Traveling to the Border world of Greenleaf to follow up on clues gathered in the “Old Friends and Old Wounds” episode, the PCs meet primary Cartel intermediary. Bluff the middleman into a meeting with the Cartel leader either by pretending to be a heavy hitter smuggling ring or wealthy buyer looking to expand Highleaf trade. The leader turns out to be the youngest son of the Chang nobles that got them involved with the Cartel in the first place. This detail is unknown to the Chang Wen-Shen. Flannery is the organizer on Santo and indirectly adds in Blue Sun support and protection. He also controlled the original pirate crew lost in the Persephone asteroid belt. The loss of their enforcers has forced younger Chang to work with a Tong; this is something he would prefer not do. Once PCs recognize who leader is, his bodyguard intervenes to protect Chang long enough for him to escape via his private yacht. PCs pursue through the heavy traffic, but once yacht reaches the Black, the PC’s ship can not keep up. Chang is a spoiled rich kid and, while ruthless, is very inexperienced. He is too arrogant to think anyone could out fox him and is unaware that his ship is so specialized, that his drive emissions can be traced. Characters boost their sensors to track the yacht to the main Tong hideout. Fade to black, end Part One.
On arrival on Greenleaf, an Average INT + Streetwise will figure using a shuttle to actually land while ship hides in system will make scouting go much smoother than an open approach. The PCs know Philip Keystone as the person they need to see. An Average INT + Artistry roll will make a convincing costume. It will take a Hard INT + Performance to make a good initial impression. It will take a second such roll at Formidable level to convince the intermediary enough that they are capable of operating as heavy hitter level smugglers. Unless the players can think can of another plan other than flashing serious coin, this second roll is Formidable if they try to pose as buyers. However, if the PCs have disk with the algorithm, this drops all difficulties by two steps.
A successful roll will result in Keystone making a private call to set up a meeting with the leader of the Cartel. A failure will also result in a private call, but this one will set up an ambush by thugs in Chang’s employ. Either way, Keystone will not attend the meeting to maintain the Cartel’s compartmentalized secrecy. Characters travel by shuttle to a secluded mountain resort for either meeting. If the PCs have been successful in their acting, Chang Ai Rui shows up shortly after they do. The characters immediately recognize him from their meeting with his father months ago as he was present in the background. Chang however, does not remember the PCs due to his arrogance that leads him to ignore anyone he considers is beneath him.
This gives the PCs a few minutes to pump him for information (opposed INT + Streetwise or Influence roll. Chang is INT D6 skill D6). If the PCs are successful, Chang lets slip the name of the Hip Sing Tong he has been negotiating with. After a couple minutes of talking one of the bodyguards finally manages to get his attention. As both groups react to the jig being up, a furious battle ensues. Chang’s bodyguards are competent, well armed, dedicated, and wearing body armor. Chang reacts by fleeing behind a string of flashbangs. His bodyguards will even take shots meant for him allowing Chang to escape by fleeing to his nearby private yacht.
PCs pursue in their shuttle, but Chang leaves a swath of chaos behind him as he blasts through normal system traffic and the characters will have to make three AGL + Piloting rolls to keep up with the fleeing noble. The first roll is Hard, the second Formidable, and the third is Heroic. Failing any roll means the PCs get stuck in the traffic and lose sight of the yacht.
Once Chang hits the Black, even if the PCs have pursued perfectly, his powerful yacht hits hard burn and the PCs simply can not match his speed as he vanishes at high speed. As the characters rendezvous with their ship, things seem pretty grim. However, a Hard INT + Mechanical Engineering or Scientific Expertise will realize that Chang’s pulse drive is so specialized, that its emissions are traceable. If the PCs lost sight of Chang during the pursuit, this roll becomes formidable. A Formidable INT + Technical Engineering roll will adapt the ship’s sensors to track Chang. Boosting the sensors is one level harder if the PCs lost sight of Chang. As soon as characters light their pulse drive, fade to black.