The Womp Rats busied themselves around Coruscant learning what they could of the Empire’s plans. They quickly learned that bacta had skyrocketed in price in the black market and that most of the vendors were lying about even having it. It seemed a shortage had been created overnight.
Armed with the shipping information from the burned warehouse, Raine set out to track down Evir Derricote. Raine had known him when he worked for the Empire in that Imperial testing facility long ago. Derricote would have Raine test biological weapons on a number of aliens, with Raine having little knowledge of the actual purpose. The resurgence of Derricote trouble Raine and he knew nothing good would come from it. After a little scouting, Raine turned up a laboratory near Invisec—-the invisible sector of Coruscant for the xeno population.
Mada, unable to travel to the same sectors as Raine and Jonas, conducted his own investigation within Invisec. There he learned troubling news of beings snatched up in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again. One source had trailed the abductors to a laboratory near Invisec.
On the eve of the New Republic’s scheduled invasion of Coruscant, the Womp Rats infiltrated Derricote’s mysterious laboratory. Neeka made quick work of the outer door security locks and the boys rushed inside; Neeka followed close behind. The front room of the laboratory was dark and empty of personnel. Equipment was covered over and in various stages of being packed up. The Womp Rats pushed forward deeper into the darkness.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” comments Raine.
“I believe we all do, there’s a dark presence here,” Mada says flatly, scanning for trouble and holding the hilt of his unlit lightsaber tightly.
“It’s cold too,” Neeka notes with a shiver.
“Not really,” Jonas replies.
“Oh maybe it’s just me,” Neeka recants.
Rounding a corner, the Womp Rats turn to see a long corridor lit in an eerie green light. Lining the walls are doors beside large windows. Observation cells. Raine leads the way down the corridor, but all is too dark to see. When Raine reaches a console at the end of the corridor he flips on the lights.
A hollow, terrified scream of deep agony cries out from within a cell.
You ready weapons and turn when a loud, wet thud hits one of the windows. A figure stands there—-a Rodian, his dark blood leaking from cracked scales and staining the viewscreen. He looks at you all with sad lost eyes before slumping out of view.
Neeka turns away and begins typing furiously. The scream continues to howl. Raine carefully walks to the window of the screaming yell and looks inside. He is confronted with the image of a Sullustan, face in hands, dark blood flowing down its arms.
“This is…” Raine gasps for the breath to speak, “… horrid.”
“They’re all infected,” Neeka says, reading from the monitor, “with something called the Krytos virus. Bacta is the cure, but the dosage required is over ten times the normal amount. Wait.” She shudders and looks at Mada. “Do you feel that?”
“I do. A few of these subjects are force sensitive. We have to help them.” Mada rushes to one of the doors.
“No—-DON’T—-” Neeka shouts, “It’s a bioweapon designed to be highly contagious.”
“We can’t just do nothing,” growls Jonas.
Raine turns and rushes to the console, pushing Neeka aside. “They’d have a stockpile of bacta here, then, just in case they contracted it themselves.”
“Mr. Ederron.” A voice calls from the entryway, and a portly man strides into view. Not even a Hutt could leer as smug of an expression as he bore. “Admiring our handy…” He stifles a chuckle. "…our handiwork?”
The Womp Rats raise weapons, but the man only raises his finger. “Ah ah ah.” A wave of stormtroopers pour in from all sides, cornering the intruders.
“Derricote.” Raine spits the name like a curse while surrendering his blaster and being forced to his knees.
Derricote smiles. “Ah, you do remember. I’m honored. You know, when Isard order the creation of the Krytos virus, it was quite the challenge. It’s not easy to create a virus that targets xenobiology but leaves humans untouched. You know as well as I do the molecular eccentricities involved, but harder still was her request to make it curable. See, the first batch was too perfect: it killed quickly. That’s when I turned to my old good luck charm, a ‘helping hand’ left for me in a prisoner’s cell. You know the one I mean, I believe. See, I had it encased in carbonite and preserved. That’s when it struck me—-”
“I’d like to strike you,” Raine says.
“Oh I’m sure you would, Mr. Ederron, but see, you helped me with all of this.”
“I did no such thing. I left, never to be a part of something like this again.”
“Perhaps, but your helping hand—-” Derricote cuts off as he is stricken with a fit of silent giggles. The Womp Rats all stare at him with murderous eyes. “—-ah, ho ho, a helping hand was all I needed. See, the secret lay in your Arkanian blood. You, my dear fellow, made all of this possible.”
“That’s not true—-that’s impossible!”
