Shades of the Force

Wookie Rescue
June 10, 2007

Jurik and Bruce, after some careful discussion of options, decided to use the scrap of information Valo had received, and find out more on the mysterious “Flyers” group. Taking the hover-rail line deep into an old-town, mostly abandoned heavy-industry zone on Eriadu, they walked the broken, dirty sidewalks under a steady, slightly acidic rain. Their path led them to an old, abandoned subway station, where they were found by a Flyers watchman, and taken on a rusty, battered subway train to a hidden camp of the Freedom Flyers, an underground (literally) abolitionist organization.

Having to leave their weapons at the entrance, Bruce’s lightsaber was discovered, though Jurik’s was not. They were taken to see the group’s leader, a well-spoken, older gentleman with a neatly styled mustache and a regal bearing, a vibro-rapier leaning within easy reach next to his desk, situated in an old train car, piled with stacks of paper and lit by clusters of candles. He was Thermon Valorum, and came to an amicable understanding with Bruce and Jurik, giving Bruce his lightsaber back after asking a few pointed questions. They spoke about his abolitionist group, his intentions and operations, and learned a little of his background, being the son of the last Chancellor of the Republic, schooled for the Senate, and in hiding after his father and family were destroyed by the newly crowned Emperor.

Jurik and Bruce made a deal with him, selling him information on the Trandoshan group, a member of which Valo had pipe-wrenched, and agreeing to pose as buyers, in an attempt to free and ‘steal’ the Trandoshan’s latest group of slaves. That evening, with a group of Flyers men in tow as their ‘staff’, Jurik and Bruce met with the Trandoshan group, bringing R2-D4 along to ‘facilitate credit transfer’ and to hide a fusion cutter inside. On the Trandoshan ship, Bruce was able to slip the cutter through a powered holding cage without frying himself, surreptiously giving the Wookiees within a tool with which to disable their control collars and cut the power fence.

Back outside, Jurik agreed to purchase the Wookiees, but the ruse to fake a credit transfer through R2-D4 did not work. Their suspicions and tempers provoked, the Trandoshans picked a fight, culminating in Jurik and Bruce entering their ship again, to find loose Wookiees battling their captors with their hands and a fire ax. Having freed them, Jurik and Bruce, with help from the Freedom Flyers, brought the Wookiees to the Drakkar, loading them all onboard and having GEN-13 give them food and drink. Using forged documents provided by the Flyers, they were able to convince Imperial Customs that they were merely shipping slaves, and left Eriadu for the moment, having made arrangements with Thermon to take the Wookiees to the nearby system of Taris in exchange for a payment of credits.

During the trip, the Wookiee that Bruce most directly assisted and saved the life of approached him, managed to convey that his name was Wrrl, and promptly informed him that he would be remaining with him. Bruce did not quite understand what was being conveyed, but Jurik explained to him that he’d apparently incurred a life-debt with this Wookiee. Bruce tried to explain that it was not necessary and that he had simply done what he felt was right, but Wrrl would have absolutely none of it, and immediately began opening panels on the Drakkar and making minor repairs. (GEN-13, you wanted to learn more about how to work on the Drakkar…. here’s a golden opportunity for a teacher AND something to use the AA-Verbobrain on.) Bruce wondered how the rest of the crew would feel about this development.

Jurik, meanwhile, drank booze and played cards with the Wookiees, and eventually challenged them to a drinking contest, which he then won through a little use of the Force. The Wookiees, absolutely astonished that this old Human out-drank them, developed a great respect for him.

Upon arriving at Taris, Jurik and Bruce found a formerly vast, urban- covered world, long since bombarded into rubble and ruins. However, they had a contact, and landed the Drakkar on top of a half-ruined and half-rebuild arcology tower, very similar to the sort of place Valen once lived, on Coruscant. They found themselves at an independent settlement named New Taris, consisting of war refugees, freed slaves, aliens, and people in hiding. Releasing the Wookiees into their care, Jurik and Bruce explored the settlement, making several friends and shopping for things in their rather large ‘scrap and junk flea market’, where tons upon tons of scrap metal, electronics, and goods scavenged from the wastelands were sorted, sold, or remade into new wares by the colonists. Wrrl took a blaster rifle from the Drakkar, and, using parts purchased from the market, was able to make a new bowcaster for himself.

