The Undying Threat.

Paleskaan

The Skylark has an uneventful journey in reaching Waypoint Station above Sadukka 2, and here the ship is berthed and the Jedi contingent are met by representatives of the Samioi Movement, and Harramis Datshara leaves with them for a few hours to discuss some finer points of the business between the 2 Force using traditions. Tal Eran spends some time going over customs checks and bureaucracy with the local port officials, and the Jedi all make sure that they have all they need for the immediate moment, for customs dictate that the Skylark must be in dock for at least 24 hours whilst the necessary documentation and port business is concluded; it is decided that most of the Jedi materials for the Enclave are to remain in the Skylarks hold, and Tal, Meshara Raaril and the droids shall remain on Waypoint station with the ship whilst the Jedi take a shuttle to their destination of the palace of Paleskaan. Also being introduced are the small contingent of the local law enforcement (called The Law Guards) who shall act as intermediaries and additional protection for the Jedi Enclave, at least for the short term. They are comprised of Captain Argraar Deshunia (a Cathar male and the leader of the unit) and his 4 law officers, being Talsis Vamphora (a burly affable human male), Poyona Miturii (female Twi lek), Vander Slenn (wiry and lean human male) and lastly Lekta Adoyness (Togrutan female). They are all pleased and in the Captains case honoured to meet the Jedi.

Once Harramis returns, the Jedi board the shuttle and make their way down to the Palace of Paleskaan, located in an area of Crown owned land in the Hidanna Highlands on the coast, located some 6 hours from the Sadukkan capital Sadukka City. The journey is easy and take a little over half an hour, and when they arrive, a 4 storied building elaborately constructed from sandstone and other materials greets them; it has extensive grounds, is located on a high hill overlooking the forested hills to the south and west and with stunning views of the sea to the north and east. Once arrived, the Guards immediately perform security checks to make sure the area is still secure (they checked earlier but you never know) and the Jedi alight and start settling in, having a good look around what is to be their home for some time. One of the glasteel walled ballrooms on the first floor makes an excellent sparring and lightsaber practice room for example, having a wonderful view of the sea and horizon.

Harramis elects to take his Padawan Hana Lightfoot on a bracing evening run amongst the trails and forested hills around the Palace, leaving the rest to become familiar with the palace at their leisure.

Meanwhile, Tal is visited by the welcome sight of Kayla Pek in her uniform as she visits the ship, and she spends some time catching up, relaying the doings of her family and own self as she hears about what her former shipmates have been doing. She leaves soon, but confirms she’ll visit for longer when she has some shore leave due.

Harramis leaves with Hana to the capital for important (and sadly unavoidable) meetings with delegates and Samioi, leaving 3 guards and the Jedi to their own devices. During a good run, Fowmaral and his Padawan Xiola Blu come across a highpoint of the area, being a wooded high bluff with spectacular views of the surrounding area. They first notice it as a good spot which enemies might use to attack from, but they also note the Light side of the Force is strong here, and Fowmaral believes it a good place to become a meditation grove at some point.

That night,Tersha has a Force Vision when at rest, with the 5 Dark River engineers being killed by the Force within captivity; her Vision also shows a weblike network of motes and energies floating in darkness, all leading to one shadowy figure at the centre, but more ominously, there is a vision of 4 moons in the sky behind the figure, with the seas and waters behind raging and roiling in a magnificent and awesome tide.

Tersha relays this information to them all at the early morning meal, and thought they all think it over, it is Xiola who suggests that the shadowy figure is manipulated by the 4 moons behind, though what they represent is unknown as yet; certainly, local tides on Sadukka are heavily and powerfully influenced by the movements of the 4 moons, with the seas becoming dangerous and volatile when all 4 moons are in the sky at once.

Deciding that winning the hearts and minds of the locals is a good way to start, Jaric Morandin, Fowmaral, Tersha and Xiola (with Guardsman Talsis in tow) take a walk down the wooded trail towards the nearest village of Mindine (the other 2 villages of Salemisk and Ceraalene are further away). As they approach, passing the terraced groves and orchards that support the local brewing and wineries, they see some old looking ruins near the village. At the village, they are regarded with polite and curious interest by the locals, and are met by the Headmna, an old gent by the name of Menyo. They talk of small things, like the local economy and way of life, and when at the local tavern, they are informed that an academic man was in the village a couple of days previously, on his way to the ruins. Intrigued, the Jedi (guided by Menyo) wander along the pathways to the large ruins to find the man and talk with him of his interest.

The ruins are made up of 4 large ziggurat pyramids, well made (the south western o0ne has partially collapsed some time ago), with walls linking them around a central mezzanine or courtyard. Fowmaral estimates that these ruins are at least 6000 years old, certainly pre-dating the Republic and likely even the Jedi. As they approach, they can hear a slight sound, a humming on the periphery of their senses. Looking within the courtyard, they see a small pyramid like device sits in the centre, and it appears to be the source of the humming. Jaric approaches to investigate, and as he does, he feels the ground tremble underfoot, and he dives aside in time as the centre of the courtyard collapses in with a roar and cloud of dust. As they all focus on the area, they hear the sound of jet enjines from within the dusty hole, and after a few moments and very large and dangerous droid flies up from the hole, with 4 long spider like legs from its chassis and a 4 armed humanoid torso in the centre. It’s head is angular and wedge like, with 2 red glowing eyes. The arms it has end in an array of blaster and heavy weapons, with clawed hand and even a large sword. It is even hard to establish if it is made from metal, stone or ceramic.

It immediately assumes an aggressive posture after scrutinising the Jedi, and with that, battle is joined. The ensuing battle is hard fought, with the jedi drawing on much of their skill and power to defeat the hardy foe, and the masterstroke of Fowmaral and Jaric combining their Move Object powers to take hold of the droid and slam it into the floors and walls of the ruins helps enormously. Tersha battles the thing up close and delivers the final blow with her force guided lightsaber. Even then, the defeated droid has one last trick to play, and enters into a self destruct mode that the party only just manage to avoid. Certainly, they note that the sheared away land and ruins from the odd imploding explosion indicate a lethal sting in the tail for a foe of this droid.

Dusting themselves down from their various injuries and burns, they and Talsis take charge of the situation, calling for support and informing the authorities. When the Captain and other guards arrive, the 3 Jedi Knights and the Captain descend into the pit where the droid came from (a good 20 metres down) and find a very cold antechamber with unusual symbols and etchings on the walls. Fowmaral in particular finds a small frieze showing armies of these droids (with bigger ones too) battling alongside humanoids against foes who seem somewhat alien, and amongst those foes are war engines that look a lot like the mighty machine they encountered a long time previously on a dark and dangerous planet beyond the Outer Rim. Not much wiser, they take notes of all they can and return to the war sunshine above.

Relaying in brief what has happened to Harramis via coms, they politely welcome the thanks dn praise of the thankful villagers and return to the Palace, where they are met by the arrival of Tal and the Skylark. They have much to think on, and foremost amongst these is who created the droid, who woke it up and are there any more of them? The fact that the frieze indicated that what they fought was a comparative footsoldier and there were bigger ones on the mural is a cause for some concern…

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Welcome to Sadukka (hope you like the bomb)

Tal Eran decides that the best plan is to use some clever smuggler tricks to sneak close to the mystery vessels on low power to see what is going on; he’s done this before and knows what he is doing. The others agree, and the Skylark glides silently and smoothly to within viewing range of the vessels and what they find is surprising.

