The Right Hand Of Darkness

Episode II - Pursuit
Following a murderous captain into the Unknown Regions...

In the last session the group had managed to thwart the self-destruct of their assigned ship, the Starskimmer, and discovered that the captain of the vessel was attempting to fake his own death. Upon repairing the nearly overloaded hyperdrive and returning to the New Republic science vessel, the Stellar Horizon, the players were briefly incarcerated until the details of their experience could be verified. Admiral Nerogan himself visited and apologized to the group for the betrayal of Captain Rahn on their first assignment. Tracing back the Captain’s activities over the past several weeks, Republic computer techs had found that he had been running several queries on the ship’s database without authorization. Although he had hidden his tracks well, it seemed that he had found what he was looking for about a week before and had attempted to delete all records of his search from the database.

Luckily he was unaware of the high-security automated backup of the system and the crew was able to discover the location that had caught his interest. A scout drone had recently made it’s way back through the Tangle, a series of gravity distortions surrounding the Unknown Regions, with preliminary scans of a previously unknown system. The crew isn’t sure what interest the Captain has in the system or what sets it apart from the dozens of other candidates for exploration, but they are sure that whatever it is he needs to be brought to justice. The players are offered the opportunity to take over command of his ship and they rename it to the Homestar Runner, voting the Duros Beeb T’bobo to replace Rahn as the commanding officer. They are given the coordinates and the nav data and head off into the Unknown Regions.

Due to the complexities of navigating through the Tangle, the journey takes several days. Upon exiting hyperspace the team found themselves in the middle of a large asteroid field. Beeb’s expert piloting allowed the ship to navigate out of harm’s way with barely a scratch. As they made their way out of the cloud of sensor blocking particles the comm station picked up a faint signal of unknown classification that seemed to be repeating on a loop. By carefully navigating their way through the asteroid field they were able to approach the signal undetected.

They spotted a colossal alien vessel whose hull had been battered by the asteroids and appeared to be stranded. Attached to the ship was a smaller Corvette sized vessel and two starfighters skulked around the surrounding asteroids. The Jedi, Saracev Quest, reached out with the force and felt the presence of evil on both the fighters and the corvette as well as several small pockets moving around the larger alien vessel. Choosing discretion over recklessness the crew decided to wait before taking action and after a short time the Corvette and Starfighters disengaged from the larger vessel and made their way out of the Asteroid field before making a hyperspace jump.

Seeing their opportunity, the team moved in and hailed the ship, receiving a response almost immediately. The being that answered them identified himself as Xa’Thras, a simple merchantman who had been stranded when his ship mistakenly came out of hyperspace in the middle of the field. He begged for the group’s help as the other ships had left two squads behind that were rampaging through his ship, killing all of his crew. Captain Beeb immediately moved to dock with the larger vessel and Tito Timmons performed some stealthy recon of the docking area.

Seeing a relatively small group of six figures through the airlock door, the team dispatched them quickly with a few well-thrown grenades and a short pursuit through the tunnels. The beings found were Lugubraans, dim-witted thugs resembling giant leeches and obsessed with eating, being led by an Ebruchi commander.

After making contact with Xa’Thras through the internal comm systems the team was given a map of the ship. Using the Jedi’s ability to sense the dark side, the team was able to track the second group of invaders and set up an ambush for them outside of the command deck. The Lugubraans were easily dispatched but the wrecker droid they had brought with them gave the team some trouble. After the droid was finally brought down the blast doors to the command deck opened and Xa’Thras slithered out, thanking the heros profusely and granting them several items from his extensive collection of technological artifacts.

After the players received their rewards Xa’Thras explained that he had come to this system after receiving a tip that one of the ancient Gree tombships was located on the fourth planet. The Gree were one of the original races whose technology far surpassed most of the current levels of development. A tombship housed the remains of a Gree Master Craftsman and served as a mobile monument or museum, containing examples of the technologies the Craftsman had developed. A find like that would make anyone quite rich but the Asteroid field had ended Xa’Thras’ attempt to lay claim to the ship.

When the players asked if Captain Rahn had been sighted, Xa’thras told them that he had been the first to find him and had ignored his pleas for help. The ship had tracked him as far as he could and theorized that he was also heading for the fourth planet. The players now had a new destination!

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Episode III - Descent
Exploring a whole new world...
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Episode V - Ancient Allies
In which our heroes finally encounter some Imperial entanglements.

After defeating the last of the Dark Side Warriors guarding the Talon, Captain Cyan Rahn’s ship, the group barely got a chance to catch their breath before a piece of orbital debris came tumbling down and crashed into the building across the wide street from their hangar. Upon investigation it appeared that some sort of escape pod had landed containing two Mandalorian warriors from the last Great Sith War, one frozen in carbonite and the other awakened from a millenia-long hibernation. After freeing the carbonite-trapped warrior they explained that the Sith had secretly experimented on them in one of their fortresses, testing the ability of the Gen’Dai named Creed to regenerate and using the Taung named Khorvash to test their new Carbonite freezing systems. Creed escaped with the carbonite block containing Khorvash, stole a ship, and made a blind hyperspace jump to get away from the Sith craft in pursuit. Their escape ship was severely damaged in the jump and they were forced to evacuate in the escape pod where Creed entered a hibernation state to wait until they were found.

After a brief introduction, the Mandalorians agree to help the New Republic explorers in exchange for transport off the planet as well as a chance to inflict some pain on whatever Sith they could find within the Citadel. The group set off across the abandoned city and encountered several Sith Abominations, creatures twisted by experimentation and Dark Side energy, but were able to fight their way to the Citadel. There, they encountered more abominations who had been bent to the will of a Dark Side user and were assisting a strike team of Imperial Special Forces soldiers in guarding the entrance of the grand palace.

Using strategy and deception the group was able to pick apart the abominations before charging in and assaulting the entrenched Imperial forces. Although the Stormtroopers got in a couple of lucky shots, the group handily defeated them with the aid of their new Mandalorian allies. In the aftermath of the battle they found themselves in a great hall leading towards the interior of the massive structure. Floating repulsor-lights had been spaced every few meters in the oppressive darkness leading further into the heart of the Sith stronghold and mysterious sounds could be heard echoing off the stone walls.

