After a break, the group decided to assist the Exo-Guardians and their leader Zigvigix a host shirren. The Exo-Guardians currently do not have a headquarters so they were instructed to head to the poor but trendy neighborhood of Downlow to find Zigvigix in the district’s largest art park. They would find him on one of the park benches.
Garbage litters the ground around the district’s largest art park—a cement lot filled with undulating metal sculptures and covered in graffiti of grotesquely adorable creatures. The sounds of music and chatter drift over from the nearby clubs, chronically interrupted by the roar of the local gangsters’ engines. A heavily augmented host shirren is sitting on one of the park benches, eating a simple meal of cold grub-noodles and rice candy. Their antennae perk up at the tremor of approaching footsteps. “Welcome, new Starfinders! And congratulations!” the shirren’s voice telepathically projects. “My speech-name is Zigvigix, but feel free to call me Ziggy, if that would be easier for you. Have some rice candy to celebrate your graduation! Today is your big day!
“When you are ready, I have two assignments I could use assistance with. The first is to help me secure a new headquarters on Absalom Station. I’ve been in talks with our station’s protectors, the Stewards, and they were kind enough to give us ownership of a warehouse here in Downlow for that purpose! The current owners no longer want it because a vicious alien took it over and kills anyone who goes inside. Once the alien is gone and the warehouse cargo has been returned to its owners, we can start installing desks and computers, so please go in and incinerate the creature!
Ziggy handed around a small bag of rice candy for anyone to have several pieces. He waited for those that wanted to grab a piece or two and then he continued.
“My second assignment…” Zigvigix twitches their tooth barbs for a moment and then holds out a credstick. “Please buy the brand-new Strawberry Machine Cake album, Star Sugar Heartlove!!!, which is out today, and give it to Historia-7 when you see her. She is the head of the Dataphiles, so you should meet her today! I wish to do it myself, but I… I have trouble standing for long periods of time. Thank you very much!”
What can you tell us about the warehouse said Vree?
As far as the Stewards have been able to piece together, a two-bit crime lord illegally imported the creature, and the beast promptly ate him. I may be able to get holorecordings of the incident from the station’s security cameras. That may allow you to learn more about the creature. The beast looks to be a feather stalker, a predator far more unpleasant than its name implies.
Overload began to search for the blueprints of the warehouse. He was not able to find any for this specific one but he did find similar plans. They had one to three entrances with one of them being a large warehouse door for deliveries. The other two are smaller doors. Most of the warehouses have a catwalk around halfway up the wall to the ceiling. They would have to wait to see how this warehouse was laid out.
Vree continued to research the feather stalker. She found that the creatures are covered in black and white feathers. They generally Cuisinart through anything that they feel threatens them.
So it hunts for fun and not to eat said Veluk. Got it. I will threaten it. I know that I will.
They asked Ziggy for more information on the Strawberry Machine Cake album. Ziggy says that Historia-7 has seemed down after losing her mentor in the Scoured Stars. They hope the sugar-pop music can cheer up the android; Ziggy adds that the band’s music always makes them feel better. Overload and Kaldin told the others they thought that Ziggy wanted a copy for himself but for some reason he did not ask. An oddity for the highly individual shirrens.
TuTulia volunteered to go stand in line for the album. In fact, she was going to be getting it anyway. She would get four copies of the album, one for Historia-7, one for Ziggy, one for herself, and one for the group. Yukito wanted to know what it sounded like.
Overload transformed into the hover-truck and they headed to the warehouse. Overload searched the Absalom Station radio stations for songs by Strawberry Machine Cake. He was not sure about the music as it was odd to him that someone would sing about things that they could not live up to. (I cannot remember exactly how Overload put it. I will see if I can find it in the chat logs.)
They arrived at the warehouse and saw station security had set up a force barrier around the perimeter of the warehouse. It was as much to not let people in as to keep the feather stalker from getting out. After identifying themselves, security let down the force barrier and let them into the warehouse.
