Star Wars: Uncertain Times, Desperate Measures

Chapter 51: A Long, Slow Ride

With an impending station core breach in 20 minutes, the protagonists set towards ensuring their escape from the space station. With time being a factor, they elected to explore the hangar below rather than attempt to head back up the turbolift shaft. Comming Tiali in the escape pod, Bando gave her the order to abandon the freighter and make for the Marauder Corvette.

Hexx lowered himself down into the hangar below to investigate the ship that they saw deep in the hangar while the rest of the team prepared the wounded to be lowered. He quickly realized that their was a large amount of particles obscuring his helmet’s sensors, limiting his ability to explore the spacious hangar. After nearly getting lost in the hangar, he decided to focus his efforts on the ship. A brief examination showed that the ship was missing the boarding hatch – the ship was open to space – and the ship was not powered.

As Hexx commed the team to head down while he explored the ship, 5 cadets lowered themselves to the hangar. 4 were able to make the descent flawlessly, but one lost control and fell part of the way, hitting – and slightly damaging – the ship on his way down and fracturing his leg. The 4 cadets were then dispatched to secure and explore the hangar.

Meanwhile, Jinx and Bando created a harness to lower the injured below. With B1-Ex and Cadet Pentag’s assistance, they lowered the 2 injured cadets and Jinx down to the hangar before heading down themselves. However, Bando was not as successful.

As Bando attempted to lower himself on the rope, he lost control of the rope almost immediately and fell over 50 feet. He roughly impacted the ship’s cockpit viewport, ruining the cockpits structural integrity and gravely wounding himself.

As time began to run out, Lt Casilda announced her discovery of an airlock in the hangar bay. Roughly opening it, they discovered an escape pod attached – that vented all atmosphere upon it’s opening. Loading everyone in the escape pod, they jettisoned from the space station and tried to put distance between themselves and the station.

As Cadet Pentag informed them that the other escape pod from the freighter just….vanished…Hexx had to pilot a very sluggish escape pod against an oncoming debris field. Although they were struck multiple times, the escape pod was able to make it to the rendezvous with the Marauder Corvette. Quickly tractored into the hangar bay, the corvette leapt to hyperspace as more debris was beginning to spread throughout the area.

As they were in hyperspace from the station to Kuat, the protagonists settled in wearily. Hexx spent his days despondent over the loss of his ship and the grave injuries the team suffered and the destruction of 1 skipray and the blind hyperspace jump of another, while Jinx bonded with the Marauder’s crew and got a tattoo to commemorate the battle with the survivors. Bando was placed in carbonite until they could get him to a medical facility, and 2 of the cadets succumbed to their injuries. The crew of the freighter’s escape pod was presumed KIA, and treated accordingly. After meeting with the Captain – who informed them that they would have to provide payment for the mission in another fashion, as they had to cannibalize the sublight engine for spare parts – the listened to the roll call for the fallen crew members and had a drink in their honor.

Upon arriving in Kuat, Harden Farr accompanied Bando’s carbonite-frozen body and the medics as they left for treatment, and Jinx and Hexx got small rooms afforded to them by Tamren. As they departed, Tamren informed them that they needed to get a ship soon, as they had to leave Kuat when her business was concluded.

As the days went on, Jinx healed and Hexx explored Kuat, having little luck or desire to find a new ship. They were eventually summoned by Harden to her quarters to pick up Bando. As they arrived, they were greeted by an not unexpected but still surprising sight: Bando as a Droid!

Harden explained that Bando’s physical body was too heavily damaged to fix, and she had a few of her contacts assist in turning Bando into a cyborg utilizing some alien expertise and an old Magnadroid they just happened to fortuitously had lying around. As Bando introduced himself to the team – in a protocol droid voice, to their amusement – Harden bid them farewell. She did drop mention that Bando owed a considerable debt to the Empyrean Way Trading Company for their services that he would need to repay, but she would be able to lend the protagonists further funds to purchase a ship if they so desired. After a vague statement of consideration from Hexx, they left Harden’s suite and explored the station.

With Bando adjusting to his new form’s limitations – finding his cognitive and fine manipulation skills diminished but with increased combat skills – they made a brunch meeting with Tamren the following morning. With Hexx recovering from an ill-advised request for Bando to do a one legged hop ending in a swift kick to his head, Jinx and Bando explored the station. They eventually tracked down B1-Ex and Cadet Pentag in an underground fight area, where Kuati nobles were wagering on death fights between creatures…including alien slaves. They did not stay long, leaving the fight after seeing a Trandoshan scalp a still-breathing Wookie and Jinx almost vomiting.

The next morning, Jinx and Hexx met with Tamren as Bando was instructed to wait outside with the rest of the droids. Tamren informed them that in no uncertain terms they needed to leave the station within the next 18 hours – if they were unable to find a ship, she would need to obtain one at her discretion that they would then owe the Pentastar Alignment for the cost of the ship. She did mention that if they were able to find a ship in the meanwhile, she could secure them a loan to cover it with various strings attached and disclosed up front. Jinx weighed her offer with that of Harden’s the previous night, informing Tamren of the competing offer and requesting a few hours to see what he could find before committing.