Jurik and Bruce met with one of the leaders of New Taris, a female Mon Calamari named Onoba, who lived far down in the base of the arcology tower, in a comfortably furnished chamber with one entire wall replaced with a massive aquarium tank, in which swam a multitude of fish species from her homeworld, as well as a rather immense shark named ‘Baby.’ Onoba herself seemed to be an invalid, remaining in her chair, with several tubes connecting her to a small tank of liquid next to her seat, regular injections of bacta apparently needed to keep her alive.

She greeted them, made them comfortable, and gave them some information on what New Taris’s goals are, how they operate, and what sort of things New Taris needs in order to prosper and grow. She also told them about another nearby settlement, Saretti City, which is a claimed outpost of CzerkaCorp, which is conducting terrain clearing, terraforming, and setting up power, water, and air filtration infrastructure, some of which New Taris has to depend on in order to remain free of direct Imperial attention. At the same time, they can’t always pay what Czerka demands, and when that happens… less peaceful methods of payment are inflicted.

Onoba told Bruce and Jurik they were welcome to get involved in two ‘industries’ that New Taris has set up: exportation of scrap metal and junk, and, more covertly, several workshops that use salvage material to make blasters and other weapons, which are then smuggled to the Galactic Alliance on contract by independent shippers. They were also allowed to search the planet’s vast junkscapes themselves, on the understanding that they must pay a fee to take salvage.

Bruce and Jurik, considering these options and others, took the Drakkar up for a flight around the area, looking for any traces of Jedi temples or chapter houses, as Taris was destroyed long before the Galactic Empire, and was a major governmental and cultural hub in the Republic. They found what looked like a small one, ruined, and explored the site, finding Czerka demolition equipment busily tearing it and everything else down for recycling and processing. A conflict began, and Bruce, Jurik and Wrrl took on the Czerka heavy equipment men, culminating in a violent and ruthless hand to hand combat between Bruce and a Czerka demolitionist, who nearly forced Bruce face-first into huge, running, fast moving concrete-and-steel shredders on the front of a massive demolition vehicle. Bruce narrowly escaped with his life, blood streaming from his nose and mouth, after his opponent was run over and annihilated by the machinery. Jurik was able to climb atop the machine and stop its driver, shutting it down before it smashed Bruce as well.

June 2, 2007

After making their way up into the higher, broken mountainsides of Lazarus, the group’s path ultimately ended at a smooth, sealed, stone tomb entrance, built into a solid rock wall. The area around this entrance had several strange features, like stone pillars neatly sliced in half, rocks and chunks tossed about, and crushing, piercing marks on the stone ground.

After breaking it open, the group explored a tomb complex painted and carved with a theme of creation and genesis of life, displaying an alien race as master gods, creating stars, worlds, and life upon them. They encountered a series of coded and linked traps, and had several dangerous moments before determining and applying the correct formula for passing them, with the clues based on the artwork in the tomb.

This led to a deeper layer of the tomb, where they found a broad chamber with a high, domed ceiling, a large marble statue of one of these aliens in its center, and burial niches lining the round wall, occupied by long dead human and humanoid corpses. After striking a trigger, the corpses began to animate, attacking the group in a mindless rush, and resulting in a severe application of blaster fire and hand grenades by the surrounded characters. When the smoke cleared, keys were found on some of the corpses that opened the far wall, revealing the burial chamber.

Its stone sarcophagus contained the skeleton of a long deceased alien, a pendant like Valo’s around its neck, an ancient, metal long sword on its chest, and a coffer at its feet. Upon removing these items, the far wall of the burial chamber collapsed, and an immense, long-inactive war droid crashed through. The group ran, but Bruce fumbled and tripped, being picked up by the droid in its grasper arm as it pursued the others. During the confrontation, Valo managed to glue the droid to the floor with a glop grenade, while Bruce was crushed into incapacitation and hurled across the chamber, dropping his lightsaber. Valo picked it up and attacked the droid with it, running between its legs and slashing it, while Jurik broke rocks free from the domed ceiling with the Force, and sent them crashing down onto the droid. Having smashed it, the group fled the tomb, reviving Bruce enough to allow him to move on his own.

