Star Wars: Uncertain Times, Desperate Measures

Chapter 57: What's Old is New

After escaping from Kantor and his Venator-class Star Destroyer, they took the New Republic escort to Duros. With Jinx deflecting Lando’s requests for more information regarding the meeting and gathering of Bel Iblis’ rebel faction, they arrived at the planet. Finding the planet’s skyhook and shipyards in disarray, they contacted the planet to arrange a transport to the surface. With Morag manufacturing sloppy fake IDs, Jinx, Bando and Fiar went to the surface to track down Grand Moff Kaine’s contact.

Arriving at Duros, they were taken to what would appear to be a human enclave on the planet. Along the way, they briefly saw the ruined spaceport, and learned that both the spaceport and major hospital were orbitally bombarded 12 days ago during a battle between 2 fleets. Arriving at a rather run-down appearing hotel, the protagonists made their way inside, finding the interior in far better shape and of a greater quality than the exterior would indicate.

Checking in with the concierge – and paying extra for ‘discretionary’ lodging and ‘comparnionship’ for Fiar– Fiar and Jinx relaxed in the room while planning how to proceed with the information at their disposal. As Fiar prepared for his visit, Jinx and Bando left to find a droid repair shop.

Arriving at the droid repair shop, Jinx ordered repair parts for Bando; however, they both noticed something sketchy about the establishment. After paying special for “expediated” delivery – and the odd question about part sources – Jinx left to get dinner while Bando stayed at the shop in a powered down mode. A few hours later, Jinx arrived to find Bando mostly repaired, with Bando acting strangely. After attempting to intimidate the droid repair woman and failing, Jinx and Bando left the establishment…with Bando casing the place for a later visit. Meanwhile, Fiar received the companion per his request to the concierge: a petite, bipedal red haired individual. After being bound and experiencing a few hours of companionship, Fiar passed out.

As Bando and Jinx arrived back at the hotel, they exited the elevator while a petite red haired man entered the elevator, mumbling something about a recent meeting with an individual. With a questioning look, Bando and Jinx walked in to find Fiar still bound and passed out. With Bando rudely awakening Fiar, Fiar left to take a shower while Jinx watched the holo news stories regarding the destruction of the spaceport. As food arrived for Fiar – with Bando checking it for explosives – Jinx and Bando left to revisit the droid repair shop after hours while Fiar ate his food. As they left, Fiar enjoyed his nerf steak, eventually dozing off to a deep sleep.

At the droid repair shop, Bando broke into the shop via the roof entrance, triggering and bulldozing through a rigged door. Ransacking the place, Bando made to leave with some datapads that may have his schematics when he noticed a safe in the wall. Trying to remove the safe, Bando triggered a bomb in the safe! The resulting explosion knocked Jinx to the ground, tossed Bando outside the building, and destroyed the data they were looking for. Leaving empty handed, they headed back to the hotel room.

Finding the room empty, with a notepad from Fiar that he went for a walk, Bando and Jinx tried to find him. Searching all exits – and paying for the footage of the exits – and coming up empty, they decided to head to the spaceport to investigate the bombing and the potential meeting of Grand Moff Kaine’s contact.

Meanwhile, Fiar woke up restrained in a darkened room. With his memories hazy – and assuming he was drugged – Fiar pieced together that an individual Bounty Hunter captured him. With the Duros Bounty Hunter negotiating for additional money – and noting how easy he was to take down – Fiar attempted to engage him in conversation. The Bounty Hunter, in a cold and callous manner, explained it was just business…and showed Fiar a datapad with his DNA sequence on it. Highlighting certain sections, the Bounty Hunter dropped a metaphorical bomb on Fiar: confirmation that he was, in fact, a clone. As he did, the door burst in!

Expecting a rescue, Fiar’s hope were crushed when he looked and saw a far more sinister version of himself staring back, with a green lightsaber ignited and 2 clone troopers flanking him. As the Bounty Hunter engaged the Kantor Clone, 2 combat droids emerged and engaged the Clones. Managing to get himself free, Fiar moved away from the battle between the Bounty Hunter and Force User, impressed at the display of combat prowess on both sides. Coming close to the door, he noticed one of the combat droids get destroyed…and dropping a concussion grenade at his feet. The grenade exploded, throwing everyone off balance and opening a hole in the floor. Fiar wasted no time in sliding down the hole in the confusion, finding himself on the 4th floor of the hotel! Realizing he never left the building, and trying to quickly grab anything of importance and finding nothing, Fiar was making to leave when he noticed something very odd: the deceased troopers looked exactly like Jinx. Fiar quickly fled the building, obtained a speeder and heading towards the last place he heard Jinx talk about: the spaceport.

At the spaceport, Jinx and Band bypassed the security markers and investigated the rubble. Finding a control room on the sublevel, they were able to find a few moments of footage before the bombardment: a female Imperial admiral was apparently meeting with Garm Bel Iblis to discuss something, then the meeting was broken up by the arrival of Kantor (or a clone…) and soldiers in clone trooper gear! Splitting up to cover more ground and find any survivors, they lost comm contact due to the interference from the bombing.

