Star Wars: Uncertain Times, Desperate Measures

Chapter 19: Off We Go

After escaping in the AT-TE, the protagonists fled to the mountain base to regroup and rearm.

Captain Norin Kole’s men were attended to by Anolo in the infirmary – who was none too pleased at Jinx bringing in more outsiders. Bando went back to tinkering with his droids, with memories of the Clone Wars popping up with uncomfortable regularity for unknown reasons.

Jinx and Hexx got into an argument regarding the course of action, and Jinx left to go get drunk. Hexx consulted with Mena and Morag, and determined a possible location of the Emperor’s retreat was near Moenia, and decided to leave shortly to scout out the location.

Jasmine rejoined the group at the mountain base, with a series of crates she “liberated” from deep storage at the palace in Theed by request of her father, Norin Kole. They unpacked a series of Naboo sculptures and statues…which Norin proceeded to destroy!

Hexx and Jinx left him to his destructive spree, and argued again over which approach to take. Their disagreement was cut short when the rest of the base suddenly got quiet. Investigating the main hanger, they discovered that Norin had unearthed a block of carbonite…with what appeared to be a sentient frozen inside.

They proceeded to dethaw the carbonite prisoner – a female Twi’Lek – whom Norin seemed to have more than passing familiarity with and treated as a superior office. The Twi’Lek quickly was taken to recover from Carbonite sickness, while the rest of the base wondered what was going on.

Hexx left to scout Moenia after the commotion with the carbonite individual dimmed. Upon arriving, he noticed a very disturbing sight: Moenia was fully garrisoned with a very large Zsinj presence…including a Victory Star Destroyer landed outside the city!

Chapter 20: Fork in the Road

After recording the events around the Moenia garrison, Hexx left the following morning for the base to share his findings. Bando made good progress on fixing the R2 astromech droid, while Jinx was tricked by Ryo into sobering up.

Hexx and Jinxed walked the base separately, working on various things and examining the people in the base…including a few of them, notably Arix and Jasmine, getting into heated arguments.

With time not on their side, Hexx polled the base on their preferred courses of action. Arix noted Jasmine’s naive viewpoints and professed a willingness to deal with whomever was winning in a search for credits. Jasmine voiced a preference to find Panaka and recruit the Gungans and their Rebel allies in an attempt to evict Zsinj’s troops in a similar manner of the Trade Federation’s Naboo occupation. Norin viewed the situation as needing external help, floating the idea of the Outer Rim Confederacy or even Mandalorian mercenaries. The rest of the base did not have much of an opinion, but Castus did let Hexx know that if they wanted to try to play both sides he would take an extended vacation off planet.

As the evening wound down, the protagonists reflected on the events and tried to collect their thoughts. Bando kept having increasingly intense flashbacks to the Clone Wars – secret bases, insurgencies, droids, Clone soldiers, and a feud over Naboo – that was impeding his progress…especially after he noticed Norin was a Clone. Hexx tried to clear his thoughts, but he had vivid images of space battles, flying in a dogfight, capital ships exploding, and an everpresent cold and malicious feeling that he last recalled feeling at Endor. Jinx mediated on the mountainside to try and gain perspective, and during his meditation his mind conjured images of fire raining down on Naboo, TIE fighters blasting Naboo buildings to pieces, a battle roaring in the space around Naboo, and a dark and malicious presence at the edge of his perceptions, causing his entire body to react in horror.

The protagonists all felt, in some shape or form, dark days ahead.

Chapter 21: The Unwanted Calvary
Season 2

The protagonists regrouped the next day, scattered and with a variety of concerns all weighing on their minds. Captain Norin Kole and Lieutenant Jasmine Kole were having heated arguments in the war room, Bando and Jinx drew weapons on each other, and Hexx grew increasingly frustrated at no good available option, eventually settling on brooding over Tolwyn and his freighter, eventually taking a ride over the oceans of Naboo and determining that there may be salvageable wreckage in the water from the Trade Federation embargo.

The conflict came to a head outside the war room, with Jinx and Bando again scuffling while Hexx and the Koles discussed scenarios. The situation ended when Arix ordered both Bando and Jinx to their quarters to separate them. Tensions were high amongst the team with limited time until “phase 2” of Zsinj’s plan was due to begin, and everyone tried to bring their own plans to fruition.

Hexx met up with Bando in the fusion core, and they proceeded to attempt to transform the protocol droid into a covert spy. Hexx also had Tarion attempting to convert the unarmed LAAT gunship into something that could be a submersible. The Twi’lek Seely met with Anolo and acquired 5 doses of a compound that would render them effectively dead to sensors for 1 hour in an attempt to sneak aboard a shuttle and tasked Morag with obtaining command codes. Jinx proceeded to work on the Skipray to get it operational as an escape route. Norin and his storm troopers went to work on the AT-TE, while Lieutenant Kole observed data from Moenia.

