Shades of the Force

Mandusha III

January 25, 2009

The Drakkar, with Valen at the helm, pursued the pirate ship Calypso as it attempted to escape into hyperspace. Catching up to it with a microjump, Valen pursued the pirates at all-out speed, as they fled at the same rate, despite damaged engines. Velma landed a lucky, long range hit on the pirates from the gun turret, and they responded fourfold in kind with their still-functioning laser and ion cannon batteries. The Drakkar took a beating, and the other crewmembers began to suggest that Valen break off, but the pursuit continued. Another volley of fire from the Calypso punched through the last functional shield on the Drakkar, and then fully ionized it, leaving it unable to change course, slow down, or fire its weapons. The Calypso continued fleeing at top speed, firing at their pursuer that was now hurtling after it on a dead-stick.

The Drakkar would have been blown up, killing all hands, had Bruce not arrived in his V-19 starfighter, catching up to the rest of the team. The Jedi flew as fast as possible into the chase, disregarding laser fire directed at him and, for the most part, slipping through unscathed, rocketing past the Drakkar and moving into the close-range kill zone of the Calypso’s guns, firing his laser cannons into their already-damaged and glowing-hot sublight engines. The hit was more than the pirate ship could continue to sustain, and it went terminal, overheating, melting down and exploding into a huge fireball. Valen was able to bring the Drakkar to a halt just in time to avoid crashing into the lethal wreckage and plasma.

Resuming their journey to the Mandusha system, the team found themselves looking at a mottled, red-orange gas giant, orbitted by a dozen moons, all but one of which were frozen or molten or otherwise wholly unhospitable, except for the third, Mandusha III. Scanning found massive life form readings, but no cities or communications, and only a very small amount of technology. Homing on this, the ships flew down through thick clouds, finding a waterlogged landscape crowded with swamps, lakes, and thick stands of trees, beaten by an incessant rain. The technology turned out to be a ruined, small industrial complex, and the pilots were able to land on its buckled, water-logged landing pad, which was already partially occupied by a smashed, derelict Republic troop transport.

Our explorers examined the transport, and found that, at some point in the past, it had been ravaged and severely mauled, apparently by brute force. There were no bodies or equipment inside, although Velma found a medical bag containing still-useable medpacs. Checking out a bunker-like building to one side of the landing pad, submerged in almost two feet of water, they found it to be an industrial power station. Velma was able to turn emergency power generation back on, but not before finding and repairing a worn power conduit that had gotten submerged and would have electrocuted everyone in the area.

The group also began to find scraps of messages, sent by apparent Czerka employees at the facility, complaining of freak fatal accidents, missing people, needed equipment, hostile flora, and finally some terrible event that apparently wiped out the remaining survivors. Emerging from the power bunker, they spotted a luminescent, greenish-yellow slime oozing over the top of the Drakkar, apparently eating organic scraps from its hull. When it noticed the characters, it began to fire globs of slime at them, apparently highly sticky, but did not manage to strike anyone before Valen tagged it with a frag grenade, blowing it into hundreds of pieces of slime.

Searching the ruins of the administrative building, they found more evidence of strife, with smashed windows, traces of blood, overturned furniture, and evidence of a fire. Valen made a few skilled observations over the state of the broken windows, inferring that some had blown out because of a fire, while others had apparently been smashed in from outside. Wrrl was attacked by a ceiling-clinging vine, which wrapped around his neck from above and attempted to strangle him, but luckily Bruce was able to sever it with his lightsaber before any damage was done.

Over the noise of rain hammering on (and through) the ruined roof, and the grumbles of thunder, Bruce heard something shift, like metal scraping or falling over. Looking outside, dozens of humanoid figures could be seen, crawling and climbing over the Drakkar and starfighter, or looking on. Some were wearing clone trooper armor. Bruce shouted at them, and all of them immediately spun and stared at him, grunting, salivating, and then running forward through the water and over the broken cement.

