This series of articles intends to supply adventure hooks and seeds in the most open-ended sense. It will present locations, both mobile and more permanent, that can be found in the galaxy. Some small and remote, other larger and accessible. The level of detail for each location will, out of necessity, vary. This installment presents Esau’s Ridge, as it was mentioned in the first installment I found it logical.
I still think that the take-over was a good idea, even if we lost a lot of good people. Granted I miss Groomaw, or his brew at least, I never could stand that growling of his, and his temper, he never seemed to like me or my crew, good riddance! Hah! This new set-up has provided me with many job opportunities, even if it has put me on the radar of a few vengeful imperial customs officers… and that sector ranger that came by recently. I assure you he wasn’t looking for me…
A smugglers hideout on Tholatin in the mid rim, Esau’s Ridge is a sizable complex of natural caves and constructed subterranean rooms and tunnels. Centuries old, this place has been the base for many pirates and smugglers, sometimes also completely abandoned, but always known to the inhabitants of Tholatin. Even today, at its most active in a long time, the locals and the government let it be, only sending out law enforcement if deemed important enough; for instance, to placate some imperial officer or senator in need of recognition of position and authority.
Esau’s Ridge has recently been “acquired” by Burukut Yag’di – a Bothan crime lord of some fame. By “acquired” it is meant that Burukut has taken a keen interest in the place – one of many others – and sent many of his operatives there and now uses it as part of his operations. The take over was not violent, but many of the original inhabitants and regulars have left after Burukut’s people moved in en masse. Currently the place is run by Tardak – suspected of being a shape-shifter of some sort. He is one of Burukut’s trusted lieutenants and he has a large part of the complex locked down tight to keep unwanted interests out of his and (it is assumed) Burukut’s affairs. The locked down part is patrolled by Bothans, whereas the still open sections like the workshop and market place aren’t really patrolled at all. Burukut has yet to visit Esau’s Ridge.
The responsibility of security of the Locked Sector has recently been taken over by Mictat Novalast a human from the lost world Alderaan. Mictat is small and rotund, but carries himself like a soldier. He quickly acquired a mean streak reputation, dealing with trespassers violently, sometimes permanently – this is perhaps due to the failure of his predecessor. Mictat is rarely alone — he is usually flanked by two guards in laminate armour carrying blaster rifles. He only carries a black, polished stun baton.
The security of the Open Sector is run by Byeprea Thar, a Voss and an extremely rare sight anywhere in the galaxy. Thar has a philosophical outlook on his work and responsibility. He is usually seen alone, wandering the corridors or the market place, sometimes sitting high on scaffolding under the ceiling just watching. Few have seen him move with haste or even lay hands on anyone, but conflict and theft has decreased after he took on the job. It seems even Tardak and Mictat avoid him. Thar enjoys meeting up in the hangar bays with new arrivals.
A recent addition to the population is Mak Neonburn a rising star in smuggling circles. She and her crew of two recently arrived and set up shop in one of the few left over landing bays outside the locked sector and shared landing bay. Her ship, an aged VCX-100 named The Gentleman Caller, is heavily modified and painted green with blue horizontal stripes. Miss Neonburn (which is how she presents herself and expects to be addressed) has quickly gathered a small following and a group of allies in the populace of the Open Sector. She is outwardly jovial and friendly, but rumours tells of a tragic past.
Esau’s Ridge has not been completely mapped nor has all of its tunnels and caves been explored. Suffice to say that it houses more than what has recently been dubbed the Open Sector and the Locked Sector.
The Open Sector is where the majority of the populace lives and where visitors will spend their time – unless they work directly for Burukut or Tardak. The Open Sector has many cantinas, although the most run down and most visited one (the oldest one it’s suspected) is Mud Hole. The Open Sector also has a few more private hangar bays, although most visitors must land in a shared bay, which is also free. Although refuelling and restocking cost credits, prices vary a lot depending on how well stocked and how much traffic there is. The more private and separate hangar bays also, sometimes, come with a series of small rooms that can serve as off-ship accommodation. These obviously costs credits to rent, although prices will vary according to demand and reputation. Thar takes care of payment, but the deal is usually struck with the communication operator on approach to Esau’s Ridge. There is no proper space control centre, although it seems the Locked Sector has started to direct some of the approaching traffic recently.