Their events lasted throughout the evening, with varying degrees of failure. Morag was unable to acquire the shuttle command codes for Seely, who was unable to convince the others of the viability of a plan to board and destroy a Super Star Destroyer. Bando was unable to install the assassination protocol codes in the droid, which malfunctioned and attempted to power on and target all “meatbags” in the vicinity and the eventual dismantling of the droid. Jinx made little headway in the skipray, and the conversion of the LAAT was going slowly.

The following evening, while working on the LAAT gunship, Hexx and Bando noticed the AT-TE that Norin was working on powered on, and proceeded to leave the base. Assuming it was a shake down cruise, they thought nothing of it until Jasmine frantically began searching and scanning to attempt to find the AT-TE. Hexx, Jinx, Bando and Seely met up to find out what was causing a commotion, and determined that Norin – having grown tired of the inaction – took the AT-TE and the stormtroopers under his command on a direct route to Moenia. Hexx tried to follow in his T-47, but found out that the power cell was drained completely. After some debate, the protagonists armed and armored themselves, and set off to find Norin in the remaining craft available to them: the LAAT gunship.

Hexx piloted the LAAT towards Moenia, when they began noticing odd sensor readings coming from orbit…and saw the TIE fighters scrambling from Theed, Moenia, and Keren to go orbital. As Hexx pulled up and sent the LAAT into high atmosphere, they found out that 5 Venator ships were closing in on the Victory in orbit, launching hundreds of fighters as they approached.

They attempted to hail the fleet, and were contacted by Tolwyn, who sarcastically apologized for being late but had to find a ship. He informed them they were attempting to break the blockade over Naboo….but avoid the Super Star Destroyer on the other end of the system. Hexx then proceeded to dive back towards Moenia to investigate the area and find Captain Kole over the objections of Seely, and ran into another problem.

As they approached Moenia, they saw that the Victory Star Destroyer was launching from Moenia. Fearing that they found what they were looking for, they made for an intercept course to attempt to slow the Star Destroyer from leaving. As they approached, they saw with horror as the Victory unleashed a point blank turbolaser bombardment on the city and 20 kilometers around it, pulverizing any buildings, killing any people, and cratering the entire area. Seely also sensed a dark and malicious presence on the ship, equally frustrated and pleased at the events as they were transpiring.

They got off a shot at the shield dome as they made their run with their Mass Driver cannon, but were unable to harm it very much due to the excessive armor on the Victory. They proceeded to chase it as they exited Moenia, and were rapidly running out of time until Bando discovered the LAAT was modified as a prototype MAAT gunship – the side openings were covered by mag-lock panels and the cockpit sealed, providing limited time available for space operations in near-orbit.

Following the Victory, they continued to fire upon it as it fled but were unable to prevent it from fleeing into hyperspace along with the other Victory – in much worse conditions due to the battling with the 5 Venators, but managing to cripple one of them – after recalling the TIE fighters. As Hexx brought the wounded gunship back into orbit, they were pursed by 3 ships – 2 TIE fighters, and one TIE of an unknown design.

The 1 TIE Fighter was thrown off course by Seely – using the Force to telekinetically pull the yoke – and the other TIE broke off towards Theed after a strafing run at the gunship, unwilling to face return fire. The other TIE, however, proceeded to unload on the gunship with a barrage of laser fire weakening the hull, ion blasts attempting to but largely ineffective at frying the electronics…and eventually unloading a concussion missile at the gunship, blowing a sizeable hole in the hull and heavily damaging the engines.

The TIE proceeded to make a stunning aerial 180 and fled into atmosphere, eventually leaping into lightspeed. Hexx made a rough landing at the base, after which everyone exited and proceeded to restart bickering with one another.

Tolwyn sent a shuttle for the protagonists, and entertained them aboard Admiral Aban’s Venator – as Tolwyn was technically wanted by the O.R.C. for supposed war crimes, he was never officially present at on board. They discussed various future scenarios, with Tolwyn trying to cheer up a noticeably despondent Hexx, and everyone puzzling out what the future holds.

Chapter 22: Actions have Consequences
Interlude Chapter

The protagonists rested and regrouped following the Battle of Naboo, catching up with Tolwyn and getting the situation reports. Finding out they were relatively restricted to the ship for the time being, they elected to explore the ship. As they were all on the Outer Rim Confederacy’s wanted for questioning list for being an associate of Tolwyn, they explored Aban’s flagship incognito while they awaited word from the scouts on the planet.

