Droid races!

When last we left our heroes, one of them had accidentally guzzled the hell out of a goblet of poison, which impressed Darga, their Hutt host. Subsequently, a swoop gang leader that they’d beaten, embarrassed, and robbed blind set Darga’s birds on them, but they managed to survive and escape without harming the birds, which also impressed Darga. Things were looking good for the team as they approached the coming day, which would feature the next event in Darga’s games – droid racing!

Except, just about no one was actually approaching the coming day, because they were up all night drinking poison and fighting birds. Satele forgot to set her Evey-alarm, and Evey didn’t give a single solitary darn, so they ended up sleeping nearly ’til noon. Skorssar had stayed up all night AND chugged poison like it was cordial, so he was curled up in bed feeling sorry for himself and grumbling loudly whenever Jado made a single noise that threatened to wake him up. Cupcake was feeling okay after having been treated by Satele and Vyvasa (or rather, having been treated by Vyvasa after having been looked at, poked, and declared victory over by Satele), but also saw no reason to get up before he’d gotten his full Gand beauty sleep. And Vyvasa… well, diplomats are squishy, and she needed her rest after a very long and stressful day of commentary, birds, and slave-noticing, not to mention having to cure a Gand of arena-related injuries.

This left Jado, who had gotten his eight hours by not waking up for birds or slaves, and felt hearty and full of beans and ready to look in to what was coming. He attempted to wake Evey and Satele, and then Cupcake, with no success, and chose to leave Skorzaar a grumpy, injured pile of Trandoshan. He went out to look about the palace and try to find his way to the droid racing stables, only to discover that it’s hard to get around the palace if you don’t have one of the All-Access Passes that Darga had handed out to everyone in the team who hadn’t slept through the excitement. Jado endeavoured to pick a key up from Skorzaar, who responded with a great deal of growling, and overarm throwing the key at Jado’s head hard enough to cause three strain if and when Jado failed to catch it. Jado failed to catch it.

Jado’s examination of the droid stables revealed that the large droids seemed shut down or non-conscious, and that they were apparently controlled by special visors. Upon looking at the special visors, Jado learned that he had absolutely no idea how to work the special visors. Darga’s protocol droid, 66, told Jado that they were amazing near-lost technology from the Unknown Regions, and Jado decided (rightly) that Satele would be extremely interested in amazing near-lost technology from the Unknown Regions. Jado woke up Evey and Satele, one of whom was horrified at having slept so late and the other of whom continued to not give a single darn, and in the process Cupcake came out to see how things were going. All four of them headed to the droid stables.

It was at this point that the majordomo showed up to threaten them, take their keys, boast of his racing prowess, and generally be a dick. Jado had taken three strain for having that key chucked at his head, and now he didn’t even still have it. It was a bad day for Jado. Evey managed to keep her key for reasons of being a droid and getting to be overlooked due to racisms.

Satele had a look at the visors, and learned that not only could they control the droids (when synced up to one) by mental impulse, but they could also damage and destroy the brain of the user, which was an interesting side note. Another interesting point was that visor control was similar – not hugely similar, but similar – to the Force’s powerful effects on the weak-minded, but the Force doesn’t work on droids. She told Jado that when the two of them did participate in the races, they might have to be careful not to get a Despair and make their brains explode all over the inside of their skulls. Foreshadowing? Evey racked up another point on her no-darns-given meter, caring instead about the droids. They mostly seemed nonsentient and unreactive. She went to go ask 66 about the issue.

Satele, Jado, and Cupcake met a Quarren who was there to prepare for the race. Satele expressed enthusiasm for the coming race and was impressed at the Quarren for taking up racing. The Quarren responded something along the lines of, “sure, if by ‘taking up racing’ you mean ‘being sentenced to use these brain-burning horrorshows as a result of failing Darga’, it’s real impressive stuff”. Presumably he had a sad face at this point. Quarren sad faces are impressive due to all the tentacles.

Evey discovered that the racing droids had seemed to have more of a consciousness, more of a personality, at the beginning of their use, and that over the years of being controlled by the visors, that had slowly ebbed away, erased and destroyed, like a memory wipe. Unfortunately for the droids, Evey was going for a darns-failed-to-give record: what she was really interested in was whether this technology might be the seed of the droid override Switch had warned her Palpatine might be constructing. 66 knew what she was thinking, and said it was almost certainly not the case. Evey metaphorically shrugged and went out to take holos of the track to show Satele and Jado, because ever since she used that Force Point just then, she’d always had the ability to take holos.

With a few tests settling themselves up for the use of the race, and preparatory holos giving them further advantages, Satele and Jado got ready for the race! Vyvasa and Evey watched from the balcony, Evey having weaseled out of participating, and Cupcake stealthed away to look around the secret passages, to see what he could see and map out possible ways through. It’s good to have a rogue on the team.

After Evey picked an underperforming member of Darga’s court to ‘participate’ in the race (which is to say, burn his completely unprepared brain to a cinder for the court’s amusement), the show was on! Satele and Jado pulled out to an early, impressive lead, showing everyone just how things were done, and mastering the first lap like a couple of total bosses! In the second lap, Jado slipped back somewhat, mind/machine fusion betraying him in a context where he was used to using his dexterity, and the majordomo pulled ahead to come neck and neck with Satele. Vyvasa’s old gambling buddy bet her fifty credits on whether Satele or the majordomo would win; loyal Vyvasa picked Satele, natch. Darga, however, bet Evey fifty credits on whether Jado or the miserable groundling would lose, because sadists have different priorities for betting. Evey bet that Darga’s man would lose, because Jado’s always good in a pinch.

On the third lap, both player characters made… interesting rolls.

Satele did not get a single success. She did, however, roll TWELVE ADVANTAGE.

Jado did, however, succeed. He also got a Despair and made his brain explode all over the inside of his skull. It WAS foreshadowing! Jado’s brain did not actually explode (although if Mark had added +20 to the crit roll, as he was considering, rather than +10, it really would have), but it did, hopefully temporarily, sustain some pretty major damage that is going to mean head-spasms and That Ominous Nosebleed Psychics Get In Movies whenever he tries to think. Jado just managed to keep ahead of the groundling to come in Not Last.

Satele was wondering what the hell to do with twelve Advantage. Twelve. In the end, she came in second, but for incredible effort and achievement in her first run with a droid, Darga made her a present of the visor she’d been using. Since Evey had not told her that the visor would destroy the consciousness of any droid she used it on, she immediately began thinking of all the droids she would remote-control. It is only a matter of time until she suggests using it on Evey and Evey starts giving a VERY BIG DARN.

The majordomo spoke to Satele as they finished the race, saying, “you’ve impressed me, I will keep an eye on you, also your abilities are interesting, I am totally a Dark Side Force user, bleh! bleh! dracula noise! you guys should really kill me because I am such a dick!” Evey was slightly snarky about how he’d stolen all their keys to Darga, who said Ominous Hutt Things as a result. Hopefully the majordomo’s gonna get frozen in so much carbonite.

Cupcake, meanwhile, had a fun little trip around the secret passages, hiding, sneaking, and finding a Duros accountant who listened to Gammorean opera. Cupcake learned ways around the palace, where the accountant worked, that he was dealing with tibanna gas (fuel for starships and blasters), and that he was either buying from or selling to Cloud City. Probably buying from, with tibanna gas. Cupcake also learned that Cupcake SUPER HATES Gammorean opera.

So that’s where we are: Cupcake has mapped out some of the secret places around the palace, Satele has a new freaky piece of technology, Jado’s brain now has the texture (and taste) of vanilla custard, and Evey does not give a darn.

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