The doors to the warehouse were forced open and no longer lock. The warehouse ceiling was 30 feet high, and a catwalk ran 15 feet above the floor. The crates and forklift were approximately 5 feet tall, while the cylindrical containers and the crate-filled scaffolding are 10 feet tall.
They immediately were drawn to the giant hole in the middle of the warehouse and the scaffolding on the back wall of the warehouse. On the scaffolding there appeared to be a nest. Kaldin, Vree, and Yukito headed towards the scaffolding while Overload and Veluk approached the hole in the middle of the warehouse floor.
Suddenly a feather harpoon landed into Overload’s chest and the feathered stalker leaped out of the hole and pushed its attack. Overload stood his ground and attacked back with his assault hammer. Vree opened fire with her azimuth laser pistol and tactical semi-auto pistol. Kaldin fired his pulsecaster and Jello fired his azimuth laser pistol adding trick shots as he went. Yukito fired one shot with his laser pistol and then closed with the beast to attack with his longsword. Veluk went full attack with his Azimuth Artillery Laser. It did not take long before the feathered stalker was killed.
They searched the nest and found a credstick, several flashlights, and batteries. They went into the hole and found another nest. In it was more credsticks and flares.
Overload went to the warehouse computer to see if he could get more info on the crime-boss and possibly the person or persons responsible for smuggling the feathered stalker onto Absalom Station. There was very little on the crime boss. Seemed this warehouse was legitimate except for the feathered stalker. He did get a lead on the smuggler. He passed that info onto Vree who gave it to her contacts within the police force and the Stewards.
Ziggy appeared and thanked them as the security folks started removing crates and the forklift and bringing desks and computers. Ziggy presented them with a set of basic iridishell armor, a pair of incendiary grenades I, and 400 credits. Ziggy apologizes for the lack of credits they can offer but excitedly warn them, “Have fun with the grenades, but don’t blow yourselves up—I like you!”
Meanwhile, TuTulia would stand in line for 6 hours to get 4 copies of the Strawberry Machine Cake album. She also bought all sorts of t-shirts, temporary tattoos, bracelets, hair ribbons, and more Strawberry Machine Cake gear. They wrapped the album for Historia-7 with a large bow and included a note that said “To Historia-7. Love, Ziggy.”
Ziggy squealed in delight when they gave him a copy of the album.
They took the package to Historia-7 at the Lorespire Complex. She gave them a long, unreadable stare before calmly stating she will enter it into the archives. They asked about the note and she said I see who it is from. She did not say anything else about it. As they were leaving the Dataphiles offices, a courier robot appeared and gave them a box saying it was from Ziggy. Vree opened it and found a charge cloak.
They asked Guidance how to get to Nyori Palisades to meet with Radaszam. She said she would send that info to their datapads. It was not too far away. It was a luxurious neighborhood located in Absalom Station’s transparent central dome.
Overload transformed and everyone loaded in with Vree calling shotgun once more. They arrived at a really nice office building in Nyori Palisades.
The plain white doors of the office slide open to reveal a stark, dimly lit room. The chamber is bleak and expressionless in its emptiness—no vanities line its smooth black walls, and no signs of use mar its smooth black furniture. The only occupants of the suite are a bug-eyed tadpole wriggling in a glowing blue aquarium and a reptilian Vesk seated behind an onyx desk. The Vesk gestures to a number of chairs in front of him, his features sharply illuminated by the light of his desk’s green holoscreen.
“The new graduates,” he greets, in a low and pleasant voice. “Good day. I am Radaszam, though since you are here, I should hope you already knew.
“I trust you are aware of our Society’s traditions, so I will cut to the point. I have a minor situation that needs resolution. One of our members, a human named Laboni, had a rather public altercation with a junk scavenger from the Spike. You might be more familiar with the scavenger than I, actually; he is a ysoki who fancifully calls himself Ratrod. I am told he runs a popular racing competition that has, hmm, several hundreds of thousands of viewers on the station’s infosphere. For some reason, Laboni felt the need to tell him that any ‘real’ mechanic could easily beat the garbage that Ratrod and his associates slap together. Now that Ratrod has issued an infosphere-wide demand that she race him and prove it, Laboni doubts she can back that claim up.