Jinx reintegrated himself with life as a soldier – following orders, getting meals, and working all day repairing Starfighters – before finding a random empty room and falling fast asleep. Bando claimed a corner of the hangar bay for himself, and proceeded to work on droids until passing out in a hammock in the hangar bay. Seely explored the abandoned section of the Venator’s crew quarters where the Jedi were known to make their quarters, finding an abandoned yet functional holonet computer where she attempted to find out more information on the intervening years before falling asleep. Hexx attempted to recruit a few pilots of the Y Wings to take him back planetside, but was caught and captured. Upon interrogation, he gave his name as Bando Wyn, and proceeded to be stunned and taken to an interrogator and interrogation droid for questioning.

The protagonists were summoned in the morning by Captain Aban, including Hexx, where they explained that Aban’s Fleet Group 7 was, officially, stopping by Naboo for Rest and Relaxation when they were assaulted by Zsinj’s forces. As they were just defending themselves, they were not directly intervening with the Naboo war between the Rebel-backed Gungans and Zsinj-backed Humans, but were keeping a close eye on Keren. They also let the protagonists know both that they were sending a crew to the crater that was once Moenia to explore the area, and investigating a derelict ship on the other side of the system.

The protagonists split, with Seely and a reluctant Bando heading to Moenia to investigate the supposed vault, and Jinx and Hexx going to the derelict ship.

Seely and Bando explored the Vault, with Bando showing a mix of an unexpected acceptance of Seely’s Force abilities with utter contempt and derision for the Jedi. In the vault, they discovered that it was not the Emperor’s Vault, but rather a Hutt Cartel vault, ransacked and raided. The fried computer core did showcase some useful information: the vault was raided for information and items related to a Dr Vindi, whom Bando and Seely remembered as a Confederate rogue scientist working on a weaponized version of the Blue Shadow virus – a terrifying plague capable of wiping out entire planets in a matter of days.

Jinx and Hexx explored the derelect Consular-class cruiser. The ship was riddled with blaster marks and hull breaches, with no power or life signs present. Upon boarding the ship, Jinx powered up the engines on a minimal mode and discovered 3 dead bureacrats in the engine room – dead from vacuum exposure. Jinx headed to the bridge, passing more dead via vacuum bureacrats, and accessed the bridge. The captain and co-pilot were both dead, but seemed to have died from blaster fire rather than vacuum. Researching the missing salon pod, they were able to pull logs showing an assault by 12 TIEs of unknown configuration that decimated the ship. The TIEs captured the salon pod and all inhabitants, and pulled back to the Victory on planet. They did catch a call from them referencing to 2 captured packages.

The protagonists regrouped on Naboo, in a small villa in the mountains near Moenia. Seely immediately sensed a lingering dark side presence, and noticed Sith script along the monuments in the now-deserted villa belonging to the Emperor. Meeting at the villa with Captain Aban, Captain Kole and Lt. Kole, and Tolwyn, information was shared.

Hexx and Jinx relayed that the consular ship was heavily damaged and theories that the Naboo Queen and Moff Panaka were captured, but also that they had Morag start the process of towing it back for repairs. Seely and Bando relayed that the vault belonged to the Hutts, and that they were looking for Dr Vindi and most likely the Blue Shadow Virus. The Koles relayed information regarding the issue with finding the villa – which Seely thought was a Dark Side force mirage effect – but that they eventually discovered it. Aban relayed that they intercepted 2 communications – one of which had Patren Elrood communicating with the TIEs that took out the consular vessel and showing an apparent collusion with Zsinj’s forces. Tolwyn then showed a captured message between a dark cloaked human and Boss Zast, where it was revealed that Zast set the ambush at his storehouse to remove a Hutt rival on Naboo and used the weapons provided by the antagonists to throw blame on the Imperials, inadvertently starting a civil war that exceeded Zast’s hopes. Zast informed the dark cloaked figure that with the peace-loving Bosses dead, he would press to remove all the Naboo interlopers from the planet and would hold up his end of the bargain.

And with that, Tolwyn smashed the holocommunicator and the protagonists sat in stunned silence, as they realized their unwitting role in causing the strife on Naboo

Chapter 23: The Roads Ahead

The protagonists left the Emperor’s Retreat to regroup and plan on their next steps, where the mountain base and Keren were to be visited by the protagonists.

Seely and Jasmine Kole headed to the mountain base, where Seely inquired with Arix about accessing funds and was put to work unraveling some bureaucratic regulations in place on Naboo as a test by Mena.

Tolwyn, Bando, Jinx, and Hexx visited Keren – after Tolwyn had the Emperor’s Retreat mined and exploded – where Tolwyn stated he had “business to attend to. The protagonists went to the main casino in Keren – which was guarded by soldiers loyal to houses Rist and Thul – and were led to the gambling floors while Tolwyn, dressed in his Alderaanian finest, went to meet with the owners. After an hour or so – and some potentially troublesome images from the opaque VIP room – Tolwyn left with the protagonists and stated his business was concluded.