The fighters are a mixture of Star Sabers and Stingers (all stock army surplus ships easily bought), but the other 2 ships are more alarming; the smaller of them is a Quartermaster class freighter that Tersha immediately feels is immensely dangerous, whilst the other is a 400 metre long hammerhead shaped warship bristling with both heavy turbolaser batteries and point defence laser batteries. There is also what appears to be an ominous main gun mounted forward as well, though no missile emplacements nor an excess of hanger areas. Given what she feels, Tersha thinks there is likely a bomb within the Freighter, such is the dire feeling she gets from it. It is quickly decided that if so, it must be made safe, and so Tersha and Jaric Morandin volunteer to secretly board the ship to take it out of action, accompanied by T3-X2 on bomb disposal duties. The others will remain aboard the Skylark, ready to dust off if the alarm is raised to avoid themselves being caught like sitting ducks by the other ships. It is understood that in such an event, the boarders will have to fend for themselves for the duration.

The boarding trio enter the freighter by umbilical link after Tal slides up close to the freighter, and proceed to explore the vessel. The others on the ship await as tension rises. Sadly, the alarm is raises when the boarders encounter a pair of guards and an engineer at the entrance to one of the cargo bays; the enemies are all human and dressed in the Sadukkan fashion with black headscarfs around their foreheads. The 2 armed men are dropped quickly but not before one gets a shot off that alerts the rest of the ship; the engineer is stunned by T3. As the alarm is raised, the ships all start to power up quickly, and the Skylark immediately braks the connection to the freighter and starts to make an escape.

Back on the freighter, Tersha takes up a defensive position at the entrance to the cargo area as Jaric and T3 enter, seeing the 6 Super Heavy fission warheads within the bay. T3 immediately gets started to examine the ordnance, whilst Jaric stands watch. Tersha immediately hears the approach of a number of people in the corridor and steps out to engage, with 5 armed men suddenyl locked in a short range and deadly battle with the Miralukan Jedi. At about the same time, a secondary entrance point at the end of the cargo bay is opened and a force pike armed man enters, also wearing a headscarf but with a silver slash across it. He challenges Jaric by calling him a Jedi Heretic and awaits the Jedi. Jaric closes with him and kills him with casual passionless ease, before heading back up the way the man entered by, for he feels a dark presence from the bridge area.

In space, the Skylark manages to get its engines working quickly before starting to escape, with MDK-1 heading towards the Ion cannon turret and Meshara Raaril heading towards the blaster turret. Hana Lightfoot and Xiola Blu (the 2 Padawans) tale up position at the comms terminal whilst Fowmaral sits in the co pilot position offering his Force Fuelled advice to the pilot. The Skylark makes a run for it, chased by the 6 fighters, and soon a desperate battle is underway, with the experienced and gifted pilot twisting and turning in an attempt to avoid the weapons of his pursuers. One fighter is badly damaged and forced to retire, as the great capital ship powers up surprisingly quickly, moving to secure the bomb ship with a tractor beam.

Aboard the bomb ship, Tersha starts steadily dropping her fanatical attackers, whilst Jaric slowly enters the bridge area to encounter another force pike armed man and an elegant woman dressed in fine clothes, armed with a long curving Sadukkan sword. He immediately feels her redolence in the Dark Side, and when she tries to Force Choke him this is confirmed. He Rebukes her atatck, before the 3 engage in a furious melee. The man is killed quickly, but the woman is a different prospect, for her Force enhanced sword cuts deep and moves as fast as a lightsaber, and soon the 2 of them are bleeding and injured from numerous wounds. At this time Tersha has disposed of her 5 foes and makes her way to the bridge to the direction of the force echoes she can feel, and she also engages the mystery woman, though it is Jaric who finally ends the woman with a skilful blow. They are also mindful of the ship now being held by the warship in a tractor beam, and prepare themselves for what is likely to be a counter attack. In the meantime, they secure the last of the ship, taking 5 engineers prisoner (T3 shot one dead who tried to use a restraining bolt on him).

In space, the swarming fighters are starting to add up around the Skylark, and it seems only a matter of time before one gets a lucky shot in, when Fowmaral warns Tal for evasive action, seconds before a flight of 6 Republic Aurek fighters drop out of hyperspace close to them. Tal immediately raises them on comms to announce who he is, and makes for the safety of them. The Aureks immediately take their toll on the older stock fighters, as the other 6 fighters of the advanced scouting mission and the 2 Foray class blockade runners with them also drop out of hyperspace. In moments the enemy fighters are defeated with no Republic losses, and attention turns towards the imposing form of the formidable capital ship. Tal advises the Republic commander in charge that if they atacked as they are they may win but it is not guaranteed and any victory is likely to be pyrrhic. At this point, the capital ship stops its tractor beam and in a surprisingly quick time jumps into hyperspace, conceding the field. The Republic vessels secure the area and fly patrols until the rest of the fleet arrives, with the host of 36 ships arriving about a few hours later.

The Republic confiscate the Bomb ship and its contents, but the Jedi take custody of the prisoners to take them to the correct authorities at Sadukka. The party are pleased to hear Kayla Pek‘s welcome voice over the comms, as she is flying one of the 3 Chela class heavy fighters that form part of the advance scouting squadron. She and her comrades leave immediately to jump to Sadukkan space to make sure it is clear (dangerous, but that’s the military for you), with the Skylark opting to follow shortly after, taking the prisoners with them. Captain Leontis Vaxxos thanks them for their help and will seek them out to thank them properly when the fleet arrives in Sadukkan space.

Over the 2 day hyperspace journey through the Megaeron Cluster run, the party interrogate the prisoners, discovering that they are indeed part of the Dark River movement, and were led by a Lady Amphira (the woman Jaric killed). She commanded their cell when they were called, and with the way the organisation is run, it is very hard to chase up the chain of command to find out more information, as they do not know other cells, or indeed who ultimately leads them, other than someone called the “Lord High Protector”. They know that the warship they have is called the Salakunya (Pure Defender is the loose translation) but have never been aboard it. The plan was for the ships to wait until the Republic fleet arrived and then for the Bomb ship (which has powerful shielding and short range powerful engines) to charge into the heart of the fleet and detonate. The lady and her crew would have escaped long before then aboard the 2 life pods, and in the resulting carnage, the Salakunya and the 6 fighters would have done more damage against the fleet, seriously damaging it if not destroying it outright.

No more can be gleaned from the fanatics, other than that they were all selected from their mid teens and trained in secretive moving camps. With this to ponder, the Skylark and her crew arrive safely within Sadukkan space at the fringes of the system, where a Forey class blockade runner and 6 fighters (including the Chela’s and Kayla) await. There are also four of the Sadukkan Interdiction ships present, waiting to welcome the fleet. Kayla can speak freely now, given she is in command of her flight of fighters (though not the Foray), and she advises that the way is clear for the Skylark to head towards Sadukka 2, the centre of the system. With promises of catching up when duty allows, the party prepare to arrive at their destination, where an uncertain future and a clever and implacable foe awaits…

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The difference a year makes
Sadukka beckons

With the knowledge that within a year they shall likely be bound towards the Outer Rim Sadukka system, the party decide to spend a year out engaging in solo activities, with the new Jedi Knights taking their first solo steps in their new roles, and Tal Eran deciding to travel for a while aboard the Skylark.

