Two weeks of travelling without making a penny, but at last we arrived in the wheel! Never been here before, but it sure looks like a cosmopolitan place: the corridors are full of all kinds of life, especially those figures whose interactions with the empire are somewhat soured. Apparently, the space station has a special status, keeping the Empire out of its affairs.
Pash and our Wookie friend seemed eager to explore the station, so, while they are at it, we gave them some money for a couple of comlinks. The other sentient team members, (that is Lainaki, Kopec and myself – I do not count droids) decided to start our visit by dropping by the IsoTech director Reom. After we arrived at the companies quarters and presented ourselves to the front desk droid, all doors locked down, while he was checking our identities. Security at the wheel isn't that great apparently… Also, Lainaki is still holding on to the 'Laila Spacerunner' identity (scared of her obsessed ex, probably rightfully). The droid found no incriminating records and soon enough, the doors were unlocked and one of us could go talk with the company boss. Since Lainaki is a strong negotiator, we decided to let her do the talking with Reom, while Kopec and I remained in the lobby, observing the day-to-day events of a tech company. A mechanic complained about low wages and resigned, but not too much happened.
After a while, Lainaki came back and it turned out that she made an excellent deal! When we manage to locate the ship, we get 50% of all profits, full coverage of all expenses and a 10k credit reward, possibly more if the ship contains some interesting technologies! On top of that, we got a 10% prepayment. Finally: Ik Na'Hosa, undisputed leader of a succesfull company! The only catch of the deal is that Lainaki told Reom that we had some excellent mechanical skills in our team.
Reom also had a lot of useful information on the ship. Recently, he received a long lost hyperspace message pod, sent out by the captain of the Sa Naleaor before it disappeared. The ships captain had ties to IsoTech and Reoms father (which is unsurprising, since the ship seems to carry top-notch CIS cybernetic technology). IT3PO, a protocol droid of Reoms father remembers the face of the captain of the Sa Naleor and will join our team. The droid will be delivered within 7 hours, with a small team of guards (security really sucks at the Wheel). The pod was launched from a position in the proximity of the planet Cholganna, so probably the ship has landed or crashed on that planet.
Thinking about the promised mechanical skills, we decided that our team needed to look for a technician. We asked the IsoTech front desk about the mechanic that just left. Apparently, her name is Miran Craterlast, a mechanic with an average skill level. We decided go take to look for her in the closest bar (a technique that is often effective when looking for average mechanics) and of course she was sitting right there. It turned out that she was just tired of her old job and was looking for something more adventurous (luckily, she didn't ask to set a specific paywage). We told her that we were looking for a treasure ship and she quickly agreed to join our team.
There was an information kiosk not far from the spot where we were talking, so we decided to google our desiny. Initially, we didn't find too much, but Miran decided to demonstrate her computer skills: she sliced the system and we got a lengthy description of the Cholganna environment. We found a detailed description of the different continents. The most important takeways were that the planet is mostly covered by a dense forest, which holds a variety of predators that are called Nexu. In the past, these Nexu were targets of big game hunters, but recently, the number of expeditions to Cholganna has decreased. We were browsing through this information, when suddenly an alarm went off. The slicing had triggered an alarm and the computer immediately shut down. We immediately dispersed into the crowd, but we may have attracted some unwanted eyes…
Some minutes later, the team gathered in the bar again. We decided that we needed more information on navigating to Colganna. The barman seemed like a guy who meets a lot of people, so we asked him whether he knew some people who went bountyhunting on that planet. He did remember one name: Jo Kol, a pilot who formerly navigated in the star system, but now worked as a bookee in a gambling den.
While this (quite noisy) conversation was going on, we noticed a Corellian, sitting not too far from the bar. Several visitors came to his table, talked for a while and left, after handing him some money. We assumed that he was some sort of information broker and decided to go talk to him. For a price of 10 credits per question, he agreed to share his information. He told us that he knew a big game hunter, who had possibly been there, and guess who: none other than good old Trex. He is in the Wheel too, apparently. He also knew that fewer and fewer big game hunters have been travelling to Cholgana. It became increasingly dangerous, but the broker doesn't seem to know the exact reason. He did talk vaguely about some group that doesn't want people to come by, so it seems thay our adversaries may include more than just these Nexu monsters… The guy was very interested in our business on Cholganna. We told him that we were bounty hunting there, and the guy payed us a couple of credits for the lie as well!
After this talk, we decided to go look for the pilot Jo Kol in the High Stakes & Hyperspace gambling club. We did see him walk around, but he was focused on his job and not interested in talking. If only we could talk to the guy during his off time. We did ask to a lady that looked like a regular customer where he might go when he's not working, but her answer was not very informative (although it was funny). Other visitors had some history about our employer: apparently, IsoTech was founded during the clone wars. Officially, it operates as a legitimate company (although there are some non-official activities as well).
Apart from winning money through a die game (3 times in a row!), it didn't look like there was much more to be gained in the casino, so we decided to leave and start preparing for the Cholganna environment. Nols, the owner of the Fartlander's outfitting and sypply shop sold us all kinds of useful survival gear: tents, ropes, ration packs, backpacks and more. We told him that we went for a Nexu hunt and, as it happend, he knew a lot about these creatures. He tolk us that they typically have a head-to-tail length of about 4.5 meters and a height of 1 meter. Most varieties have red eyes with infrared vision and are armed with a set of sharp teeth, claws and a dangerous tail. With the infrared vision in mind, we decided to invest some money in thermal cloaks as well.