Galaxy In Flames

Meanwhile....

“Sir. We’re in position.”

The pilot spoke with confidence, his hands moving over various control surfaces to ensure that the ship was exactly where the commander had ordered it to be – gently settled on the surface of one of the largest asteroids in the field. It had taken great skill to manage it, but the pilot was well-trained.

“Power down all secondary systems and activate cloak,” the commander replied curtly.

“Yes, sir,” the pilot responded quickly, his hands moving over the control panel with practiced ease and efficiency.

The ship suddenly felt… more empty, now, since half of his men had not returned from their mission. It had all gone terribly wrong in a hurry, which amazed and frustrated the commander at the same time. The survivors had lived for more than thirty years on the primitive planet, had little in the way of defenses, had depleted most of their stores of blaster-gas, and only had a few remaining functioning droids compared to the thousands they had been carrying three decades ago. The populace should have been too old to fight, or too untrained…

But they had received aid in the form of five mercenaries, and that had obviously turned the tide. Even as Ossnan watched the events unfold – from a safe distance aboard the Deep Dark, he could see that without those five meddlers fighting on the side of the survivors, the mission would have likely been a success.

Instead, Ossnan had lost half of his men, including two speeders, six scout droids, and two Probots. These were all valuable resources, especially in a time when the Empire could use all the resources it could muster.

But the worst part was what Ossnan knew he must do next. Looking at the black metallic chronometer on his wrist for the fifth time in the past ten minutes, he knew it was time to report in, despite his best efforts to mentally will the chronometer to stop or go in reverse. He could not avoid it any longer. If he was late reporting in, there would likely be steep consequences. Very steep.

Calming himself, Ossnan moved to the command console and took a deep breath. He always hated these reports, and he had the distinct feeling that his superior could sense it. The General was… unnerving to him, and Ossnan always tried to keep communications short and to the point. But this call would be different….

This call required him to report his first failure.

Reaching toward the command panel, Ossnan pressed the correct sequence of buttons, and the holo-display came to life. Moments later, a blue-hued holo-image flickered and then came into focus – and there the General stood, still ominous even though his image was only as tall as Ossnan’s forearm was long.

“Sir, Supervisor Liers Ossnan, reporting,” he said, snapping to attention like any good Imperial soldier would when addressing their commanding officer.

“At ease, Supervisor… though I sense that you feel anything but at ease…,” the General’s voice responded. Merely the sound of it, like some sort of alien metallic rasp, always haunted Ossnan, as if the voice itself could do him harm just by listening to it.

“Sir, the survivors of the Sa Nalaor have successfully repelled our attempt to capture the two fugitives Cratala and Harsol. We’ve retreated into the nebula and await further orders,” he said, simple and to the point. He spoke quickly, knowing that if he didn’t, his words might have faltered, and showing weakness of any kind was not part of Ossnan’s personality.

“Failed? You mean a handful of castaways were able to thwart your plan, Supervisor?”

Ossnan felt his temper flare, sensing the General’s subtle but pointed laying of blame directly on his shoulders.

“Sir, I had only a single lance of lightly-armed scout troopers, ill-equipped for the task at hand. If I could have access to but one assault platoon, or even just half a dozen commandos, I could easily seize your prizes,” he retorted, his voice rising slightly.

“You are irritated that you do not have the ‘proper resources’ at hand, Supervisor? Remind me to feel pity for you another time. I need not remind you that there is a war going on, Supervisor, and we do not have the luxury of expecting whatever resources we wish,” the image responded, voice laced with disdain.

“Sir, the survivors also had the help of mercenaries – the ones from The Wheel that I reported previously. Their presence turned the tide.”

The image was silent for a moment before speaking again. “The Togorian, the Gotal, the Cerean, the Droid, and the Human you told me about before… interesting… and an interesting excuse, Supervisor,” the cloaked figure replied.

“If I could acquire reinforcements, I will capture the two fugitives and bring those mercenaries to you in chains, if-…”

“No,” the holo-image curtly interrupted. “You will do nothing of the sort. What is your current status?”

