The Womp Rats

Hate Leads to Suffering

Chapter 12 - Intro

The smoke clears, and you can see that the Palpatine Counterinsurgency Front terrorists have all fallen, while the Womp Rats are still standing—barely. Raine looks over everyone’s injuries while grumbling things about tactical cover, the Battle of Giju, modicums of self-preservation, and the simplicity of self-sticking stimpacks. Nobody seems to be listening. A response team of soldiers from the New Republic arrive and take command of the area. You are requisitioned a shuttle to return you to the Lomai.

The shuttle makes its landing a few hours later in one of the capital ship’s hangars. You lower the shuttle’s landing ramp are greeted by New Republic infantry. They are standing at the ready, flanking both sides of the ramp. At the far end of the ramp, completing the box, stands Everson and a Bothan. You don’t recognize the Bothan, but he wears a colonel’s insignia.

Everyone stops at the end of the ramp. An awkward silence follows.

“Interesting location to have a parade in our honor,” Raine says.

Everson slowly shakes his bold blue head. “I’m sorry, I really am. I couldn’t stop them.”

“Stop them? Stop them from what?” Jonas asks. He eyes the nearby infantry. Their weapons aren’t pointed at us, but…

The Bothan steps forward and holds up a datapad and reads from it with a loud voice. “Lieutenant Ederron, by order of the New Republic Provisional Council, you are hereby placed under arrest for gross negligence and scientific malice resulting in the wanton and willful loss of life of New Republic citizens by the Krytos virus epidemic.”

Everyone stands dumbfounded. This time, Jonas breaks the silence—with a growl—but Mada puts a heavily-armored hand on his shoulder.

“I believe there’s been some sort of misunderstanding,” Mada says. The Bothan colonel arches a furry eyebrow.

“Oh? I have it here, from Ms. Privirra’s report, mind you, that the Krytos virus could only be completed with the contribution of Lt. Ederron’s DNA. Therefore, he served a critical role in its creation.”

“What?!” Neeka cries. “If you have my report, then you know that witch Isard ordered its creation and Derricote began work on it long after Raine had already joined the Rebellion!” She places herself between Raine and the Bothan, her hands spread wide as if she could shield Raine from him. “He bears no responsibility whatsoever.”

“No, that’s not true,” Raine says. He gently pushes Neeka to one side while she gapes up at him in disbelief. “I bear some responsibility, I am ashamed to say.”

“Ashamed, as you should be,” the Bothan replies, “…traitor. Because of the suspicious circumstances of your original corroboration of your loyalty to the New Republic substantiated via the ‘sacrifice’ of your hand, which you left as a sample for Derricote—who also recently escaped your custody, though you had ample opportunity and manpower with which to capture him—by order of the New Republic Provisional Council, you are also arrested under the charges of treachery and espionage.”

Edggy’s voicebox clicks while he loads a holodrama. “Maybe I’m off my hinges, but I believe you.” He begins pushing Raine down the ramp. “That’s why I’m gonna let you go.”

Neeka gasps, her sparkling black eyes wide in surprise. She latches on to Raine’s pant leg. “No! You can’t! You can’t take him away from me like this. Not because of my— Raine, Raine would never betray us… Raine, I can’t— …not like this, I never would have turned over those notes if I knew they were going to manipulate them like this, not like this! Raine, you have to believe me, that’s not what my report says. Raine, you have to— Raine, I— I, I…” Her torrent of words dissolves into a sputtering mess of tears. She sobs into fistfuls of fabric. “…I don’t think you are a traitor.”

Raine looks down at her. “I know,” he says. Then he looks up at the Bothan, his eyes burning with anger. “I’ve done nothing but help the Rebellion. I have put my life in harm’s way and my own interests aside for the safety of its citizens. I despise Derricote, I wanted to kill him right there, and though I am ashamed—”

“Save it for your trial. We’re not done here.” The Bothan huffs and continues to intone from his datapad. “Lieutenant Rigger, for your complicity in the escape of Evir Derricote, you are hereby demoted to Sergeant and placed in custody pending an investigation into your involvement in the conspiracies to murder Lieutenant Corran Horn and spread the Krytos virus throughout Coruscant.”

“What?!” Jonas bristles. “Has the whole council gone mad?”

“Your disrespect for the current body of New Republic authority has been noted,” the Bothan remarks.

“I’ll have you note more than that!” Jonas begins shouting. “Everson! How could you allow this? This is wrong! We’ve done nothing wrong! This is a Sith hunt. I know what’s happening here: The New Republic doesn’t have enough bacta to calm the population, so they’re gonna distract them instead with more trumped-up show trials like Chelchu’s. How will that help anybody? We’re gonna fry for nothing, and you’re just gonna stand by and watch it happen?”

Everson looks away. Mada pulls his hand from Jonas’ shoulder to rest it on the barrel of the old man’s grenade launcher to keep it from rising. The Rodian wheezes for a moment, but then he speaks with a clear and calm voice.

“You are not facing this alone. When Neeka and I get back to the Luck, we’ll call in favors, get you guys a good representative, and fight this head on in court.”

The Bothan clears his throat. “The Luck of Ord Mantell, as property of the New Republic—”

“Property of EXCUSE ME WHAT?” Neeka shrieks.

“—is hereby impounded for search and seizure in relation to both pending investigations and trials. All assets and accounts of the special-designated ‘Womp Rats’ team are to be likewise seized or frozen.”

“My ship, that I built with my own two hands, mine! Mine, do you hear me?”

“Neeka Privirra and Mada Roolek, your civilian status is hereby revoked and you are placed in the New Republic military at the rank of Private. You are also to be detained pending an investigation into your complicity regarding the Krytos Virus.”

Neeka stares in shock. Her voice drops to a low murmur. “No. …shut up, I have to— No, I won’t. I won’t. Shut up!”

The colonel motions the infantrymen forward. “Take their weapons.”

“Trumped-up charges, search and seizure!” Neeka is back to shrieking. “You’re no better than the Empire. You are the traitors!” She keeps shrieking, but her pitch lowers pronouncedly as her voice begins to reverberate throughout the hangar. “Exploitation and incarceration! You’re no better than the slavers!”

“Restrain that Chadra Fan!” the colonel barks.

As soldiers move toward Neeka, Edggy booms out a warning. “I’m gonna give you to the count of ten to get your lousy, lyin’, low-down, four-flushing carcass OUT of my airlock! 1…”

Raine bucks a hand off his shoulder as a infantryman reaches for his holstered weapon.

Edggy continues, “…2…”

Jonas jostles Mada aside and takes up a combat stance against the approaching troopers.

“…10!”

Mada ignites his lightsaber.

The sound of blaster fire echoes from Edggy and the hangar is pitched into combat.

Roll initiative.
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This encounter’s victory condition is escape. To do so you’ll have to make it out of Coruscant Airspace, well Space-space. If you lose the encounter if everyone passes out or your escape vehicle/s become disabled.

May the Force be with you.

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