“Big trouble at home. Don’t come back to Ord Mantell, take the ship and go. I’ll get off Ord Mantell, if I can… if I can’t, I’ll be dead.”
These were the last known words of Hairan Smague, owner of a small salvaging fleet based on the planet Ord Mantell, spoken to his employee Senten Lutt over holotransmission. At the time, Lutt was on a job delivering a shipload of broken fusion generators to the Quarren Kul't on Agamar using one of Smague's medium freighters, the Gallofree Goshawk. With an empty cargo hold and dwindling supplies, Lutt turned the ship around to see if the Quarren had any work to offer.
Lutt's crew consisted of himself, the Chadra-Fan mechanic Rats Nirrant, the Nautolan muscle Wyn Vaast, a human noble named Mev Dathreen (who was also from Ord Mantell, and seemed to be relieved not to have to return per Smague's instructions), and the droids ASP-99 and P-316, a labor and salvage droid respectively.
In fact, Kul't did need the generators taken somewhere else. He had a buyer on Churra, but his ship, a Wayfarer-class freighter called the Ramshackle was not big enough to carry them. He agreed to terms with Lutt, paid half in advance, and sent them off, promising to send more information about the buyer – all they knew was that his name was Ember – before they arrived.
Ten minutes before they were scheduled to exit hyperspace, their ship lurched out of lightspeed and they found themselves directly in the middle of a space battle. On one side, the Imperial Star Destroyer ISS Vigilance and on the other a trio of Action Bulk freighters marked as Dustrunners. In turn, each side hailed the Goshawk in order to protect them, and the crew chose to slip around behind the Imperials, thinking it would be safer.
They were quickly hailed again and told to expect a boarding party once they had landed on Churra, just to make sure they were on the up and up. The Imperials seemed jumpy about another ship stumbling into their business.
So they landed in Garnet, the largest space port on Churra, and set off to find their contact, leaving P-316 to let them know when the Imperials arrived. Kul't had never sent them anymore information about Ember, so they were flying blind, so to speak.
The Imperial presence in Garnet was impressive, and locals seemed to believe there was some sort of recent battle between the Imperials and the fledgling Rebels, and that the Rebels had actually won. There were no details or corroboration to any of this, just hearsay.
A few more quick questions led them to a cantina called the Ticklish Wookiee, where they found a group of spacers playing sabacc in the smoky back corner. The Chadra-Fan Rats Nirrant slid up next to a large Talz and had them deal him in for a hand, losing badly, but earning the humor of the big alien in the process. When Nirrant asked for Ember, a human man on the other side of Xedo, the Talz, motioned for the group to join him in the back of the cantina.
He introduced himself as Ember, and explained his need for the generators – he was setting up a small spaceport, and needed some makeshift equipment to get his venture off the ground. When pressed, he claimed there was nothing illegal about the cargo, and there was nothing to be worried about when the Imperials inspected their ship. Almost on cue, P-316 pinged the crew to let them know that a Sergeant Davron was waiting for them. They got coordinates from Ember about where to meet him afterward to unload the generators and returned to their landing bay.
Back at the Goshawk, dozens of Stormtroopers waited for them, with a black-uniformed Sergeant impatiently standing near the loading ramp. He hurried to introduce himself, apologized for the inconvenience, and got on his inspection. It took a while, and he had a few probing questions about their cargo, their buyer, and the location of the drop off, but seemed satisfied with their answers. He left, and they were free to go about their business, after requesting the coordinates to Ember's salvage yard, which they agreed to send to him, "as soon as they got them".
They quickly discussed what to actually do with the coordinates, and agreed to send the Imperials a "scrambled" transmission, so they could say they sent them, but without leading them directly to Ember, as they had no reason to put him at their mercy at the moment. Nirrant worked up the transmission and sent it, and they headed to their next location: a junkyard platform almost twenty kilometers outside the city.
When they arrived, Ember and Xedo were there to greet them, and their droids began helping with the unloading process. About a quarter of the way through, a starship screamed into view, and a dozen stormtroopers with jetpacks jumped out of the dropship, heading strait towards the Goshawk, it's crew, and Ember.