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Episode VI - Heart of Hastur
In which our players encounter a mysterious frienemy...

Previously: Our players had made their way through the abandoned and abomination filled city surrounding the Citadel of the Sith Lord Darth Hastur. FIghting their way past the Imperial Special Forces troopers at the great doorway they paused to take in their situation and heard an ominous chanting echoing from deep within the stone walls of the Citadel.

After pausing to get their bearings the players cautiously edged toward the strip of darkness between the light above them and the next pool of light a few yards away. A mysterious scratching and rustling noise could be heard throughout the cavernous space and as the group watched several fist-sized insects fell into the pool of light and seemed to be negatively affected by the illumination. Realizing that the darkened portions of the floor were a solid carpet of the deadly Sith-altered insects known as the Drech the group decided that simply strolling through was not an option. The Duros, Beeb T’bobo, carefully used his personal speeder to avoid the ground and snagged several of the repulsor lights to that the Imperials had left behind forming a wide island of illumination. Sticking close together the group was able to make their way through the entry hallway and into what appeared to be a throne room with a large and ornate chair sitting in the middle of a circular array of steps in the center.

Those players who were sensitive to the force were able to perceive a faint luminescent shape slumped in the chair. Upon questioning the shape it regained some solidity and slowly answered them, as though it had forgotten how to speak and was trying to remember the words. The form explained that it was all that remained of the great Darth Hastur, his power eroded over the centuries until he barely had the will to maintain the pitiful shadow of his form. After inquiring whether the players were here to steal from him just like the last group that just passed through, he was intrigued to hear that the players were there to stop them. He offered them a boon and his assistance if they killed the intruders who were even now defiling his tomb and, once the group agreed, he used some of his remaining energy to clear a path through the carpet of Drech insects.

The players followed a hallway behind his throne that led to a large empty room with several powered down sparring droids along the walls and several circular markings on the floor in the center. One of the force sensitive members of the group crossed a sensor line and activated the droids and the circles revealed themselves to be floating platforms. The droids had been dormant for many years and did not last long against the experienced group.

Continuing on, the group entered the private quarters of Darth Hastur where they discovered that his tomb must be directly below them as a large hole had been blown into the floor. Carefully making their way down to the level below the players found themselves in an area of the Citadel that was definitely not part of the same structure as the one above. Instead of imposing stone walls the surfaces here appeared to be organic. At the end of the hallway was a sharp turn, flickering light spilled out and the sound of raised voices could be heard, one of which belonged to Captain Cyan Rahn!

The group crept closer as quietly as possible and eavesdropped on the argument. It appeared that Cyan Rahn was arguing with an unknown woman for an increase in payment to him and his men due to the danger of the mission. Khorvash took a quick peek around the corner and saw that Captain Rahn was speaking with a Sith Lord. A small group of mercenaries and Sith warriors had taken position behind their respective leaders. Behind them, in a bubble of energy, floated a large sarcophagus carved with the likeness of Darth Hastur. Khorvash seized the initiative and lobbed a salvaged grenade taken from the Imperials at the Citadel entrance, catching the Sith group in the blast!

The Sith Lord aggressively charged forward and attempted to cut the group down with her lightsaber and several dark side energy attacks but was met with a hail of blaster fire. Seeing that she was facing defeat the Sith retreated and leapt into the energy field holding the sarcophagus where she began to float opposite the entombed Darth Hastur. Assuming a mid-air lotus position she began to manipulate the dark side energies of the tomb, causing arcs of energy to lash out from the sphere towards the players. The players continued fighting the mercenaries, knocking Capt. Rahn unconscious in the process. As they mopped up the remaining enemy forces, the Mandalorian tackled the Sith out of the energy sphere , knocking her unconscious. Seeing an opportunity for vengeance, he finished her off by beheading her with his Mythosaur axe.

The area began to rumble ominously so the group decided that was their cue to make their exit. On the way out they saw that the spectre of Darth Hastur looked much more substantial than when they had left him. The players inquired about the boon he had promised and only got a chuckle in return. The ancient Sith Lord told them that their boo was letting go them leave alive and that it would not happen a second time. The players decided not to press the point and ran to a safe distance, watching in awe as the entire Citadel lifted out of the city, dropping debris onto the empty streets below. As they watched the Sith Lord depart they notice that streaks of fire have begun appearing in the sky as the orbiting ships begin hitting the atmosphere.

At the end of this episode the group is in possession of the Capt. that betrayed them and must make their way out of the city and back to Republic space.

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Episode VII - One Man's Trash...

Previously: The group had successfully taken Captain Rahn prisoner but the Sith Lord Darth Hastur had taken off in his palace ship. The players were able to escape the ship before it took off and were left in the darkened remains of the dead city. Overhead, the remains of the darkened ships lit the sky with flaming trails as they burned up in the atmosphere. It was decided to make haste back to the waiting starships before one of the derelicts found its way down to the city with an accompanying detonation.

As the players made their way back to their ships they realized that they were being followed by a trio of Aspects of Mn’ggal. The tentacle faced monstrosities were stealthily creeping alongside the roads the group walked down with the hope of ambushing them when the time was right. The group was able to elude their stalkers and successfully reunited with their vessels. Quickly securing Rahn in a cabin of the ship, the group took off and headed away from the planet to make their return jump to hyperspace.

As they approached the ring of derelicts, however, they picked up several ships speeding towards them. One of them, a small shuttle, began sendng out a mayday message asking for assistance. The two Ebruchi fighters pursuing the shuttle had already begun firing upon the ship as they began to weave between the dead ships. The Mandalorian, Creed, immediately began firing upon the warships while the shuttle took evasive action, maneuvering between the dead hulks drifting through orbit. The two fighters were easily dispatched, although a complication arose as one of the ships was jarred by an explosion that activated their point defense ion cannons.

After finishing off the enemy ships, the group managed to connect ther docking ring to the small alien shuttle. From the shuttle emerged the wolfish Shistavanen, Sev Assari, relieved to be safe after his imprisonment by the Ebruchi pirates. After introductions were made, Sev volunteers to surrender his weapons as a guest on their ship and explains that he was searching for an old friend of his when the Ebruchi captured him and his ship. He does not give up much of the story behind his capture but he seems keen on finding a particular planet in the Unknown Regions. During his travels he heard rumors of an alien bearing a shining red sword on a planet covered in mining operations. He seems keen to find this person and is intent on continuing his search as soon as he gets back to civilization.