Tal spends the year networking and building some useful contacts, with 4 being of import; the first is a Bothan information broker called Freijj who resides upon Corellia, the second is building a greater rapport with the benevolent Hutt Prello on Tattooine, and the third being a mercenary captain called Vos Morlak based on Nar Shaddaa (and leader of a powerful mercenary company). The fourth is more complicated, given that in a Sabacc game on the Smugglers Moon he lost an almost unloseable hand to a Scout/Bounty hunter called Meshara Raaril. His only recourse was to surrender a %25 stake in his own ship, and now he shares the ownership of his ship with the competent and wry Cathar. She also gets along famously with T3-X2 as well, to add insult to injury. He does the odd spot of work and help for his small network of allies, even running a couple of smuggling runs to the resistance on Taris (both his and Vos’ home world) providing weapons and so on. From the Bothan he also hears that the Rodian Bounty Hunter Chido still holds a massive grudge against Tersha, and like all vengeful Rodians aims to collect…

Speaking of Tersha, she spends the first part of her year first visiting Alpheridies (the Miralukan homeworld) to study wit5h the Luka Sene, a Force Sensitive Miralukan Movement. There she learns more of her people and culture and also some new ways to view the force and the world about her. She then travels as a lone Jedi Knight, finding things to do and becoming familiar with the new role she has.

Jaric Morandin spends much of his year doing what all good Guardian Jedi do, namely fighting injustice and scouting for signs of Darkside influence. In Nar Shaddaa he hears of the official parting of the ways between Gunseng and Sorcha Vardarrin, he also hears that Korriban (the Sith homeworld) is a very bad place to visit and makes the guess that perhaps the Ragged Figure shall end up travelling there. He rounds off his year by instructing younglings and Padawans in lightsaber techiques.

Fowmaral indeed does take on a Padawan to train, and the promising and precocious Padawan Xiola Blu becomes his charge. With her in tow, he assists around the Praxeum for about 6 months before leaving with her to show her a little of life outside Arboa, taking in such sights as Corellia (good) all the way to the war torn ruins of Iridonia (not so good). As a Consular, he acts with wisdom and imparts advice and help to those who ask or need it. A good year is had by him.

The party are all reunited again to attend the low key ceremony of Harramis Datshara becoming a Jedi Master (something he can no longer put off). They are all made aware that the Sadukkan government has consented to the creation of a permanent Jedi presence in their system, and also a Republican military presence to be officially stationed there too. Big concessions from the proud Sadukkans it appears. Harramis is to be the Jedi Master posted to Sadukka, along with his new Padawan Hana Lightfoot (whom the party saved some time ago from Sorcha). Also of note is that the Hammerhead cruiser at the head of the 26 ship Republican fleet (10 Cruisers and 26 freighters and other support vessels) is the Liberator, the posting of their great friend Kayla Pek. Hopefully a happy reunion will be in the offing.

They are told that the Republic fleet will be departing from the CEC shipyards at Corellia soon, and so they decide that travelling and arriving separately from the fleet will show the Sadukans that Jedi and Republic are not the same thing (to allay some tensions perhaps). This being said, they leave to time their arrival at the Sadukkan Jump Buoy in advance of the Fleet; this will allow them to scout ahead of the fleets own advance scouts.

The 4 day journey in hyperspace passes, with the Jedi becoming acquainted with Meshara and her reasons for being on the ship. The ship carries the party, Xiola, Meshara, Harramis and his Padawan Hana along with the crew of droids and the various items and supplies a Jedi enclave may need.

They arrive at the Buoy after an uneventful journey; the Buoy is important as it holds updated coordinates for ships to traverse the Megaeran Corridor, the passage through the hazardous Megaeran Cluster nebula, making any journey to or from the Sadukkan system a 2 jump affair. Once there T3 starts checking the Buoy for charts, and is disturbed to note that the charts have been subtly altered, ensuring that any ships bound towards Sadukka using these records will likely come to a grim end within the Cluster. Using the enhanced ship sensors, Tal detects 6 fighters and 2 capital sized ship lying on the outer edges of sensor range, all on low power use to mask their presence. This immediately has the ship and her compliment suspecting Mandalorians.

Tal raises Captain Leo Vaxos (the Liberators captain and leader of the fleet) on powerful Holo, and he alerts the wily Corellian officer of his findings. Captain Vaxos tells him that an advance squadron of scouts accompanied by 2 Foray Class blockade runners are about 4 hours away from the Buoy in Hyperspace, and the rest of the fleet is a day behind them. Amongst the squadrons pilots is Kayla. Captain Vaxos asks Tal if there is any way he c an get more intel on the nature of the hidden shipd, as it would help the incoming patrol prepare for what could be a very difficult situation; Tal says he’ll see what he can do, and the Skylarks travellers start to form plans…

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Leaving Padawan callowness behind

During the 3 day journey home in Hyperspace, the party divert themselves in various ways; Tal Eran and T3-X2 spend the time going over the memory core of the Krath droid they removed, and the Padawans Fowmaral, Tersha and Jaric Morandin spend the time trying to get through to the Force Sensitive girl they rescued from the Thalassians.

Tal and T3 manage to examine the undamaged sections and footage from the doid, and it charts a past of unrelenting violence and bleakness, from the droids first moments after activation (along with thousands of its fellows), through its battles and conflicts throughout the Great Sith War and afterwards, seeing it take part in the killings of countless innocents, soldiers and even Jedi. They did get some still images of its last mistress, who seemed to be a Krath Death Witch of some kind, but the identity for now of this Dark Side woman is unknown; all in all a sobering reminder of recent history.

The Padawans spend the 3 days trying to reach the girl, and as a combined effort of Fowmaral and Tersha speaking to the girl kindly and calmly, and Jaric providing meditative support, the girl opens up a little. Her name is Rainne, and her entire family have been killed, despite her warning them of visions of bad men coming. The Padawans note the dark core of anger and grief within the girl, and are concerned that even at a tender age, she could take the first faltering steps down a dark path. By the time they reach Arboa, the girls future is still uncertain.

They elect to land on a landing pad of the Praxeum (the better to mask the Senators childrens presence) and are met by Master Thom Echarn. He speaks first with Harramis Datshara, who gives quiet rare praise for the Padawans and even Tals conduct and actions. Master Thom asks the Padawans to seclude themselves in the Meditation Garden for 24 hours, as they will soon be raised to Knighthood and must commune with the Living Force.

Master Thom does tell them that he is pleased with them after Harramis’ praise, and he then takes care of the 3 children, with the Senators children being attended to by Jedi Healers (especially with the son who is still gravely ill from whatever the villain injected him with) and Master Thom leading Rainne away to talk to her.

Master Thom does ask Tal for a favour; he asks if Tal, when he goes to Corellia to get his ship repaired, can return with a special guest and his entourage. Tal agrees when he hears it is Senator Amireth Huren and a small retinue, for the Senator wishes to travel incognito to Arboa to secure his children.

The Padawans spend a time of fasting and contemplation as the Force reveals a little of their future; they all share a hazy vision of themselves, standing on the bridge of a ship, facing a dark shrouded figure with glasteel windows looking out onto a great space battle. All they know is that it is a number of years in the future, and all of them feel the weight of much struggle and hardship on themselves.

They are roused from their reverie and it is the next day with the sun just starting to rise, as they are led by a Padawan to the Solar of the Praxeum, where their family, friends and other Praxeum sit waiting quietly. Master Thom sits in the centre of the hall with 3 mats arrayed before thim. The 3 walk slowly to sit on the mats before him, and after some quiet words of welcome, their Master has them repeat after him the Jedi Code. The words echo around the hall from them, and at their end, Master Thom bids them rise up and stand as Jedi Knights. They are presented by some Padawans with their new Jedi Knight robes, and then they are congratulated by one and all.

After this, Tal says his congratulations and Bullacca his goodbyes, for the formidable wookiee warrior can stay his journey back to Kashyyk no longer; he will take up arms against the evil corporation that has enslaved his home. They all hope to meet again, but Bullacca is a wook on a mission. Tal and Bullacca depart aboard the Skylark (his official name for his ship), and in 6 hours are in the Corellian system.

