The Earwig descended out of translight into the Krk’ith’k system, and a quick scan showed a kch-thk starbase, a strong satellite network in orbit over the planet, and the Wild Wild West imposing itself between the Earwig and the planet. Quick scans revealed no sign of the Egggobbler.
The WWW’s Stratco, Gudun, hailed the Earwig and informed them that the Krk’ith’k government had hired them out to prevent the Earwig from landing on the planet. Vedeg laughed at Gudun’s implied threat, and Gudun responded by saying they had been studying the Feed holos of their last encounter, and would not be such a pushover this time. Without warning, the Earwig opened with a salvo of energy weapons fire, and a tense conflict ensued. The Earwig crew focused on taking out the Wild Wild West’s weapons, while Gudun fully intended turnabout, attempting to take out the Earwig’s weapons and engines. After several tough exchanges, the Earwig crew succeeded in declawing the Wild Wild West, which limped to the space station, but not before the Earwig itself took heavy damage to its engines.
Deadbeef attempted to scan the planet for the Egggobbler, but the space station jammed the Earwigs scans; a close visual pass revealed an enormous planetary infrastructure, probably large enough to support 20 billion kch-thk. An attempt to contact the Krk’ith’k finance ministry was also met with static, so the crew decided to dock at the station.
Following standard docking protocol, a security team led by Sch-Zs met the crew at their airlock. Struggling with how to proceed, the crew decided to hit a bar and see what would happen there: Sch-Zs dismissed his team and accompanied the crew solo.
On the way to the station bar, Deadbeef’s new Ur shell elicited stopped traffic and a sea of drooling kch-thk. None stopped him, though, so the crew arrived at the bar with ease. The drinks on offer weren’t to the crew’s taste; Wild Jim produced a granola bar which a nearby kch-thk eyed, sniffing the air, Wild Jim took a bite, then offered a bite to the nearby kch-thk, which devoured it out of his hand, foil wrapper and all.
Vedeg proceeded to receive two communications on his headset. The first came from the finance ministry, requesting that he attend a meeting with minister Kh-Kh in station customs in an hour. The other came from Royal Cuisine Geneticist Rkh Vqt, who promised a rewarding opportunity involving the Ur if the Lasers would meet him in the station kitchen laboratory immediately.
Deadbeef returned to the Earwig with a security escort while Vedeg and Wild Jim met with Rkh-Vqt. The cuisine-geneticist’s laboratory featured tubes, vats, and hooks all brimming with strange meats and organic matter which might only be loosely interpreted as potential food sources. Rkh-Vqt cut to the chase, offering the crew 8 bigcreds for one of Deadbeef’s limbs, with an immediately-installed, high-quality cyberware replacement installed at no cost to the crew. Including Deadbeef over the tether, Vedeg counteroffered a blood or skin sample, but Rkh-Vqt revealed that with such a rare, possibly unique source of genetic material, he had learned to collect as much original material as possible to prevent clone-iteration deterioration and allow for significant experimentation. Deadbeef refused, but Vedeg offered the coordinateds of the Ur stasis pods on Tartarus. Disappointed, Rkh-Vqt offered a 4 bigcred finders fee to the crew if that lead paid off.
The crew next made their way to their appointment with Kh-Kh, Deadbeef and his security detail meeting up with them partway there. The minister stuck to small talk until Vedeg managed to convince Sch-Zs to wait outside the office. Then Kh-Kh told his story.
When Mondine delivered the Egggobbler, Wolfram Casanova, the vas-mal sales associate attending its delivery, reported directly to the planet’s hive queen. He and the hive queen established an instant rapport, which quickly blossomed into love. Since that time, the vas-mal has not left the hive queen’s chambers for fear that her warriors would kill him; at the same time, the hive queen has not allowed her warriors to mate with her, which is causing his brood’s population to plummet dangerously in relation to the others, potentially wrecking the planet’s delicate balance of power. The queen’s finance minister refused to make payment to Mondine, both out of spite and in the hopes that this refusal would attract the company’s attention more than the formal complaints Kh-Kh lodged with the corporation.
The crew agreed to meet with Th-Krst, the kch-thk hive queen on the planet. Kh-Kh made the necessary arrangements, and the Earwig descended to a landing platform at the bio-organic palace.
After being escorted into the throne room by royal guards, the crew met the enormous queen towering over a tiny custom throne upon which a tiny vas mal reclined. The sniveling Casanova informed the Earwig crew that he and the queen were in love: Th-Krst clicked and whirred some kind of ascent.
Although the queen’s dialect was too different for the Lasers’ Rosetta chips to immediately process, Wild Jim had previously studied kch-thk queen dialects and made the crew’s offer: a delicious slurry of Ur blood and tissue surreptitiously laced with their sample of Shrawley’s F0110W-ME.
The queen greedily gobbled up the proffered gift, and immediately became susceptible to the Earwig crew’s suggestions. Wild Jim destroyed the queen’s romantic notions with a long and tedious account of the bureaucratic entanglements caused by Casanova’s continued stay on Krk’ith’k. She agreed to return the vas-mal and the ship he arrived on to Mondine.
Casanova quickly asked the Lasers for a ride off world.