Ossnan cleared his throat faintly before responding. “Half of our platoon perished on Cholganna, though we inflicted significant losses on the survivors. I instructed the troops and droids to avoid firing at the two fugitives. We are currently hidden in the asteroid field inside the nebula surrounding Cholganna, cloaked and on the lowest power settings. Our enhanced sensors have been calibrated to the nebula’s frequencies, allowing us far longer sensor ranges than any other ship in the sector.”

“What of the other… parties… you reported to me earlier?” the holo-image inquired.

“The ship belonging to the Rodian Yivar clan has fled the system. To my understanding, most of their crew were eliminated, so they departed. I believe they are returning to The Wheel to find reinforcements, then will return to Cholganna to explore the wreckage of the Sa Nalaor. The other ship, the Tempest, captained by the human bounty-hunter Dolan, has descended toward the planet’s surface.”

“Ah, apparently to finish the job that you could not, no doubt,” the General interrupted sardonically.

Ossnan clenched his teeth for a moment before continuing. “It is believed he is here to collect a bounty on the head of one of the mercenaries. To my knowledge, he has no interest in the Sa Nalaor itself, nor the passengers that were a part of its crew.”

The hooded figure in the holo-image nodded slowly. “You will remain at a safe distance, simply observing until instructed otherwise, Supervisor,” the voice commanded. “I want to know what they are up to, and how these five mercenaries are involved. If the bounty-hunter removes one or more of them, so much the better. Let him waste his resources doing your work for you,” he said.

Ossnan clearly caught the inference, and straightened. “Sir, if the opportunity presents itself-…”

“No, Supervisor. You will remain at a safe distance, doing what you were trained to do: observe. Report. Spy. It is obvious now that your unit is not up to the task of direct confrontation – or perhaps it’s simply your skill that is lacking.”

Ossnan grit his teeth again to force himself to relax, and eventually nodded. “As you wish, Sir.”

The figure in the image turned its hooded head slightly. “Good… but I sense you have… questions. Speak.”

Ossnan took another breath, momentarily contemplating saying anything else at all, but his own curiosity was weighing heavily upon him. “I am curious about the current state of affairs in the Empire, sir. How are we faring? Are we regaining ground? Has a successor been chosen yet?” After that last question, the holo-image raised a hand, immediately causing Ossnan to go silent.

“Recovery efforts are going well enough. We are regrouping in several key locations, and have retaken several planets in the Vivenda sector. As for a successor… several interested parties have stepped forward, but few have any real claim to the throne. My own claim is proceeding… as planned,” he said, with a subtle hint of confidence.

“That is good news indeed, Sir,” Ossnan responded, trying to appear and sound chipper.

“I am so glad that you approve, Supervisor,” the image responded, its voice a mix of amusement and loathing. Ossnan sensed it immediately, and stood at attention.

“That will be all….,” the voice rasped… and then the holo-image flickered and faded away.

Ossnan clenched his fists, taking a few deep breaths before turning to face the pilot.

“Shut us down. Go silent, except for the sensors. Alert me the moment any ship departs or arrives at the planet,” he instructed, then turned to swiftly depart the bridge.

“Aye, Sir,” the pilot responded.

View
Playing Chicken

We sat around discussing Dolan’s offer and we all agreed that he’s not one to be trusted. The plans got talked over in circles several times over. I was hurting pretty bad from the battle so I decided it was time for me to get some sleep. Making plans isn’t my job anyway. My job is, well with this bunch, shooting things, so my opinions were not needed.

Eventually it was decided (and agreed upon) that Dolan would take 30 of the villagers with him for a sum of money, receiving half now and the other half upon delivery to The Wheel. We would take Cratala and Harsol with us so the Imperials who were after Cratala wouldn’t have a reason to bother Dolan’s ship with the villagers. While we waited for morning, M0F0 spent his time breaking down speeder bike parts into easier to manage packages so we could take them with us when we leave, hoping he could put together one speeder bike out of them.

Daybreak arrived with the sound of gunfire from Dolan’s ship cutting down the canopy of the nearby trees, followed by the sound of trees cracking under the weight of his large ship. Dolan was paid and the villagers boarded. There was some question about the payment. Rather than credits, Harsol presented Dolan with a bluish metal bar which was apparently made out of some kind of rare metal used in technology and thus quite valuable. L’hrequ made sure the facilities in the ship were okay for the passengers. It was cramped, but clean and safe, not the inhuman cages I suspected might be waiting for them. Who knows what kind of bounty hunter Dolan might be.