Bullacca and Tal spend a few days securing a shipment of weapons and supplies that the wookiee can take back to his homeworld whilst the ship is in the dock being fixed, and then they say their goodbyes. Perhaps they shall meet again, but for now they shall walk separate paths.

Tal then spends the next week and a bit enjoying time to himself and also as the sometime guest of Brigadier General Welkin (the maternal Uncle of Kayla Pek, who they met during the battle of Iridonia when they were aiding her in her business against Gunseng; the Brigadier tells him a little of the war and what has happened to the 3rd Corellian Mechanized Infantry Regiment in that time since Iridonia. They are now under the command of the Jedi General Kelis Aranaka, one of Revans 2 most competent and close allies. The Brigadier cannot hide his admiration and respect for her and indeed the Jedi as a whole, for without them the war against the Mandalorians would have been lost by now.

Tal spends a good time on holiday, but when his ship is repaired he meets the Senator in the dock with his small retinue, and they depart. During the voyage to Arboa, he talks with the Senator of Sadukka about the Outer Rim homeworld and his people, and the Senator thanks Tal for his part in saving his children.

Meanwhile on Arboa, the new Jedi Knights spend some time getting used to their new status, as Harramis takes on a new Padawan. During this time, Jedi Healers establish that the boy child of Senator Huren was injected with a suppressant poison that kept the child ill but also suppressed his Force Sensitivity. The boy is now cured, but the nature of what ailed the child and why it was used raises more questions.

Fowmaral also finally manages to help Rainne expunge the darkness from her thoughts and soul in a cathartic conversation that frees the girl, and she finally agrees to be taken on as a youngling within the Praxeum.

When Tal arrives back with the Senator at the Praxeum, the politician and his children are reunited and the Jedi thanked the their part in the rescue. At this, Senator Huren then talks with Master Thom and the party about what his childrens abduction might mean.

That someone knew his son was Force Sensitive is assured, and that the children abducted and their death supposed to be assumed indicates it was not a mere assassination. It seems obvious that someone wanted the children taken alive, and the boy meant for others rather than the Sith at Myrkazor. Senator Huren knows that whilst Sadukka has a noble Force Tradition of the Samioi, there is also a Darkside cult called the Dark River; supposedly a myth, he has come to believe that this cult does exist and he feels perhaps their hand is within this matter. Be that as it may, he once again thanks the party for their help.

He then talks of politics on the rim, with his (and his King and Prime Ministers agreement) that closer ties to the Republic and indeed the Jedi would serve Sadukka, and he mentions that he shall try and move for both a Jedi Enclave and a Republic naval base be allowed within the Sadukkan system. He (and his people) find Master Thoms teachings of what it is to be a Jedi much more appealing than the mainstream (relationships and marriage being important to all Sadukkans), and he hopes that Master Thom can send some of his own Jedi to start the Enclave. Clearly, this is much to consider, but little is expected to happen for many months yet.

Until then, the various party members consider what they can do within that time…

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Running the shockwave

The Shuttle lumbers out of the hangar bay and out into space mere moments before the force field barriers in the hangar fail and open the area behind them into space. The party’s Dynamic class ship falls into a flanking protective position to starboard and the boxy shape of Saltika‘s own 578-R Transport joins on the port side. The Shuttle is extremely slow and it is all Tal Eran can do to coax more performance and speed out of the flying liability. Saltika herself goes onto the System Operator’s position and starts trying to get better telemetry and readings than only visusl (no easy task when the sensors are so badly damaged), whilst the pc’s assume their own roles, with Fowmaral sitting behind Tal to offer help with his Skilled Advice. Jaric Morandin takes the Co Pilots position and does some of the flying donkeywork freeing Tal to concentrate on the important things, and Tersha waits in the cockpit on a spare seat with no fixed role as of yet. Meanwhile, Harramis Datshara and TK-1 keep an eye upon the dubious criminals below. The Shuttle does have one small defensive armament, namely a light laser cannon turret, but nothing else. One of the Rodians called Kolkko volunteers to man it, given that he can handle heavy weapons (at least someone could).

So deployed, the ships head out into the swirling space battle; immediately, Saltika makes a superlative success on her sensors and picks up the main points of interest, with 2 Kaloth class Thalassian cruisers close by fleeing the rapidly exploding asteroid base (which she also note is likely to completely explode imminently so best get a move on), a couple of large thalassian freighters ahead, and beyond that, a flight of what seem to be four fighters engaging anything that moves. Beyond the fighters there is the third Kaloth, seemingly trying to stop ships escaping. Throughout the area are a multitude of other ships fighting and fleeing one another, and the oppressive mass of huge asteroids swirling about blocking straight escape. There is also a large amount of debris whizzing about the warzone and Kolkko keeps an eye peeled for anything that could cause a problem . The ships plow forward as fast as they can, hoping the clutter and interference in the area helps mask their profiles. Luckily, the 2 Kaloth cruisers nearby do not seem to have noticed them, but the flight of fighters do, and they immediately engage the 3 escaping vessels.

With horror Tal watches as 2 of the fighters (Kolkko identifies them as Stinger class starfighters) acquire a torpedo lock and release Proton Torpedoes at his beloved ship; one misses but immediately starts to make a turn about to try to hit again, but the other strikes home with critical force, badly damaging the Dynamic class vessel. Certainly, the ship cannot take another hit even half as strong as that and still be effective. Kolkko manages to shoot down the returning torpedo with some fine shooting, but Saltikas own ship takes some damage, first from one of the thalassian freighters it passes and the other from one of the attacking fighters.

Fed up with this, T3-X2 (who is flying the Dynamic) opens fire on one of the attacking fighters with the forward blaster cannons at the same time as MDK-1 cuts loose in his turret with the quad blasters; this barrage badly damages the fighter as it wheels away licking its wounds and the not so heroic pilot realises that discretion is the better part of valour. Another fighter roars in and rakes the shuttle with cannon fire, badly damaging it. Tersha tries to reroute power in the engine area but to no avail. However, the 3 ships manage to burst free beyond the screen of fighters and hit top speed, forcing every last ounce of power from their ships engines. The Kaloth cruisers approaching behind are the foci for the fighters as the explosions and danger from the destructing space station reach critical mass, and the first shockwave from the first reactor explosion tears through the lesser ships and freighters behind, badly damaging the 2 Kaloth vessels.

Fast approaching the third Kaloth, Tal and the others are hailed by the menacing vessel and are demanded to explain what is going on; for now, the Shuttle still appears to this ship as a possible fellow Thalassian (their dodgy sensor rolls helped a lot); Tal spins a yarn that barely convinces his own people, let alone the Kaloth, but it buys precious time for him to get beyond the cruiser and away from the second blast shockwave, which completely destroys the damaged Kaloths and all bar the third cruiser. Thinking quickly, T3 locates and finds a large asteroid with good hiding places for the 3 ships, for damaged as all 3 ships are, they are likely to be caught by the Kaloth and its fighter escorts. Powered down in overhung craters, the 3 ships spend a tense couple of hours hoping the searching Thalassians give up and go, and in time they do. This does leave them in a problematic situation, for they have about 100 people (themselves amongst that number) and 3 badly damaged ships, only 2 of which have hyperdrive. What to do?

They hit upon the idea of using the Dynamic ships excellent comms suite to send a message to Sulan Thresk knowing that he is a man who likes the spiting of slavers. They get The Middle Finger on comms, and though his “bathing” is interrupted, the Arkanian pirate makes time for them, telling them that he’ll send a familiar advance scout ahead whilst the Finger follows behind. By the fact that Lyn Aretano is currently aboard the Finger, the party correctly assume that the advance will likely be Bloodstar. Indeed, the droid and his distinctive fighter enter the asteroid field about 12 hours later, and he makes contact, advising the Finger is only a few hours behind. He can find no sensor readings on the Kaloth but he shall scour the area for survivors and “help” them.

