Just as Zook Hui bit an astonishing twenty-thousand credits for Ryla Quellas, the ship’s systems went haywire. Attack ships bombarded the massive cruiser, while its own considerable defenses failed and lost power. Escort craft were shot from the sky, and explosions rocked the main hangar bay. Before anyone could do more than gasp in reaction, a droid-like voice spoke over the primary address system.
“Ahoy, Celestial Dream. Your defensive systems are now fully under my control. Our gunboats have you surrounded, and our boarding teams have secured your hanger. We’ve come for your credits and your merchandise, not your lives. Lay down your arms, and you will end this night only a fraction poorer than you started. Resist us and you’ll lose everything. Observe.”
A glancing blasterbolt from one of the gunships shattered the massive transparasteel canopy in the ballroom, causing a sudden decompression. It stopped almost an instant later as magnetic fields activated. “The magnetic shield relays are under our control. We are all that stands between you and the vaccum of space.”
“To the illustrious Vortha the Hutt,” the voice continued mechanically, “your reign as king of the slavers is over. Nothing personal; we’ve never even met. But we know better than to leave a Hutt alive to nurture its vengeance.”
Vortha’s huge repulsor-lift couch lifted of its own accord, and slowly began trundling towards the magnetic shielding. Chained to the couch by her shock collar, a terrified Sinya realized that the couch would go right through the atmospheric shielding, and condemn both she and the Hutt to a horrible death.
Vortha bellowed for his guards to save him, and the droid guards emerged from the skybox, then froze, re-oriented, and poined their blaster-rifles at Vortha and the crowd. “All your defensive systems are ours, Vortha. Right down to the smallest droid.”
All across the ballroom weapons were drawn, and guards materialized around important persons. Moff Tarn immediately blamed Ryla for the arrival of the apparent pirates, and his Imperial Security trained blasters on her. Zook Hui pointed his weapon at Tarn, claiming that he’d purchased Ryla fair and square. The Collicoid, Kil’tek’tet summons his droidekas, announcing that he could survive quite comfortably in a vacuum, and no one would deprive him of the flesh he purchased in Lady Ashla.
The sound of blaster-fire from other parts of the ship became audible. Thugs poured into the ballroom on one side, while an apparent slave insurrection arrived on the other. The stand-off was brief but tense before blaster-bolts began filling the room.
Marcus took a shot at Sinya’s chain, but missed, instead hitting and disabling the Hutt’s repulsor couch. It tipped as it fell, spilling the flailing Hutt past the magnetic shield, where he floated, slowly suffocating. The couch tipped over, forming a bulwark under which Sinya crouched. The Twi’lek kept up steady fire on the Hutt’s droids, but not without getting grievously wounded herself.
Varssk managed to scare off the Bothan Master of Ceremony, who quickly joined Sinya under the couch, offered his blaster, and unlocked her binders, all for the promise of safety. Rhysh charge towards Saddo, proclaiming his allegiance to the Hutt and waving an unfamiliar blaster in the air. Ryla, drawing upon her newfound connection to the force, plucked the blaster from Rhysh’s hands, and dragged the Cathari Princess Myhr off the stage into cover.
While Chewbacca dismantled some thugs and Lando took custody of the Princess, Varssk engaged Zook Hui, only to find the Rodian hunter ready for him. Zook swept the Trandoshan’s legs out from under him with a force pike, and was about to strike again when his arm was suddenly vaporized by Ryla’s blaster. Bleeding profusely, and knowing that the Trandoshan would soon recover his footing, Zook activated a thermal detonator in an effort to take some of the attackers with him, deeply wounding Varssk.
Marcus continued to take shots from across the room, while Spang administered to their wounds from the invading thugs. The slave revolt found itself caught in a cross-fire between the droidekas and the Imperial security, and were swiftly being cut down.
Climbing with Wookie swiftness, Rhysh scrambled into the Hutt skybox and found a computer terminal. Working swiftly, he began attempting to countermand the viral slicing that had hijacked the ship’s systems. He managed to take control of Vortha’s droids, and turned them from Sinya and the Bothan back upon the thugs, creating a field of cover for his friends. Meanwhile Marcus was suddenly shot point-blank from behind by Odal, who then turned his blaster on Spang. Marcus tried to return fire, but was hampered by the size of his rifle in close quarters, and slipped on his own blood.
Realizing that Shiri was somehow the source of all the slicing, Spang injected her with the serum he’d prepared for her cousin. Meant to create the illusion of clinical death, it worked perfectly. Shiri crumbled, her eyes glassy and open, and her direct control of the ship’s systems vanished. Rhysh took the opportunity to reactivate the ship’s outer defenses, and assign neutral status to any craft not currently assaulting the cruiser.
Varssk and Chewbacca charged the droidekas, trying to save the Togruta noble from her culinary fate. After a grueling fight, they succeeded, killing the insectoid Collicoid and freeing the slave.
Ryla turned her fire on Odal, as did Lando. Shot through the knee, the Twi’lek gunman went down, and was swiftly put down. Dragging the limp body of Shiri behind them, the group staggered towards the far door, rousing a fallen Varssk, and moving towards their ship. The Second Chance escaped the Celestial Dream, and quickly flickered into hyperspace. Under Saddo’s orders they set course for Hive, while Spang set up a make-shift trauma center in the ship’s main hold.
Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, Princess Myhr, Lady Ashla, Jnar’frey, Shala’shiri, Saddo the Hutt, Shirrassa, a female Rodian and a female Twi’lek all piled into the ship along with the six crew-members, and set off for the Syndicate Moon.