During the return flight to the Stellar Horizon command ship, Alena Fane does some light questioning of the prisoner, Captain Rahn. He reveals little but does say that he was being employed as a glorified taxi-service to ferry the Sith around to different locations in the Unknown Regions. After their brief stop at the previous planet he was to take her to meet with an undisclosed party on the next planet on his list. When pressed for further information he clams up and refuses to volunteer more.

Once the crew returns to the Stellar Horizon they are met at their ship by the Chief of Security, Canderous Pags, and he takes Captain Rahn into custody. Once the group has been debriefed they are given a few days leave aboard the ship before their next mission. Durng this time they rest up and Sev Assani seeks out a Jedi Knight that is overseeing the force using members of the Explorer Corps in the hopes that she could give him some possible information on his friend, Sage Wyvene. Unfortunately, the Jedi Knight does not recognize the description that Sev gives, but admits that she didn’t spend a great deal of time at the Academy before being assigned to this mission as a liaison. She promises to keep her ear open and make inquiries through the Jedi network and get in touch with Sev if she finds anything.

Once a few days had passed, the group is summoned by Canderous Pags to a meeting. While examining the navigation computer in Captain Rhan’s ship a set of coordinates was found for a location in the Unknown Regions. It was found that a probe had been sent to that system already. It had located a planet that had a great deal of space born traffic around it. The probe also did a quick scan of the planet and found a great deal of high density ores. Sev was excited because this matched a rumor he was taking about a Shistavanen bearing a glowing red blade speed on a distant mining world. The Mandalorians were asked by Canderous Pags to join the team since many of the ships crew are very wary of their presence on the ship. Although they felt they could take on anyone who wished them harm, they felt that Chief Pags had treated them fairly and it would be dishonorable to cause trouble for him with their presence.

After finishing their departure preparations the crew hop onto the Talon, Captain Rahn’s repurposed YT-1900, and make their hyperspace jump through the Tangle. Upon arrival at the coordinates they drop out of hyperspace and are immediately contacted by an automated system requesting they move into the nearest space lane for landing request processing. The group decides to follow these directions and takes their place in line between two other freighters.

The line had been moving very slowly for several hours when a panicked message came over the comms system warning everyone to move away. Too late, Torvash, who was piloting the ship, noticed that a ship in the next lane was on a collision course with the Talon. Torvash attempted to avoid the incoming ship but was unable to maneuver quickly enough and the two ships screeched past each other. As the out of control ship pulled away from the Talon it became obvious that the collision had damaged the ship’s navigation systems and it was drifting out of control towards the other lanes of traffic. Torvash bravely decided to take some damage and nudge the damaged vessel into a more harmless trajectory. Shortly thereafter the ships of the local authorities arrived and escorted the players down to the surface of the planet.

Landing at the headquarters of Core Skyways, a company that was contracted to handle the traffic management for the mining operations, the group found that they were local heroes, more for the insurance money they had saved than the lives but still heroes. They were promised that their ship’s repairs would be taken care of by the company but that it would take a few days due to the extensive damage. The company also offers them room and board for the duration of the repairs and wishes them a pleasant stay.

After they had been left to their own devices the Jedi, Numinov, reached out with the force to see if he could sense amyone strong in the dark side. He got a definite ping to the West of the city in the direction of what looked like a large mountain. The group decided to rent a couple of speedercraft to take them over to the mountain and found out that it was actually a giant heap of scrap called the Junkyard. Local travel advisories warned against flying over certain areas as the scavengers tended to take potshots at overhead speeders. The group carefully made their way out of the city and over the slums that form on the outskirts until they reach the Junkyard.

The whole area is covered in piles of broken or malfunctioning equipment that various mining companies dumped as a cheaper alternative to actual repair and recycling. Scavengers of all kinds crawl around the area, some of them organics and some of them droids. Scanning the area, Sev’s watchful eyes notice that a number of the droids don’t seem to be actually scavenging, merely moving piles of trash from one place to another. He keeps an eye on these droids as the group lands the speeder near a scavenger digging through a pile of scrap. The group manages to question the scavenger and find out that the droids are known to everyone, they always seems to be somewhat cleaner than the other droids and if anyone tries to fiddle with or attack them they self-detonate, leaving nothing but more scrap. The group also inquired if he knew of any soldier types that might have been seen in the area and he directed them to a bar called The Burning Fuse that usually saw a more hardened crowd than he tended to associate with. The crew thanked him and bought a usable droid servo to pay him for his trouble.

Their next destination was the bar and Alena stopped to grab some more area appropriate clothing, picking up a beat up cloak from a second hand shop in the area. Entering the bar separately to avoid suspicion, the group took their places in the various booths as Numinov and Alena bellied up to the bar. Sev Assani noticed a figure in the rearmost booth that seemed to be ignoring the drink in front of him. He sent a fresh drink over to check his reaction and the figure took one look and headed through a back door marked “Maintenance”. Alena and Numinov followed through the door and found a long hallway with a metal door at the end. Knocking on the door causes a slot to be opened up at eye level and a deep voice asked what they wanted. Using the force to bluff their way in, the pair found themselves in a backroom gaming hall.

As they took in their surroundings, the three in the main bar noticed that a small group of menacing figures had filtered into the bar as some of the local patrons scooted out, sensing trouble. The pair in the game room were directed to the armored figure they followed and found that the man was a representative of the local Hutt Cartel and that Captain Rahn was supposed to meet to drop off some unknown cargo. At this point the bartender hit a secret button and lights began flashing silently in the game room causing people to begin bolting for the emergency exit in the rear. At the same time the nefarious figures in the front of the bar stood up in unison, whipping off their cloaks to reveal combat armor and very large guns. Sev Assani had been waiting for this and fired his blaster as a distraction before combat began in earnest.

Next Time: The players fight their way out of a sticky situation and find that a pile of junk can sometimes hide valuable information.