As Jinx and Bando left to find a new droid vocabulator, Hexx tracked down a Mon Cal black market contact for ships who could provide him some ships. As he provided Hexx with the ships and cost, Hexx paled at the cost – the cheapest ship that could hold more than 10 people and be relatively fast would cost a minimum of 3.5 million credits. After failing to get in touch with Commenor – and discovering the planet was blockaded by the Rebels – he informed Tamren that he would like to work with her on finding a ship and securing the loan. Upon hearing that he chose her offer over Harden, Tamren sent Hexx the details she had on a few ships.

Out of the 3 ships she provided, Hexx deliberated on which to pursue. He quickly eliminated one option – an aging Lucrehulk transport – as too slow, too crew intensive, and too costly, he asked Tamren for tours of the remaining 2 ships: an Arquiten-class cruiser for sale by a Kuati Noble, and a Crusader-class Corvette for sale by one of the auxiliary shipyards surrounding Kuat.

With the rest of the protagonists in tow, they explored the 2 ships, noticing the Arquiten’s similiarities with the Venator-class star destroyer and the Crusader’s more Mandalorian utilitarian approach. With the specs for both ship in hand and the rather high price tags – 8 million for the Crusader and 7.75 million for the Arquiten – they were left with an hour to decide by Tamren as they were 3 hours away from the departure deadline.

View
Chapter 50: A Way Down They Go

As the Citadel approached the Deep Core research facility, the protagonists began preparations. Hexx prepped the ship for launch, Bando spent time in the Kolto tank, and Jinx trained with the cadets. Shortly before the final approach, they were summoned to Captain Bellanor’s ready room for a mission debrief where they were given assignments. An unknown commander, wearing standard spacer garb, was given instructions for launching the boarding crews, while a representative from the Skipray Blastboat contingent was instructed to engage the base’s defenses and provide cover for the freighter and boarding pods. The Kismet’s crew was instructed to board the ship and acquire the data regarding high secret schematics in the station’s databanks.

As the corvette dropped out of hyperspace, the Kismet – with its’ unexpected contingents of fresh recruit soldiers and 2 stowaways from the Citadel – prepped for launch. As the ship approved, the skiprays launched first, with Hexx taking the Kismet out after them. As they flew in formation, the Citadel ejected a large amount of space debris to confuse sensor readings. As they noticed the debris, Tiali picked up starfighters – TIEs of some sort of configuration – launching from the station with a seemingly endless parade. They instructed B1 to fire, and he sent a turbolaser shot at the space station, causing Hexx to instruct him to switch to the laser cannons for the starfighters.

As the group approached, the TIE fighters opened fire in groups of 7. The Kismet weathered the first wave relatively unharmed, but caused Bando to join B1, Tiali, and Hexx in the cockpit to bring the shields back online. The TIEs made another pass that they were able to evade major damage, and the crew noticed the corvette launching it’s boarding pods and the Skiprays laying down covering fire. Then, their luck took a turn for the worse.

On the next pass, the TIE fighters hit the Kismet with a barrage of fire. After Hexx was able to evade shots from the first 5, the 6th TIE fighter managed to blow out the shields and cause light damage to the hull…and the 7th TIE fighter’s shots punched straight through, perforating the ship and damaging the reactor core. As the ship was suffering catastrophic pressure loss, the cockpit, escape pods, and medical bay doors closed and sealed. Jinx, being in the cargo hold with the recruits, scrambled to contain the damage while the crew in the cockpit realized they were stuck – Tiali was not in a set of Clone Trooper armor and could not survive the vacuum if they opened the hatch.

Jinx quickly discovered his only option was to eject the reactor core before systems went critical. The resulting explosion, while taking out quite a few TIE fighters, also sent the Kismet off course and only on dwindling emergency power. Hexx managed to use the thrusters to push the ship at a shuttle hangar bay on the station, but B1 used the vast majority of remaining power to take a shot at the force field covering the bay. He managed to shut it down, and Hexx was all remaining power to minimize the crash landing.

After they landed, the crew scrambled to recover from the situation. Jinx was faced with a dilemma: They had a one shot portable force field that they could rig up to allow for either the cockpit to be opened and Tiali to don a suit, or the medical bay to be opened and Ciri could suit up. Jinx quickly prioritized the medic over the comms officer, and used the item to assist Ciri over Hexx’s vocal objection to the strategy. The recruits and Jinx then fanned out to secure the hangar and try to find life support – the entire station seemed to not have any life support and barely any gravity, but still seemed to have power. Meanwhile, Bando and Hexx tried to brainstorm ways to get Tiali to safety with a dwindling oxygen supply and dropping temperatures.

After moments of frustration, Hexx grew despondent and more angry at Jinx while Bando wracked his brain for solutions. Determining – with Ciri’s help on the comms – that she could survive vacuum exposure for longer than she could lack of oxygen, he devised a plan to open the door and quickly put an armor helmet on her to allow for her to breathe, buying time for him to get her to the airlock in the diner/escape pod and have the 2 members of the Citadel’s crew that where holed up in there bring her into the escape pod. The plan went fairly well – B1 suffered some servo damage assisting with forcing open the unpowered doors – and Tiali managed to get into the escape pod and recover from the exposure. Bando and Hexx then left to join with Jinx and the privates.

While Bando and Hexx were taking care of Tiali, Jinx and the Pentastar soldiers engaged a seemingly endless horde of droids that bore a stark resemblance to bulky stormtroopers. They minimized casualties, but took some damage from the self-destructing droids causing one private to get taken back to the ship for medical assistance. In exploring the level, they discovered more of the droids plugged in to a charge socket…that activated once they detected life signs. After eliminating the droids, they elected to avoid the majority of the other rooms. Bando did discover an odd console with empty racks that he was unable to access, and Hexx discovered 2 observation lounges to his confusion.