The Middle Finger enters the field some hours later and takes up a protective orbit above the asteroid surface, protecting the 3 ships below as Lyns ship The Unbounded Dream joins them on the surface, docking with the Dynamic whilst work crews from the Finger start external work. As Lyn, Saltika and Tal work together to fix their 2 ships, the young padawans decide to investigate the surviving 30 or so children to see if any had any force talent. Though untrained in checking for Force Sensitives, Jaric senses something within one young human girl and he passes on the informations to Harramis. He agrees that the girl is very strong in the Force, and they may need to take her to Arboa to meet Master Thom Echarn if she has no surviving relatives.

It takes two days, but finally all that has been done can be done; Thresk will take aboard the prisoners who need it (including the criminals) and he makes his standard offer to the ones he likes, that they can join his organisation (Kolkko and the other Rodians gladly accept). The other slaves he shall take to a neutral starport and have them released (he might also give them funds enough to go home or find family). Saltika has the people she came to free and will make her goodbyes, and the Dynamic ship of the party will take the senators two children and the quiet Force Sensitive girl back to Arboa, where they can be kept safe. Senator Amireth Huren will be contacted whilst there and he can come pick up his freed children; Harramis feels that to head directly to Sadukka or Coruscant with the children may be dangerous, for his feelings and intuition make him believe that someone relayed the childrens journey and travel plans to the Thalassians for some reason. It shall take 3 days in Hyperspace to reach Arboa from the asteroid field, and in that time Harramis sets the padawans a task; to see if they can communicate or reach the young Force Sensitive girl. Tal meanwhile is thinking upon the memory core of the Krath war droid taken from the Thalassian base, and he may spend some time with T3 tinkering with it. He is also thinking of the 11 thousand credits worth of money and trade goods he got from Lyn during the scrapping and scavenging of the old Shuttle.

The Padawans know that at journeys end, they will likely be experiencing their last moments as Padawans, for their Knighting ceremony is fast approaching. They know that Harramis is pleased with their work and conduct and his words to Master Thom will likely be favourable. Still, there are three days to go before they arrive at Arboa, and they all have some more work to do.

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How to escape from an evil slaver base, part three
A close run lightsaber duel and a blaster fight later...

The 2 Sith atop the shuttle move back from the edge and out of sight; Tal Eran, Saltika and the close combat droid get behind some cover (which is strewn all over the flight deck of the hanger and is constantly being added to by falling debris) as the 3 jedi padawans start the task of getting to the top of the shuttle. Fowmaral moves quickly to a moveable loading platform nearby as Jaric Morandin runs forward and with a mighty Surge of the Force clears the 5 metre height to the port wing/engine nascelle. Most impressive. Tersha moves forward to stand on the platform with the ithorian consular as they start to move the platform forward, with its repulsors elevating the platform as it trundles forwards.

During this, Tal shoots one of the Thalassians engaging the criminals and moves forward, telling the wary thugs that if they don;t want to be fighting a battle on two fronts they had best join forces against the thalassians. The persuasive words sway the thugs (for now) and Tal reaches an accord with them. Saltika and the droid move up; as she starts blasting away at the slavers, the droid (having no ranged weapon) keeps a wary eye for treachery from the thugs. The freed slaves remain in the comparative safety of the corridor, watching as the heroes try to secure their means of escape. Great explosions can be distantly felt in shockwaves throughout all this, as it seems the stations destruction is starting to accelerate.

Jaric starts to slowly climb an external service ladder that leads from the wing to the top of the shuttle, but gives a hand to his colleagues by using the Force (Move Object) to lift the loader with his friends on it off the ground and up, greatly increasing their rate of ascent. At this point he sees what looks like an important part of the sensor array come flying off the top of the shuttle, looking like it has been hacked off with a lightsaber. Fowmaral and Tersha are in moments level with the top of the shuttle and step off onto it, seeing the 2 Sith figures standing on the middle section of the shuttle watching them. The large powered armour figure of Darth Morgesh seems to have been the one doing the damage to the sensor array, whilst the unarmoured but somehow more threatening figure of Darth Crucier merely watches. Both Sith sabers are lit, with Crucier slowly twirling his 2 bladed weapon and Morgesh idly cutting scars on the shuttle hull. Battle is imminent.

Morgesh moves forward slowly , standing a little aways from his “ally”, awaiting for someone to do something. Tersha charges forward with her sabre raised, and then the Sith strikes, with a powerful blast of Force Lighting that strikes her, causing great pain and damage. She continues her charge, albeit somewhat winded and staggered (2 steps down the condition track and some HP damage there), and unleashes a ferocious strike with her sabre, somewhat guided by the Force (Destiny Point). Her blow powers past Morgesh’s own Blocking sabre and strikes him, dealing a grievous injury and staggering him. His smug self assurance is shaken for a brief moment. Fowmaral also charges and manages to effect a good strike too, causing more harm to the armoured Sith. At this point Jaric reaches the top of the shuttle and confronts the waiting figure of Crucier and he almost succeeds in his using his Force Sever power, though the powerful Sith only just manages to Rebuke it. The lithe form of the Sith seems to glide forwards and prepares to do something it seems.

Meanwhile down below, Tal and Saltika start to make the difference in the blasterfight standoff with the Thalassians, as Tals dual wielded blaster fire drops one of the slavers and Saltika manages to wound one. Not easy for either given the cover that the slavers have. The thug at the keypad for the shuttle doors struggles on but seems to be having no luck at all beating the mechanism. Tal’s droid (which he decides at long last to designate as TK-1) merely watches with what one could almost call seething discipline as it is almost hoping that the thugs try something.

On the shuttle roof with the Force Wielders, Morgesh and Crucier try different things to swing the initiative back to themselves, as the power armoured figure draws on his Dark Rage power to greatly enhance his combat potential and Crucier draws upon his almost limitless Hatred to send out continuous waves of Dark Side energy to damage all in the area. Morgesh strikes ferociously at Tersha, wounding her greatly and staggering her badly. With the power of the Dark Side flowing freely through him, Morgesh seems almost reinvigorated and on the verge of killing the Miralukan, when, wounded as she is and suffering from the waves of power coming from Crucier, she strikes a powerful scything blow into Morgesh, cutting him in half from collarbone to waist. He tumbles to the shuttle roof in 2 parts, though the battle is still far from over. All of the padawans have now felt (and suffered) the waves of Hatred from Crucier and Jaric strikes fiercely at his Sith opponent to try and stop this ferocious onslaught. His own blow is powerful and devastating as he wounds the Sith badly and interrupts his concentration on the evil powers he is emitting.

Tal and Saltika are making steady progress in defeating the thalassians, and their accuracy has dropped another foe. Both are mindful that time is fast running out, and they both realise that this hangar is rapidly becoming too dangerous and unstable to allow their own ships to come enter, and so redouble their efforts in trying to clear away the vile slavers.

Crucier, angered by his injury and his power being halted, unleashes a powerful Force Scream that debilitates and harms the padawans, apart from Fowmaral who skilfully Rebukes the Scream, sending it back to the Sith who catches some of his own medicine. In moments Crucier is battling all 3 Padawans, but his danger doesn’t seem diminished at all, as he unleashes Force Lightning forst into Fowmaral and then into Jaric. Both are badly injured and reeling from this onslaught and though Jaric ripostes with another staggering blow, the Sith seems almost unbeatable. About this time, a colossal explosion nearby causes great rumblings under foot; sounds and feels like something important has happened one might say.