“Embarrassing, isn’t it? Not really the sort of troublemaker that suits our Society. Perhaps she would be better suited to the bottom of a trash compactor… Well, we cannot afford to throw her out, not after so many Starfinders were lost in the Scoured Stars. Besides, we can’t let people think we are so weak that we can’t control our own members, or that we cannot stand up to a scrapyard junker. No, I would like you to assist Laboni in winning this race. Show our detractors that even the least of our Society is not someone to be trifled with.”
They asked if Overload could be entered into the race. No, the racer would have to be built from scrap found around the racetrack. They then went out on the infosphere to find old racing footage. They found that Ratrod’s racing circuit was a hollowed-out section of a mountain of spare parts in Botscrap, the track specifically sanctioned by the ysoki-dominated Salvage Union that controls most of the yards. Radaszam said that Laboni is a capable engineer and has started working on her junkracer. But she has no piloting skills nor any weapon skills. She is working on a remote control so someone else would need to pilot and fire the weapon. They were not sure this was legal but everything they found seemed to show that it was. Laboni would be easy to spot. She always wore bright colors in paisley patterns and a bright white lab coat.
(Botscrap - see handout in roll20 for more info on Botscrap)
From the racing footage, they saw that vehicles set up at the starting line, and they take off when given the signal. Some vehicles are more junk than vehicles in appearance but most seem to run really fast no matter what the vehicle looks like. Most but not all of the junkracers have one or more weapons on them. The weapons only affect the vehicles, not the drivers. Firing into the grandstands will get drivers disqualified and possibly banned or even arrested by the Stewards. They saw Ratrod in action. He was good but they felt they could beat him.
Overload transformed into the hover-truck and they headed to Botscrap and Ratrod’s racing circuit. When they arrived at the competitors’ entrance, a small robot informed them of the basic rules of the race: racers and their pit crews are to build and improve their vehicles from the available scrap around the racetrack. Vehicles built at previous junkraces can return. Racers can fire upon other competitors during the race, but firing into the audience is grounds for immediate disqualification; racer weapons must be nonlethal and may affect only opponents’ vehicles. If they had any questions they could return here to this robot to have them answered.
They went towards the pits and sure enough, Laboni was easy to spot in her white lab coat and mix-matched paisley clothing. She was in her late teens/early twenties. She was on top of a very basic-looking junkracer going over every inch of it. She looked up when the group approached and asked how she could help them. They identified themselves as Starfinder Society members sent by the Acquisitives. She ran to them and thanked them saying “Oh, so Radaszam did some me some help. You see I think I am in over my head. I was merely repeating what several of my superiors had said but I got carried away. I am certain I cannot win this race on my own. But I am not apologizing to Ratrod until I have won and saved face. So, do not try to talk me into doing that. Someone needs to put him in his place and why not me.
Overload said that is the attitude. We think we can assist you in buffing up this racer. And we understand you have designed a remote control that will pilot and fire the weaponry?
Yes, I have. Let me show you all how it works. And then let us decide what else we want to do with the junkracer.
Yukito would pilot the junkracer so they decided to boost the piloting modifiers on the junkracer. Overload got right to work on that.
Yukito and Kaldin added bonuses to both energy-based defenses and kinetic-based defenses.
Veluk added a kinetic weapon and then added another energy weapon.
Jello added attack modifiers so they would be able to fire the weapons the best they could.
Vree would check out the other racers and see if she could intimidate or influence them. She found a list of racers near one of the entrances to the grandstands. The racers were:
Velocity, a beautiful android with silver hair and skin. They have self-modified to have both masculine and feminine attributes, and have decorated their clothing, eyelids, and lips with bright, colorful patterns.
Nyizin, a female ryphorian former soldier covered in scars both on her face and added to her black racing outfit as decoration.
Lemgem, a female gnome with blue hair and covered in piercings, tattoos, and augmentations.