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Episode VIII - Into the Junkyard
Delving deeper into other people's trash

Previously: The player’s followed Captain Rahn’s trail to the mining planet of 244Core to find out who he was planning to meet. After landing on the planet they followed a mark of Dark Side energy to a massive dumping ground known as the Junkyard and questioned one of the Scavengers there. They pursued a tip that led them to The Burning Fuse, a run-down looking bar in the seedy side of town with a secret Game Room in the back run by the local Hutt Cartel. Just as they were about to make contact with someone who seemed to know about Captain Rahn’s mission the bar was attacked by a group of heavily armed mercenaries.

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Episode IX: Medical Mal(ignant)practice
The doctor will see you now...

Previously: After escaping the ambush at the bar, the group was taken to see Paroga the Hutt, Captain Rahn’s supposed contact on this planet. Paroga saw through their bluff immediately but offered to let them go, and even reward them handsomely, if they brought back his offspring, Mika the Hutt, who had been kidnapped by the Imperials in exchange for more leverage in their slave deals with Paroga. The group agreed and were given a day to plot a hidden route to the base using the surveillance data the Hutt had been gathering. After their meeting they were also approached by one of the Lugubraans named Lorgrombo who let them know that the slaves the Imperials purchased were being used for some sort of medical experiments. Lorgrombo offered to pay the group a great sum of money if they brought back some of the medical data from the Imperial outpost. After they rested and restocked supplies, the group left in their rented speeders and promptly ran into a malfunctioning demolition droid who saw their speeders as valuable raw materials and attempted to process them. A couple of acid pools and a well-placed grenade later, the group continued on, now in a topless speeder with no hope of getting their deposit back. From that point it was a simple matter to find the outpost and sharp ears detected the hum of a ventilation shaft. Following the shaft led to a medical supply storage closet and entrance into the Imperial outpost….

Highlights of this Episode:

  1. Group takes out everyone in the communications center, then must scramble to slice into the system to stop the DELETE ALL command from finishing. Alena manages to use the Imperial Lieutenant’s Code Cylinder and stop the deletion at 65%.
  2. Blaster fire attracts several Imperial Stormtroopers, one of which is carrying a blaster cannon. Jedi Initiate Numinov uses the power of the Force to rip the weapon out of the Stormtrooper’s hands and making the fight much easier.
  3. While mopping up the remaining Stormtroopers, two Warden bots exit the door leading to the facility’s holding cells and start tazing everyone with their shock claws. They are quickly dispatched.
  4. A laboratory is found and the Blaster Cannon is put to good use sending the imperial researcher and medical droid to the big research station in the sky. Also in the lab are two experiments that look to be heavily modified humans, bursting with muscle, sedated and floating in a pair of Bacta Tanks. Nobody touches them.
  5. The surviving imperials on the first level are taken care of as they radio for help from the Holding Cells Security Station. The group grabs every datapad and storage device they can find and loads up on files from the Imperial’s systems.
  6. Also found in the laboratory are several vials of silvery liquid that are reportedly samples from the being known as M’nggal. The Imperials have been experimenting with the samples to create an obedient and self-healing super soldier. A terse argument about what to do with the samples breaks out. Guns are drawn but it is agreed that they will be thrown into the nearest pool of industrial acid as soon as the mission is completed. Reaching out with the Force reveals that the samples are all connected to each other as well as the two experiments floating in the Bacta chambers.
  7. A message is recovered from the communications station detailing a conversation between two Sith, one kneeling and one standing. There is mention of successful experiments and a Phase 2. Numinov recognizes the standing Sith as his father, Sarcev Quest, former Hand of the Emperor.
  8. Sneaking up in the elevator, the group gets the drop on the base commander ordering an evacuation and the setting of charges for detonation. They also spot a Hutt, assumed to be Mika, heading unescorted up a cargo elevator to the hangar on top of the facility. The experiments of the Imperials seem to have been successful as the players encounter two of the M’nggal spawned super soldiers, their eyes a mercurial silver and their bodies warped by muscle.
  9. During the battle it is revealed that the Super-Soldiers are extremely durable and that Mika the Hutt was working with the Imperials all along in order to displace her father and become the new top Hutt on the planet.
  10. The session ends with Mika the Hutt as a prisoner and the Sith still in the hangar above the group.
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Episode X: Darkness Revealed
The true face of the enemy is revealed

Previously: After infiltrating and then storming the first floor of the secrete Imperial base, the group had managed to secure a portion of the communications data and released the prisoners that were being used for experimentation. In the laboratory they discovered two test subjects suspended in Bacta tanks and swollen with obscene amounts of muscle. Despite the gunfight, neither of the experiments seemed to be responsive. However, the Force sensitive members of the group did notice that there seemed to be a connection of some sort between the two subjects and the collection of small vials filled with silvery liquid samples from the creature Mn’ggal. After a tense discussion it was decided that the samples would be tossed into the nearest pool of industrial acid the group came across. Reviewing the data from the captured communications proved shocking for Numinov as they found a holotransmission showing a Shistavanean Sith bowing to a Sith Lord with pale skin and black tattoos scrawled across his face. They discussed the success of the experiments and the transfer of several of the subjects to the secondary site for further testing. Sev Assani also seemed quite shaken but kept his thoughts to himself.

At this point the command center on the second level of the facility had been alerted but the group managed to perform a blitzkrieg attack, confusing the enemy by arriving in four separate turbolifts and putting the looted frag grenades to use. The group quickly cleared out all resistance, including a squad of stormtroopers, an imperial officer, and a pair of the test subjects that seemed to be fully functional and extremely tough. Also discovered was Mika the Hutt who attempted to flee the area but was captured by the group. Upon questioning Mika admitted that the kidnapping was simply a ruse to distract her father, Paroga the Hutt, while she maneuvered to take over his holdings with the help of the Imperials. Now, the group turns their attention to the hangar above where the Force sensitives of the group sense a dark presence waiting for their arrival…

Currently: As the smoke clears from the control room battle, the group turns their attention to Mika the Hutt as she cowers in a corner and trying not to look threatening. Mika tearfully explains that she was only working with the Imperials in an attempt to oust her father, Paroga the Hutt, from his control of the criminal underworld on 244Core. She felt that she would never get the chance to her own empire while Paroga was still in charge so she planned to use her new allies to strong arm him into giving up his holdings. She wasn’t told much about what the slaves she sold were used for but she was on her way to meet the person in charge before they took care of Paroga for her. A little bit of good cop/murderous cop with Alena and the Mandalorians convinces Mika to play along and pretend the group is her entourage as she goes to meet the mysterious commander in the Hangar Bay.

