To say it was the best cantina on the planet Stenos wasn't much of a compliment. The walls and the floor were unworked stone, and the bartender's attitude towards his patrons ranged from indifference to contempt. Those who came to the cantina on Stenos, however, did not seek hospitality. In this corner of the galaxy, smugglers, bounty hunters and scoundrels sought only privacy, and in this place it was in abundance.
Sipping Corellian whiskey and planning their next job, Rik Duel, Chihdo and Dani sat in a booth nestled in the back corner of the bar. Dani regarded a small group of the native Stenax clustered sullenly around a nearby table.
"I wouldn't mind being a Stenax," Dani mused. "I'd love to be able to fly everywhere I went!"
Rik laughed, "I'm not sure the look would suit you, Dani!" The curvaceous young Zeltron woman and the Stenax appeared as different as night and day. The Stenax were large with rough purple skin stretched over muscular and spiked bodies. Long, leathery wings hung over their shoulders like cloaks.
Chihdo looked over at the Stenax and scratched his Rodian snout. "Sadly, the Stenax don't fly."
"What?" Dani asked, amazed. "Then why do they have wings?"
"I didn't mean to imply that they could not fly. The Stenax choose not to fly. And have not for a very long time as I understand things."
"Sheesh! What a waste!" Rik remarked.
"That's sad!" Dani agreed.
"Indeed," Chihdo remarked. "The Stenax worship a sky god named Vol who has gone missing. Until Vol is restored, the Stenax may neither fly nor visit the holy places of their ancestors."
"Superstition! I should've known." Rik said, but the wheels in his head were already spinning. "So, uh, where did this Vol fellow go off to?"
"That's the problem," Chihdo said, "nobody knows. His statue was lost in the ruins of the old city during an earthquake some centuries ago."
"Chihdo, honey, you said he was lost," Dani said, "not his statue!"
Chihdo paused. He considered the best way to explain the situation to his companions. "To the Stenax, they are one and the same. The lost statue of Vol is not merely a symbol of the Stenax god, but rather an avatar of his form on Stenos." Rik and Dani looked blankly at Chihdo. "To them, it's not just a statue," he sighed.
Rik shook his head. "Let me see if I get this straight. The Stenax won't fly without the statue. But you gotta figure they want to fly, right?"
"You know I would!" Dani said.
"I agree," Chihdo added.
"Exactly. So they'd probably be willing to pay for it. We might be able to score a tidy profit on this trip after all!" Rik rubbed his hands together.
"I don't know, Rik," Dani said.
"Again, I must agree," Chihdo said. "Look at the Stenax. How much do you think they'd pay?"
Rik turned around and examined the Stenax. "Hm. You mean before or after they beat me to death with sticks and spears? I see your point. How about the Imperials? I bet they'd pay for it. In fact, I met a governor named Matrin once. He was a big time art collector."
"Chihdo," Dani asked, "why do you know so much about the Stenax and Vol?"
Chihdo shrugged. "The local Rebels are rather indiscreet. I overheard one of them talking about them. It piqued my interest, so I did a little research on my own."
Rik snorted. "Rebels! Ha! I bet those chumps want to give Vol back to the people."
Chihdo nodded. "That's the plan. The local cell leader is named Kindar. He hopes to win the Stenax over by restoring Vol and convincing them to become allies."
"We gotta get a piece of this action, guys," Rik said. "Kindar, huh?"
"Yes. Colonel Kindar. In fact, he's sitting right over there." Chihdo subtly gestured at another booth.
"Oh, really?" Rik said. He stood up and smoothed his hair. "I think I'll go have a chat with him. I'll be right back!"
• The Stenax
Attribute Dice: 12D
Armor: A Stenax's tough skin provides +1D vs. physical or energy damage
Flight: Stenax can fly using their massive leathery wings
Religious: The Stenax are deeply spiritual people and devoutly worship their sky-god, Vol.
Move: 8/10 (walking); 12/15 (flying)
Size: 2 - 2.5 m tall
The Stenax were created by Jo Duffy, Kerry Gammill and Tom Palmer.