Orsis, a male damaya lashunta. A stoic dark-haired lashunta who looks unfairly good in black and gold.
Ratrod, a male ysoki with mottled gray-and-white fur. He has a showman’s personality to match his icon status. People in the Spike consider him something of a hero to the ysoki-dominated Scrap Union.
Vree stopped by Velocity’s pit. She did not stay long once she realized that Velocity had never won a race.
She went to see Lemgem next. A short conversation revealed that Lemgem was obsessed with continual alterations to herself and her racer, to the point where her vehicle modifications skirt the bounds of common sense. Why did her racer have piercings? Why not! Vree noticed that Lemgem probably was on a stimulant or two so she hinted at maybe see if she could get the racer to go even faster. Lemgem said ah yeah. In racing, we call that overclocking the engine and I know how to do it. See, that is all that is to it. Vree said Good luck in the race and she left as quickly as she could.
Vree headed to see Orsis next. She felt he was using Detect Thoughts so she spoke to him telepathically. She asked about Ratrod. He too said that he was good. That he won most of the races he ran. Vree said he cannot be that good. He must be cheating or something similar Orsis warned her off of any cheating during the race. He also refused to ally with Laboni but he did give some insight into remote controlling the vehicle. (Bonus to Piloting) They nodded at each other as Vree went to see Nyizin.
Nyizin’s racer was covered in dragon bone and Vree could see elemental energies filling Nyizin’s racer. Vree was not sure but she thought these modifications look black-market and definitely dangerous. As Vree talked to Nyizin it was obvious that Nyizin had a death wish since her dragonkin partner had been killed in a battle some years before. Nyizin also said that Ratrod was the racer to beat. Vree was sure that Ratrod had been cheating. No one was that good to win as many times as he had. Something was going on.
She went to see Ratrod last. He was not working on his racer but was instead entertaining a good-sized group of his fans. He was full of himself that was for sure but as she talked with him it became obvious that he was offended by anyone that wanted to challenge his legitimacy. Perhaps they could use that to Laboni’s advantage.
She messaged Overload and asked him to see if he could hack into Ratrod’s commlink. Overload found that he could as there was very little security on it. Vree was going to taunt him during the race in hopes of flustering him into making mistakes as he raced. Overload said I can do this as well. I used to do racing commentary with a few friends on Cybertron. I will set up a twitch account and livestream the race adding obvious jabs against Ratrod and boosting Laboni.
See Interlude May 22, 2021
Vree headed back to everyone at the pits. The race was about to begin. They wished Laboni the best of luck as she climbed into the pilot’s cabin. She had won the toss and was lined up on the front row with Orsis. Ratrod was in the last lane with Velocity while Lemgem and Nyizin were in the middle.
As the starting signal was given the racers fired their weapons and then took off from the starting line. Except for Lemgem whose racer gave a small explosion probably caused by the overclocking she had done. As Ratrod and Velocity raced by, Lemgem climbed out of her racers and began up the pieces of her racer and attempt to fix it. She would not be able to.
Orsis took an early lead with Laboni and Ratrod close behind. Even with Laboni on his tail, Orsis focused his racer’s attacks on Ratrod. Kaldin, Jello, and Veluk were firing Laboni’s weapons and they all concentrated on attack Ratrod as well causing him to only having the lead briefly the entire race. They would not attack another racer unless they attacked first. Orsis never attacked them so they never attack him. Velocity was never a threat to the race so it was a three-person race between Laboni, Orsis, and Ratrod.
Overload hacked into Ratrod’s commlink. He then started his livestream of the race.
“Hello out there in the cyberverse, this is Overload, and we’re live at the race of the century as a newcomer is poised to take down Ratrod and claim his spot on the top of the scrap heap.”
Ratrod did not like Overload’s commentary from the start but when Vree started taunting him through his commlink he really became rattled.
