The Right Hand Of Darkness

Episode XV: Belly of the Beast

Previously:
Our team of explorers had managed to track down a hidden facility run by the Arkanian Biotech Company, a medical research company that specialized in legally gray areas of inquiry. Managing to talk their way into the facility and into the good graces of the facility’s director, Arrus Drakarian, the group managed to stealthily slice into the mainframe for more information. Finding mention of a mysteriously quarantined docking bay, two members of the group left to investigate while the rest attended a dinner with Arrus. Within the bay the two found stasis pods being loaded onto the Sage Legatus, the ship stolen from Sev Assani during his travels in the Unknown Regions! They managed to sneak aboard just before take off and subdued the pilot, broadcasting the destination coordinates before resuming the ship’s original course. Meanwhile, the dinner became increasingly awkward as Arrus began to discuss at length about spirituality and the cycle of death and rebirth. A few Mind Tricks from the team’s Force-users had given him the impression that they were to be trusted and he gave them a mysterious silver card that seemed to have some sort of encrypted information. Beating a hasty retreat after the dinner (and the stealing of a droid and several artifacts from Arrus’ collection), the crew managed to make it to their ship just as a tremendous storm struck the facility and an evacuation order was given. Blending in with the fleeing ships the group made their way to orbit and set a course for the coordinates which presumably hold the Imperial Research Vessel they’ve been seeking. At the same time, the two on the Sage Legatus arrive at those coordinates to find a massive vessel and a terse welcome as they pose as the pirate that they subdued. Landing in one of the docking bays on the vessel the pair is surprised to see a brooding robed figure that bears a striking familial resemblance to their team mate, Numinov Walsing.

Currently:
Aboard the Imperial research vessel, the Pestilent Maw, Korvash and Sev Assani
The Sage Legatus lands in the docking bay of the Imperial research vessel, the Pestilent Maw, and is boarded by Sarcev with a squad of stormtroopers. The Korvah and Sev Assani fail to bluff their way through questioning by the Dark side user and are placed under arrest. The Ebruchi pirate Tersis, the original pilot of the ship and member of the Burning Fist fleet, is also arrested.
The rest of the group aboard the Talon analyzes the pieces stolen from Arrus’ collection by Aayla. A mask, blank with only the most vague representation of facial features, seems to harbor some sort of hungering presence inside it, slumbering and unresponsive. A large, apparently ceremonial, necklace holds 30 jewels that appear to contain a silvery mercurial fluid, one that resembles the liquid form of M’nggal. A scroll, contained within a metallic inscribed unrolling case, shows a representation of the galactic cycle of life and death but the writing appears to be a derivation of Celestial runes. Finally there is a cube covered in Celestial runes that can be dragged across the surface and, when combined correctly, cause portions of the cube to pop out/unfold.
As the ship approaches the coordinates for the Imperial research vessel there is a jarring crash as the ship is forced out of hyperspace by one of the many uncharted gravity disturbances that thread the Unknown Regions. The crew checks over the ship but, despite the damage, most of the systems are still functioning. Sev senses the crews arrival through the Force and sends a telepathic warning to Numinov simply stating “Father”. Numinov decides to share this information as well as the fact that Sarcev is his father and that he is on a mission to save him, “one way or another.”
An alarm interrupts the discussion as the ship detects a sensor sweep. Thinking quickly, Numinov and Alena suppress their presence in the Force, preventing Sarcev from realizing there are Force users aboard the ship. Attempting to avoid the sensors is pointless in the empty area so the crew decides that surrender is the safest option. Once they are aboard the ship they will re-examine their options. Numinov, with Aayla’s help, finds a compartment and manages to wedge himself in to hide from the Imperials as Alena powers down ship. A flight of TIE fighters surrounds the ship and a and a troop transport with a boarding party docks. The group is immediately disarmed and placed under arrest as the ship is searched. Numinov is discovered and attempts to use a Mind Trick but fails to sway the trooper. Alena, thinking quickly, also uses a Mind Trick to distract the Stormtrooper and Numinov successfully remains hidden. Alena manages to convince the Imperial Officer in charge that they are simply lost and not a threat to the imperials so the group is taken into custody until the “Commander” can decide what to do with them. The team is reunited in the holding area where everyone is thrown in separate ray-shielded cells.