The protagonists met back up at the mountain base for the evening, and woke up to find the damaged Consular class cruiser in the hanger, along with an off-books crew of Ugnaughts to assist in repairs. Everyone worked constantly on the ship: the interior was refitted and repairs, the combat damage repaired, and the systems overhauled. Tolwyn returned after a day salvaging old destroyed ships in the oceans of Naboo with 2 turbolasers and a light ion cannon, which were installed promptly by the crew, and Captain Kole sent a crew from the Royal Engineering Corps of Naboo with a gift of a Type 1 Nubian Hyperdrive to boost the engines.

On the final day, Captain Aban returned and had the Ugnaughts returned to the cruiser, the droids’ memory cores wiped “from combat damage during the battle with Zsinj”, and took the dismantled Skipray blastboat from the protagonists, exchanging it for a factory new default Skipray as an unofficial gift.

They then left for Keren, where the ship was newly painted and supplies established. As the protagonists’ departed Naboo – with Jasmine Kole and Morag on board the ship – Captain Aban stated her battle group was heading to the Reservoir to consult with Alwyn on Patren’s activities and Tolwyn was taking up residence in Keren to oversee the actions against the Gungans and Zsinj’s forces with the assistance of the Alderaanian forces in Keren – and apparently establishing control of said forces in a fencing duel ending with the owner of Keren’s casino losing his right hand.

The protagonists left Naboo in their ship – with a skipray docked in place of the missing salon pod – and resolved to travel to Ilum at Seely’s behast before tracking down the dark and malevolent presence they felt leaving Naboo.

Chapter 24: The Stowaway, the Grump, and the Elevator

As the protagonists were preparing to leave Keren, they each resolved certain loose ends on the planet and prepared to depart for a planet in the Unknown regions known as Ilum at the request of Seely.

Prior to departure, the protagonists all found a gift left to them from their friends and associates. Bando had a compartment full of droid parts – and a working, if bare bones, Probot – delivered to the ship complements of Tolwyn. Seely found a fitted and armored Jedi robe – similar to her garb during the Clone Wars – left to her by Norin Kole. Hexx found a package from Tolwyn in the pilot’s seat – an outfit of fine Alderaanian make, and a very finely crafted Shimmersilk cloak with a few extra hidden pockets. Jinx had a package delivered complements of Alwyn containing an old and obviously worn set of ARC trooper armor.

They departed Naboo with their crew consisting of Droids, Athen manning the cannons, Morag monitoring comms, and Jasmine in the Co-Pilot seat. And, without their knowledge, a young smuggler hidden in the cargo hold!

As they leapt into hyperspace, Hexx called everyone to the crew lounge to discuss their options and what routes to take, young Trebor snuck out of the cargo hold and proceeded to explore the ship, helping himself to their stored food, hidden booze, and fairly well stocked armory while the rest of the crew debated their course of action. Bando stormed out of the crew lounge to go back to his droids as the rest of the ‘organics’ decided on their route, narrowly missing Trebor as he went back to his droid tinkering.

Trebor made his way to the bridge, where he was confronted by Seely and Jinx. Trebor used quick smuggler thinking to separate himself and Jinx from Seely by sending down the turbolift, while expertly avoiding Jinx’s attempts to strike him.

Trebor retreated from the situation to the armory to arm himself and barricaded the room while Jinx and Seely pursued him. After resisting Seely’s attempts to use the Force on him, he rendered the Jedi unconscious but was pinned down by Jinx. Hexx eventually arrived and defused the situation, putting Trebor to work on the ship as unpaid crew until they dropped him off.

The rest of the trip was rather long and uneventful. Avoiding combat zones, along with some poor astrogation plotting, turned a month long trip into a 3 month long trip. During this time, the crew slipped into patterns. Jasmine continually harassed Jinx, Athen proceeded to start heavily drinking, and Morag grew more attached to her tech than her fellow crew members. The protagonists suffered bouts of boredom and infighting, but avoided serious harm.

Upon arriving at Ord Mantell to refuel, they were struck by a strange and unnerving site: 2 fleets – 1 Imperial, 1 Rebellion – in orbit around Ord Mantell but not directly fighting. With their fuel supplies low but tensions high, they slowly approached Ord Mantell.

Chapter 25: Just Fly Casual

Upon arriving at Ord Mantell and slowly approaching the planet, the protagonists noticed that traffic was coming and going at a regular pace through the normal space lanes and that the 2 fleets were not impeding traffic. They managed to procure a docking bay at a reasonable rate, and landed in the main city on Ord Mantell – Worlport.

Upon landing, the crew separated to get their own individual tasks done, with Seely, Jasmine and Athen staying with the ship. Jinx left to go find more detailed information, hopefully unaltered, regarding the Clone Wars. Hexx left to procure fuel for the ship, while Bando and Trebor left to purchase goods.