Removing to orbit around Lazarus on the Drakkar, Bruce took some rest and further medical treatment. After giving Tylus the chance for some real food and sleep, the second pendant was tried on the hidden cube, fitting into one of its side sockets. The coffer proved to contain roughly a hundred ancient gold coins, marked with strange script. After some discussion, the group chose to go to the fairly close by Eriadu system at Tylus’s request, hoping to find an old friend of his that could assist them with their discoveries.

Eriadu, known as ‘Coruscant of the Outer Rim’, is a heavily urbanized and industrialized world, thickly polluted and populated. It was the home and seat of governorship of the Tarkin family, including the recently deceased Grand Moff Tarkin. Multiple power groups were encountered here, including the Thalassian, Trandoshan, and Red Blade slaver’s guilds, which maintain extensive market halls here. Valo killed one Trandoshan in a particularly bloody manner (wrenched off jaw.) The group got Tylus to his friend, an aged, scarred, and experienced man named Donovis, who offered extensive connections and experience in xenoarchaelogy, and who offered to assist the group with their various undertakings, including helping them sell relics to the Imperial Museum of Galactic History on Coruscant, if they would show their good faith by “helping Taris succeed in its restorative bid.” He expressed that he and others would benefit “politically and economically” if this were to happen. At one point, he also gunned down some Red Blade technicians that he considered to have dishonored Sala.

Taris, another world in the same sector and close to Eriadu, used to be the Coruscant of the Outer Rim, before it was annihilated by bombardment during the Jedi Civil War thousands of years ago. After being abandoned for centuries, colonists and others are now attempting to rebuild and restart the world. Citizens on Eriadu, for the most part, despise Taris and have no interest whatsoever in having to compete with another world for their titles and monopolies.

Valo also met an apparent member of a group called the Freedom Flyers, or “Flyers” that witnessed his altercation with the Trandoshan and gave him an address if the group wished to meet with other Flyers.

This is where the group left off: On Eriadu, facing multiple power groups with different goals, and deciding what next plan of action to take, and whom to work with, oppose, or trust.

Ord Sigma
April 8, 2007

Time on Tantamir was cut short, by a sudden, silent, and long range attempt on Sala’s life. Somehow, at the last moment and without warning, Valo was able to intercede, pulling her down and taking the punishment for her: a high powered rifle bullet shot that damaged his armor and pierced his lung. Thekher, who was on hand to wish the group well on their departure, performed some sort of strange ritual, laying his clawed “hand” upon Valo’s face, causing Valo’s massive bleeding to stop, and his body to begin healing at a supernatural rate. However, he still spent the next week or two in a coma, his body recovering.

Once they were sure he was going to be alright, even if they could not explain why, the group flew to Ord Mantell, where they visited and prevailed upon Greda the Hutt, learning that he was one of the beings providing resupply services to the Imperial fleet blockading Ord Sigma. They proposed that he give them a copy of the code clearance data said supply ships used, and mighty Greda agreed, after ensuring there would be no way to trace the source of the data to him, and after the group made a suitable payment to him for his generosity.

Departing and flying to Ord Sigma, the group had a narrow shave when a routine inflight technical check overloaded the hyperdrive, mildly damaging it before the characters could bring it back to operating norms. In a quieter moment, Bruce and Jurik began a formal practice of lightsaber form, filling an empty space amongst the cargo crates with the lights and sounds of energy blades. Bruce acquitted himself well, showing substantial skill.

Upon arrival at Ord Sigma, the group found themselves staring down the Dulfivan Sector fleet: The Imperial Star Destroyer Thunderbolt, with its protective ships, a TIE carrier, a Lancer frigate, and the Strike Cruiser Malagance, which had been responsible for so much grief at Tantamir, during the group’s earlier escapades. Using their false code, they pretended to be a contracted supply vessel, getting fairly close to the blockade before attempting to break through. Flying at high speed past the Malagance, the Drakkar evaded a web of turbolaser fire, chased by TIE fighters as Bruce and Sala fired back with the Drakkar’s guns. The ship made it through the blockade, but not before taking damage to its sublight engines.

