The group successfully brings the Scourge back to Ord Mantell. Along the way, Bruce teaches Kaya more about the Force, while Wrrl puts the V-19’s manuevering thruster back on. He ends up with several leftover, important looking bolts and nowhere to put them, but shrugs and leaves them in his toolbox.
Greda the Hutt trades two Gallofree medium transports, full of specially needed supplies, to the Rebellion in exchange for the Scourge. He is pleased, and promises Kaya a favor to be named by her, as she agreed. Kaya spends some more time schmoozing with the Hutt kingpin (who does not have to fight the Punisher.) and the group interacts several times with his majordomo, the Hapan woman Natalia.
The group visits Third Time’s The Charm, and has fun catching up on things with Valo and Collandra (Valo does his best to encourage them to drink protein shakes.) However, things do not go as well when Wrrl discovers an empty Red Boost hypo in his son Vrrlac’s, room. Vrrlac indicates that he has no idea how it got there, and Bruce determines that he is telling the truth. They find that Vrrlac has, however, been using it, apparently without even fully knowing it. A powerful field of Dark Side energy seems to be centered on, but not emanating from, Vrrlac, but it fades away when Bruce attempts to probe it. Vrrlac demonstrates sketchy Force abilities, and indicates that the ‘dark man’ showed him how to do them. He also seems to be showing slight signs of sickness or physical wear. Bruce and Wrrl tell him not to try these things any more without their supervision, and have a serious discussion with Kaya, Valo, Kallark, and Collandra about Vrrlac and how to help him. Valo promises that no one is going to hurt or threaten Vrrlac on his watch, unless they want to get dead. Kaya implies that Valo should marry Collandra, to which Valo blusters heavily.
It was decided to take the Sempis (still quartered on the Drakkar) back to Tantamir, first. The Drakkar departs Ord Mantell, with the V-19 clamped onto its belly. Liessa, G9, and Valen stay behind. The trip is uneventful. Upon arriving, however, the group finds a capital ship in orbit around Tantamir, an old Lichtor-class Dungeon ship, orignally a Mandalorian design.
This ship, the Vanquisher, is the flagship and headquarters of the Mytarenor Slaver’s Guild. Hailing the Drakkar, they wanted to know their business in the system, and informed them that they have been granted exclusive rights to be here by the Galactic Empire. The exchange did not go well, and two Z-95 Headhunters were sent to fire on the Drakkar.
Bruce attempted to exit the Drakkar’s lower airlock port and climb into the starfighter, but lost his grip and was thrown into space when Wrrl began evasive manuevers, the starfighter now still clamped onto the Drakkar and crippling its manueverability. Kaya copiloted for Wrrl, doing her best to raise shields and fire the ion cannon remotely, as the laser cannon was blocked by the starfighter.
Bruce made the best of a bad situation, actually striking one of the Z-95s as it flew past him with his lightsaber, slashing off one of its laser cannons. The pilot was NOT expecting that. Wrrl was forced to have Kaya release the V-19, as the Vanquisher began firing on the Drakkar with its heavy guns. Acting quickly, Wrrl managed to lure the Vanquisher into targeting him with its tractor beam, evading being captured but firing a proton torpedo into the beam, sucking it back into the Vanquisher’s tractor beam emplacement and blowing the weapon apart.
Bruce used the Force to slowly draw himself through space and to his ditched starfighter, managing to get into it. Meanwhile, Wrrl flew the Drakkar past the Vanquisher, but circled back since Bruce was still in danger. Kaya got a lucky shot and crippled one of the enemy starfighters, killling all of its weapons. Wrrl fired a proton torpedo into the ass end of the Vanquisher, but it was burned up by the massive engine wash. Bruce shot past in his recovered starfighter, and the two ships fled into Tantamir’s atmosphere, where the Vanquisher could not follow.
Landing at Tantis, Bruce saw how much things had changed since he was last here, over a year ago. The Imperial garrison is long since burned and destroyed. The starport, which was already small, is a cracked, damaged series of landing pads and empty buildings. The massive ziggurat temple to Tantis, the sun god, still towers over the city. Landing, the group releases the Sempis in their care, then travels in their speeder through the almost empty streets, wanting to visit and consult with Thekher.
Driving to the massive ziggurat temple, they find its bells ringing, while a group of armed Rodians carries out its golden religious trappings and decorations as loot for themselves, while the Sempi clerics cannot stop them. Bruce and Kaya speak to the Rodians, while Wrrl watches from the speeder, aiming its blaster cannon at them. The Rodians demand that the group mind their own business and leave, which they do not. A Rodian attempts to take a Sempi cleric hostage, but Wrrl blows his blaster (and arm) entirely off with the blaster cannon. A short but nasty fight ensues, ending with a wounded Kaya and Bruce and some severely dead Rodian slaver soldiers. A group of Sempi arrive, armed with spears, bow and arrows, and a few homemade muzzleloading rifles, led by a scarred, battle-tried Sempi warrior named Bakla.