Everyone met back up at the turbolift shaft…with no turbolift. Camilla took 3 other soldiers with her and attempted to head up the turbolift shaft. They quickly lost traction and tumbled down the shaft, avoiding major injury but unable to head up to the top level. Hexx and B1 decided to go up to explore, but also ran into complications. Hexx was unable to get traction and tumbled down the shaft, catching himself halfway down. He them attempted to use B1 to pull him up, but strained both servos on B1’s chassis, causing the droid to drop him the final length of the shaft. Private Cadav then attempted to head down to provide technically assistance at Hexx’s insistence, but lost his footing and fell, suffering major damage from the fall.

Jinx then managed to make his way up the shaft with a line secured by B1-Ex, with Bando’s line attached him to himself. When he managed to reach the top of the shaft, he noticed a countdown begin. He strained mightily to reach the console to try to override it, but could not make headway with Bando’s weight on the line slowly him down. He reached the console as it reached 0, but did not notice any other explosions or other events. While distracted, the weight on the line from Bando started pulling him backwards, eventually pulling him down the shaft with Bando. Both Jinx and Bando suffered damage from the fall – Jinx suffering more than Bando – but joined back up with the group exploring the lower level. The sniper, Pentag, managed to scale up the rope to the top level, and explored it with B1-Ex.

Establishing a connection with Bando, B1 and Pentag discovered the computer core room…where they say the data being systematically erased. B1 and Pentag, were able to find one of the encrypted files and attempted to recover it. With their slicing skills insufficient, B1 elected to rip out the drive portions that contained the file.

Meanwhile, in the lower level, the group found a hangar bay locked down and some unpowered datacores. With the soldiers and Hexx’s assistance, they managed to unlock and start the opening of the hangar. Bando and Jinx powered up and researched the data, with Bando able to pull 5 files from the system before the rigged power conversion fried the cores. As they removed the cover, they did see the shape of a transport lower below…with more distance below that they could not scan.

They were then joined by B1 and Pentag, who informed them that it looks like the station’s cooling system shut down for some reason…and based on B1’s calculations, they have 20 minutes before the core causes catastrophic damage.

View
Chapter 49: A Bumpy Ride

Boarding the Marauder Corvette, later discovered to be called “Citadel”, the protagonists were struck by the state of disrepair of the ship. The hull looked battered and combat scarred, the crew was feverishly working to repair multiple power conduits and sub systems, and the crew seemed to be far less disciplined than the Imperial crews they were expecting to deal with on their voyage.

Settling in rather roughly, the protagonists met the captain of the ship – Zannah Bellanor – who gruffly informed them that they would be departing as soon as the rest of the entourage hitching a ride docked on their ship. Explaining that they were dropping them off at Kuat, the captain highlighted the route they were taking and the rules of the ship before unceremoniously dismissing them to carry about whatever it is they wanted to do. Bando investigated the hangar, learning that they were unable to get solid sensor readings from the hangar, leading him to postulate that they were set up in a hangar with smuggler compartment setups.

The rest of the diplomatic attaches arrived shortly after, along with a “guard” of 10 cadets. The ship quickly went into hyperspace, and their journey began.

The leader of the diplomatic group introduced herself as Lt. Tamren Feign, and gave out introductions to the rest of the team. Bando deciphered that 3 of the 5 individuals were non-government in allegiance, all belonging to the trading company Empyrean Way based off Bastion. After getting Tamren’s take on the negotiations and how it was to be set up, the crew headed back to their ship to rest; however, since the hangar had periodic and random bouts of losing artificial gravity, they did not sleep restfully.

Arriving at their first stop – a space station shadowport in the Cademimu sector known as the Bazarre – the protagonists explored the space station. Bando and Hexx attempted to find a faster set of sublight engines, but had little luck. They lost one hour attempting to navigate the more complicated and arcane social nuances of the Cademimu people, and when they did find the buyer they were too late. The merchant had just sold his last set of engines – a black market military grade thruster package – about 30 minutes before, and refused to give the buyer’s name out of professional pride. Jinx had better luck in his more selfish pursuits, finding and purchasing a set of customized blaster pistols and an ammo belt and some other sundry goods. They met up again with Captain Bellanor and her crew, and boarded the ship to leave the station, after stopping at a hangar and picking up the purchases Captain Bellanor made while on station.

After their shopping excursion was complete, the ship went to lightspeed again – Hexx once again noted the exceptionally smooth transition to hyperspace the ship was making in spite of the ship’s state of disrepair – and they settled in for a trip to Coruscant to drop off one of the attache’s at Coruscant. After a brief few hours of panic where they thought B1-EX wandered off, they found him in the freighter’s makeshift target range with a few of the Citadel’s crew, shooting targets and swapping stories.