They were met with limited success: Jinx was able to find only the most fleeting information on the Clone Wars and Jedi Purge but ran across some strange merchants, Hexx found fuel but paid a hefty premium for morning delivery from a crusty old merchant, Trebor managed to acquire more armament at a marked up price but average quality, and Bando found a few manuals on cybernetically enhancing himself on his road to overcoming his mortality.

Upon arriving back at the ship, Bando and Trebor noticed something very odd and concerning: an Imperial officer and 2 stormtroopers were waiting patiently at the docking bay. Approaching them, the Captain politely inquired on the whereabouts or comm frequency of 2 individuals: Jorin Hest and Wyndham Blackwood. After consulting with Jinx, Bando sold the Imperials his comm frequency after negotiating a higher rate and the Imperials left to find Jinx.

Dropping his comm into a refresher, Jinx headed back to the ship post haste. Trebor trailed the Imperials throughout Worlport, eventually seeing them depart in a Lambda-class shuttle. Bando struck up conversations with Jasmine while awaiting the rest of the crew to arrive, and Hexx left for the ship…but not before noticing the tell-tale tags of the Black Sun criminal organization.

Upon arriving at the ship, they briefed each other on their respective news with Hexx breaking the news of the fuel arriving in the morning. While they debated activities, Morag notified them that they were being commed by the Imperial flagship inquiring to speak with Jorin. Taking the call, the captain informed Jinx that they would like to set up a meeting to discuss the events on Naboo and other activities. To allay their suspicious questioning, the Imperial Captain informed them that if violence was the intent, they could destroy them from orbit. Jinx agreed to the meet in 3 hours.

Trebor and Jinx left for the meeting – changing it 30 minutes prior – with Hexx and Bando arriving earlier to stake it out. They noticed a large amount of traffic into and out of the conference room, but they proceeded with the meet anyways. Upon arriving, Trebor and Jinx were ushered into the conference room, where they saw a very perplexing site.

Expecting an ambush, they were instead ushered into a conference room turned into a dining hall, with a Rebel contingent at one table, an Imperial contingent at another, droids brining food and drink, and a formal table set for them with the captains of each fleet sitting there. They were invited to have a drink and some food, while the captains explained that the news from the South was concerning both the Rebels operating in the region and the Imperials fortifying the regions. Both captains agreed to meet at a more neutral site to discuss information regarding the event – off the record, of course – and wanted the protagonists first hand perspective.

Noticing the time spent in the room and the absence of violence – with comms being down – Bando and Hexx made their way into the room as well. The protagonists then proceeded to share information with both forces in exchange for safe passage and some ship upgrades.

After business was concluded, they summoned the droids for dessert and drinks and proceeded to begin wrapping up the impromptu conference.

Chapter 26: Unwanted Guests

The protagonists began to conclude their negotiations with Captains Syrus and Sundar, when Jinx and Bando noticed a commotion outside the doors to get into the conference room…followed by louder commotions in the side rooms.

Preparing for assailants, they were caught off guard by a host of unarmed yet savage assailants – Human, Zabrak, and Wookie – equipped with cybernetic enhancements similar to those on Yag’Dhul station. The cyborgs tore into the delegations, slaughtering the New Republic delegates and one of the guards in a frenzied first assault. The Imperial delegation was also hit, with both delegates dying quickly to a frenzied Wookie assault, but the stormtroopers were able to fend off the assailants.

The protagonists, unarmored and relatively lightly armed, fell back in a fighting withdrawal but were cornered. Captain Syrus threw a shaped charge at the back wall, opening an exit as he instructed the droids to obstruct the cyborgs and buy them some time. The protagonists and remaining Rebel and Imperial soldiers escaped the room, with Syrus detonating a mini-thermal bomb, taking out the immediate threats.

After a brief altercation between Jinx and Syrus and with their comms shorted out, the group made their way through the Casino district of Worlport. They observed a rampage of cyborgs tearing through the streets, targeting power grids, communication grids, and areas of high civilian casualties. With most speeders gone, disabled, or destroyed, the party separated into 2 groups: Trebor, Jinx, and Hexx left to go to a residential garage to try and locate a speeder, while Bando, Sundar, Syrus, and the Stormtroopers went to a smashed up holocomm terminal station to try and cobble together a means of contacting the fleet.