The Drakkar landed safely in the city of Mar Celes on Ord Sigma, protected by a GenCore planetary energy shield, strong enough to protect the entire area from orbital bombardment and projected from a 100-story tall dish tower in the center of the city. They met General Balar, a former Corellian senator, now a general in the Rebel Alliance, which was in possession of Mar Celes with armed soldiers. Relations were amicable, and the cargo of food was sold for a profit and distributed to the hungry civilians and soldiers.

The city of Mar Celes possesses an old and highly respected college, the University of Teremis, and the group visited its 3,000 year old library, seeking information on the history of their vessel, Valo’s pendant, and the strange cube found within the Drakkar’s secret cargo compartment. A friendly and attractive woman named Ulista assisted them as the librarian, but their research was cut short by the appearance of strange combat droids, of a model and construction none of the group had ever seen before, and projecting a distorted, Dark Side signature through the Force. There was a battle, and Bruce and Valen were injured, but the group was victorious, blasting the droids into scrap as they took cover behind reading desks and bookshelves. Upon examining the droids’ remains, the group found their circuits and design were like nothing they had seen, and each droid had at its core, a lump of rotting, still living flesh.

Jurik and Bruce made off with their discovered prize: a small holocron cube with details on a new Force power, and GEN-13 learned much new information on the origins of the Drakkar, its previous Jedi Master owner, and the system where he disappeared, named Lazarus. Sala learned about another system in the sector, Toprawa, where the plans for the Death Star had been stolen by an Alliance operation, and the Empire had subsequently punished the populace harshly, with an orbital bombardment, resulting in many suffering survivors. As they left the library, the Imperial ground assault began, to seize Mar Celes, punish and occupy it.

The group ran to the Drakkar, intent on fleeing, only to discover that (as they had asked) Rebel technicians had already taken out the damaged sublight engine and started installing a new one, and the Drakkar was not flyable. After a rushed debate, GEN-13 and Sala stayed with the ship to protect Valo and try to finish putting the new engine in themselves, while Bruce, Jurik and Valen sped to the city’s seacoast to investigate a hostile detected there, even as the main Imperial assault struck the other side of the city, tall buildings being obliterated in clouds of smoke and ash as Imperial walkers fired directly into them.

The three characters found another Imperial AT-AT walker was sneaking into the city, walking up out of the Celesian Sea. This walker was painted blood red, and bore the deaths-head symbol of General Grax’s unit, one of the officers responsible for Valen’s destroyed career. As the walker stepped over the seawall, salt water rushing off of it, the characters ran into a tall office building, taking the elevator to floor 12, then shattering a wide window.

As the massive walker strode past, they leaped from the building, landing atop its armored back. Jurrik slashed open a dorsal crew hatch, and Valen, Bruce, and Jurrik dropped inside, immediately confronted by stormtroopers within the walker’s narrow passageway. Confronted by two lightsaber-wielding enemies (one of which had a biting comment about Order 66 having missed someone) and a hand to hand struggle with Valen, the troopers were killed, and the band stormed the walker’s head, Valen shooting the pilot through the skull, Bruce slicing the commander in half, and Jurrik capturing the gunner, interrogating him briefly before dragging him back up to the walker’s roof and throwing him off onto the roof of a passing building.

Valen took the pilot chair, and Bruce the gunner chair, and now the AT- AT Alpha Two was under their control. Striding down the city’s main avenue, the captured walker headed for the battle. As they passed the GenCore tower, they saw a Lambda shuttle landing on one of its access pads, high above the city. They raised the walker’s head, firing a heavy salvo and shattering the landing pad, the shuttle and the debris falling and crashing to the ground.

Meanwhile, GEN-13 and Sala finished installing the sublight engine, as the sounds of heavy explosions and gunfire got closer and closer, with Valo still helpless in his cabin. Unfortunately, the engine’s hookups were all…. backwards, and they frantically worked to correct them, then taking off, Sala at the controls, flying to the GenCore tower and landing on another of its pads, managing to scrape a huge gouge in the Drakkar’s starboard side as they did so. Sala and GEN-13 entered the dimly lit passageway of the huge energy silo, discovering many dead Alliance soldiers.