The protagonists split up during the short journey to Coruscant – far shorter than Bando thought normal – and explored the ship at their own leisure. Hexx met with one of the attaches in the Citadel’s starboard hangar bay upon a request, and spent the better part of the day examining the purchases – 3 skipray blastboats – and conversing and sharing stories with the pilots. He quickly determined that they did not have Imperial military training, and their behaviors and actions seemed more in line with typical Rebel or Pirate experience. Jinx met up with Lt. (J.G.) Camilla Casilda and the band of cadets from Dantooine in a larger cargo bay that they converted to a training site. Jinx took command of the cadets and attempted to drill them in Imperial Stormtrooper tactics, picking up a few of their eccentric behaviors in return. Bando tried to examine the odd configuration of the engine and the ship’s systems, but was rudely rebuffed by the Mon Calamari Chief Engineer before being summoned by Captain Bellanor. After a now-customary exchange of insults and rude pleasantries, Captain Bellanor offered Bando a deal: if his crew and ship would assist the Citadel in an off-books mission at a location in the Deep Core, she would provide to him arms, armor, and a set of sublight engines for his ship. Bando admired her tactics – assuming the armor and arms were confiscated from his ship at Dantooine, and she was the mysterious buyer of the last set of sublight engines – and agreed to undertake the mission as long as it did not affect their time table.

That evening, as Bando attempted to explain to Hexx and Jinx their side mission, he ran into some issues. After explaining the mission to Hexx, they both attempted to track down Jinx with little success as he was being profoundly unhelpful. They eventually found the cargo hold/training facility, and Hexx barged in after Bando sliced the door. Hexx was promptly knocked unconscious by a stun field emitted by the rigged door, much to Jinx’s amusement. Bando then walked in over Hexx’s twitching and unconscious body to address Jinx and the cadets. Before he could confront Jinx, he was baited into an altercation by one of the cadets. Responding in a typical Cademimu fashion, Bando attempted to punch the cadet, but failed spectacularily as the cadet managed to render him unconscious via a broken jaw before he could land his punch. Taking Bando to the ship’s kolto tank and discussing with Hexx, Jinx was informed of the side mission and their needed preparations for after arriving at Coruscant the next evening.

The following day was spent by Hexx going over the ship and preparing it for combat, Bando in a kolto tank recovering from his injury, and Jinx spending more time with the cadets. He was pleasantly surprised to see them change up the cargo hold to an obstacle/endurance course, and spent most of the day with the cadets as they took turns attempting to complete the course with little success.

As the ship arrived in Coruscant, another attache boarded a shuttle and left for Coruscant. With no one else disembarking to visit Coruscant, the ship leapt back into hyperspace towards a secret Imperial research station in the Deep Core.

View
Chapter 48: Friends in Strange Places

Arriving at the planet known as Bastion, the protagonists were treated cordially by Captain Rykan Kaine – with a few notable exceptions. Hexx was kept as a prisoner, due to both his actions as a stowaway and the less than steller recommendations given by Bando and Jinx, along with Ryo Rey who reacted quite poorly to being detained.

After a meeting with the Captain and his command crew – along with a person Bando and Jinx quickly determined was an ISB-type agent – Jinx and Bando made preparations to arrive planetside for questioning, while Hexx was left alone with the unknown agent.

The agent asked a few probing questions of Hexx regarding his rescue of Arix and company, with an especially keen interest on the Force Wielder’s actions. Prying the truth from Hexx, the agent left the room, giving the stormtroopers authorization to release his restraints and get him cleaned up.

Shortly after, the protagonists were led to a hanger and boarded a Lambda shuttle for the capital city of Bastion, with various protagonists noting the TIE patrols, Golan weapon platforms, and a Super Star Destroyer in orbit.

Arriving planetside, they were taken to a very nice hotel and given their own rooms – very nice, but still restricted as they could not leave the room. Perusing the local holos, they attempted to glean some information regarding how the planet operated before debrief. They managed to ascertain that the Pentastar Alignment was in an expansion phase and reportedly needed additional laborers and workers, that the treatment of aliens was more egalitarian than in the Empire proper, and that they aggressively defended their borders but where not in open hostilities. Jinx also managed to glean that while their slant on the galactic events was negative, they were not outright lying in their portrayal of events.

After receiving a request for a dinner meeting with a Ms Antilles, Hexx, Jinx, and Bando left with plenty of time to spare to make their travel accommodations. Realizing the rather ritzy level of accommodations, they quickly imbibed expensive liquor and make inordinate demands for rare items as they arrived at the Alderaanian Sunset lounge and restaurant.

Making their way to a secluded booth, they soon met with Mathis Antilles. She introduced herself as an Undermoff in service of Grand Moff Ardus Kaine, and engaged the protagonists in conversation. Frequently offering to answer any questions regarding the Pentastar Alignment, she informed the protagonists that Grand Moff Kaine organized the Pentastar Alignment a few months ago in response to the state of the Galaxy proper. According to her, he founded the Pentastar Alignment with 4 other signatories and created a government blending the ideals of the Empire with some of that of the original Confederate of Independent Systems’ Parliamentary structures. Mathis also stressed the more egalitarian treatment of aliens and nonaggression pacts with various other powers as hallmarks of the Grand Moff’s leadership.

After answering their questions, the Undermoff steered the conversation towards Naboo and it’s civil war. Probing the protagonists regarding the state of affairs, she gently steered the conversation to the expected results of the civil war – according to Pentastar High Command, Queen Seramie had a low chance of winning the war and a virtually nonexistance chance of maintaining neutrality beyond a month due to logistics and military might. To that end, she made an offer to the protagonists: assist her in negotiating with the people loyal to Queen Seramie to relocate to the Pentastar Alignment in exchange for citizenship for the citizens of Naboo and safe harbor from their enemies.