Bando and company, after some minor information trading and some repair work, managed to repair a holocomm terminal. Captain Sundar contacted his fleet, and gained a Republic Status update: with the explosion detected and comms down, the fleet followed protocols from their admirality and engaged the Imperial fleet; however, a 3rd fleet dropped from hyperspace and engaged both Imperial and Republic fleets with extreme prejudice, causing the Republic fleet to scatter into hyperspace and regroup at a classified location. Captain Syrus then contacted his fleet, and received dire news: the Imperial fleet was ambushed by the Republic fleet and later the pirate fleet and lost one of the Imperial Star Destroyers – the Captain’s flag ship “Bastion” – and were retreating to the Pentastar Alignment world of Muunilist. Bando was then contacted by Morag, who informed him that they were on their way to evac them after making a stopover. Bando gave them the location of the residential building, and they proceeded to go to where they thought the rest of the group would be located to await pickup. He was also told that Athen detached the Skipray and flew off to rescue pilots stranded during the battle and was unable to be contacted.

Jinx, Hexx, and Trebor were investigating the residential building, finding the garage on the 30th of 35 floors. Entering the darkened garage, they noticed movement in the distance. Taking defensive positions, they braced for a cyborg rush. After a moment, multitudes of hands started grabbing them. Jinx fired a shot in the air to get a glimpse of the assailants, while Hexx fired 2 shots, one towards the ceiling and one the floor. In the brief light, they got a glimpse of their assailants: a Twi’lek male and female and 5 small children, one of which was struck by Hexx’s errant bolt. Jinx immediately attempted to field treat the child’s wounds, while Trebor opened the door for more light and Hexx tried to explain the situation to the frantic family.

Bando and his cohort arrived at the residential building, and saw that power was out and it was a 35 story climb. Despairing at how long that would take, Bando was surprised when the stormtroopers grabbed everyone and proceeded to rocketpack up the stairwell, taking them to the top in a manner of mere moments. They proceeded to take positions on the roof and await evac. Meanwhile, being shocked at the sudden burst of projectiles going up the corridor, Hexx and his cohort barricaded the door and proceeded to hot wire blaster packs to a speeder, sending it through the covering door and down to the ground below.

Bando and his group, noticing the sound, investigated the situation, and discovered the other group was a few stories below them. Hexx noticed the others on the roof, but was interrupted by Trebor and Jinx noticing a swarm of cyborgs rushing the building.

Shepherding the Twi’leks to the roof, the combined groups barricaded the stairwell and booby-trapped it, preparing for the cyborg assault while awaiting their ship. After a few tense moments, the cyborgs arrived. They tore through the durasteel door, but were kept pinned down by blaster fire initially. A Wookie cyborg eventually pushed the door open, tripped Syrus’s last remaining bomb, blowing open the stairwell. Hexx then sent a rocketpack as a makeshift bomb into the corridor, taking out more of the cyborgs.

The party eventually made a tactical withdrawal to the other side of the roof. Bando mentioned the Twi’leks being cannon fodder for the cyborgs, drawing glares from Jinx and Syrus and a surprising acceptance from Sundar. The cyborgs charged the group, bounding across the rooftop, when the protagonists spotted their ship coming in. They redoubled their efforts, taking out 2 of the 5 advancing cyborgs, but it looked like the cyborgs would close the gap before the ship could arrive. Hexx also noticed the missing blastboat, and in it’s place a battered red salon pod.

The male Twi’lek surprised everyone by charging the cyborgs, wildly shooting and flailing about. The stormtroopers managed to drop another cyborg and damage a 4th before the cyborgs converged on the Twi’lek, dragging him down and attempting to rend him. The Twi’lek managed to land a lucky blow, disabling the 4th cyborg. The ship then arrived, using it’s turbolaser to blast away at the cyborgs and provide covering fire.

The protagonists quickly noticed an unfortunate event: the turbolasers blasted a hole in the roof, causing the male Twi’lek and the cyborg to begin sliding down into the smoking lower levels. Hexx reluctantly boarded the ship and made his way to the pilot station. Bando, after hesistating and looking at the cyborg sliding down, boarded the ship. Trebor leapt in and grabbed the unconscious Twi’Lek but was unable to completely slow the slide. Jinx then grabbed onto Trebor, but was unable to completely halt their slide.

Jinx then heard Syrus’s yelling voice, both apologizing and encouraging him to stay strong…and then felt the searing pain as a grapple line tore into his leg, spraying blood everyone, and cinched into his leg. Fighting to stay conscious, he gritted through the pain as Syrus and his stormtroopers pulled the 3 of them out of the descending duracrete and to the ship.

Boarding the ship, Jinx was immediately taken to the first aid droid, while Trebor and Hexx moved to the bridge. Hexx mentioned the missing skipray to Jasmine, who informed him of Athen’s actions. Trebor noticed the old merchant they purchased fuel from on the bridge, who shrugged off his initial inquiries. Hexx piloted the ship out of atmosphere and away from the pirate fleet while Jasmine entered hyperspace coordinates and the ship jumped to lightspeed.

