Star Wars: Uncertain Times, Desperate Measures

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chapter 41: Strangers or Friends

As the Wandering Hunter and it’s fighter escorts boarded the Endurance, Kantor gave the order for them to prepare to receive damaged ships and wounded individuals.

Hexx and Jinx headed to the hangar bay and assisted with repairing the fighter ships that came in – heavily damaged and low on munitions – and getting the wounded to medical for triage. Jinx noticed a Bacta Tank being unloaded from the Wandering Hunter to the medical bay. Following the Bacta tank, he discovered the female held in Bacta – he recognized her, but could not place her.

As Bando headed to the bridge, he met with Kantor and the command crew as a Victory class Star Destroyer appeared in system. Executing a hard and rather impressive turn, the Endurance leapt into hyperspace.

As they were cruising through Hyperspace, Sylaa and 3 members of the Wandering Hunter’s crew met with Kantor in closed door meetings. While in meeting, Bando took command of the exceptionally green crew running the Venator when they got pulled from hyperspace. Sliding into the role of a command officer, Bando got the ship battle ready and assessed the situation: they were pulled into the remnants of the space battle that the Wandering Hunter and it’s pilots fled: 4 destroyed Corellian Corvettes and a bulk frigate converted into a pocket carrier.

After things settled down, Sylvaa called Jinx and Hexx to a mess hall for a meeting. With Bando tagging along, they met with Sylvaa’s crew where they received an update of the happenings on Naboo.

According to Sylvaa, the Wandering Hunter and a few other ships were sent by Alwyn to cover an evacuation of the Alderaanian expatriates from Naboo – the planet’s civil war was taking a turn against them. After the Alderaanians were evacuated, Sylvaa left to pick up the leaders of the insurgency against Zsinj’s forces. She arrived to see the mountain base destroyed, with the commanders captured. She rescued one individual – Ryo Rey – and let them know that Captain Kole and Arix were captured and were being taking out of system on a Marauder-class corvette. She made her intentions clear: she was planning on rescuing Arix and Kole..even if Kantor did not approve and would not assist.

After the meeting, the protagonists resolved to buy time and convince Kantor to help, with Bando sabotaging the engines and Jinx attempting to discuss the situation with Kantor. Bando succeeded in buying them 2-3 hours, but Jinx was far less successful with Kantor.

As Jinx made his pitch to rescue their friends, Kantor responded that not only did possibly billions of lives and the financial security of Alwyn’s operations relied on them completing their mission – which outweighed a dozen or so friends and compatriots – but that Alwyn was paying them for their services and Kantor expected them to honor their committments. Jinx left Kantor on the bridge, deeply troubled by his argument.

Meanwhile, as Hexx involved Jasmine that her father was captured, Jasmine made immediate plans to leave and rescue him. Bando, and eventually Hexx, managed to subdue her, but not before she broke her hand in a few places and knocked out Hexx and Bando at least once a piece. Jinx arrived and took Jasmine to the medbay, while Bando left for the bridge and Hexx stayed with Morag.

On the bridge, Bando met with Kantor and inquired with their mission. Kantor involved them of the unseemly but necessary nature of their missions, and a side target of raiding an old structure on Coruscant heavily implied to be the old Jedi Temple. Appealing to Bando’s greed, he offered Bando a bonus if he could get the ship’s engine fixed within the hour, upon which Bando successfully undid his previous sabotage and cut the time frame to leave to 30 minutes.

Hexx and Morag bonded over some of Jinx’s Wyvern Reserve. Morag explained that she could not leave her friends behind to die, regardless of Alwyn’s money, and that she was leaving with Jasmine and the Wandering Hunter to rescue them. Hexx resolved to assist her, but needed to convince the others.

Leaving to visit his brother in the medbay, he saw Ryo’s bacta tank being transported back to the Wandering Hunter, and got an evil glare from Jasmine as she left. Taking Jinx to a private area, he pitched his position: rescuing friends was worth more to him than Alwyn’s money, he was unsettled at the prospect of being a paid assassin, and he was willing to risk a bounty to save them. Jinx responded with a shocking answer: he agreed with Kantor that the needs of billions of strangers and the delicate nature of Alwyn’s plan was more important than the lives of their former compatriots.

Reaching an impasse, Jinx left to speak with Bando and Kantor while Hexx left to prep the ship for departure. Arriving on the Endurance’s bridge, Kantor discussed the information with Bando and Jinx. Kantor explained that he gave the Wandering Hunter and any of their soldiers permission to leave before entering hyperspace, provided they were ready to go in 15 minutes. Jinx and Bando explained Hexx’s position, to which Kantor responded that his decision to proceed with his mission stood. If Hexx was to leave, he would forfeit his pay and possibly have a bounty placed on his head, depending on Alwyn’s decisions. Also, if he took the ship, it would be up to Bando and Jinx to purchase another one.

With a new deadline of 30 minutes, Jinx and Bando departed to try to convince Hexx to come along…or at the very least, not take the ship.

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Chapter 40: A Returned Frenemy

As the protagonists rescued Tolwyn, joined up with Alwyn, and took their ship on their shake down cruise, a previous associate of theirs was planning an escape of his own.

Having been pressed into service again, Trebor saw first hand the dark side of the Rebellion – ships were purposefully built without hyperdrives to keep pilots dependent on a home ship and discourage deserters, soldiers were treated as expendable with a high degree of acceptable loss, and any civilian doing business with the Empire or the Warlords was an enemy combatant.

As his fleet met to discuss battle strategy with other Rebellion fleets – which were not too enamored with his commander’s strategies – at the planet Ithor, Trebor went AWOL. Spending all his remaining credits, he secured passage to a derelict junkyard in the Ithorrian system not on the standard lists. Spending 10 days in the junkyard, he managed to repair an old Aethersprite fighter just enough to travel to the last known location of the only other people he knew he could somewhat trust – Christophsis.