“I dare say it is, man. And, what’s more, it will bring forth the end of your troublesome rebellion. See, Isard knows what your rebel friends have planned and she’s seen to it that the ‘New Republic’ masters of this world will be seen as harbingers of death. See, my Krytos virus has a cure: bacta—-loads of it. And you know what’s missing from this world, now, and from many, many others? Bacta. The New Republic will inherit a sick world. Millions of xenos will die an excruciating death, and those that remain will blame the New Republic for having little interest in helping—-because it simply won’t have the supplies to do so. And under that social and financial pressure, it will crumble from within.”
Derricote motions to one of the troopers, who brings him a case of syringes. “Now, Mr. Ederron, I’d like you to witness, first—ah—hand, the power you’ve given us. In here is the Krytos virus. Once injected it works its way in quickly infecting the host. Then, cell by cell, the creature dies, and the process escalates until you get the end stage. By then the pain is incredible. It lasts weeks, sometimes months. Most creatures try to take their own lives to stop the pain, it’s that terrific.” He swiftly jabs Mada in the arm. “And now this comrade has it.”
Jonas growls and struggles against his captors. Raine, his breaths hissing out from behind clenched teeth, nearly bucks out of the grip of the stormtroopers wrangling him. “I’ll kill you! I’ll KILL you!”
“Oh hush, its unbecoming of a man of your heritage.” Derricote obtains a new syringe and walks over to Neeka.
“STOP,” Raine cries out, “…what do you want? You can have it. Just stop.”
“Why, Mr. Ederron, is it unclear? I wish for you to suffer at my hand before you are executed.”
Emotion surges in Neeka. She’s quivering in fear as she watches the needle stab into her arm. No—-not in fear. In anger. She’s quivering with rage: He can’t do this. It’s not right. He can’t hurt my friends. He can’t—-I won’t let him. I won’t!
Power explodes out from Neeka, throwing stormtroopers and Womp Rats alike to the ground, hard. As they look up, Neeka, diminutive as she is, stands over them all. Firm. Resolute. With venom in her eyes.
“You’re nothing, Derricote." Her fur bristling, Neeka marches steadily toward Derricote. Ozone and the crackle of electricity begins to fill the air. "I will see to it that you never harm another.” She lifts her hands, and the rest of the syringes also rise up from where they had tumbled to the floor, their needle-tips pointing at Derricote. Neeka sweeps her hand forward and the evil scientist cries out in pain as the darts drive into his face and chest.
A stormtrooper rights himself and aims a shot at Neeka. Raine quickly kicks the trooper in the face and the shot goes wide. The stray blaster bolt hits the control console. All the cell doors open and the infected begin to stumble out like zombies, screaming for help. The stormtrooper brings his barrel back down for a point-blank shot on Raine.
Neeka yells, turning on the trooper. Electricity arcs from her fingertips as his body is flung sharply away from Raine. The body strikes the wall and then limply slumps to the ground. The stench of burning flesh fills the room.
Neeka turns back to Derricote, but during her distraction he has made his escape down a corridor. Raine scrambles to pick up his weapon and gets a shot off as Derricote disappears around a corner. Neeka falls to her knees and screams in fury.
Raine rises and steps to give chase when he hears Jonas shout for him to stop. The old man’s lurching to his feet with his Z-50 grenade launcher. The stormtroopers are also recovering from the shock of Neeka’s rage, staggering to their feet as they collect their weapons. Mada is on the floor, drawing his lightsaber out of the grip of a stormtrooper and into his hand. Raine looks back up Derricote’s corridor as two Dark Troopers appear from that direction.
“Let’s get after him!” Raine yells.
“We have to warn the Republic.” Jonas motions in the other direction toward the front door.
Raine glances back at his nemesis, who is getting away. “Kriff. We can’t do both.”
Mada wobbles to his feet, holding back a sickly look. “We can’t do either until we deal with what’s before us. Stand to, gentlemen.” Mada ignites his lightsaber.
Critical Injuries can not be healed while infected
Suffer 1 strain for every time you take a player action
Stimpacks start encounters at reduced effectiveness (3 wounds/strain)
Add 1 setback to all checks if strain is over 1/4 threshold
Add 2 Setback to all checks is strain is over 1/2 threshold
Add 3 Setback to all checks if strain is over 3/4 threshold
If strain exceeds threshold, pass out and suffer 1 critical injury
Suffer 1 new critical injury at the start of each encounter while uncured
At the GM’s discretion, roll a force dice to determine if you infect other non-human life around you. Infected beings roll 1d4 to determine upgrades to their daunting resilience check. If a force sensitive character infects others suffer +1 conflict at the GM’s discretion
96 hours, uninterrupted in bacta tank with 100/L of bacta
Suggested Resilience results:
Triumph – only way to be immune
Success – Number of sessions before becoming susceptible again
Advantage – Number of combat turns before symptoms set in.
Failures – Catch virus
Threat – Suffer strain equal to threat
Despair – Suffer 1 Critical Injury. +5 for each additional Despair.