Taking stock of the situation, the protagonists conferred and realized their somewhat uncertain situation: a Rebel captain and a crew of Imperials were on the ship, along with a Twi’lek family and now an aged surly merchant, their fuel reserves were not topped off before they left, and the cyborg threat appeared to be resurfacing in an unknown way for unknown reasons from an unknown fleet. Hexx did discover a bit of good news, with the old man loading the salon pod with fuel cannisters to bring the ship up to about 75% capacity

The ship continued on in hyperspace towards the planet Vortex, with the crew battered and bloodied but still intact.

Chapter 27: A Sullen Journey

As Jinx was recovering with in a makeshift medbay, the crew tried to recover some semblance of normalcy.

Bando attempted to sell information on Zsinj and Naboo to both parties, but could not close the deal. Hexx meanwhile paced the ship, avoiding both Imperials and Rebels.

Upon arriving at Vortex, the Rebel requested the ship stay in orbit for a few days for his troops to pick him up, whilst the Imperials wanted to head to Bilbringi immediately.

With Jinx needing advanced care, the crew elected to drop off Captain Sun’dar and Trebor on Vortex and head to Bilbringi. Captain Sun’dar holo’d his troops and after a 20 minute call arranged the transports and disembarked the ship. Hexx spied on the call, and noticed the data stream was rather large and purposefully scrambled.

On the way to Bilbringi, Morag noticed that the Rebel Captain sliced their records, sending the Rebels a large portion of the data the crew had gathered, along with leaving a large file regarding the Cyborg Incursions on the system, putting the crew on edge.

Hexx, being in a foul mood , visited Jinx..and promptly shot him with a stun bolt, rendering him unconscious. Laughing at the result, Hexx turned the cover to see one of Syrus’ stormtroopers rounding the corner…and being hit with the carbine stock and falling to the ground.

Jinx and Hexx woke up in the medbay, with Hexx being chained to the wall. Jasmine checked in on Jinx, and upon noticing Hexx, shut and locked the medbay.

Utilizing a lucky astrogation discovery by Jasmine, the ship arrived at Bilbringi 3 days early. Captain Syrus met a stormtrooper detachment at the airlock, arranging medical care for Jinx and limited visitation on the space station they were docked.

Hexx immediately confronted Bando on selling secrets on the sly. After a heated conversation, Bando left to assist Morag with decrypting the Rebel file while Jasmine, Rast and Hexx left to explore the station.

Hexx looked into the hiding Twi-’lek family, discovering they were on the run slaves owned by a member of the Hutt Cartel. His shore leave was quickly cancelled by a frantic call from Bando about ship issues.

Arriving back at the ship, Hexx discovered the ship was depowered completely. Bando relayed to Hexx that after the file was sliced, it was a Rebel slicing bomb – it erased all programs on the ship, leaving them stranded. All three of them then decided since Jinx was obviously not going to make it, that they should help themselves to his Wyvern’s Reserve.

Recovering in the bacta, Jinx was flitting in and out of consciousness for a few days. During his brief periods of lucidity, he noticed that the only visitor that arrived was Captain Syrus and his stormtroopers…and that Syrus frequently came in after the medtechs left and spent time at the computers. After recovering rather quickly – and determining the bacta was above commercial grade – Jinx spoke with Syrus, and discovered some interesting information.

In watching Syrus and the medtech, Jinx noticed that Syrus would frequently state a course of action for the medtech to take, and if questioned would repeat his statement, with the medtech then responded with the same statement prior to doing the action. Jinx did not have time to think too deeply on that, as Syrus explained to him that while he could get the coordinates to Ilum, it would come at the cost of Captain Syrus being stationed at said station – being a backwater station, he would be politically sidelined and his career ruined by the loss of his flagship Star Destroyer. In order to get the crew there, he would need to claim the consular class ship as for his Captaincy – as a registered former Republic ship, it could be conscripted back into the Imperial Navy in states of war. Syrus also explained that time was limited as their identities were being falsified currently but they had limited time before they were eventually discovered if they remained.

Returning to the ship, Jinx came upon the drunk and despondent crew. In a rather drunken exchange, he was brought up to speed on the situation. Jinx then informed them that they were being chartered to take Captain Syrus to Ansion and then to Ilum, which made Hexx exceptionally unhappy. With the situation being fluid and not in their favor, Jasmine was recalled back to the ship to help determine how to get a ship spaceworthy in 3 days without any functional programming.

Jasmine left to arrange a few holo calls, and came back to state that they would be contacted in an hour by someone she was put in touch with that may be able to assist. The crew then left to start bringing the ships systems on line, starting with the power generator and comm stations. They were holo called an hour later. Gathering around the library’s holoreceiver, the crew met Jasmine’s contact: Alwyn Sirana.

