“Rayyka invited in only trouble, and she got it.”Mohra Shinno, Kash’s mother
When Renn gets to Shili, he is traveling as Darren Beamwalker on regular transportation in civilian attire and is about a week unshaven. He’ll be using his native Outer Rim accent and consciously working to relax his military bearing, adopting a slouch like that used by Kash’s slicer friend Caldovan. It’s not much of a disguise, but it’s sufficiently different from Captain Herkin that he wouldn’t immediately be recognized by any officer who only passingly knows him, not that he’s expecting to run into anyone he knows on Shili.
Renn first investigates if Kash’s parents are still at Shili University. He starts by talking with university students, like at the library, under the guise of being interested in a graduate degree here but wanting to know more about the professors. So trying to get student opinions. To do this is Deception, with a setback die since Renn has no Knowledge Education… but Plausible Deniability! (removes the setback die). Deception goes against Discipline, which I’ll just arbitrarily set at RPP. At this stage, he’s just talking with grad students. (YYYG RPP → -1,3) Whoever he is talking with sees through his ploy and realizes this Darren fellow is not actually interested in grad school. But with the advantages, she doesn’t think there’s anything nefarious going on, like maybe he was just coming up with an excuse to talk to her. He is not great at Charm, so this all turns into a failure to ask someone out on a date. Great start.
New approach: deal with the bureaucracy, something Renn is quite experienced with from his time working for the Empire. He goes to the donations office and indicates that he’s authorized to transfer significant funds to the college, but under the requirement that it meets certain standards. He wants to review the material they have on the various departments and individual professors, so he can make a proper report to the benefactor. This can start as just Deception, but if necessary, can switch to Coercion, if he threatens that they won’t get any funds if they don’t give him the information he wants. (YYYG PPP → 3,1)
He learns that as of this academic year, Mohra Shinno is Chair of the Political Science Department, and that Akaraak retired about 9 months ago, May ABY 1, during the previous academic year. (August ABY 0 is the last time Kash had news of her parents). With the one advantage, he learns that Akaraak now runs a business called Wilderness Intercept. At this point, Renn starts the money transfer, since Mohra is still at the university. Does it raise any flags in the system? Two boost dice because it is a large value and a previously active donor. Knowledge Education check for the bureaucrat. (YYGbb PPP → 1,2)
Yes! The administrator notices that Noari Shanyyk (one of Kash’s alias) has been inactive for a while, and that this donation is exceptional compared to the previous ones. He’s very excited about this and wants the donation recognized, so he puts in a call for one of the department chairs to come down and talk with the donor. His advantages on the roll are used to detain Renn with forms until the department chair can show up. Renn needs a Cool check versus Mohra’s Perception (RRP) when he suddenly finds himself face to face with Kash’s mother. (YYG RRP → -2,0)
Failure! Renn was not expecting to talk with her directly and is going to be making up lies on the fly. He starts the social combat already at 2/15 strain. No threats though, so Mohra doesn’t immediately suspect something is up, just notices that this fellow is ruffled. She makes a Charm (YYG) check on him, expressing gratitude for the donation and asks about the donor’s interest in the liberal arts program and university, peppering her questions with comments about all the great things the political science department is doing these days. It’s versus his Cool (RRP), and he is Nobody’s Fool x2, so there’s two upgrades. (YYG RRRP → 0,3 DD)
Renn is sufficiently cool in the face of her charm, and due to the Despairs, Mohra’s statements reveal a lot about her character, paving the way for plenty of boost dice to Renn, plus she takes 2 strain for her failure (Mohra: 2/13). The way she asks her questions, it’s clear to him that she is enjoying her stint as department chair and the power that gives her over the direction of the department, and that she wants to leave a lasting legacy, not just for the benefit of the university, but for herself personally (Desire: Ambition, Fear: Obscurity). He responds to this inquiry with Deception, using the newly gained insight for boosts. He would be getting a setback die on the roll because of his lack of Education, but Plausible Deniability! However, she is Nobody’s Fool, which means an upgrade for her Discipline from RRP to RRR. (YYYGbbbb RRR → -3,7) Oof!
Renn says that Noari Shanyyk had grown disenchanted with Shili University, but that this year things have really turned around for the Political Science Department, and she is very impressed with its direction under the new leadership. Shanyyk wants to support the excellent research and doesn’t want a big deal made out of her or her donations, since it’s the academics who deserve all the attention, not the people who just fund their insights. And really, it’s amazing how much Chair Shinno has been able to do in such a short time, how has she managed it with all the other little things life throws at us? But, since the roll is a failure, he takes 2 strain (Renn: 4/15) and she sees through all the flattery. But with so many advantages, he is definitely able to conceal his true goal for the encounter (which is learning about Mohra in the interest of understanding Kash better). And in the back and forth of this conversation, he learns more of her character, that she has the internal strength to rise to whatever challenges the university (or universe) puts before her but that her focus on her work can be at the expense of those around her, as she has a disregard for how her actions will affect others (Strength: Adaptable, Flaw: Reckless). Hmm… this reminds him of a certain cocky Togruta he knows…
At this point, Mohra has worked out that either this fellow doesn’t know anything about the benefactor’s actual views or he doesn’t want to share them, which is a little frustrating. She’ll try engaging him on the topic of the donor herself, to try to learn more about that person. Maybe that will help her figure out how to extract more funding from this mysterious Noari Shanyyk. It’s Charm vs Cool again, Nobody’s Fool x2, and she’s got no extra leverage. (YYG RRRP → 0,0) Total wash. Two strain for the failure and not much else. (Mohra: 4/13)
Renn now feels he knows all he needs to know about Mohra and tries to disengage from the conversation. He politely expresses that if the donor wanted to share more personal information about herself, she would reach out and do so and suggests that prying more into her affairs is likely to make her reconsider her decision to resume donating. With the veiled threat this is Coercion (YYG) vs Discipline (RRP). Mohra’s Nobody’s Fool, but Renn’s going to counteract that by suffering strain to downgrade the difficulty of a Coercion check, using Intimidating. That puts him at 5/15. (YYG RRP → 0,-1) That’s a failure and a threat, so that brings him to 8/15, which is past half his strain threshold. That’s the limit for compromise in social combat.
Mohra is satisfied that Renn agrees to talk to the donor about the frequency and nature of her donations. The university does have an automatic debit option for setting up regular donations of a set value that Mohra strongly recommends. With forms for that, Renn manages to extract himself and leaves the university grounds, having spent way more time there than he’d intended to. He feels a headache coming on. Looks like Akaraak will have to wait for tomorrow. (Pre-rolled Resilience checks for a disease the ISB infected Renn with have turned up failure by this point, so each day he’s going to get a little worse.)