Badly injured, staggered and in great pain, Tersha focuses for a moment and feels the serenity of the Force within her, as she strikes a focused and unstoppable blow with her lightsaber past the spinning 2 bladed lightsaber of Crucier, ramming her saber into his chest, incinerating his black heart. He has a look of surprise for a fleeting moment before death takes him, and at last, with defeat so close for all of them, the fearsome Sith falls dead. At this time, Tal and Saltika kill the last of the thalassians, removing the last of the immediate threats in the vicinity. The victorious and yet badly wounded Jedi join up with them, and if the criminals had thought of being treacherous before, Tals warning (backed up by the words from TK1 of " I would wish you killed but my master graciously allows you to live") and the appearance of 3 jedi rmove any such ideas from their minds. With time running out, Tal manages to beat the encryption on the shuttle locks and the boarding ramp lowers. The criminals are disarmed at Tals orders by TK1 and the armed Rodians as the slaves are all ushered aboard as quickly as they can. At this point Harramis Datshara appears at the far side of the hangar (from where the great explosion was felt moments earlier), and manages to stagger aboard as he is greatly injured and ashed faced, for his left arm is broken and he seems on the verge of collapse. All he says for now is that Darth Xamax has been defeated, but that it was far from easy or straightforward.

With debris and wreckage raining down in the hangar now and the explosions gathering, Tal (with Saltika copiloting) starts the engines up and prepares fro departure. Fowmaral heals Harramis as best he can with a Force Transfer before sitting behind Tal to give wise advice. The shuttle smoothly takes off and flows with skill and precision from the hangar, and rendezvous’ with Tals Ship and the ship of Saltika; however, things are far from done now, for they must now venture into a chaotic space battle taking place in a whirling asteroid field with an exploding space station behind them, aboard a lumbering bulk shuttle with no weapons, badly damaged sensors and weak shields. They may have some small protection from the ships riding escort, but they are still in perilous danger; now is the time for Tal to draw upon all his piloting experience and skills, for without them, they all may end up being spaced…

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How to escape from an evil slaver base, part two
With success drawing close, 2 figures stand in their way

The droid is a menacing, large yet agile thing as it approaches down the side corridor, lit only by the light of its shield and its baleful red photoreceptors. Jaric Morandin races around the corner with his lightsaber ignited, placing himself as a barrier between Tal Eran and the threat. Jaric spots and with surprise recognises the droid as an old Jedi-Killer class Krath droid dating back to the Great Sith War and he calls out a warning to everyone. Tersha also runs around the corner to face the foe and as she does so, the droid opens fire with its Heavy AutoBlaster on its arm, hosing the corridor with blaster fire. Tersha manages to block the shots strafing her and though Jaric is hit, his mastery of the Force (specifically his Negate Energy power) means he is unscathed. The unarmed combat droid moves up to stand beside Tal and it watches the Krath droid for a moment. Fowmaral stands in the corridor behind the others and watches for weaknesses in the foe, as Saltika and the few armed prisoners start hurrying the crowd of former slaves up the main corridor. As they pass the side corridor where the fighting is taking place there is always the risk a stray blaster shot will hit someone, but it is the only way forward. Tal at this point throws a well aimed Ion grenade at the feet of the Krath Jedi-Killer and the blast weakens the shield and may have damaged the droid a little too, though it looks untouched externally.

Realising that this droid would be perfectly happy to stand back and blast the party (it does have a long cruelly serrated arm blade as well), Jaric does the Jedi Guardian thing and charges the foe, striking it with a quick blow that weakens its shield further and causing light damage. This close he sense the Krath Dark Side enchantments upon its armour and realises it will not be so easy to kill as other droids might be. Tal sends his droid forwards and it charges up at a brisk controlled pace before launching a flying kick that dents the chest armour of the Krath droid. Tersha and Fowmaral use Force Slam and Move object respectively against their foe, but whilst the Slams impact attack strikes the droid, the Move Object is resisted by the Krath enchantments and the strands of the Force unravel as they try to grab the machine. Fowmaral then starts using Ionise against it, with better results.

The battle is fierce, with Jaric being hit by a nasty blow that winds him, but the combined power of the Force from Tersha and Fowmaral, blaster and ripper fire from Tal and lightsaber strikes from Jaric see the droid on the verge of weary defeat, and the unarmed combat droid (who surely needs a designation by now) administers the fatal blow, punching its hand into the chest cavity of the Krath droid and pulling out its power supply. Beaten, the Jedi-Killer falls into a heap of metal and is no more.

Stopping for only few moments, Tal cleverly removed the processor of the droid and takes it along, thinking perhaps they can get some answers from it about what it is doing here. As the rag tag band of people move along the currently deserted back corridors they are now in, the tremors from explosions within and without the station indicate the increasingly perilous predicament all are in. T3-X2 chirps in from their ship, stating that there are internal explosions away from the space battle on the asteroids crust. He and the droid piloting Saltikas own ship are moving slowly and carefully away from the immediate battle zone, waiting for a good extraction point to be found. As it turns out, Harramis Datshara comes over the com and advises them that the large freight shuttle is prepped by him in a small side hangar within 250 metres of the party’s position, but he is currently in pursuit of the Sith Lord whom he caught sight of. He shall see them soon, but he suddenly advises them that he can’t talk right now, as the unmistakeable sound of lightsabers being ignited is heard from his end. Hoping that he shall be okay, they follow the schematics they have received from Harramis and T3; T3 and his counterpart aboard Saltikas ship are en route to the hidden hangar, and will be there soon. On the way they pass the bodies of 4 Thalassian slavers, all bearing the signs of lightsaber wounds and the question is raised “Who has done this?”.

The sound of blasters and battle can be heard over ahead as the come to a side service corridor leading into a large hangar with a large bulk shuttle being the only vessel still within it. It might not have light speed Tal thinks, but its large enough to get many slaves off the rapidly deteriorating station for now. Inside they see a number of Thalassians in cover trading shots with a group of varied thugs and criminals who are at the entrance of the shuttle trying to gain entrance. One of the villains is fiddling about with the access panel whilst his colleagues give him covering fire. Of more immediate concern, Jaric and Tersha see the 2 Sith Apprentices standing atop the shuttle some 15 metres from the hangar deck. The 2 figures have so far been merely watching the blasterfire below and waiting, and now it appears their waiting has paid off. The one in Sith Dark Powered Armour greets them, suggesting that the Jedi join them atop the one remaining vessel in the area to “talk”, before the 2 Sith start damaging the ship. Tal decides to leave the Jedi to it and coordinates with Saltika the attack against the 2 blaster wielding groups, as the Jedi look for ways to get to the top of the shuttle. Tal gets the ball rolling with a tossed Frag Grenade towards the Thalssians, but it falls short and explodes harmlessly. All foes miss it save one of the criminals at the shuttles entrance, who shouts a warning to his colleagues. It appears that a 2 pronged battle is about to start for the securing of the liberty shuttle; meanwhile…

In a power relay substation nearby…

With sheer drops and gangways all around this area, 2 figures stand on separate platforms regarding one another; one is a dark haired, dark robed and striking imperious human woman with Sith tattoos on her face and arms. Her dark eyes show hate and spite towards the one opposite her. Her lightsaber is as “red as a laigreks eye”, and though a little injured, she seems more than a capable foe. The other is a Jedi Knight Guardian, foe of all that is evil and cruel, and his blue bladed lightsaber stands as stark contrast to his opponents. His cool grey eyes return her gaze with no hint of fear or hate. With no words needing to be said between them, she raises her arm and Force Lighting ripples out from her fingers, as he leaps across the intervening divide between them, lightsaber held in High Ataru Form; so begins the last battle for at least one of them as Darth Xamax and Harramis Datshara clash in a lonely place…

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How to escape from an evil slaver base, part one.