Dolan had a Togo with him. I was surprised at this as my kind are rarely seen outside our planet except in Mandalorian territory. This one was named Ganda, a very handsome male with blonde dreads and fur. First thing out of his mouth he was insulting me to L’hrequ about how a female Togo should be home having offspring. I reminded him that Togo’s are a MATRIARCHAL race. Being Togo he knows that the males hunt because they can’t do much else, and the females run the cities and the technology of the planet because we can THINK. Stupid males. I flicked my tail and turned my back on him. This is of course a feline version of a slap, showing my uncaring back to someone and a flick of the tail followed by the pretense of ignoring the person as though they do not exist.

Dolan’s ship, The Tempest takes off and our party makes our way to our own ship along with eight of the villagers which include among them Lupo, our guide as well as Harsol and Cratala. L’hrequ and the villagers cut quick growing vegetation out of our landing gear and we take off from the planet. We find there are no other ships in orbit and we have an uneventful trip back to The Wheel.

We expect to have trouble docking considering how we left but we find no trouble other than the fact that we have a stupid name for our ship. Wooden Chicken? Really? What kind of name is Wooden Chicken? Why not Fast Panda, or Asteroid Skipper or Cloud Dancer? Wooden Chicken? How about The Halo? The Helios? Star Opal? The Kraken? But no, we give this ship the name Wooden Chicken? I’m surprised they allowed us to even dock with such a name. It is embarrassing.

Shira is no longer on The Wheel. I wonder if she went to join her brother Remo. He make contact with Dolan and tell him we will be there soon. Before meeting him though, L’hrequ reminds us that we should find out the actual value of those rare metal bars so we go to a bank and discover that the bar Harsol gave to Dolan is worth not only the half he promised up front but actually pays for the entire contract. We wonder if Dolan will honor this. I naturally have to dislike Dolan since he wants to take in a bounty on my friend, Little Pax so I suppose I am prejudice against him.

We head to where Dolan’s ship is docked. He is not only reasonable about the value of the bar of metal that was given to him, he actually gives us credits for what he was overpaid! This bounty hunter follows the code! I have a new respect for him. I twitch an ear at Ganda and give him a nod. Dolan invites us to celebrate and drink with them later and I leave the encounter actually looking forward to this.

We escort the thirty villagers out of the docking bay and get them settled into a suite where Pax does girly things with them as they discuss where the villagers will go from here.

I leave them to do some shopping. I borrow 400 credits from Pax so I will have enough money to buy armored clothing and I sell my heavy clothing. I also buy a good supply of rhyschate and I buy a couple more stim packs and a couple of binders for future jobs, having lost the two I had on that horrible jungle planet.

I hear something in my comlink about dock fees but I ignore the chatter. Mostly the chatter is screaming by Brak. He’s such a nervous creature, always worried about something so I pay little attention to it.

I return to Pax and the villagers that don’t have home worlds and folk to go home to still seem anxious about where to go from here so I suggested Corellia and they seemed to like that idea. I was really starting to enjoy this pause in our adventures, feeling relaxed and finally able to catch our breaths when I hear Brak chattering up the comlink again.

Brak is almost incoherent about some need for us to return to the ship. I sigh and call Dolan to give my apology that we will not be able to come to the party and how much I really wished I could have joined them. I think he is an honorable bounty hunter and he and his people sounded like they were having so much fun! I also put a bug in his ear to watch out for any information on Rozzi and that I would pay for any information he finds. I tell him I am looking to capture Rozzi dead or alive but preferably dead. I do not go into details of why, that is a personal story that is not meant for casual comlink calls.

I arrive back at the ship with Pax, Harsol and Cratala. M0F0 has reprogrammed the spider droid and named it Toto. It’s adorable. Larry has had his hair trimmed and I think his nails look shiny. Brak is up in arms about some hooded figure (could it be the one that was following us earlier?) that came to him and warned him that imperials are looking for either Larry or maybe Brak himself, I cannot make sense between the two of them when they are talking so loudly and rapidly.

So while there is more talking I decide to just look everyone up on the holonet at the Bounty Board…

M0F0 is listed with “please contact for amount.”