Giving them until next morning to decide, she departed the lounge for other business. Deciding to sample the life of the planet before making a decision, the protagonists left for the casino in town – the Lucky Star.

Upon arriving, they sampled the local sample of citizenry. After a wild night – in which Bando took an odd strain of Glitterdust and had a very strange reaction – the protagonists learned that the treatment of aliens was far better in the Pentastar Alignment than other systems, but that came at a cost of increased Nationalism – it was not species against species, but the Pentastar Alignment against the other galactic powers. They also determined that there was no Black Sun or Hutt Cartel presence on the planet, but rather a new underworld player that went by an old group’s name – the Exchange.

After the casino event, the protagonists ended up in a rather seedy part of town and met with an underworld contact known as Double A – Amara Alleira. With Bando in the transport, Jinx and Hexx met with a notably cyborged human female and had a discussion regarding their underworld inquiries and lay of the land. Leaving with a message from Amara to “tell Mathis I said hello…and that it is feasible”, the protagonists were dismissed and led back to their quarters on planet.

The next morning, the protagonists met with the Undermoff to discuss her proposal. Putting forth their conditions – citizenship in the Pentastar Alignment, avoidance of being drafted into their military, and preferential treatment for Queen Seramie’s people – the protagonists agreed to undertake the mission. Given 7 days to prepare, the Undermoff granted them wider travel leeway and lifted the harsher restrictions set in place.

The protagonists used the 7 days to get back into a groove – Jinx, Hexx, and Bando utilized the shipyard facilities in orbit to retrofit their freighter – overhauling the power core, installing the smuggler bins and hooking up the weapons to the power core. Bando also researched the Exchange, and learned from his inquires that it was rumored to be an off-books arm of the government rather than a true criminal underground.

With the ship repaired, the protagonists set off to reassemble their crew. Ciri and Tiali agreed to come back aboard without much effort, but the protagonists soon ran into complications. Hexx had to pay 15,000 credits to secure B1-Ex’s release – he apparently shot and injured a Pentastar Alignment officer and destroyed a large amount of property before being subdued, and was unable to be free on-planet. Hexx was also able to reacquire the R2 and R5 droid units purchased by Jinx, but the old T7 model was scrapped for parts by the droid technicians. Ryo also declined to come aboard – she managed to obtain employment at a high end restaraunt on Bastion and elected to stay there a while, while they were unable to locate Re’na until the very last day – they noticed her hanging around the host of the parties at the Lucky Star, Sygnus Bulva, and Bando mentioned that she was most likely integrating herself into the planet’s Underworld.

Purchasing a few last minute items, including a culinary droid and some new clothing, the protagonists left Bastion’s orbit and made for the rendevous with the Undermoff. They arrived to the site of a Marauder-class corvette in an out of the way section of space that tractored them into the docking bay and it made preparations to go to hyperspace.

View
Chapter 47: A Moment Too Late

As the Kismet traveled to Ord Mantell, Jinx and Bando recuperated in the Kolto tank from their wounds, and the cargo was sorted and indexed.

As Bando came out of the Kolto, he met with Re’na to discuss their mystery cargo. Re’na informed him that she managed to open the crates, and disclosed it was the spice known as Muon Gold. She further informed him that the spice looks to have been belonged to a Hutt Cartel, and that they would need to be careful in unloading it. She also gave informed Bando that she purchased the remaining amount of Kolto the traders had at Blackwater, and gave him 1,000 credits for her earning her berth for the time being.

Knowing they had illegal spice on board, but not wanting to alarm the more law-abiding crew, Bando made plans to unload the spice at a discounted rate on Ord Mantell to quickly turn a profit . As they arrived, Bando, Jinx, and Hexx went off to try to obtain the remaining stores. Struck at both the high prices and their frustrating lack of bargaining skills, they did not have much initial luck.

Hexx took Ryo’s list to the markets, and was struck at how expensive their dining experiences were going to cost. He discussed the situation with Ryo, and she grudgingly provided a less expensive list that he was able to procure after getting the funds from a tight-fisted Bando. Jinx had better luck with obtaining a hyperdrive, chipping in some funds from his personal account to purchase a used x1 Nubian hyperdrive rather than a standard TaggeCo x1 hyperdrive. Bando decided to stay at the ship and helped install some of the newer components in their 3 day window on Ord Mantell.

As Bando met with Re’na – who managed to unload their Spice shipment and gave him his cut – B1-EX took it upon himself to install the Separatist model Turbolaser much to Bando’s chagrin. As Jinx and Hexx returned, they set to work installing the rest of the ship components. With as much of the ship completed as possible after 3 days, they left for Dantooine.

They arrived at a familiar but sickening site – the Imperial garrison base and it’s surroundings were destroyed and wrecked. Investigating the garrison, they discovered that the base was rocked by both an Orbital bombardment and a land assault by what they deduced were AT-ATs based on firing patterns and track marks. They investigated all the buildings on the base, discovering that the base was using electrified Bacta to interrogate prisoners, but they were unable to discover who was being interrogated except that one of the prisoners wrote the refrain “One with the Force, and the Force is with me” repeatedly in their cell.

The investigation did yield 3 additional pieces of information – the artifact they were looking for was stolen by force from a buried vault less than 3 days ago, they were able to obtain a weapons locker with 50 thermal detonators, and they were able to rescue 9 cadets that were holed up in the ruined shield generator to protect themselves from ambient radiation from the bombardment.