Rising up the undamaged cargo elevator, the group begins to hear the sound of a powerful storm outside. The metallic smell of 244Core’s polluted air gets stronger as they go until they arrive in a large open hangar area. Cargo containers of all sizes litter the hangar floor, a control room sits against the wall to the right and the gaping open maw of the Hangar doors lies open. The storm outside is particularly fierce and lighting cracks every few minutes but the group’s attention is drawn to the two large bacta tanks, identical to the ones found downstairs, and the menacing figure facing away from them.

A dark furred Shistavanen wearing a simple set of robes covered in Sith designs turns to face the group. She compliments them on their ruse to lure out half of her forces and says that the galaxy will need cunning like that in the dark times ahead. She informs them that her name is Darth Tempestus and that, although she does not with to kill them, she will not let anyone interfere with the important work she is doing.

At this point, much to the group’s confusion, Sev steroids forward. Darth Tempestus is obviously shocked and seems to recognize Sev immediately. She smiles at him, her face pained, and says that he obviously got her message but that the time for her salvation is not yet at hand. There was more work she must do in order to safeguard the galaxy from the coming storm. Sev attempts to calm her down by reminding her of the Jedi she once was but she rejects his pleas for peace with a snarl.

Tempestus ignites her lightsabers and taps into the fury within her to engulf the cargo lift platform in a furious Force Storm. Powerful winds and acidic rain pummel the group and they lose sight of the Sith as she turns to flee. Creed, the Mandalorian, is the first to react as he immediately activates his jetpack and leaps up out of the storm and onto one of the large cargo containers. He gives a wicked grin as he spots the Sith running for cover but his glee turns to alarm when he notices the two heavily-armed battledroids that turn their attention to him. As the battle begins in earnest the other members of the group scatter away from the acidic rain of the Force Storm, Sev and Korvash in pursuit of Darth Tempestus while Alena and Numinov both heading for the control room. On the way there Numinov spots a third droid lurking behind one of the supply crates just as a pair of auto-turrets pop out of their concealed wall-plates. One attempts to fire at Numinov but it undergoes a malfunction and sparks fly as it loses one of its targeting servos. The other fires at Creed but it has difficulty hitting him while he maneuvers in mid-air.

Continuing her movement towards cover, Darth Tempestus darts behind one of the large cargo containers but peeks back out to attack Korvash with a blast of Force-inspired fear. Creed fires his pilfered Imperial Auto-Cannon at one of the droids before flying around to bring Tempestus back into view. The hidden droid fires at Numinov and manages to wound him before he can duck back behind cover while the damaged battledroid fires back at Creed, missing him as he careens through the air. The last droid, seeing that Korvash has attacked the designated protectee, fires its missile at him. Even though its not a direct hit, Korvash feels the impact as it detonates one of the crates next to him. Although he is momentarily shaken by the explosion and the fear that Darth Tempestus forced into his mind, Korvash’s warrior training allows him to push onward and he fires his concussion rifle back at the Sith, knocking her to the ground while Numinov darts through the control room in an attempt to surround the Sith.

As she moves between two cargo containers, Darth Tempestus forces a dark vision into the mind of the persistent Creed, hoping to slow down his pursuit. Creed clutches his helmet, screaming out in agony as the SIth’s vision pierces his mind. He sees the galactic plane laid out before him as a glittering disk of stars teeming with the life force of countless beings. From the edges of the galaxy, however, a writhing darkness begins to spread. Every world that it touches is left a blackened, dead husk, devoid of life. This continues until the darkness reaches the core of the galaxy and engulfs it in shadows, extinguishing the last light in the vision and plunging Creed into darkness. Creed’s warrior spirit would not be extinguished, however, and he clawed his way back to reality with a fire in his eyes, unleashing yet another volley of Auto-Cannon fire at the bleeding Sith. Still attempting to protection Tempestus, two of the Droids attempt to grapple Creed in mid-air but he nimbly darts out of their grasp. Sev attempts one last time to appeal to his old friend and, realizing her weakened condition prevented any sort of victory, the Sith finally relents. She slumps her shoulders and criss out, “ENOUGH! I surrender. I’m no good to this galaxy dead.” Darth Tempestus commands the battledroids to stand down and allows the Mandalorians to place binder cuffs on her wrists.

The group quickly grabs Mika the Hutt and one of the disabled droids and loads everyone into a cargo speeder before making a hasty exit . Sev takes the controls and deftly maneuvers the speeder down into the canyons of trash around the base just in time to avoid being spotted by the returning Stormtrooper reinforcements. Doubling back, the Mandalorians retrieve the rented speeders they came in on and fall in behind the cargo speeder. After a brief conversation the two Mandalorians peel off without warning, taking the samples of Mn’ggal with them. Shortly after the group begins heading back towards the city, an earth shaking roar and a burst of light and heat erupts from behind them as the mountain of trash containing the lab is vaporized in a powerful explosion.

Scanning the area, the group spots the shuttle carrying the Imperial troops heading back towards the landing area. Sev puts the pedal to the metal and manages to beat the imperials to their landing pad. Once there they send Mika the Hutt off to alert the authorities to her “kidnapping” while they go fire up the Talon for a quick getaway. Once they reach orbit they get a message from Paroga the Hutt informing them that his daughter has been returned and that he has wired them their credits for a job well done. The crew thanks him before securing Darth Tempestus in one of the cabins and sending a message to the Stellar Horizon requesting Jedi support to be waiting upon their arrival. They all breathe a sigh of relief as they make the jump to hyperspace and settle in for the week long journey back to the Bakura.

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Episode XI - Dark Memories

Episode XI: Dark Memories

It has been two months since you successfully raided the hidden Imperial research facility on the strip-mined world of 244Core and defeated the fallen Jedi, Sage Wyvene.

Although your two groups parted ways, you have each recently received a telepathic message from Sage Wyvene consisting of three words: “Return”, “Answers”, “Vision”. You have all arrived at the Stellar Horizon seeking answers to the dreams that still haunt you.