Brak is listed for 20,000 credits
Winter Pax is listed for 100,000 credits
L’hrequ is not listed, however there is a standing bounty on all Jedi’s.

I am a bounty hunter traveling on a ship of bounties. And I only have 30 credits on my chit. That’s fucked up.

Docking fines and fees are discussed and I know I have nothing to contribute. L’hrequ gives an expectant look to Harsol who pays the fines. I try to give a “force sensitive” high-five to Larry but since I’m not force sensitive as far as I know, I expect he didn’t get the kudo.

Our trip to meet up with Remo was uneventful until we came out of hyperspeed. What…the…hell? Remo wanted us to find Cratala who is hunted by Imperials and then has us bring her to a planet that is surrounded by Imperials including no less than five imperial star destroyers?!?!? We are hailed by authorities who want dumping permits or something and I head straight away to the dorsal turret. Apparently they didn’t like the dusty permit L’hrequ found buried in the ship’s computer records and the authorities send four tie-fighters after us.

Shots are fired at us. I fire back. Before another shot is fired, Brak expertly banks The Wooden Chicken hard into the clouds of this shit-hole planet called Raxis Prime.

View
The Alamo

So let me get one thing straight right outta the chute, i ain’t no fighter, don’t get me wrong I can slip on a pair o brass knuckles without nobody noticing and bust somebodies chicklets out if I need to, but this here was a full on tussle !

That durned diplomat droid came back and asked us to surreneder the village, we send him packin straightaway! Might have even been a few warning shots sent his way to get rid of the hitch in his giddeyup.

We all went up into the watchtowers to get idea of what were looking at, Storm troopers were spotted all around the camp fixin to bust in and take us or kill us all, they was wearing painted armour and they had a couple of droids with’em too and these were not for negotiating they was for killin. Most of these folks were fixin to give up the goose, they was all sad and beaten yet the fight had not yet begun, how the hell did these folks make it so long? Winter starting talkin to these folks tryin to get the spirit back, she gave a right good speech even gave me a bit of a chill, somehow she gott’em to fight at least!

Th e troopers starting lobbing grenades over the walls, others was focused on busting down them doors , i realized I was a sitting duck up in that watch tower so skeedaddled back down the ladder and to my right they just breeched a small hole in door, I seen a couple of villagers just staring at the hole like some blubberin kids that just had their favorite toy taken away, I preceed to run right to the hole and put my blaster thru it and lit up a few of these folks, then I backed off and told these folks you see anything move you blast the hell out of it. Our door held out for quite some time.

In all the fuss I kinda lost track of where the rest of the crew were at, the leruck or laribee or larry lou the Jedi went to the far door along with Kat, not long after the original ruckus started I hear Winter telling Cortal to release the Nexu, hmmmm I had mixed feelings about this as them damn varmits have a mind of their own and they may just decide to eat us instead. Not quite sure what happened but M0f0 was in a bad way and he kinda slinked back to get himself fixed up and just like I figured one of them cats was gonna get us, luckily it walked right past me and Winter but Mo was not so lucky, somehow he managed to get up on a rooftop, by the time i gets to the next breached door them Nexu has pretty much finished off what was left on our side of the village.

Now over on the other side things get weird, or the tall tales get taller, not sure which as I dint see nothing with my own eyes, now kat and leruck was protecting the 3rd door, Im hearin stories about leruck lifting up pieces of trees and throwing them at storm troopers, I also here he was taking blasters out of peoples hands, as I said i can’t vouch for any of these stories but that boy is special, I knew it the minute I seen him many moons ago and the kat of course is chopping them down as fast as anybody I ever seen. That one is right dangerous and I best keep on her good side if ya know what I mean. We all seemed to be doing good, the villagers fought pretty good after winter kinda put a fancy boot up there asses, Mo got himself patched up.

having finally put these clowns on the run, we gathered ourselfs and dusted each other off, gathered up some armour and got some heavy blasters too. Mo has this crazy idea of reprogramming one of them little spider thangs and making it show us the way to the ship these smelly troopers came from, the craziest part is it worked ! The only problem is that durn thing takes the the straightest path possible, aint all of us got 8 legs and don’t need to breath, after a bit I hear some engines purring a sweet sweet song, except I knew what that meant even though we could not see a damn thing i knew they had cut and run, as we get to the clearing we see that ship flying off into the dark of space. We will see each other again good buddy, I promise out that and when we do you are in for the whoopin of your life.