As they were leaving Dantooine, they were beset by an Imperial Star Destroyer emerging in system. Evading and absorbing the damage from the TIE fighters, the Kismet made the decision to surrendering after a skipray blastboat arrived in the fight.

They were tractored into the hangar bay of the Star Destroyer, and were informed they would be taken to a planet known as Bastion.

View
Chapter 46: A Long and Winding Path

Departing from the Sovereign Dawn station in Naboo, the Kismet started it’s long journey to the other side of the galaxy in search of a Jedi artifact.

Bando and Jinx quickly put together a list of ship components needed to upgrade the ship – stronger shields and engines, weapons, military grade comms and sensors, and a faster hyperdrive.

Stopping by Bannister Station to attempt to acquire some supplies, they quickly realized that their needs exceeded most smaller suppliers for all but the most common items, such as fuel and food stores, and that they needed a more illicit marketplace. With their needs known, they plotted a course for the one location they knew dealt with such goods – the Manaan shadowport of Blackwater.

With a poorly optimized hyperspace routed plotted by Hexx, the Kismet made it’s way to Blackwater. Arriving in system and docking, Jinx immediately felt apprehensive returning to the shadowport and was perpetually distracted as Jinx, Bando, and Re’na departed for the markets.

Feeling like they were being followed, Jinx led Bando on a winding path through the markets as they somewhat ineptly asked around for suppliers. After purchasing some droids, Jinx’s paranoia proved correct, as their second stop – fuel – led to an ambush.

A pair of Duros bounty hunters ambushed Bando and Jinx. One Duros managed to critically wound Jinx before getting knifed by Bando, but the other Duros fled after dropping a fake frag grenade at Bando’s feet. Bando patched up Jinx, and Jinx resolved to go back to the ship and not leave it while they were on Manaan – it was cursed to him. Going solo, Bando left to continue purchasing needed supplies.

While heading to purchase medical supplies, Bando noticed the unwanted Twi’lek passenger Re’na mingle throughout the market place….robbing everyone blind as they paid little heed to an unassuming young Twi’lek girl. With a warming disposition towards her more morally pragmatic adventures, Bando purchased 5 barrels of Kolto and a kolto tank from the Selkath traders in the shadowport, and had it delivered with instructions for Ciri to begin installing it ASAP to treat Jinx. Leaving the vendor, he noticed Re’na also stopping in the vendor.

Waiting for Re’na to leave the vendor, he flagged her down and inquired as to what she was doing. Explaining that she was “earning her berth”, Re’na accompanied him on the rest of the shopping.

Their next stop was a sensor’s shop. After Bando was frustrated in his negotiations with the vendor – and unwilling to pay 75,000 for a military grade sensor suite – Re’na pointedly inquired as to how important a good reputation on the shadowport was to Bando. Explaining that he wanted to remain at least grudgingly welcome, Re’na suggested he distract the shopkeep while she looked for the sensor suite.

As Bando reengaged the shopkeep with stalled negotiations, he was shocked as Re’na made her way behind the shopkeep and proceeded to deliver a quick and fatal stab wound to the shopkeep. As she calmly went and marked the shop closed, Bando sliced into the databanks of the shop, and found the inventory list. Taking all the sensor suite packages he had available, Re’na and Bando quickly took anything else of value from the shop and left, with Re’na leaving behind a Black Sun badge on the dead shopkeep.

Re’na and Bando then proceeded to the engines and weapons vendor areas, making sure to be as stealthy as possible to avoid more ambushes. Realizing time was short, Bando and Re’na replicated their tactics in the engine area, acquiring more efficient sublight engines, and proceeded with less stealth towards the Black Sun operated weapons vendors, where things took a turn for the worse.

Initially, the weapons exchange went smooth, with Bando acquiring 2 pop up laser cannons for the Kismet. As he was looking at other purchases, Re’na rather pointedly insisted that they leave. As they did, Bando heard a massive explosion and the sounds of blaster fire coming from the weapons vendor – the Hutt Cartel launched an assault on the Black Sun in retaliation for their murdering Hutt-affiliated merchants.

As they left, Bando mentioned to Re’na that they did not manage to get all the weapons that they wanted. Seeing the chaos and confusion ensuing in the shadowport, Re’na suggested that perhaps another berthed cargo freighter may have a few items that fell off the cargo ramps and that they should perhaps investigate a few of them. Warming to her idea, they scouted out a lone freighter ripe for investigating.

With Re’na taking out the mechanic, Bando started looking over the ship’s weapons and engines to see if anything was salvagable. After discovering the ship had a old Separatist model turbolaser installed, he radioed Jinx to send the cargo hauler and B1-EX to the cargo bay to transport “purchased goods”. Jinx, not realizing the source of the goods, sent the droids and went back to installing the Kolto tank.

Back at the ship, Bando was having a tough time with the turbolaser until B1-EX arrived. With B1-EX’s help, they quickly dismantled the turbolaser and loaded it up on the hauler droid. Re’na also directed the hauler droid to remove 4 crates that she found in a smuggler’s hold and some additional components to help create said compartments.