Bando, taking a tunnel that veered right, discovered multiple bodies crushed, slashed, and dismembered. Remembering the aftermath of the Jedi in combat, he cautiously traversed the hallway, eventually finding an exit to the surface. Taking the exit, he surfaced and made his way back to their original entry point to wait for Jinx.

Jinx, taking a tunnel that veered left, was met with rubble and dead bodies. Realizing that radiation was interfering with comms – and that he had no protection against it – Jinx made his way back out to leave, only to find himself falling to another sublevel as the corridor gave way. Surrounded by bodies, he picked up a broken datapad that had one site on it’s cracked screen. Looking at the datapad, Jinx felt a growing pit in his stomach expand: He saw himself, in full clone trooper gear, engaging Bel Iblis’s rebels, and realized that he had been cloned!

As he explored the area, he quickly dodged blaster fire as he exited the room! Cautiously identifying himself, he peeked out to see a female Imperial in an admiral’s uniform collapsed on the ground, weakly holding a blaster in one hand and clutching her abdomen with her other. Stating he was with Grand Moff Kaine, he approached the woman to make a health assessment, and was not pleased with the result: blaster scorch burns, a cauterized hole in her abdomen consistent with a lightsaber, and a bad case of radiation exposure.

Scrambling back up to the surface, Jinx met back with Bando to instruct him to get out of the blast zone to call for help to their location: he found the target, but she needed immediate help. Bando quickly ran off to get help. After trying to comm mulitiple areas for assistance – and finding none due to the recent battle – Bando commed Tiali onboard the ship. Explaining the situation to Lt Casilda – and explaining how little he cared about Duros’ opinion of them – Camilla let him know help would be there in a few minutes. He proceeded to turn back around and try to rejoin Jinx.

As Jinx was waiting for Bando, he noticed the area getting darker. Looking up, he saw the Arquitens approaching his position – and opening fire on scrambled Duros defense fleet fighters. As they arrived, Tiali commed Jinx, letting him know that something spooked the New Republic fleet and that they left to intercept something on the edge of the system. Escorting Ciri and Tamren down to the injured Imperial, Jinx helped assist with her evacuation. As they were all making their way back to the ship, Bando returned…and finally received a comm from Fiar: He was coming in hard…and the devil was behind him.

Fiar was seen in the distance by Bando, driving a sputtering landspeeder and looking frantic as it sputtered to a stop. Fiar quickly left the speeder and began sprinting at Bando, waving his arms like a crazy man. Bando, thinking Fiar was being his usual annoying self, paid no mind until he saw something in the smoke: a blade of green plasma, quickly moving towards Fiar.

Realizing Fiar was being chased by Kantor, he ran and intercepted Fiar, picking him up and bounding back to the ship. Finally noticing the commotion, Jinx quickly pulled himself up to the cargo hold and frantically looked for a weapon. As Bando made his way up and a crewman was trying to get Jinx a gun, they all saw the Bounty Hunter – with rocket propelled jet boosters – engage the Force User. A stream of blaster bolts pinned down Kantor, and an unleashed stream of microbombs dropped covering his eventual exit. As the ship left, Jinx and Bando both saw sights that terrified them: Jinx, seeing multiple blades of green in the smoke and a verifiable wind tunnel as Kantor Force-sped away, realized that multiple clones were here and were as skilled in combat as Kantor; Bando, seeing the bounty hunter fight the Jedi and leave alive, realized that protecting Fiar just became far more dangerous – the Clone Wars Bounty Hunter Cad Bane had returned with his eyes set on the bounty on Kantor…and Fiar by extension.

As the ship left orbit, Fiar quickly calculated a jump to the Corellia System as Ciri told them they needed to get the Imperial to medical facilities within a day or she would be dead. Bando and Camilla piloted the ship out of orbit, and ran into another chilling sight: Lando’s Rebel fleet engaged with 3 Venator Star Destroyers. The Venator’s launched their ships, and the protagonists were horrified to see over 200 ARC 170s launch from the Venators. Flying with pinpoint precision, the ARC 170s made quick work of one of the Corellian Corvettes and quickly had the Mon Cal ship pinned down – thanks to redundant shields, it was holding but just barely. As they saw the Rebel fleet break formation and prepare to jump, they all had a realization: Fiar felt the sickening feeling of being in an echo chamber, where commands were being directed to unknown individuals in a voice dripping with command, and sounding far too similar to his own for comfort; Jinx fought off the enticement of the battle trance he felt previously on Kantor’s ship, and realized why the pull was so strong: All the crew members on the Venators were clones of himself…and Hexx; Bando saw the remaining Corvette attempt to ram the Venators to cover for the Mon Cal cruiser to escape…and saw it melt away under the bombardment of over 200 proton torpedoes impacting simultaneously.

The crew quickly jump to hyperspace with the cover of the Rebel Fleet retreat and the explosions from the Corellian Corvette.

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