The group speaks to Thekher in the temple, finding that a major dispute exists between Thekher and Bakla, where Thekher wishes to follow the pacifistic teachings of Tantis, appeasing the Mytarenors to avoid being even more terribly persecuted and to avoid spilling blood, while Bakla and his growing numbers advocate violent, immediate action to defend their world regardless of the cost, and to discard peaceful resolution in the face of thousands of Sempi being taken into slavery or worse. No clear resolution is reached, though Bruce makes an impassioned statement. He does offer to attempt to obtain Alliance assistance for Tantamir, at least to keep the Slaver’s Guild away, as they seem to have been givin free rein to collect Sempi. Bakla immediately agrees to this, while Thekher is hesitant, but sees he has little choice.
Upon returning to their ships, the group finds a Mytaranor transport parked next to them. One being comes down the ramp, tossing out a white cloth for parley. Tall, heavily muscled, with mottled purple and black skin, dressed in a battered snowtrooper suit (minus helmet) and carrying a well-weathered woodsman’s ax (vibro model) the group found themselves talking to Talas Piran himself, Mr. Mytaranor, the Big Boss of the entire Guild. He reminds them that the Vanquisher is even now aiming carefully at the Drakkar, and the group wisely agrees to accept his request to talk. Bruce and Talas have a give and take, part threats, part discussion of what they have in “common” and part Talas being the tough motherfucker and ruthless businessman that he is. Talas offers to let them come and go on Tantamir as they please, as long as they don’t interfere with any of his operations, to which Bruce cannot agree. Talas understands, but warns them that the next time they meet, it will not be as businesslike. Wrrl, by the way, counts to 2. No one knows how high Wrrl was willing to count before losing his temper. Kaya gets to see her arch nemesis, but cannot yet act without massive consequences, such as the Drakkar exploding while she’s near it.
Talas leaves in his ship, and the group takes off shortly thereafter in theirs. They find that the Vanquisher is nowhere to be seen. Wrrl postulates that it has left for repairs, and possibly to add some rear facing guns for the next time he tries to stick a proton torpedo up its ass.
Pondering their choices, the group makes their decision. Bruce uses his codes to send a message to the Alliance, requesting to meet with them. The group then returns to Ord Mantell, picking up the others and checking on Wrrl’s family. Bruce receives a reply, and personally punches in the hyperspace coordinates, flying the ship on his own, as the others are not allowed to see the coordinates. He deletes them from the nav computer after they are used.
The Drakkar arrives at the coordinates, finding a frozen and apparently lifeless, snow-covered world. However, they are directed down to a hidden facility on the planet, and find themselves at Echo Base. Bruce, Kaya, and Wrrl meet with General Rieekan, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker. Bruce asks Luke for advice on what’s going on with Wrrl’s son, but Luke isn’t sure, his best suggestion being that someone else is somehow using or manipulating the Force remotely, through Vrrlac. General Rieekan promises to present the group’s data on Tantamir’s plight to Alliance Command, and will see what they decide.
The group confers in the Drakkar’s lounge, parked within Echo Base’s hangar bay as night falls outside, the temperature dropping obscenely, as they decide their next move. Right now, signs point to “travel to Coruscant, get down there somehow, and get into the Jedi Temple. Perhaps we can find some information on multiple subjects, like how to help Vrrlac, where we might find another Jedi that could help teach Bruce and Kaya, and where we might find information on the ancient Ithorian who possessed one of the strange Pendants, which Bruce still has two of. To recap what GEN-13 translated from the Ithorian holy text,
“Its rough translation and many illuminations say that, in the ancient past of Ithor, the world was attacked by an army of slave soldiers and war droids, led by those called the Followers of Zeron. The jungles of Ithor were badly damaged, and the Ithorians nearly defeated, until an Ithoriannamed Dolvat Avago, learning how to tap the power of the Baffor Trees, overcame the chief Follower of Zeron, capturing from him a crystal pendantthat seemed to provide great power. However, after the invasion had been stopped, Dolvat changed, becoming less a defender and leader of Ithor, and more of a powerful, ruthless warlord. When his excesses became too great, the Ithorians exiled him, but the tome does not say where he went.”
Perhaps there is something in the recesses of the Jedi Temple that would shed light on this? More importantly, how will the group gain entry? Your new friend Alec was a security officer at the Jedi Temple; surely he knows everything there was to know about it.
Coruscant is Valen’s homeworld, not to mention he may be the one with sufficient piloting skill to “shadow” the Drakkar through Coruscant’s security web without being caught. What can he suggest?