Fending off an ambush on the way back to the ship – leaving Bando heavily wounded – they arrived back at the Kismet as the gang war worsened. With Bando going into the newly installed Kolto tank and their supplies loaded onto the ship, Hexx plotted a course for Ord Mantell and they left the Manaan shadowport behind, once again burning and in a state of chaos as they slipped out unnoticed.

View
Chapter 45: Becalmed Tidings

After enlisting in Queen Seramie’s newly reconstituted Naboo Royal Security Forces, the protagonists spent the next few days exploring the base and familiarizing themselves with both day to day operations and their new roles in a formal military.

Jinx quickly fell back into old stormtrooper routines – drills, regiments, and preparation – to the bemusement of his brother. Hexx responded with pragmatic resolve and conflicted feelings – on one hand, he disliked losing his sense of freedom, but considered Naboo his new home. While relishing the turn of events that put him in a somewhat new sense of command in regards to Jinx and Hexx, Bando was trying to adjust to being not only back in a war, but in the odd position of enlisting to fight rather than being drafted to fight.

The rest of the crews that the protagonists were friendly with were going through similar processes, with the added knowledge that they would most likely be somewhat reassigned in the next days to spread the experienced associates to the new ships. Eventually, they met up with the crew from Naboo huddled around Tolwyn as he regaled them with perhaps embellished tales of his pirating around Ord Mantell.

With the crew disbursing, Tolwyn informed them that he was going by the alias “Jameson” while assisting the Queen in retaking Naboo, along with Captain Aban going by “Belle”. With the comm blackout instituted by their respective roles in Corellia and Brentaal, their lieutenants were maintaining the ruse that Aban and Tolwyn never left in order to lessen any suspicious from Alwyn. As he excused himself to prepare for tomorrow’s ship assignment meeting, the rest of the protagonists spent a relatively calm evening meditating, resting, and mentally preparing.

As they were considered officers, they were summoned to an early staff meeting by Moff Panaka, who assigned the various officer cadres to either himself, “Jameson”, or “Belle”, with the protagonists getting assigned to “Jameson”. As they reported for duty, they were led on a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the base, eventually finding Tolwyn in a reclusive hangar bay, where he informed the crew that they would be assigned to the Kismet, a newly purchased Ghrtoc 720 freighter with no known associations to any of their previous groups, as one of his covert operations units. He then tasked them with assembling their crew, and encouraged them to be swift as the other captains – Jasmine Kole, Sylvaa, Aban, Panaka, himself, and even Arix – would all be attempting to stack their decks.

Mingling with the crowd, the protagonists got the lay of the land with who was available to recruit and who their competition was for each.

Although they attempted to recruit Anolo Jade as a medic, Anolo was persuaded by the Queen herself to remain on Sovereign Dawn as her chief medical officer. They did manage to successfully recruit Ciri Qualto from the Wandering Hunter, as she and a few others apparently had a falling out with Sylvaa and Lt Ryscandor that the other captains were unaware of.

The protagonists then tried to recruit Morag, finding themselves in stiff competition with Jasmine and Tolwyn. After a hard pressed recruitment drive for Morag, the protagonists lost a bitter war of influence with Tolwyn on recruiting Morag, with Tolwyn’s pitch regarding infiltration and espionage on Naboo apparently winning over Morag. With Morag being unavailable, they looked into both the comm officers from the Wandering Hunter – Ryscandor and Corr – eventually deciding on recruiting Tiali Corr. With Sylvaa focusing on retaining Lt Ryscandor, they were surprising uncontested in successfully recruiting Tiali Corr.

The protagonists tried to recruit a few others, but had little initial success. Nahdea was persuaded to join with Ridu and Jyren on the Radiant VII to share knowledge of the Force, and Bando’s attempt to recruit the Jedi youngling with a talent for droids and machines was thwarted by both Ridu and Jinx. Bando then attempted to recruit a custom built B2 Battledroid named “Nothing” from the Jedi, but was unable to convince the youngling – nor reprogram the droid – to have the B2 join the crew. Hexx was more successful in his target – the B1 battledroid they found while rescuing Anolo, Arix, and the others – as nobody paid the droid any mind as a viable crew member due to his eccentricities and general poor reputation of the model. Hexx also recruited Re’na to join the crew over Bando and Jinx’s objections.

With the crew assembled, they began loading up the Kismet with supplies and preparing for their first mission – at the behest of the Jedi, they were to go to Dantooinne to recover a modified Jedi holocron

View
Chapter 44: Opportunity Knocks

As Jinx, Hexx, and Bando met up with Nahdea and the Jedi artifacts, they discovered that the Queen of Naboo sent them to a hangar bay with a YT-2000 freighter. Loading up the freighter, they left to meet up with the Queen of Naboo.

Arriving at Brentaal, they made their way to Queen’s makeshift infirmary/command center. With other 200 wounded – mostly children – Bando and Jinx checked in and got bandaged up.

While they were healing, Hexx ran into a semi-familiar sight: the young smuggler Trebor, resting in the infirmary. Apparently, he escaped from the bombing group and was found ejected and next to a bombed out hospital by the Naboo forces.

Leaving Brentaal and heading to the Naboo system, the Naboo delegation and the protagonists traveled to an off-the-books space station in the Naboo system. Meeting up with Panaka and the Queen, the protagonists elected to join up with Moff Panaka and Queen Seramie to liberate Naboo and end the civil war.