The party are soon ready to move out with their rag tag band of ex slaves, but near the entry point to the slave pens block all is not so simple, for Jaric and Saltikacome under attack by Thalassian guards. Jaric in typical Jedi Guardian style surges up the corridor to engage the 3 he can see and sets about him with lightsaber in hand, forcing the vile slavers to fight for their lives. They cannot draw a bead on him so close and as quick and clever as he moves, and in moments one is down and another is grievously injured. At this point Tal and his combat droid are in the area, with Tal shooting one of the slavers dead with a cleverly shot blast, and Tersha moving up quickly and dispatching the last of them. It is about now that Tersha and Jaric see, in the distance through the transparisteel windows of the concourse, a large out of control freighter, damaged by the staggering space battle tumbling towards the windows on a collision course; they have maybe a minute or two before it impacts, and the decompression and explosion of a freighter engine will likely kill all in the concourse and its area offshoots.

Throughout this all, the horrid feeling of malaise and sinister temptations starts to rise in the area, as all the party feel a seductive and beguiling feeling to give in to their anger and sense of outrage at the slavers actions and the plight of the slaves themselves, with Tal letting the anger and hate loose within his heart for a few precious moments and Tersha and Fowmaral resisting the lure of the malign feelings, though it weakens them and tires them to do so.

After some quick thinking and slave wrangling, Tal and Fowmaral manage to get the milling throng of prisoners to head quickly back up the corridor to the furthest pan (where the force field and the children were held) to try and avoid the catastrophic results of the freighter crash. Meanwhile, realising that they may not have the time, Jaric gathers his thoughts and will and uses the Living Force to reach out, and drawing on vast reserves he never thought he had (destiny point) he starts trying to divert the path of the onrushing freighter away from the crash into the concourse; as he stands motionless lost in communion with the Force, Tersha fights off a band of thalassians who attack, all the while the chaotic battle rages throughout the mezzanine as hundreds of slavers, thugs and criminals fight one another in an orgy of violence and fear. The Sith are now down to the Ragged Figure and Darth Xamax, duelling in a wide ranging battle; no sign of the other 2 Sith can be seen for now.

Tal and Fowmaral manage to get the slaves back to the childrens pen and start trying to adjust the forcefield to be one that shall help seal the door and make it properly vacuum resistant and airtight.

Tersha dispatches the last of the attackers and then watches as Darth Xamax flees from the Ragged Figure; the Figure merely laughs quietly and then starts to walk to the Sith docking area, heedless of the carnage around him. He notes Jarics using of the force and what he is trying to do, and he then gestures at the transparisteel walls, using the Force to weaken them; with stray blaster shots impacting against the windows on a regular basis (from without and within), it seems only a matter of time before the whole area will be jeopardised and spaced. Satisfied, he seems to automatically take control of the Sith soldiers in the battle, who fall into step behind him. Jaric completes his diversion of the freighter flightpath, having bought precious moments for the others to secure the slave pen against what is to come. He and Tersha flee back up the corridor and get to the pen in time, as once they cross the threshold and the door is activated with the force field they are informed by T3-X2 (who has been keeping them fed with updates on the space battle and external views including schematics sliced from the Thalassians primitive databse) that the windows have suddenly given out and the whole area is rapidly depressurising. In less than a minute the concourse is open to the vacuum of space, and hundreds have been slain as a result.

Inside the pen, they discuss what to do next, with Tal stating that according to T3’s sliced schematics there is 8 feet of rock between the back of their slave pen shelter and a corridor complex at the other side of it. Moving with efficiency the 3 Jedi use their lightsabers to start cutting a way through the rock to get to through the wall. It takes them a long hot 45 minutes to do this, with oxygen running thin and the heat reaching almost intolerable levels as they do so. Eventually Jaric manages to break through and the opening looks into a quiet corridor lit by flickering emergency lighting, running left to right from them. In time they all manage to get out into this corridor, but are unsure which way to go, for they have spoken to Harramis Datshara and he has advised he is now in a side hangar a little away from the main battle areas; he is planning to liberate a decent ship that he can use to help transport the prisoners to safety, but he must go silent as he is about to start his plan; he’ll be in touch he says before he goes quiet.

Fowmaral Uses his Feelings to determine which way is best for them to go, and he feels that heading to the right is the safer option, and with this in mind, they head off as a trail of people in that direction, with Tal 30 feet ahead using his Stealth Field Generator and natural stealth to scout ahead. He comes to a turning off the corridor and peers round, listening intently; the corridor stretches off into the darkness, but he can hear an occasional whirring sound, and then he sees the tell tale flare of a shield coming online as a huge droid powers up, starting to stride ominously down the corridor towards him; so this is the safest route eh?

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From calm to warzone, just add Sith

Heading out onto the main promenade and concourse of the station, the party see the corridor they wish to investigate guarded by 8 Thalassian thugs. Looking around, they notice patterns in the crowd of hundreds as other station security in small groups congregate on a widening circle of people some 200 metres down on the main concourse; within this circle are 3 figures facing one, with the one being the Ragged Figure and the others being the dark robed Sith. Suddenly, the Sith Fire up their red bladed lightsabers, 2 single bladed ones and one double. At this the Ragged Figure gestures and as his 3 Sith Blades fly free from his back and attack the others, great dark side power is unleashed in a massive 50 metre blast centred on himself that envelopes the area and all onlookers within it in corruscating streaks and arcs of Force Lightning and frightening energy.

The situation rapidly degenerates as panicked thugs, pirates, criminals and slavers start stampeding away from the maelstrom, and within moments the party see only 2 guards at the entrance to the tunnel they are watching for the others are summoned away to try and deal with the sudden and appalling outbreak of violence. At about this time the party see that blaster fire and other violence starts to spread within the crowd of hundreds, and soon a full fledged warzone has erupted. At this point Tersha uses her Mind Trickery to make one of the two remaining guards to convince the other that they both go and assist their colleagues, and just like that the way is open for them to proceed.

Heading up the dimly lit corridor cut through the rock of the asteroid, they soon chance upon a corner and Tal Eran sees 2 sentries guarding a large sliding door with a keypad. Tal, who had been travelling ahead of the party using his Stealth Field Generator decides a quick take down of these two is needed, especially as he is sure he hears more guards further up and around the curving corridor. Tersha once again uses her Mind Trickery to make one guard think he hears some trouble within the slave pen, and as they are distracted, Tal and the mysterious close combat droid he recently acquired move up. The droid snaps the neck of one guard with one hand and catches the body with the other, whilst Tal kills the other quickly with his vibroblade. Checking within, they see about 30 male slaves (half human, the other half a mix of other sentients including a Bith and two Rodians) manacled in pens and in a pitiful state. The 2 Rodians immediately perk up and show interest in the change of events. The party split, with the 3 Jedi staying in the pen and using their sabers to free the prisoners whilst Tal, the droid and Saltika scout ahead to take down the next sentries; this is quickly achieved as the next 2 guards are playing Pazaak to the exclusion of the world around them, and Tal and the droid once again strike with sneaky lethality. Tal cracks the door code quickly and the pen within shows about 40 female slaves looking much the worse for their recent ordeals. Saltika sees one of the people she is here to save, and the slaves are told to wait for the Jedi to come along and free them.

Back in the male pen, the Jedi free the Rodians first, who immediately make a bee line for the dead guards, each taking a weapon and then passing the remaining weapons to other prisoners who seem lucid and alert enough. The Rodians thank the Jedi and take up defensive positions watching the doorway.