A young New Republic officer appears at each of your quarters and leads you to the briefing room where Canderous Pags, Chief of Security aboard the New Republic vessel, awaits you…

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As the heroes enter the briefing room they are greeted by Canderous Pags, the Bothan Chief of Security aboard the Stellar Horizon. He thanks them for their contributions to the efforts of the New Republic in keeping the Imperial Remnant from making serious progress in the Unknown Regions. Using the data that the group returned from the Imperial facility and the intelligence given by Sage Wyvene after her return, New Republic forces have been one step ahead of the Imperials.

He informs the group that Sev will be joining them shortly as he was delayed on a fact-finding mission in the Unknown Regions. Once the group is settled in one of the officers activates the Holoterminal connection to the Endor facility and Sage Wyvene’s image flickers to life above the terminal. She appears much more serene than the last time the group saw her. Clad in the simple robes of a Jedi initiate she humbly apologizes to the group for her actions and begs their forgiveness. As she prepares to give the group the information that brought them all together again, however, the signal begins to distort and cut out. Through static and interference the group hears her mention the Imperial research vessel that has remained hidden in the Unknown Regions. Fear crosses her face as the sound of blaster fire can be heard from off screen and she recoils in horror as a small, furry figure launches itself at her before the signal cuts out entirely.

After a moment of shock the control room explodes into action, Canderous Pags shouts orders to get the signal back and tells the group to make their way to Endor as quickly as possible. Before the group leaves for the hangar bay, Numinov drops into a kneeling meditation position and reaches out with his Farseeing ability. He is able to see that Sage is alive and watches as she is dragged down a darkened facility corridor by two Ewoks. Spattered blood marks the walls and he can feel Sage’s terror before he snaps back to reality and informs the group that she is alive but in danger.

The heroes rush to the Hangar Bay and find an old shuttle prepped and ready for launch. The Mandalorian, Khorvash, leaps behind the controls and launches the ship from the hangar bay, immediately jumping to hyperspace. As the group gathers around the cockpit there is a sizzle and pop followed by loud cursing. Crawling out of one of the access hatches is a Twi’lek wearing a mechanic’s outfit. She introduces herself as Aayla’Bonduna, one of the Stellar Horizons engineers, and informs the group that she was working on fixing the hyperdrive when they fired it up, giving her a shock and blowing several fuses that will need to be replaced (again) when they get back to the Stellar Horizon. They explain the situation to her and she excitedly asks if she can join in the mission because she’s been trying to get assigned to one of the explorer teams for months. After showing off the twin modified heavy blasters she keeps in her toolkit, the group agrees that she might be handy in a fight and agree to let her accompany them.

Because of the short distance between Bakura, where the Stellar Horizon is located, and Endor, the journey takes a short 30 minutes before they drop out of hyperspace. The New Republic has been working to repair the devastation on Endor caused by the falling debris from the second Death Star. The Endor Restoration Project has been the subject of a large Public Relations campaign so everyone has seen the pictures but seeing the damage in person is something else. The once lush and green moon is covered in pock marks of dirty gray and brown where large sections of the station flattened miles-wide swaths of the thick forest. Although there does seem to be some vegetation growth in these areas it is obvious that it will be decades, if not centuries, before the massive forests fully recover.

Once they drop out of hyperspace the group receives a message from Canderous Pags with the location of the facility where Sage was working. After her trial by the Jedi Tribunal she was assigned to work as a part of the restoration effort in the hope that she would benefit from healing the forest as well as herself. Pags also indicates that a security forces team already arrived at the facility but contact was lost almost immediately. The group now needs to locate Sage, find the security team, and rescue any scientists they come across.

As they approach the Restoration Station 3148 they see a large storm system approaching the area. The station is located on the edge of one of the largest craters. Unlike the other impact sites, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of renewed growth occurring in the area and it remains a 25 kilometer swath of dirty gray.

When they reach the facility, rain has already begun falling in thick sheets making the landing difficult. Khorvash expertly circles the area, avoiding the massive and ancient trees the facility is built onto, and the group sees the airspeeder that the security forces arrived in. It hangs over the side of the landing pad at a sharp angle, massive dents covering the sides, and as they watch it slides off in a shower of sparks and crashes to the forest below. Khorvash brings the ship in and sets it down gently on the flooded landing pad.

Numinov reaches out with the force to examine the surrounding area for signs of Sage Wyvene and finds a great deal of Dark Side energy in the area. He senses several beings on the landing pad, more inside the facility, and a powerful nexus of Dark Side energy as well as the presence of Sage Wyvene from the direction of the impact zone. After receiving his warning, Creed preps his armor and weapons and lowers the ramp of the shuttle onto the slickened surface of the landing pad. Bending over to shift his eight-foot bulk through the exit, Creed begins clomping his way towards the entrance of the facility where Numinov sensed two points of Dark Side energy. The other Mandalorian, Khorvash, rushes to take a covering position behind the landing gear of the ship but manages to just avoid running face-first into a gigantic centipede-like creature that was sneaking across the underside of the ship. As he moved to engage it the rest of the crew rushed to the ramp and saw that there were three more of these insects scuttling towards them! Although the vile creatures were formidable, and poisonous, they were no match for sustained blaster fire.

During the battle, Creed attempted to engage one of the centipedes but was distracted as he was pelted with crude arrows. He scanned the area and a flash of lightning revealed two Ewoks hiding behind a group of storage crates. After the other three were dispatched the creature fighting Creed fled as fast as its many, many legs could carry it, disappearing over the lip of the landing pad. Deprived of his prey, Creed stomped over to where he had seen one of the Ewoks hiding and, before it could react, cleaved it in two with his Mythosaur axe. The Ewok’s companion let out a terrified squeak and fled through the doors of the facility into the darkness within.

The group gathered around the body and saw that the Ewok was definitely suffering from some sort of corruption. Its normally soft and adorable visage was twisted almost beyond recognition with red eyes, teeth filed to tearing points, and large patches of missing fur from a mange-like disease. Thoroughly disgusted, the group made their way into the darkened facility and followed the corridor to what appeared to be a storage area.

Streaks of blood are smeared across the floor and it appears that the Ewoks had been dipping their stubby hands into the smears to write on the walls. Cryptic phrases, written in basic, caused worry among the group as the Ewoks had never learned Basic. The content of the phrases was also chilling as the Ewoks had written things like, “goooooooooooood”, “feel your anger”, “let the hate flow through you”, “you will die”.