During their strategy session – and after receiving their ranks in Naboo’s RSF militia – they met with the brain trust of the Queen’s forces – Captain Ishale Aban and Toolbox. WIth ranks of Brigadier General for both of them, and the fleet containing a few capital ships, they began to plot the Queen’s return.

View
Chapter 43: Unpleasant Rain

On Coruscant, Bando, Jinx and Nahdea went to ground and attempted to gain ground on Kantor’s assault team before arrival. Bando cut a deal with Jasmine and obtained transport on a Y Wing to Coruscant to meet up with Jinx and Bando after hearing from Jasmine on the Queen’s location.

As leads regarding Panaka and the Queen were in motion, Bando and Nahdea infiltrated a subsector of Coruscant that was affiliated with the old Jedi Temple to raid it for items – Bando to sell on the black market, Nahdea for information on Jedi lore, and Jinx to do a favor for Ridu.

Using subterfuge and artfully applied force, Bando and Nahdea left with a small stash of holocrons and some sort of ancient device. Heading back to their safehouse, they stashed their loot from the Jedi temple and began performing recon on the 10 locations they were able to identify – all hospitals affiliated with Naboo.

As Hexx arrived on Coruscant and met up with Bando and Jinx at the hospital, he was immediately stunned by both of them. Jinx and Bando took him into the hospital for “assistance”, and attempted to locate the Queen.

After Hexx was admitted under the name of Tolwyn Kincaid, he woke up in an interrogation room. As he saw in the darkened room the bright light and whirling sounds reminiscent of an Interrogator Droid, he cracked and told his captors everything. As the lights turned on, he found himself face to face with a bemused Panaka. As he was being released by Panaka, the hospital shook as it was being bombed.

As Jinx was assisting with the wounded, he noticed one nurse was directing both nurses and doctors with a commanding aura, quickly determining he may have found the incognito Queen of Naboo.

As they evacuated the hospital – discovering that it was a children’s hospital serving predominantly Alderaanian children – they found themselves assaulted by heavily armed jet pack troopers. Taking heavy damage, they managed to escape the hospital to the Queen’s personal hangar and plotted their escape from Coruscant.

View
Chapter 42: Moves and Countermoves

As Jinx, Bando, and Nahdea realized their dilemna on the Endurance, they plotted their method of escape.

With Bando being volunteered to sabotage the hyperdrive on the Endurance, Nahdea and Jinx sabotaged their heavily armed ship and made a move on securing an ARC 170. As Bando made his way back to the fighter bay, the Endurance dropped out of hyperspace in the void between planets, dead in the water as the system rebooted and the backup hyperdrive engaged. With Bando slicing the hanger bay doors and uploading a previously created astrogation path to Coruscant, they made their escape to Coruscant with a 5 day head lead from the Endurance.

As Jinx and Bando plotted an escape from the Endurance, Hexx was assisting Jasmine with plotting a rescue of their Naboo friends. Making friends with a CZ model astromech droid that was on the Quasar-Fire cruiser, he proceeded to affect emergency repairs on a Y wing bomber on the Quasar fire in preparation of the assault. As they approached the Naboo star system, Jasmine called all the flight leads to a strategy meeting.

Knowing they were up against a Marauder-class corvette and an unknown number of fighters, Jasmine and Sylvaa crafted a battle plan. The Wandering Hunter would engage the Marauder-corvette while the Swarm would jump in and launch fighters to swarm the corvette. Hexx would be in charge of leading a strike team of 3 Y wings to assault the base’s heavily shielded generator and then rescue the missing individuals from the detention cells.

As they arrived in system, the plan initially went according to plan; however, as the Y wing strike team made their move on the base, they noticed a squadron of the heavily armed TIE fighters that Hexx noticed on Naboo during Zsinj’s invasion launch from the base and turn the tide against Jasmine’s fighters.

The shield generator run was anything but ordinary – the cavern & mining system lead the fighters to break into 3 different passages. As they approached the generator, they took heavy fire from multiple laser battery emplacements. When the ships arrived at the generator, they flew in a tight pattern to unload their proton torpedos on the heavily shielded generator. One of Hexx’s wingmen took a fatal hit and crashed into the generator, but with Hexx drawing fire from the laser battery emplacements his other wingman was able to take out the shield generator.

Making a desperate escape to the surface, the Y wings moved into an open hanger bay near the detention center before they suffered complete system shutdown from battle damage. Hexx and the other pilots infiltrated the base and fanned out to find the crew members. As they infiltrated their base, they ran across patrols of B1 Battledroids that they managed to take out, with Hexx managing to recruit one of the droids that wanted to avoid destruction.

With the Y wing pilots securing the hanger bay, Hexx canvassed the detention centers and discovered a slaughterhouse – Athen and Korlen were killed by hanging and dismemberment respectively, and Norin Kole’s stormtroopers were in pieces.

Sending the rescued survivors Arix, Anolo, and Mena to the hangar bay, Hexx breached the final room and saw a very disturbing site: Norin Kole was strung up in restraints being tortured by Kantor Sertellian while Tarion Shaloe was wiping the computers in the back room.

Norin told Hexx to find Panaka and the Queen before Kantor ran him through with a lightsaber and turned his attention to Hexx. Hexx quickly escaped and destroyed the corridor behind him during his mad sprint to the hangar bay.

Escaping a freight shuttle, Hexx and the survivors made their way to Jasmine’s ship as the fighters were being recalled and all the ships jumped to lightspeed.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.