Arriving at Christophsis, Trebor made contact with an old associate of the protagonists – Strahn. Strahn bankrolled Trebor’s flight to Alwyn’s station, with the condition that Trebor deliver a dataspike to the protagonists ship. Reluctantly agreeing to the deal with little intent to complete it, Trebor was shipped off to Alwyn’s station.

Arriving at the station and storing his Aethersprite, Trebor met back up with the protagonists as they were finishing installing a galley in their Vanguard. Coming clean with the deal he made with Strahn, Trebor gave the data spike to Hexx, who left to board a Venator class ship to utilize the spike. Meanwhile Bando and Jinx discussed Trebor’s ship, realizing it was far more valuable than he realized.

On board a Venator, Hexx played the data spike. Expecting to see a malicious hack, he was instead greeted by a message from Strahn. In the message, Strahn warned them to not take Alwyn at face value – his goals may not be entirely altruistic – and that the protagonists should be wary if Alwyn began mentioning “the long journey ahead”, as that referenced a particularly part of his plan that Strahn had large misgivings. He also dropped a comm frequency that could be used to contact him in case of emergency.

Returning from the Venator, Hexx delivered his news from Strahn to bickering crew mats, with Bando enraged and Jinx in awe of the history of the Aethersprite. As Bando examined it more closely, he realized that he was intimately familiar with it – he was the last technician to service the ship – and he was starkly reminded of his past service to the Jedi. As it was relayed, Jinx became enamored with the ship, offering 20, 40, or even 60 thousand credits to Trebor for the ship as in. As Trebor turned them down, wanting to keep his ship, Tolwyn contacted the crew to meet up and discuss the events of the evening.

As they met with Tolwyn, Jinx and Bando snuck off to meet with Kantor, inquiring about the Jedi ship and Jinx’s nascent Force use. Kantor gave blatantly false information to Bando to get him to leave, and gave circular words of wisdom to Jinx regarding his developing Force abilities. When they finally met with Tolwyn – who was tinkering with explosives – he informed them that in 3 hours, Alwyn’s war council would be meeting and they would have their pick of assignments. With time being precious and departures eminent, they were given time to prep the ship and prepare to leave.

Instead of preparing, the protagonists went to the bar and drank for 2 hours, with Bando getting drunk and picking a fight with Jinx before passing out and being carried back to his ship by HK Droids. Trebor, Jinx and Hexx then left to go to the meeting to choose an assignment before one was handed to them.

After listening to the plans by each of the 4 war council members, they were left with a choice to make. Alwyn had a plan to gather up Alderaanian citizens, DNA of native Flora and Fauna of Alderaan, and a cloning facility to restore them. Kantor was tasked with security detail and cleaning up the Outer Rim Confederacy splinter cells, eliminating, rescuing, or flipping assets to ensure Alwyn’s place was not compromised. Tolwyn and Aban had similar goals – Tolwyn was to help bloodily liberate Corellia for the Rebels to keep them distracted while Aban was to help the Empire break the Brentaal blockade and capture the shipyard.

After little deliberation, the protagonists elected to support Kantor’s goal. Marshalling their forces, they prepped to leave for Kantor’s Venator flagship – the Endurance – within the hour. When they arrived at the ship, they spoke to Ridu regarding their plans. Ridu voiced concerns about Kantor’s moral flexibility in regards to the Force, and asked that if the protagonists were in an area that Ridu and Jyren knew contained Jedi artifacts, that the protagonists obtain them for the Jedi and not let Kantor know.

With opportunities for a double cross available, the crew flew to the Venator, where they were unprepared for the site of a fully loaded Venator command ship prepare to depart. Bando was overwhelmed by the stimuli of the ship being so closely crewed according to Clone Wars standards that he flew into a rage. The results of the disturbance was Hexx spending a day in the brig and getting an admonishment from Kantor involving a Force Choke, Bando getting critically injured by another mechanic and spending 2 days in bacta, Trebor frying his ships electronics as he tried to repair them, and Jinx meeting up with other Force-sensitive individuals on board the ship.

As Hexx realized the scope of their mission – the quartermaster was able to replicate 16 types of Stormtrooper gear, 4 types of common Rebel gear, Outer Rim Confederacy gear, and Zsinj’s Raptor gear – the ship arrived at a stop over planet, where they saw another 50 starfighters joining up with Kantor’s ship and a familiar site off the bow: the Wandering Hunter.

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Chapter 39: A Ship is acquired, take 13

After arriving at the space station – located in the middle of a dead patch of space, with no stars or stable hyperdrive lanes – the protagonists disembarked at the space station and awaited further orders.

Discovering that they recognized the space station – it was the site of one of their first jobs for Alwyn, raiding an Imperial drydock for captured ships – they examined the space station in closer detail. The interior was overhauled for a more Alderaanian aesthetic – inefficient for space reasons, but far more welcoming – and the station was retrofitted with a larger power core, more defensive weapons, and a slow but functional hyperdrive.

While the station had a multitude of levels unused, 4 levels were made available to the standard crew: the top level (executive), mid tier (mercantile district), lower level (medical and barracks), and sub tier (brig and repair facilities).

As they explored the ship, Alwyn made good on his word and delivered to them a new starfighter – if it could barely be called that. Handling like a starfighter but packing a much harder punch, the Vanguard Heavy Gunship was similar to their first few Skipray blastboats – technically a starfighter, but vastly over gunned.

Taking the ship out for a shake down cruise, the protagonists familiarized themselves with the ship, how it handled, and the amenities they were missing. As they bided their time, wheels were set into motion by Alwyn and their missions were due to begin…

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