Leading out of the area were three doors labeled “Living Quarters”, “Labs/Research”, and “Operations”. The group headed for the Operations room to look for information on what had happened during the attack. Approaching the door they saw that the room was completely dark and the deep red emergency lighting system seemed to have been damaged. Sweeping the area with light from their glow rods they saw that the room had been covered in some sort of sticky webbing and that many of the panels had been destroyed in the fighting. In the center of the room they saw five humanoid shapes thickly wrapped in web-cocoons and covered in pulsating green eggsacks. Creed immediately moves to cut the closest figure from the webbing and bursts one of the small egg-sacs on his armor causing it to start sizzling and smoking. The group realizes that they must carefully cut away the egg sacs to avoid harming whoever is inside.

While the rest of the group tends to the cocooned victims, Aayla’Bonduna moves to the computers and manages to get a powered interface hooked up between her datapad and the facility’s power systems allowing her to reactivate some of the emergency generators and bringing up the lights and several security cameras. Reviewing the recordings from the time of the attack she sees that a large number of Ewoks managed to sneak into the facility and quickly subdue all the scientists as well as Sage Wyvene. They also made short work of the Security Forces team that arrived shortly afterwards and dragged most of the personnel down to a speeder hangar on the forest floor beneath the facility before dragging them out into the rain and disappearing.

Alena Fane, the Jal Shey Initiate, used her surgical skills to expertly remove the webbing and egg sacs from the scientists, only causing minor damage to two of them. The scientists had been paralyzed by the toxin from the centipede creatures but a quick dose of anti-venom was able to revive them. One of the victims was actually the lead scientist at the research station and the group quickly questioned him about what had happened. He explained that the Ewoks attacked out of nowhere but there had been signs that something was happening to them for a while. Despite their best efforts they had not been able to make any progress in stimulating new growth in the area so the scientists theorized that there was some sort of contamination from the wreckage in the center of the impact zone. The Ewok’s village was within the zone and only a small number of them had made it out. The scientists tried to explain that the area was dangerous but the Ewoks had been seen sneaking in on several occasions.

The past few months, however, the Ewoks had been becoming more aggressive until finally they disappeared completely. The scientists also noticed that they were seeing larger and larger specimens of the centipede creatures that the Ewoks called Strahka. Then, a few days ago, one of the probes that monitored the impact zone for illegal salvagers had caught the Ewoks building a new village inside of the large piece of Death Star wreckage at the heart of the devastation. The attack came a few days afterwards.

The lead scientist tells the group that the others were taken and that each of them wears an emergency locator to facilitate rescue if they ever got injured or lost out in the forest. The group gets the frequency and his keycard before securing the scientists in the operations room and heading down to the speeder bay. The group finds three A-A5 speeder trucks converted into mobile ecological research stations and takes two of them, speeding off into the rain-lashed darkness.

As they speed through the impact zone they see that the scientists were correct about how dead the landscape was. Even normal decomposition of the dead trees caught in the blast seems to have slowed and the area is a muddy graveyard of vegetation. The rain softens the earth and flows towards the center of the crater, turning from small streams to raging torrents as it goes. As the group approaches the center they see that a large lake has formed and in the middle, looming out of the darkness, is a massive and twisted piece of the shattered Death Star. Their keen eyes pick out the glow of firelight coming from the remains of a large hangar and Numinov senses that the Dark Side corrupted Ewoks are gathered deeper inside the structure. Landing the two speeder trucks in the remnants of the hangar bay, the group sees that the Ewoks have created a small village in the wreckage using mud to erect crude huts around a large fire pit.

Off to the side the group spots a large cage built out of the twisted and petrifying branches from some of the dead trees in the area. A quick examination shows that a large number of people were held inside, based on the pools of drying blood, and a spattered trail of blood drops indicates they were moved a short while ago and taken down a corridor towards where the Ewoks are gathered.

Aayla’Bonduna and Khorvash sneak ahead of the group to scout out the area and manage to avoid an Ewok left behind to patrol the area before arriving at the gathering place of the Ewoks. What they see chills Aayla’bonduna’s blood as she recognizes the Death Star throne room of the Emperor from the old holovid documentaries. Gathered around a large bonfire in the lowest portion of the room are the corrupted Ewoks that Numinov sensed. On the next level, guarded by more Ewoks, are the captured scientists and security team members. Finally, in the very back of the room and tied to the remains of the Emperor’s throne, is Sage Wyvene herself, eyes wide in terror and darting around the room in a panicked fashion. Behind her, strung up with a series of crude ropes is a twisted piece of metal plating about five feet in diameter. The plating seems to have been imbedded with a shadow in the shape of a cloaked figure and with a sickening sense of realization; the two scouts understand that the Ewoks are worshipping the dark remains of the dreaded Emperor Palpatine!

Will our heroes rescue Sage Wyvene? What message did she have for them about the mysterious Imperial research ship? How did the primitive Ewoks uncover the remains of the most feared man in the entire galaxy? All this and more on the next Episode!!!

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Episode XII: The Hunt Begins
Ewoks are not to be trifled with

Previously: After parting ways in the Unknown Regions, the group was drawn back together by a telepathic message from Sage Wyvene. Hoping to find answers to the questions raised during the raid of the Imperial Medical Facility, the group arrived aboard the Stellar Horizon, Headquarters of the New Republic Explorer Corps. They were shocked, however, when Sage was attacked by Ewoks during her transmission from the forest moon of Endor.

Racing to her rescue the group fought their way into the facility, discovering a Twi’lek mechanic that had been working on the shuttle they commandeered who decided to join them on their mission. After rescuing several scientists they learned that Sage had been taken to the Death Star wreckage in the center of the nearby impact zone. The group hastily made their way through the storm washed wasteland and discovered that the Ewoks had built a village in an intact hangar Bay and that they were all gathered together deep in the twisted metal of the wreck. Scouting ahead, the Twi’lek and the Taung discovered that the Ewoks had found the remains of the Throne Room of Emperor Palpatine. What’s more, they had retrieved his remains, now nothing more than a shadowy figure blasted into a piece of bulkhead, and appeared to be worshipping them!