The group made a stand in the lobby area of the ruined administrative building. The apparently rotten, corpse-like figures shrieked and rushed the entrance (the doors had been ripped off long ago) as well as the broken window, while others ran around the building, seeking other entrances. Bruce held the doorway with his lightsaber, while Wrrl covered his flank with Bacca’s blade. Valen, Velma, and Kaya provided blaster support. The zombies flooded the room, flailing and biting, seeking flesh to rend. Every character managed to kill some of them, but there were dozens. The flanking ones burst through the walls and windows elsewhere, then swarmed into the rear of the characters. Velma was injured, but managed to play dead, beneath the corpse of a zombie she had just blown away. Bruce was hit by a powerful, telekinetic force and yanked entirely out of the building, then blasted with bolts of Force lightning from something in the shadows. Valen grabbed Kaya and jet-packed through the zombies and out the door (Force-pointing) rescuing her (and probably himself) from being ripped into pieces. Kaya fell off once outside the building, and Valen’s jet pack overloaded and exploded. He Boba-Fetted into the side of the Drakkar, and fell senseless on the ground.

Bruce picked himself up, facing down an apparent Ithorian, skin blackened, rotting, and constantly dribbling off, leaving a filthy, oily residue in the water around him. His eyeballs were missing, and a thin, watery stream of dark bile trickled out of the remnants of the sockets, sparking every so often with reddish energy. He had no clothing or equipment, and seemed to have a reddish glow coming from somewhere within him. He blasted Bruce again with Force lightning, hissing at him with rotten vocal chords that he should never have been so foolish as to come here, and Bruce struggled to dissipate it, throwing up a cloud of steam and sparks as the electricity arced into the surrounding water. Bruce then assaulted the creature with his lightsaber, and it blocked his first blows with a reddish, glowing field of energy springing into being around its rotten hand. Bruce then threw the Force into a mightier, two handed slash, and powered through the energy field, slicing off the Ithorian’s hand at the elbow. His opponent backpedalled, then cursed him, exhorting him to do it again and to use the Force to cause more pain and damage next time, then formed a reddish bolt of energy with his other hand, throwing it and striking Bruce, staggering him (and would have robbed him of a character point, if he had any left.) The creature then reached out, gripping a large section of the broken tarmac with the Force, ripping it free and casting it at Bruce, who managed to dive forward and out of the worst of it. A huge plume of gas, built up under the surface, belched out, and Bruce shut off his lightsaber for fear of blowing everyone up.

Meanwhile, Wrrl eliminated many of the remaining zombies, blowing them up with a combination of explosive bowcaster quarrels and a frag grenade, then moved to try and assist Bruce. Velma shot a zombie in the head as it pursued Wrrl, then ran for the Drakkar, as did Kaya. Valen picked himself up after he came back to his senses, then boarded the Drakkar and prepared to fire the autocannon at the Ithorian. Kaya managed to reach him in time, screaming for him to stop as he would almost certainly cause a major explosion and possibly kill everyone.

Bruce leaped at and grappled with the Ithorian, trying to strike him into unconciousness. The creature reached out and grasped the now red-hot Pendants hanging from Bruce’s neck, and the glow within his body intensified as he tapped their power for himself, calling upon the Dark Side and unleashing a last, now amplified burst of vicious energy. Bruce called upon his last energies (and Force point) driving his hand into the Ithorian’s rotten, ichor-spewing chest and grasping the Pendant that was plunged inside the dead flesh, channeling the light side of the Force into it.

The result was a titanic Force explosion, in both dark and light side energy, displacing all of the water around them and throwing it into the sky, disintegrating the duracrete and broken metal, collapsing part of the nearby buildings, rocking the Drakkar violently on its landing struts and throwing its occupants against the control boards, skidding the V-19 fighter across the pad and almost tipping it over, and throwing Wrrl backwards like a missile, which happened to be a highly hairy and lethal missile when he collided with the last remaining zombie. The sphere of energy finally imploded on itself and winked out, letting water and debris rain back down. The Ithorian had vanished utterly, every trace of his body, down to bled ichor and slime eradicated and consumed by the Force, leaving a Pendant lying on the smoking ground. The area seemed to actually be dead in the Force now. Bruce’s hand was mangled and terribly burned in the act of grasping the searing Pendant and channeling the Force into it, and Wrrl picked him up, administering first aid and a painkiller as he was quite senseless. The last drops of water and pieces of cement finally fell back to earth, and everything went quiet except for the rain still falling down.

What will the PCs do next? Guess we will find out…

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