Star Wars: Uncertain Times, Desperate Measures

Chapter 31: Life in the Hyperlanes

Leaving Ilum and the CEDF cruiser behind, the protagonists left into Hyperspace, heading towards the Core Worlds and Naboo.

Electing to take the fastest way possible, Hexx followed the Hydian Way to Brentaal, intending to head further down to Corellia. Unfortunately, they ran into a snag.

Pulled out of Hyperspace abruptly, Hexx found himself in the middle of the Brentaal system, with his sensors showing him in the middle of a gravity well. Setting a course to escape the well, the ship was rocked by repeat ionic barrages from unknown sources.

Investigating the sources closely, Bando and Jinx donned their clone suits and traversed open space to find the source. They discovered they were exceptionally small micromines using an ionic pulse barrage developed by Separatists during the Clone Wars. Bando was able to put the mine in a temporary lock out/reset cycle, but Hexx noticed another complication: an approaching squad of Xwings.

Recalling Bando and Jinx, Hexx piloted the ship out of the minefield, with a few close calls. Quickly piloting a jump, Bando convinced Hexx to head to xenophobic Arkania to shake the Xwings.

Upon arriving at the Arkanidan system, Bando contacted the spaceport and arranged a discreet landing. As they approached the system, with a scavenged and failing life support and engine systems and nonfunctioning shields and weapons, the Xwings appeared in hot pursuit..only to be met by a scrambled wing of Arkanian starfighters.

With the Xwings in retreat, they landed in Arkania to make some much needed repairs.

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Chapter 30: Breaking the Storm

As Hexx prepared to launch in his starfighter into space to hail the Republic cruiser, the rest of the base prepared to launch an expedition to the Jedi Temple.

With the starfighter prepared, Hexx launched into orbit, dodging high altitude winds and debris, he managed to break atmosphere and attempted to send his message. Unfortunately for him, the upper atmosphere was heavily ionized with a multitude of lightning strikes throughout its upper reaches. He was hit with a heavy amount of ionization, causing his starfighter to shut down and fall into the atmosphere unpowered. He managed to steer the ship towards the eye of the storm, and got halfway to the planet before passing out from the inertial dampeners being offline.

He awoke in his ship, parked in a cave system on an unstable ice shelf…which quickly gave way. As he jumped to safety, the starfighter plummeted 100 feet down into a underground hot spring reservoir. Climbing down to safety, he investigated the spring and rested from his exertions – he was a pilot, not a stormtrooper.

Meanwhile, Bando piloted the LAAT with the rest of the party to the Jedi Temple. Upon arriving, they made their way to the hot spring, electing to take a more scenic route down the corridors. Eventually, they met up with Hexx, who took a longer route through the underground river and climbed up a break in the wall.

They stormed the temple, with Bando leading the way as he was familiar with the layout of the Jedi temples. They breached the second floor where the Jedi kept their council chambers and archives, and were greeted by a very unpleasant sign.

A veritable horde of unnatural creatures turned their attention from 3 Magnaguard droids blocking a door into a temple room and assaulted the party. The creatures exuded a palatable dark side presence, with their attacked leeching the Force from the characters. Ridu left to investigate a side room, and held off a few of the creatures while the rest of the party blasted away.

With a howl, the beasts converged on Hexx and Jinx, biting and clawing at them through their armor. In desperation, Jinx called on the Force to assist him, with the added affect of stunning all the creatures nearby as their senses were overwhelmed. Taking advantage of the situation, the party made a tactical withdrawal to the sealed door, which soon opened.

Kantor approached the party from the sealed door, ordering everyone to the side. Once everyone left the blast radius, he called upon the Force to collapse the already weakened floor, dropped the creatures to their death. They quickly realized that was a mixed blessing, as a very large creatures – big as a rancor with the armor of a krayt dragon – arose from the rubble.

Kantor again ushered everyone into the door behind him as he kept the creature stunned. Once everyone was in the room, he shut the doors behind them to engage the creature. Once in the room, they took stock of the room. Bando was preoccupied by the sound of the lightsaber battle outside – it sounded like far more than 1 Jedi was involved – and did not notice Jinx and Hexx approaching a small group of children huddling in the corner.

One child, larger than the rest, confronted them about their presence, with the added threat of a lightsaber in his right hand. Persuading the child they meant them no harm, the children explained that they spent most of their lives on Ilum in the temple – it was all they knew. They also let Hexx know that “Mother” was below in the area beyond the temple. Jinx and Bando began exploring the room, picking up various cube shaped devices.

Hexx left the room to go speak with Mother, and quickly realized that the back area was an underground reservoir. A human female was meditating near a raised platform, and as he approached he sensed a serene calm, a center in the storm. The human female explained that he was in a Jedi Temple – one of the few left, and not long for this world – and item he was approaching was a lightsaber forge.