Currently: The group is joined by Sev Assani who lands the Talon in the hangar bay next to the two trucks from the research facility. Returning from their reconnaissance mission, Korvash and Aayla, the Twi’lek mechanic, inform the group of the strange scene they came across. Everyone agreed that something needed to be done immediately and so they all crept towards the gathering, stopping only to allow Creed to demolish a distracted Ewok guard in the tunnels. As they all peered around the corner of the turbolift shaft they saw that Sage Wyvene had been tied to the Emperor’s throne using the Ewok’s crude ropes and appeared to be unconscious. On the landing below her, several paralyzed scientists were laid on the deck plating, covered in Strahka webbing except for their heads and guarded by several Ewoks. On the lowest landing, even with the heroes, the Ewoks had constructed a large bonfire that lit the area with a flickering glow as they danced around it.

Stepping from behind the throne and Sage Wyvene, an elderly gray-haired Ewok Shaman called for the attention of the group, banging his staff three times. He wore a crudely stitched together black robe, bone jewelry on his wrists and neck, and his staff was tipped with a twisted piece of unidentified metal. The Ewoks immediately ceased their dancing and singing and turned their attention to the Shaman as he raised his hands towards the suspended piece of metal with the Emperor’s blasted silhouette embedded in it. As the Ewoks began chanting, an oily black smoke began seeping from the remains, pouring onto the ground and curling around the feet of the Shaman and the unconscious form of Sage Wyvene.

Seeing their opportunity while the Ewoks were distracted, the heroes struck! Creed charged in, swinging his Mythosaur axe while the rest of the group laid down covering fire. The Shaman attempted to bring Creed down using a variety of Dark Side powers, but the Gen’Dai was too powerful and tenaciously advanced under the onslaught. From the depths of the wreckage Strahka larva began to crawl their way upwards and Alena, the Jal Shey, noticed something even bigger making its approach. A hail of blaster fire took care of the remaining Ewoks that were charging the group but not before Sev Assani was struck by one of their spears. Korvash ignited his jetpack just as the massive head of the Strahka Queen reared out of the darkness below and he immediately caught her attention with a stream of bolts from his heavy blaster.

Spurred on by the encouragement of Alena, the group rallied against the remaining threats and, with a well-placed shot from Aayla’s custom pistols, the Shaman was finally put down. The Ewoks and Strahka, freed from his influence, immediately attempted to retreat but only one of the Ewoks manage to escape the group’s wrath. Korvash put a final flurry of bolts into the Strahka Queen and, as she fell from the wall of the shaft, he jetted over and used his blaster to separate her massive head from her body, claiming it as his trophy.

The group quickly freed the scientists and Sage, administering antidotes to the Strahka’s paralytic poison and treating their remaining injuries. Aayla eagerly examined the body of the Ewok Shaman and discovered that his staff was tipped with the twisted remains of a lightsaber, still somehow functional despite its damaged state. The Force Sensitive members of the group immediately sensed the malevolence housed inside the artifact and convinced her that it must be taken to the Council of the New Jedi Order to be disposed of. All of the Ewok’s victims recovered quickly and were eager to return to the safety of the science facility. Sage, however, remained unconscious until the group made their way back to the medical center aboard the Stellar Horizon.

After waking up Sage explained that she had discovered information about the hidden Imperial Research Vessel the group was looking for. After using her Farseeing ability to spy on her former associates in the Imperial Remnant, she managed to overhear a meeting between an Imperial Officer, Vonan Trask, and two alien beings. The first was an older Arkanian woman dressed in very fine clothing and wearing the logo of the Arkanian Biotechnology Corporation. The other was an Ebruchi with a flaming fist symbol prominently displayed on his patchwork armor. Sev recognized the symbol as belonging to the Flotilla of the Flaming Fist, the pirates that he was escaping from when he first met the group. The meeting was regarding a late shipment of medical equipment from the planet Medrosa V. This was as much information as Sage was able to glean before her vision failed her. She contacted the group immediately afterwards.

After receiving these leads the group immediately began hunting for more details. While everyone checked through their contacts, Numinov and Sev delivered the lightsaber of Emperor Palpatine to the Jedi Temple on Yavin 4. The Council received their report with grave concern and agreed that more Jedi needed to be assigned to watch over Endor to ensure that the dark side influence on the moon was contained. The two also inquired about Koth Ab’lon, Sage’s former Jedi teacher. They were informed that he had been sent on a delicate mission and was out of contact so they left a message to have him contact them as soon as he returned.

While they were returning to the Stellar Horizon, Aayla was checking with her contacts on the HoloNet technology forums to see if anyone had info on the planet Medrosa V. Although it was mostly rumors and hearsay she was able to gather that the planet was a gas giant in the Unknown Regions with a highly corrosive atmosphere. More alarmingly, no one who had traveled to the system within the past century had been heard from again.

After Numinov and Sev returned they decided to ask Canderous Pags if he had access to the Bothan Spynet. It took some convincing from Alena but eventually they managed to talk him into checking with his contacts for information on their leads. It took several days but he managed to get in touch with the Spynet and got some details on the information the group was looking for.

The Spynet didn’t find any mention of the planet known as Medrosa V, but they did find several old Hyperspace Navigators Guild records that matched the planet’s description but listed under the name Trona. Their information on the pirates was similarly vague as the group’s territory was restricted to the Unknown Regions but they were able to confirm that the group was a powerful threat in the area. Several systems had attempted concerted operations to hunt the group down but their leader, a being known as Graxus, always eluded capture and enacted violent reprisals against the aggressors. To the disappointment of the Mandalorians, the Spynet was unable to find details on any remaining Taung or Gen’Dai in the galaxy. Sev’s ship, the Sage Legatus, also proved to elusive for the Spynet to track down.

With this new information, Sev secretly contacted his old smuggling associates in the Syndicate to see if they could get him a copy of recent navigation data for the system. It took some time and a fair number of credits to grease the necessary palms, but he was able to track down someone who had a copy of the route, although its reliability was not guaranteed.

Next Time: With this new information the group finally has a lead in their search for the Imperial Research Vessel working on the new Super Soldier program. Will they successfully navigate the dangers of the Unknown Regions to arrive at the mysterious planet known as Medrosa V? What obstacles will they encounter in their quest? And what will they find when they reach the end of their journey?

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