Numinov sneaks off of the Talon, taking cover inside of a large cargo container. He begins to make his way towards the detention area but is surprised by a Stormtrooper coming out of a fresher. He manages to stun and disarm the Stormtrooper with the Force. Numinov manages to knock the trooper out and drags him back into the fresher, using Mind Trick to fool him into thinking he is one of Sarcev’s subordinates when he awakens. The stormtrooper escorts Numinov to the detention area and manages to convince the Super Trooper guard of Numinov’s status.
The guard is fooled but has specific instructions not to release the prisoners until Sarcev himself arrives to question them. The guard informs Numinov that this will be within the hour so Numinov settles in to wait for his father to appear. After a short time an imperial officer appears, female with hawkish features and close-cropped black hair. She commands the troopers to report to their commander and, once they leave, turns to question Numinov. He informs her that he is one of Sarcev’s children and that he has come to redeem his father. She begins to admonish Sarcev claiming that he’s a symptom of everything that brought down the once-glorious empire. Finally, she introduces herself as Lt. Sarrus and asks Numinov to help destroy the Imperial Research vessel they are on, claiming that it is a travesty that flies in the face of everything the Empire stands for.
Lt. Sarrus tells Numinov that she will assist the group as long as they avoid taking any more Imperial lives than is necessary. Numinov agrees to deal with Sarcev and the Research ship so Sarrus releases the rest of the team and outlines her plan. The ship has been equipped with an experimental drive that can be sabotaged which cause an irreversible cascade failure. This will still allow the crew time to evacuate before the ship’s destruction. Several failsafes will need to be overridden prior to powering up the system for a jump. Sarrus says that she will be able to help them by creating a small window in the patrols through the ship so the team can head towards the engineering section. She also offers to search for a high-level officer near their path so the team can try to get the codes to access the communications network and find information on other research locations that might pose a problem further down the road. After giving them a coded communicator on a secure channel she sends the group on their way.
The team makes their way towards the rear of the ship, avoiding patrols and maintenance teams, and find that the engineering section seems to be unfinished. Exposed conduits and construction equipment scattered around the area gives the appearance of a work in progress. Thanks to some stealthy maneuvering they arrive at the engine room without incident. Donning protective gear found in an adjacent equipment room, the team enters the engine room. A circle of catwalks surrounds a mysterious rotating metallic sphere with a levitating sphere of black liquid in the center. Sarrus warns the team not to get too close as the drive makes use of a miniaturized black hole and it is not 100% safe owing to its prototype nature. Attempting to appear as unsuspicious as possible the group heads out onto the catwalk surrounding the mysterious device. The two mandalorians raise immediate concerns from the maintenance droids hovering around the core. The droids attempt to get them to return and put on the “appropriate safety gear” but the two ignore them. Turning to the control room the group sees that there presence has also been noticed by the engineers inside. Before any alarms can be activated the team rushes in and secures the Imperial personnel inside, briefly convincing them that they are with the Imperial command until the engineers can be safely secured. As the team finishes tying up the engineers they notice that the maintenance droids have begun gathering outside. Asking the Engineers the group finds that the weapons and lack of safety suits are causing the droids to become agitated so Creed, who was unable to don a suit because of his large size, hides in the control room and the rest of the team secures their weapons. This seems to placate the droids who go back to buzzing around the drive core.
Alena uses her charm and a pistol to convince the head engineer to give her his access password. Gaining entry to the system she quickly makes the changes that Lt. Sarrus gave them to cause a cascade failure. The rest of the team heads out to the pylons surrounding the core and prepare to simultaneously remove the fuses powering the containment system. As they approach their respective pylons everyone is shocked at the temperature drop, frost forming on their skin, fur, or armor, as they each grab their respective fuse and yank. Numinov is a little bit slower than the rest of the team and receives a burst of energy as his fuse overloads from the power surge and explodes. Fortunately he is able to absorb the released energy, channeling it through the force. An alarm begins to go off as the vibrations in the area grow stronger and a deep metallic groan fills the area.