The Mud Hole used to be run by a Wookiee named Groomaw, but it was sold to a Devaronian named Haryn Arhim. Haryn has tried to change the name. There is now a new sign hanging over the doorway telling visitors they are now entering Arhim’s Club and Diner, but it doesn’t seem to catch on. The only real factual change is that Arhim has hired a chef to make food, and he no longer sells any of the brew that Groomaw was famous for. The Hole is dirty, smoke filled and a messy experience. Most chairs and tables are made of re-purposed crates or barrels. The bar is made of old starfighter wings, the few booths are made from engine casings from some medium sized freighter. It smells of sweat, vomit and alcohol (and recently the odor of deep fried foodstuff has been added to the mix). The cantina rarely has any bands playing, but sometimes there is at least music – or what Haryn considers music – spewing out of a couple of speakers.
The Py’edna Market is a large hall filled with stalls and with doorways leading into small shops. In the middle of the large hall rests the remains of an old freighter the area is named after. The Py’edna serves as a cantina. It is small and offers only cold drinks and snacks. The rest of the market place is always changing and few traders stay long. To rent a stall one should contact Miomee, a Mrlssti female who has taken responsibility of the logistics for the open sector. A stall is usually priced at 10 credits per day, which includes space for about 18 Encumbrance worth of wares or crates. Additional encumbrance space, if available, costs between 10 to 20 credits per 10 Encumbrance. There is, however, no need to rent a stall or space if one just want to sell or make deals without stashing one’s goods there. There is a constant hum of voices and the occasional enthusiastic outburst from some pleased customer or merchant, the market smells of foodstuffs and spices brought from all over the galaxy. Anything can be bought here, weapons, drugs, information and treasure maps of the Locked Sector (whether these maps are real or forgeries is hard for anyone to assess, they usually come with a clause about percentages promised to the seller of the map).
The Workshop is a large landing bay transformed into a place to modify starships and add attachments. Some stuff can be bought there, but it’s mostly a place to rent tools for modifications, and parts for repair. There is a small crew on hand that can help with and even do jobs for pay. If paying for the work to be done, one should contact Effoc Suum, he runs the Workshop and will arrange for repairs and modifications to be performed for a negotiated price. Effoc is usually somewhere in the Workshop, repairing, striking deals, drinking caf or swearing at incompetent DIY captains-gone-mechanics messing up his tools. The air in the workshop is heavy and humid, the heavy odor of engine lubricants filling the olfactory organs of anyone entering with a nauseating desire to find a fresher.
The Locked Sector is just that locked. No one except the lackeys and servants of Burukut are allowed. This area houses a large area similar to the Workshop, and also has a series of hangar bays similar to the Open Sector. It is also the only place that has access to the power generator, and it’s where the few known ways to enter into the older parts of the complex are located. This area used to house a cantina called Oonta Club, a fancy name for a place not much more stylish than the Mud Hole.
As already stated, the whole complex is not mapped nor explored thoroughly. Over the years many people have become lost in the tunnels in search of treasure and fabled riches supposedly left there by pirates and smugglers who stashed their stuff there before an untimely death. While many scoff at these stories, there are some who have found small caches of value: old coins, loot and antiquated weapons and armour. Definitely not something that has made anyone extremely rich or famous, but more than enough to pay for repairs, modifications and debts. Still there are stories and rumours of pirate treasure that will most certainly make you set for life, most have root in real pirates and facts about their life and that they operated from Esau’s Ridge, but these stories have been modified into what resembles fiction — as stories do.
Obviously many of these stories now require the brave treasure hunter to find some way into the Locked Sector where most of these treasure will be found. While this is partly because a lot of folks are curious about the Locked Sector and some find it entertaining to see people try to enter the area, it is also based on a fact; many of the caches and treasure found was in that area, or accessed through tunnels found in that area. The Locked Sector cover some of the oldest known sections of the complex. Since the lock-down of that part of the complex came into effect, treasure hunting is discouraged and often actively put an end to by Tardak’s men. This, of course, has had the effect of reinforcing the belief of hidden treasure and riches. A quiet rumble can now sometimes be heard in the Mud Hole or one of the other smaller watering holes found around the Open Sector.
Unknown to most inhabitants of Esau’s Ridge, there is a “back door” into the complex. This hasn’t seen much use since around the time of the Clone Wars. Far to the South, miles away from the hangar bays and the “front gate”, there is a large cave mouth. This is the entrance to a long and undulating tunnel that spirals around an older part of the complex. The last few kilometers spiral tightly around a large cavern wherein the power generator now lies, but also a few other levels of machinery and unexplored caverns. This tunnel has a few doors the leads into the larger complex, but all lead initially to what is now the Locked Sector, or very close to it. The tunnel is littered with debris and old speeders, most pre-dating the Clone Wars.
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