Alwyn came on the line, and after some pleasantries with Jinx and some unpleasantries with Hexx, cut straight to the point: Tolwyn disappeared, and he needed them to bring Tolwyn to Alwyn’s location. Discovering they did not have Tolwyn’s location – he was last seen disappearing on an unknown Corellian freighter with a Twi’Lek and 2 Humans from Keren 2 weeks previous – they bargained with Alwyn for additional favors. Alwyn agreed to provide assistance in exchange for the ship to arrive at the Reservoir in 6 months to be put at his disposal for a favor, with the stipulation that failing to arrive would see their galactic profile and bounty raised considerably.

With the agreement in place, the crew repaired their communication relays and began receiving an encoded data stream, loading up factory default settings for the ship. As the code arrived, Bando and Morag began bringing systems online. Captain Syrus began having large cargo containers brought on board, completely filling the cargo hold of the ship, and the ship was refueled and prepared for departure.

As they left for Ansion without Rast, Hexx had a stern conversation with Syrus, demanding that the stormtroopers not interfere with crew matters. Captain Syrus refused to back down, stating that while Hexx was the pilot, Syrus was the ranking Captain. While he would not interfere in the crew’s internal matters, he or the stormtroopers would step in if the mission was being compromised.

After arriving at Ansion and refueling, the crew settled in for a month long trek to Ilum. Furious at being drafted back into the Imperial service, Hexx began to isolate himself from the rest of the passengers. After the Twi’leks were dropped off at Glee Anselm, he began retrofitting the salon pod and restoring it, only having meaningful conversations with Jasmine regarding her rank and service branch. Bando was also dismayed at the state of events, retreating to the droid hold and modifying it for his little workspace. Jinx, not being fully recovered spent most of his time in the library, trying to research the Clone Wars and anything regarding Ilum. Captain Syrus and the everpresent stormtroopers kept to themselves, with the Captain spending large quantities of time in the library.

The ship eventually arrived at Ilum, much to the joy and dismay of the crew. The planet’s biosphere gave the impression of a colder, less welcoming Hoth, they had 5 months to make a 8 month journey back to the Silken Asteroids, and as they made their way to the planet, their prospects of a profitable trip seemed to be less than steller

Chapter 28: The Long, Cold Backwater

The party landed on Ilum to a pristine yet empty base, devoid of any signs of life and on minimal power.

After exploring the base and discovering an unpowered communications room, the party split: Jinx, Ridu, Seely and a R2 droid were to stay in the computer room, while Hexx, Bando, and the stormtroopers investigated the power reactors and tried to reestablish power.

While Bando and Hexx were in the sublevels, Jinx got notified by Jasmine of a situation in the hangar bay. When Ridu and Jinx arrived, they saw that the cargo droids had unloaded the containers from the ship, but that the containment field for the bay was failing as it was being pelted by a high velocity objects of ice, crystal, and rock. Jasmine voiced concern that the ship would be damaged and trapped once the field failed completely, and Jinx gave the order for her and Morag to take the ship into orbit.

Jinx, Ridu and Seely then proceeded to transport the containers to the main base. They managed to get all the containers into the base, with Seely also acquiring a large rock of crystal. They then went back to the communications center, and once power was restored managed to copy all available logs on the system to the R2 unit after about an hour. While some data was corrupted, they did learn the fate of the base: left behind as a garrison after Order 66, the clones were cut off and forgotten. As the years went by, the garrison started dwindling from attrition and clone-induced aging. The last clone, the Captain CX-14789, left a final log detailing taking all remaining supplies and going into the wilderness to forage for food, or die like a Clone.

Meanwhile in the power sublevel, they discovered that the reactors were not online due to being frozen in ice and being rendered unoperational. Using blaster power cells to cut a way to the generator panel of the reactor with the least amount of ice, Bando was able to power up the computers. Once they copied the data, he sent Hexx up to get a power cable to help rig a connection to the remaining generators while he turned on life support.

Hexx, upon discovering the ship had left, was furious with Jinx for stranding them on Ilum. Jinx stood his ground and stood by his decision. Hexx departed below with the cable while Jinx and Ridu went about getting the base prepped for occupation.

Below, Bando discovered his suit was running out of air. While Ilum was breathable, the temperature was excessively cold. WIth options limited, one of the stormtroopers switched helmets with Bando. Bando discovered that the stormtroopers were not droids – one of them was even female – and that their helmets were of an advanced tech, with greatly improved readouts. Once life support was reestablished, he switched helmets back with the stormtrooper and awaited Hexx’s arrival.

Hexx arrived with the power cable, and Bando got to work fixing the generators. He determined that they were set up in a circuit, and that generator 5 was malfunctioning, causing 6 to also malfunction. He got the 4 ones remaining up and running, and restored emergency power, base defenses, and life support with the power that he had available.

As the party settled in, they prepared for their next course of action and pondered what was going on: some individuals did not seem to be affected by the cold, Seely was able to move large cargo holds with relative ease, and most of them – with the exception of Bando – had a feeling of marked unease.


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