Numinov warns the group that the Dark Side presence of his father is now heading quickly towards the area and takes up a position on the catwalk in front of the door. The group prepares for Sarcev’s arrival and prepares themselves for a difficult fight. The presence pauses outside the door, probing the group through the force, before opening the door with a snap-hiss revealing the figure of Sarcev Quest. He sneeringly appraises Numinov while the two Super Troopers flanking him raise their weapons, waiting on his order to attack. Sarcev mocks Numinov, calling him the runt of the litter, before Numinov reaches out and partially severs Sarcev’s connection to the Force. Furious at this transgression Sarcev channels his anger into bolts of pure Force Lightning but is shocked when Numinov successfully Rebukes the attack, turning the power against his father. Sarcev gives a piercing scream as the energy courses over his robes, smoke rising from his seared flesh.
Numinov looks down at his father, reaches out a hand, and pleads with his father to turn from the path the Emperor led him down. Sarcev, clutching his wounds, laughs at the suggestion that he follows anyone’s path but his own and mocks his son for joining with the weak-willed Jedi Council. Stumbling backwards past the Super Troopers he orders them to attack. Both of them aim their heavy repeating blaster rifles at Numinov and unleash a storm of energy bolts. Numinov stands his ground as the catwalk around him is peppered with blaster fire but he is able to channel the energy through the Force, rendering the bolts harmless. Alena rallies the group with a yell, before turning to one of the Super Troopers and filling its mind with fear, causing it to begin fleeing down the corridor.
The groan from the engineering section grows louder as the cascade failure continues. Increasing in volume, the steady hum of the drive core has turned into an angry buzz and the droids hovering around the platform are frantically trying to keep the system from failing completely. Sev attempts to use his Force abilities against the remaining Dark Trooper but his inexperience prevents him from success. Numinov once again pleads with Sarcev, hoping to turn him away from the Dark Side by pointing out that even his own crew has turned against him. Sarcev acknowledges that he underestimated Numinov and was too confident in the security of his base. While stumbling backwards down the corridor he tells Numinov that he will allow him to live today, but he will be watching his progress.
Turning and running, Sarcev begins making his way towards the nearest escape pod while the Super Troopers fall in with him to block pursuit. Numinov attempts to focus on Sarcev’s force presence so the group doesn’t lose him in the twisting corridors but Sarcev has already dampened his own presence in the force. Sev attempts once again to use his newly trained Force abilities but Sarcev casually turns the attack back on him. As Sev collapses to the ground Numinov rushes to his side and channels some of his life force, healing some of the damage. The two Super Troopers turn their missile launchers on the group and the corridor rocks as the explosions pepper everyone with debris. Alena uses the force to hurl some of the debris at one of the Troopers, covering their helmet and blinding them temporarily. Creed and Korvash open up with a salvo of blaster fire and catch both troopers in the spread while Sev successfully crushes the blinded trooper, silver colored blood leaking out through the cracks in it’s armor. Numinov takes the opening and attempts to Surge past the remaining Super Trooper but is grabbed by the trooper as he passes. Sarcev rounds a corner and dissappears from sight as a last burst of fire from the Mandalorians downs the final Trooper. Numinov attempts to catch up to him but rounds the corner on an empty corridor.
Lieutenant Sarrus comms the group to inform them that the plan worked and most of the crew has already made it to escape pods or transports. She recommends that the group make their exit as hastily as possible as it won’t be long until the ship is destroyed completely. Rushing to the turbolifts the team makes it to their hangar bay as the effects of the uncontained black hole begin shifting gravity towards the rear of the ship. Cargo containers and pieces of the hull begin flying horizontally across the hangar bay as both transports are quickly prepped for take off and the team makes their escape. Bursting out of the hangar doors just as they begin collapsing, the two ships barely avoid being crushed as the capital ship collapses telescopically towards the drive core. After a few moments of violent implosion the mechanism generating the black hole is finally destroyed, leaving a collapsed sphere of compressed durasteel floating in space. Avoiding the imperial ships and escape pods the group quickly calculates an escape. As the ships power up their hyperdrives and the stars turn into streaks of light Numinov reaches out and senses the presence of Sarcev, still alive, somewhere amongst the debris.

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