We hang our heads and head back to the village, figuring out who is stayin, who is going, where we taking them, where to meet the rest when we get back? These durn fools wanted to stay back at the village, we all slapped some sense back into em and into hiding they will go, and we will meet them again in about 5 days if the good lord keeps us and them alive, time will tell, I sure could use a beer or some of Kats fancy cake…..uh oh

View
Danger Will Robinson, my arms are flailing !
Rumor's of the Empire's demise may have been vastly exagerated

After the encounter with the Probe Droid and failing to recover anything of value in its wreckage (I don’t know why I know so much about its design, but I was pretty sure we won’t be able to recover anything from its self-destroyed data banks), we gather the two young lovebirds and force them to come back with us. On the way back we agree not to alarm the survivors by omitting to mention the Imperial origin of the droid.

On arrival we explain Harsol that someone (most likely Dolan, aka “Dirtbag” the bounty hunter who’s been after Winter for a while now) sent this probe droid but stay elusive about its origin. We then decide to head back to bed, wondering what the next day will bring. I open the field medkit and proceed to heal the group with Brak’s assistance, succeeding in removing most of the critical wounds they had suffered. I am still worried about L’hrequ Paku Geil’s head injury, as I am not sure our antibiotics are fully efficient in this jungle… I also patch a couple holes in my own frame, but my diagnostics are still not great. It would not take more than a couple serious hits to shut me down for good… As usual I keep watch over my organics while tinkering with the hardware.

In the morning, we are awakened by a commotion in the camp. The tower watchmen are calling for Captain Harsol. We get up, and arrive quickly at the source of the agitation (except Winter who needs to put her face on before appearing in public). The sentinels have spotted a C3 type protocol droid, all painted in white, approaching our perimeter. He soon introduces himself as C4-N1 and sounds as uptight as all the other protocol droids I’ve ever met. He has a message for Harsol, and starts a Holo communication upon seeing the captain. A man in Imperial officer garb can be seen in the bluish hue of the projection. He introduces himself as Supervisor Leers Osman, member of the ISB (Imperial Surveillance Bureau, aka Imperial secret services). He claims the Empire is still here and wants to recover the crew of the derelict ship, especially Captain Harsol and Cortala, as well as the precious cargo it was transporting. Harsol is infuriated and at first refuses, but L’hrequ and Winter calm him down and he manages to stall by offering to give his response at dusk. Supervisor Osman accepts the terms and the droid leaves into the jungle. Strangely, when I participated in the conversation, Osman recognized that I was a M0 series droid, and seemed to hint that the Empire was familiar (or may the originator) of that design. I have not memory of that, but this may explain why I know so much about their technology. This is a disturbing thought, what was my involvement with the Empire: a technician, an engineer, a war bot? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a protocol or negotiator droid, that’s for sure…

Pand and Winter tail C4-N1 to figure out where our Imperial intruders could be located. The droid is more perceptive than it looks and detects his tail. Pand’ and Winter talk with him, but he refuses to reveal important information about Osman and the alleged Imperial troops he commands.

Meanwhile, the survivors and our group gather in the great hall to discuss the current situation. The villagers are freaking out again. You’d think that thirty years of survival in a harsh planet would have hardened these people, but they squeal and moan like senators… Harsol and his peeps are decided to fight to the bitter end, others insist on us taking them off the planet while we can. The crowd’s morale is down by the end of the town meeting, and L’hrequ tries to comfort some of them on their out, like a preacher with his flock. He actually seems to succeed, especially when he demonstrates the Force by levitating a stone above his hand. Children and adults alike are quite amazed. With the crowd dispersed, Harsol comes back, armed to the teeth. We talk for what seems like an eternity (but my quartz confirms it was only 28.32324355666 minutes) and agree on the following plan:

  • Brak will take one of the survivors with him and head to our ship to scan our opposition (we still don’t know what Osman will attack us with) and provide cover from the sky.
  • The rest of the group will go scout the area around the camp to look for enemies and estimate their strength. With a bit of luck, we may even be able to capture one of them to interrogate them).