As the Alpha Two walker passed the tower, Jurrik shot a line to it, leaping and swinging from the back of the captured walker and smashing through a window, entering the tower at a different place from Sala and GEN-13. Alpha Two strode through the streets like a mechanical Godzilla, confronting, surprising, and destroying another Imperial AT- AT and an AT-ST through Valen’s expert piloting and Bruce’s suprisingly effective work with the heavy blaster cannons. Reaching the front, they destroyed a second AT-AT, blasting its structural frame apart and blowing it to enormous durasteel pieces.

When GEN-13 and Sala realized that the power to the GenCore shield was dropping, and the Imperial fleet would soon be able to bombard, they headed for the top of the huge energy silo, with Jurik also heading up in a different turbolift. GEN-13 and Sala discovered a single enemy at the very top of the 100 story shaft, disabling the shield, and GEN-13 fired, only to see her shots deflected from a red saber blade. As the foe walked calmly towards the two, they were cornered, until Jurik arrived. Challenging the saber-wielding young man, they began a clash of lightsabers on a catwalk suspended above countless amps of energy.

Trouble hit the AT-AT Alpha Two, when Valen and Bruce detected someone on top of it. Bruce went to investigate, discovering an Imperial scout trooper clambering down onto the neck of the walker, wielding an anti-vehicle shoulder-fired missile. Bruce leaped down onto him, saber in hand, but missed his strike at the last moment, the two crashing into each other, and both the launcher and Bruce’s lightsaber tumbling off the walker to the street far below. They grappled, punching and striking each other, then falling from the walker’s neck, sliding down the front of the AT-AT’s head (much to the dismay of Valen when they literally slid over his armored viewport) still grappling each other. An enemy walker stomped closer, firing on Alpha Two and beginning to damage it, the cannon shots nearly incinerating Bruce. Slipping, he fell again, saving himself from death by grabbing one of the walker’s protruding heavy chin cannons, only to find the scout trooper had also fallen and grabbed the other cannon. Valen was unable to fire the guns for fear of instantly killing Bruce, as the enemy AT-AT closed, literally ramming Alpha Two in the side with its armored head.

Meanwhile, Jurik and his opponent fought viciously, damaging the floor and the safety railing of the catwalk, as their lightsabers clashed and strained against each other several times, dragging against the surroundings, before disengaging and riposting. GEN-13 and Sala began restoring power to the GenCore, hoping Jurik would not be struck down, as it would mean their deaths. Jurik prevailed, dextrously parrying a low slash and twisting his saber, cutting through the back of his enemy’s leg. He stumbled and fell against the slashed safety rail, falling into the energy core of the silo and disappearing in the glow. Sala, GEN-13 and Jurik ran back to the Drakkar, taking off and flying towards the front.

Bruce, clinging to the huge cannon with one hand, drew his blaster with the other, beating the scout trooper’s draw and shooting him through the chest. The dead trooper let go of his cannon, plummeting to the ground, where Valen promptly made the walker step on him. The enemy AT AT’s head was wedged against and under his walker, however, and Bruce was still trapped dangling on the outside cannon. The Drakkar flew up at the last moment, hovering beneath the walker’s head, as Bruce let go and fell onto its roof, crawling into its dorsal crew hatch to safety. As the Drakkar flew clear, Valen made his captured walker kneel (using a Force point to pull off the heroic- difficulty task) trapping the other walker’s head under his walker’s body and crushing it horribly between the durasteel of his walker’s legs and armored body. As the walkers began to explode, he abandoned the helm, dropping the walker’s aft crew ramp and sprinting out as it began to explode, running up the waiting Drakkar’s ramp and escaping.

Since the Rebels had held their ground long enough for the Alliance fleet to arrive, ambushing the Imperial blockade, the Empire took losses in orbit, the Mon Calamari Cruiser Alderaan and its task ships destroying the Lancer frigate and the TIE carrier. The Thunderbolt and the Malagance were forced to withdraw into lightspeed.

Celebrated as heroes by the Alliance troops of Mar Celes, the group took their leave, returning to Renovo’s shop on Bessilore and paying him to repair their damaged and degrading hyperdrive. Now, the group is together in the Drakkar, determining how in the f*ck they are all still alive, what course of action to pursue, and whether or not to use some of their cash to add a few enhancements to the Drakkar.


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