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.