtroopers on duty that he's going to have to access the nearest "water junction" in order to shut off water to the whole floor. Unbeknownst to either pilots, however, Jax herself was notified of a "water leak" in a high-security area, and has come to ensure no sensitive electronic systems will be damaged. She instantly spots Warik and demands to know what he's doing there, but he somehow bluffs her into believing he's helping out a friend (Keth) who really isn't so good at plumbing. Although suspicious, she leaves him to it and strides away.
When Warik gains access to Jax's office to look for the supposed "water junction", he starts smashing into the wall much to the dismay of his Stormtrooper escort. He persuades the guard that he has no other choice unless the Imperial HQ is to be flooded. In truth, however, Warik has accessed the datafeed cable hidden behind the wall so that he can try to slice into the highest-security data vaults in the building. His first try at slicing through fails miserably and triggers a security alert, but fortunately Keth has arrived and is looking over Warik's shoulder. Thinking quickly, Keth helps Warik reroute the security alert to make it seem like the breach is on the opposite side of the building. One of the two Stormtroopers is called away to investigate. Keth tries to lure the other Stormtrooper out of Jax's office so that Warik can continue slicing into the datafeed, but the guard remains at his post. Warik then starts smashing into the duracrete floor with a heavy durasteel wrench, claiming to look for leaking pipes. In truth, however, he's used the random destruction as a distraction so that he can break open Jax's desk and swipe all of the datapads and flimsies inside. Keth hides the stolen material in his toolbox, and the two maintenance men walk out of the building, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake!
The two pilots make haste to where Mikaela and Kero are waiting, and inform them that their cover will soon be compromised. The four members of Beta Flight take their Defenders into orbit (on the "training mission") previously authorised. During the flight, Warik tries to slice into the material recovered from Jax's office, but without some heavy duty encryption-cracking equipment, he fails and is locked out. When they approach the last location of the Gatecrasher, they realize it's no longer there. Speculating that it probably hid in the asteroid field after receiving the warning of the Imperial survey ship approaching, the pilots enter the outer layer of the field and soon see the ship and realize it's been damaged. The pilots land and brief Major Dei on what they've found. Warik adds that the Gatecrasher is going to have to find a new hiding spot, as the Defender's ion trail could lead the Imperials to their doorstep. Mikaela brings up the fact that she felt strangely uneasy when near Kain and his entourage during the military review, much like she felt when near Vader. Kero privately talks to Lt. Tuvolo and brings to his attention that Warik keeps calling her "doctor", something she thinks is rather strange--but he tells her brusquely that as long as Warik keeps coming through "with the goods", he doesn't care what Warik calls his troopers.
After several hours pass and the Gatecrasher's technical team finally succeeds in slicing into the material stolen from Jax's office, Lt. Tuvolo gives Beta Flight the news. Because each of the nanocarriers is taking a route to Dorval's Wall that diverges significantly from the others, only a simultaneous three-pronged attack has a chance of success. Each of Mynock's three flights (Alpha, Beta, and Gamma) will be assigned to stop one of the nanocarriers, and this will require them to destroy the vessel's escorts and then wait until the nanocarrier enters Dorval's Wall before attacking when its deflector shields are down. Tuvolo becomes solemn when he notes that there is no way the New Republic snubfighters can be outfitted with the radiation shielding necessary to protect against the effects of Dorval's Wall: the pilots of Mynock Squadron will be at risk of potentially fatal radiation poisoning. Warik says that he will do his duty nonetheless, and the others agree.
Director's Commentary (21/04/2017)
It was really fun to see the clever ideas the players had to gather information since most of the PCs (Keth excepted) were not designed for stealth or deception. Good rolls really helped them out.
The break-in for "plumbing repairs" was hilarious and great fun. Again, there were some surprisingly high rolls, but at least one red chip had to be played to get them through a tight spot.
An exciting cliffhangar for the next session, as the rubber hits the road and the nanoships have to be stopped lest planetary destruction occur!
The session was a true improv one, as I had no idea what the PCs would do, but I was really happy with how it turned out. Excellent role-playing and a group that punched above its weight considering the obstacles I kept throwing their way.