“As a living autonomous cybernetic organism, I can say with confidence that Laboni’s racer is no slouch in the speed department and just look at how she’s taking those curves…”
“Tragic news ladies and gents, three of our racers have stalled out or had an explosive engine failure at the starting line…”
Orsis took an early lead with Laboni right behind him. “Orsis has taken advantage of the rivalry to get a huge lead, I don’t think Ratrod could even begin to catch up now.”
“It seems there is no love between Ratrod and his challenger…they are exchanging weapon fire and both have made solid hits.
What’s this?! Ratrod just narrowly missed a chunk of debris on the track, a few more micrometers and he’d have crashed and burned
Ratrod managed to get in the lead but it seems Ratrod hasn’t noticed that he has Orsis right on his tail and is in a position to push him into the wall…
Vree began to taunt Ratrod. She and Overload could hear Ratrod pushing buttons and suddenly all they heard was static. Overload hacked right back in. Vree continued her taunting and Overload continued his livestream.
Yukito was a very good pilot and kept Laboni near the front for the entire race. Orsis and Ratrod ended worrying too much about each other as Laboni’s lead increased. Orsis almost hit Lemgem and that caused him to lose the lead and never gain it back.
Folks, it seems Ratrod has a small fire in his real engine systems…he might be in real trouble unless he slows down to extinguish it.
They could hear Ratrod saying “There is no fire. What is this guy talking about.”
“I can hear a loud squealing sound coming from Ratrod’s systems…I think he left his parking brake on”
Ratrod again does not know what is being talked about. His racer does not have a parking brake.
What’s that? 5 subscribes? Thank you… It seems Orsis is taking an unchallenged lead now, I don’t think Ratrod will be able to catch up but neither will the challenger at this rate
I wanna give a quick shout-out to our pilot still sitting at the starting line. She’s not letting the fact that the bulk of her transmission is spread across the track discouraging her from trying to get the ride going
And Nyizin just hit a huge surge and took that curve like an ace! That’s an amazing bit of maneuvering
By Primus what a shot! That blast bounced off Lemgem’s rear turning panels and stuck Orsis directly in the coupling
Ratrod needs to be cautious here…he’s close to hitting that transmission wreckage too
Laboni has managed to slip ahead, can she hold on to it for just a few more seconds? Will she dethrone the champion?
That fire in Ratrod’s engines has gotten worse….he’s noticeably slowing down now
Ratrod yells “there is no FIRE!”
Let’s focus now on the finish line…this could easily be a digital imaging finish.
This is it folks…we have our new champion. Can you hear the thunderous cheers for the newcomer and the boos of the champions fans This was your host Overload of Cybertron…I wanna thank you all for tuning in and thank you all for subscribing and we’ll see you all again at the races!
Laboni won the race. Yukito guides the racer into the pits and they go to meet Laboni. Veluk slaps Yukito on the back. “Good race.” Overload goes over to Lemgem’s vehicle and helps her gather her parts and offers to pull her back to the pit area. Orsis parked next to Lemgem and help get her back to her pit along with Overload.
Laboni thanks them as she jumps up and down. Laboni says, give me a moment and then she walked over to Ratrod. She apologized for all over her previous comments and extends her hand to shake his. Ratrod hesitates at first but then extends his hand and they shake. The Salvage Union representative arrives to congratulate Laboni and encouraged by Ratrod they give her extra payment in the form of collected gear on top of the race’s prize pool.
Laboni brings the group a set of graphite carbon skin armor and 400 credits from the race’s prize pool as thanks for their assistance. She also announces that she is going to become a regular competitor on Ratrod’s circuit whether she has assistance or not. Overload says you need to find a good pilot. She said I may be able to get one with the winnings I earned.
Radaszam contacted them over their commlinks. He is not happy that Laboni has decided to race full time but he thinks this may be a way to gain valuable contacts in the Salvage Union. Radaszam is both exasperated and vaguely amused at this result. He said I will let Guidance know of your success. Thank you for your service.
They headed back to Lorespire Complex to get some rest and to find out how to get the Master of the Stars to see the final faction leader, Fitch of the Wayfinders.