Back with Tal and the others, they stealthily check around the last corner and see that it ends in a doorway guarded by 3 Thalassian guards but also a fourth man, dressed in medium combat armour and carrying a heavily modified blaster carbine; he seems a better cut above the others and is definitely not a Thalassian. Tal decides that upping the stakes is required, and so tosses a Frag grenade up the corridor. It lands perfectly placed and explodes, killing the 3 Thalassians and staggering the mystery man, but only for a moment as Saltikas carefully placed blaster shot drops the staggered man. The droid is quickly up the corridor and administers 4 quickly delivered chops to 4 villainous necks to make sure they are down. Tal hacks the door easily and inside they find about 20 children of various races, and a force field at the back of the room that contains the 2 children they are here to free. Tal checks the force field but immediately determines it is trapped and will crush the 2 children inside (one, the boy seems to be faring very poorly indeed) if attempts to deactivate it are not flawlessly perfect. The combat droid takes the fallen guarsd weapons and takes them back up to the adult prisoners to arm those capable of effective action, passing the Jedi coming the other way. Saltika accompanies the Droid, and Jaric also follows, thinking that keeping watch on their exit would be desirable.

All through this series of events the captured guards comms carry a lot of panicked and frantic activity as general mayhem has broken out, with Sith soldiers coming off their warship to add to the mayhem, and the fighting somehow spreading to the ships docked in the hangers and docking spans; the Jedi suspect that some dark influence and power from the Ragged Figure is causing this outpouring of hate and violence. The resourceful T3-X2 also keeps them updated from his monitoring the station data feeds on developments. Fowmaral and Tersha arrive at the childrens detention area and whilst Tersha starts freeing and preparing the children to move (the adults are being organised by Saltika and Jaric back up the corridor), Fowmaral uses his Force inspired advice and guidance to aid Tal in deactivating the trapped Force Field. The 2 children, being Ferralla (the girl) and Rann (the young boy) are now freed, but the boy seems ill and feverish, in poor shape to attempt to escape; Fowmaral uses his powers of Vital Transfer healing to give the boy energy and health enough to move and survive until the medical droid on their ship can aid him further.

Harramis Datshara contacts them over their comms about their progress and also the burning need to leave soon, as the dark side emanations coming from the concourse are gaining strength as the battle rages. He gives them coordinates for them to meet and gather themselves, and then signs off again, for his work is not quite done yet.

At this point, comms from Saltika and Jaric indicate that hostiles have appeared in the pen areas and they are fighting them, but the time to leave must surely be now; with about 90 men, women and children freed and needing salvation, the party now have a task ahead of them; just how do you guide a throng of weakened and scared people to safety through a warzone containing Sith, many assorted thugs and a station full of Thalassian slavers? There’s only one way to find out, for this they must do, and not try…

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Meeting old acquaintances

As the party sit in the booth of the cantina discussing what to do next, Fowmaral feels a sudden and icy cold feeling of mingled dread and recognition for a moment, and stopping to think of it, the last time he felt this feeling was back in the ruins on Ruigers Landing. Tersha, Harramis and Jaric don’t feel it, it seeming to be something intimate only to the Ithorian Padawan. Ths feeling passes but continues to cause concern.

Harramis had managed to gather a little information at the bar that indicates to him that the only way to safely depart the station with the children and their lives intact is to try and sabotage some aspects of station security and perhaps cause a distraction of sufficient size to draw attention. He also managed to discover that the name of the Sith Lord who has arrived is one Darth Xamax. He also is looking into the possibility of using the stations own substantial comms array to send a beacon signal and tight banded message to the Jedi Council (or more likely the Council abiding on Dantooine which is nearer than Coruscant) perhaps allowing the Myrkzor to be located and it’s many years of evil history to be halted. With this in mind he departs, trusting the Padawans to do gathering more information on where the children are kept and using their own judgement in what they do with any information they find.

Tersha was about to leave the cantina to head back to the ship and ask T3 to look into the possibility of hacking into the local security systems for more information when the bar goes momentarily quiet as one of the Sith apprentices walks in. The large armoured human walks to the bar and soon the bar goes back to its noisy status quo. Fowmaral decides to go to the bar for a new round of drinks and try to pick up any scuttlebut and eavesdrop any of the patrons who have understandably moved further up the bar from the new entrant. A Chiss bartender serves him and also recommends the Ruby Bliels (there’s a special on for this tasty cocktail), but the Ithorian decides on picking drinks by colour, which is not as great a method of selection as you might think.

The young Padawan overhears a conversation between a slightly drunken Thalassian and a female pilot he is trying to impress (seduce is too grand a term for his clumsy single entendres), with the Thalassian sure that the Sith is only here to throw his weight around and look for a fight. Of note Fowmaral realises that the attractive red haired pilot is actually trying to pump the slaver for information. Intrigued, the Ithorian heads back to the others and passes this on. Tals well travelled eye notices the style of the flight suit and the way the heavy blaster is worn on the woman indicates someone of Corellian extraction.

This is all interrupted when a loud Houk offers a challenge to the Sith, quieting the establishment and causing a widening of space around the plucky thug. In fact, the Jedi note that the Houk is under the effect of a force compulsion, and not acting under his own volition. Tal momentarily considers shooting the Sith before he does something vile and unnatural to the Houk, but decides against it. The Sith uses Force Grip to crush the Houk to within an inch of his life before using a Sith Tremor Sword (that hurts Tersha to look at) to end the poor thugs life.

All goes quiet when a slow sarcastic hand clap begins and the wavelike crowd parts again to reveal a figure clad in ragged bandage like robes. This figure immediately triggers remembrance within Tersha and Fowmaral as the same being who they freed back on Ruigers Landing. This figure despairs loudly at what the Sith have become and gives the young Sith the option of bending the knee or dying. The Sith bravely charges, before the 3 Swords scabbarded on the ragged figures back float up into the air and lay into him, forcing the Sith to fight for his life. Soon he is beaten and wounded in many locations, and the Ragged Figure advises him to bear a message to his mistress that she shall bend the knee and serve or die. The Sith flees, and soon all others who had not already fled follow him. The Ragged Figure commands the party and the Female Pilot to remain. (the party had seen that the woman recognised the figure and had her best WTF face on).

The figure tells the Jedi that now is not yet the time for fighting, that the time for that is years away yet. In the meantime they can go off and do what they wish, and as a reward for their releasing him they can carry out their mission on the station as what he is about to do shall serve them elegantly as a distraction. He also suggests that Tal should have taken his shot whilst he still could. At this, the Ragged Figure strides off purposely from the cantina, leaving the surprised party and the woman alone (even the barstaff have fled).

The woman immediately fixes herself some drinks and for the others too when they request it. She is one Saltika, a Bounty Hunter/Pilot here to try and effect the escape or release/purchase of a captured family taken from one of the colonies hit by the slavers recently. She had taken the Ragged Figure with her as a passenger for he paid well and also furnished her with the codes and protocols to enter Myrkzor. This turn of events has shocked her, especially when he told her to look out for an Ithorian, a Miralukan and a Human who would be of some use to her own mission. Throwing in her lot with the party (for what other choice does she have) she reveals that the slaves are kept in a series of pens and chambers accessed past a security check point that she remembers seeing recently. The children, men and women are kept separated and also by species as well.

The party also contact Harramis (who is currently monkey climbing along the underside of a generator substation with a drop of hundreds of feet into darkness beneath him) who advises his own part of the mission is proceeding well enough and to keep him updated. He felt the force echoes of the cantina confrontation and suggests they are careful. The party head out into the main concourse and are aware that something major is about to kick off. They spot the corridor they need and its guards and bide their time until it is right to act…

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