As Hexx approached Mother, Ridu and Kantor opened the temple doors looking the worse for wear. Upon giving orders to pack up the holocrons, Ridu and Kantor both left to explore the 2 sides rooms, returning with a few items from each room and heading down to the sub-levels. Bando explored the rooms, noticing Ridu’s room had 3 dead and decomposing humans in it dressed in robes, and Kantor’s room has an unmarked tomb containing the body of a deceased clone.

Once the group met back up, they made their way back to the LAAT to head back to the Imperial Garrison. Once there, they bided their time until the storms cleared enough for a communication to go through. In that time, Hexx observed Mother move the boulders of the collapsed hall, exposing the area as a former mess hall converted into a mausoleum for the deceased clones. Adding the deceased clone Captain’s name to the wall of honor, they both left the room, with Mother sealing it up behind her. Jinx observed Ridu and Mother, who he knew as Ridu’s sister Jyren – argue about how to proceed with the younglings: Ridu wanting them to go deeper into the Unknown Regions, while Jyren wanted to come out of hiding and head coreworld to heal the galaxy and rescue the other “children”.

After a lengthy debate, it was settled that the Jedi would travel with the party, using the salon pod as a converted Jedi training area, with Kantor agreeing to travel with the party until they reached Alwyn. Hexx told Ridu that he was not going to take orders from an Imperial captain but would listen to the Jedi, causing Ridu to activate his lightsaber and let the crew in on his secret. He undid the mind tricks employed on Bando and Jinx, recovering their memories of his Force use and lightsaber skills and revealing himself as a Jedi. He then informed the crew of a rendevous where they could resupply before heading towards Alwyn’s location.

Upon arriving at Ridu’s coordinates, they were met by an Imperial Star Destroyer, the Courageous, who tractored them into the hold. Ridu and his 2 stormtroopers left for a debriefing, with the crew finally seeing them sans helmet as a blue skinned, black haired alien species. As the crew explored their ship, they realized that while Imperial, there was a large non-human presence on the ship, with most of the command crew being members of the blue skinned alien species.

Upon arriving in the officers’ mess for a meal, the crew discovered that Ridu’s rank in the new structure was apparently subordinate to the female alien stormtrooper. The final surprise of the evening arrived shortly after: the captain of the Courageous was Nolan Kincaid, their original commander of their Victory Star Destroyer. Explaining that he took the opportunity of Endor to go to ground, he escaped the ship and fled to the Unknown Regions, meeting up with a mysterious “Admiral” and joining his coalition. They made idle chatter about Nolan’s brother Alwyn and his son Tolwyn, but dinner was cut short by other events unfolding elsewhere.

As they were departing the following morning, they found their ship refueled, repaired, and upgraded with Ridu’s promised proton torpedo launcher. The Jedi retreated to the salon pod, and the crew took up their positions.

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Chapter 29: The Storm Rages On

As the protagonists set forth repairing the base, they ran into a series of unfortunate events and made a few key discoveries.

Bando managed to eventually, with some assistance, get the generators dethawing…but ran into another issue of displaced water and where to store it, eventually settling on flooding the hanger and trying to drain it before it flash froze with limited success. End result: Power to the base with an unusable main Hangar. Bando also discovered that Jasmine and Morag sent the Probot droid down to relay information: the atmosphere was too hostile to land their ship, communications were not going through, and they were unable to determine if they were even alive. Worst of all, they discovered that Morag and Jasmine were going to depart the system in 30 days if they did not hear from anyone to refuel and resupply.

Jinx and Hexx went to repair a sensor relay dish that was damaged on the top of the plateau. With the sensors online, Ridu was able to get a partial scan of the planet and the storm…enough to know the upper atmosphere was more intense than ground level, the storm was increasing in size, and there was more atmospheric anomolies than he could catalog with the limited resources.

While they were fixing the comm relay, Hexx convinced Ridu and the stormtroopers to switch gears from clearing out a rubble-strewn passageway to going through a solid metal blastdoor blocking another path. When they arrived back in the base, battered and tired but ultimately successful, Hexx discovered that they were able to bore a hole through the metal in the hour they were gone. Exploring the new section, he uncovered a sight for sore eyes: 2 battered and busted ships, one a small dagger-looking ship, and another familiar LAAT gunship modified for limited low orbit flying.

With both ships in need of repairs, Hexx elected to work on the small starfighter to hopefully break atmosphere and rendevous with the ship. With time running out, they pored efforts into repairing the ship and hope to get a message out to the ship.

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Chapter 28: The long cold night

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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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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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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