Star Wars: Uncertain Times, Desperate Measures

Chapter 66: A Typical Landing

Departing from Alasaka, the protagonists arrived a week or so later on Ilum, finding it deserted and appearing more peaceful. Bando scanned the planet with the limited means he had, and determined that there was a low grade blizzard on the surface.

Hexx proceeded to take the ship into atmosphere, where calamity struck. With an engine blowing out and an uncharacteristic loss of control, the LAAT crash landed on a ice ridge on Ilum.

Bando explored the outside, and came back with dire news: visibility and scan ranges were dismal, the temperature was dropping, and they were on a cliff side. Jinx clamored into the cockpit to attempt to stay warm, and Hexx went out with a jet pack to try to scale the cliff.

Scaling the cliff proved problematic: the winds sheared the rope line, and the intense cold caused his jet pack to malfunction and he went plummetting down into the white out.

WIth Hexx missing – and in typical Bando fashion, presumed dead – Bando got some supplies and took Jinx out into the cold to find shelter, finding the white out conditions had them lost instantly. Abandoning his cargo of communication gear as Jinx was succumbing to hypothermia, they made it to a break in the ice wall.

Meanwhile, Hexx woke up on an ice outcropping. With his jetpack missing and helmet damaged, he managed to feel around until he found a small corridor into the glacier with slightly warmer air. Stripping off his chest, leg, and helmet armor and tying it to himself with his remaining rope, he shimmied his way into the hole. Halfway through, his armor caught a snag, causing him to lose his right boot to proceed with going forward. Making his way to the end of the tunnel, he saw a thick ice wall blocking what appeared to be an air shaft into a side room.

Jinx and Bando found a door encase in ice blocking their way in. Bando took a few shots at the door, but eventually had to overload his blaster to break in the ice. He then tried to brute force the door, but failed to open it until Jinx used the Force to mentally push the door open. Coming inside, they found an entry way into a cavern that was quite obviously man-altered.

As they explored the caverns, they came across a few odd things: Bando discovered a room full of mining equipment predating the Empire, with an oddly colored Republic symbol on them, that was surrounded by crushed gemstones; Jinx explored a bit farther and discovered to his chagrin a disheveled Hexx.

Hexx explained he had to bore his way through an ice wall in a side room and found more drilling equipment in a side passage, along with a hot spring in the back. As Hexx and Jinx explored more and argued incessantly, Bando made his way to a turbolift and went down to a small hangar.

Bando saw that the hangar was being opened externally, and proceeded to stall the program until he was commed by Hexx, who instructed him to open the door so he could land his ill-gotten ship. As Bando lowered the shield and a shuttle landed, he saw Hexx get out of the ship…and prompted realized it was a clone.

As Bando tried to assault the clone, the well-mannered and impeccably groomed version of Hexx identified himself as Wyndaam Blackwood, and used the Force to pin him in place. As Hexx and Jinx arrived in the hangar bay, it was a tense few moments until Jinx broke the ice – he apparently was working with the clone of Hexx!

Wyndaam quickly explained that Jinx gave him the location of Ilum – which annoyed Bando and Hexx to no end – but that he was not enthralled by Kantor and was partially convinced he was the Prime Wyndam. Seeing that he was not hostile – and they were in no shape for a fight – they proceeded to explore the caverns. Wyndaam, Hexx, and Jinx went to the cavern of crushed gems, and Bando proceeded to slice into some terminals to gave information on the mining operation.

When they reconvened, they discussed their findings: Bando discovered the base was an old Separatist listening post converted to mining by the Empire after the war and what they were mining was kept secret on orders of Director Krennic and a G. Irso, while Wyndaam explained they were mining Khyber crystals for massive turbolasers, most likely the Death Star superlaser’s focusing emitters.

Needing to make a call to Alwyn, they traveled up to Wyndaam’s ship: a highly modified and somewhat ramshackle Confederate Banking Clan Frigate. Originally named the Debtor’s Promise and rechristened Freedom Trail, Bando made a holocall to Alwyn while Jinx and Hexx explored the ship.

Bando’s call with Alwyn went fairly well – Alwyn pushed for a quick resolution to the Kantor investigation and expressed a need for their services elsewhere – but Jinx and Hexx discovered the ship was filled with humans, twi’leks, and rodians marked with Hutt slave brands. Angrily confronting Wyndaam, he deflected the criticism, stating he used the Nyko Kalen cover Hexx created to his advantage and raided Hutt slave caravans – all the crew volunteered to come with him of their own choice. Jinx also realized the crew was on heavy rationing, with no supplies on hand to spare.

As the night ended, Bando went off to scan Ilum for signs of Kantor and left Wyndaam, Jinx, and Hexx to discuss Force-related matters. At Hexx’s request, Wyndaam explained a bit of his life, Kantor’s army, the freeing of slaves, and how he grew to command the Force. When Jinx prodded his reason for being on Ilum, Wyndaam explained he was setting up a colony on Ilum…as a flotilla of motley ships arrived in orbit.

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