As we get ready to go, I suddenly feel strange. My arms are twitching, commands are being issued from outside of my control: WTF, I am being hacked!! I involuntarily take a swing at L’hrequ, but his Jedi reflexes allow him to duck the blow. My arms are flailing in all directions and I warn my companions to shut me down. Worse, I have an ugly impulse to draw my shooter and use it against my friends. They first try to tackle me to the ground and stun me, but my heavy armor is blocking their attempts, so they decide to instead get some distance and shoot me with their blaster on stun mode. I draw my own gun and take a shot at Pand’ but miss, and manage to squeeze my gun so hard that its gas cartridge gets ejected, buying my friends a few seconds. They quickly manage to stun me and I shutdown.

The following events were later on related by Winter and L’hrequ: screams can be heard from somewhere in the camp. Pand’ and Brak head over to the source and find an unconscious villager in the middle of a street. They can’t figure what caused this until they see something small scurrying along a wall at the edge of their vision. They finally discover that it is a small mechanical spider, hidden by a distortion field making it almost invisible. It attacks Pand’ with a sort of stinger projecting a blue electric arc. This is only a small sting for our giant cat who then blasts the thing to smithereens. They find a second spider droid/drone and manage to disable it with their blasters switched to stun.

Meanwhile, Winter manages to open my shell and remove my remote connection module, disabling my radio abilities, but also preventing outside sources from taking control of me. I am then tied up with cables then switched back on. I feel like myself again and my ill-tempered an unapologetic demeanor reassure my colleagues that I am myself again…. They until me. My circuits are however still weakened by the blaster shots, and I feel it would not take much to take me offline again. How was Osman’s men able to take control of me? Are his slicers that skilled or did it have some kind of override code to bypass my security?

When Pand’ and Brak update us about the spider droids, I once again seem to know a lot more about them then I probably should: they are used as spies or recon droids, which means that Osman and his troops most likely know a lot about our defenses and plans, and confirms that he has no intent on proceeding peacefully. We need to get ready for an imminent battle! We scratch our previous plans and look for other spider droids. We find and disable six total. I inspect one of them to see if I could reprogram them for our own purposes, but it would take too long and I decide against it. Harsol informs us that all the women and children are safe in the caves located under the cliff’s overhang.

Dolan picks this moment of tension before the battle to call Winter and offer to take us off the planet again. She refuses again, as politely as she can.
Suddenly the battle begins, we hear the sounds of two approaching speeder bikes. They pass over the village at full speed without stopping. Harsol freaks out and shoots at them, wasting precious ammunition. On their second pass, the strafe the buildings and cause panic among the defenders. We all climb on the tower to better attack them as they pass by. Because of their range and speed, I have to use the Trandoshan mercenary’s blaster rifle on lethal mode, against my vow not to destroy any organic life.

Here are the highlights of the battle against the speeder-bike imperials:

  • The speeder bikes shoot the towers where L’hrequ and Pand’ are taking cover. A friendly battle droid explodes into pieces and the meager covers are blown to smithereens.
  • Cortala freaks out: she runs to the Nexu cages inside the camp and is about to release the feral beasts. Winter sees her and uses her best leadership skills to calm the scientist down and prevent her from unleashing the hungry beasts inside the camp.
  • L’hrequ pulls a stunt his Jedi master would have been proud of: as the other bike drives by his tower, he ties a synth-rope to a railing and lassoes the nose of the speeder. A few seconds later, the rope goes taut and the pilot loses control of his high-speed vehicle than crashes into the camp’s log fence.
  • We shoot one of the Imperial bikes several times and finally I hit one of their fuel tanks. The bike explodes, killing its pilot instantly. This is too much for me, the stress of having killed a human shorts my motivator, and I shut down instead of savoring this short-term victory.

For a few seconds, the defenders savor their victory, but suddenly one of the villagers shouts to look outside the fence. My comrades turn around and see that several squads of camouflage-clad Stormtroopers and two probe droids are approaching our camp through the tall grass. The battle only begins, and I am already out of it…

View
Free to leave...
...and the sooner the better

I stayed with Cratala while the others chased after Yav. We rested while she recovered from her ordeal. She wasn’t injured, but she was quite shaken from being Yav’s captive and then nearly drowning. I assured her everything was fine and that we’d be back at the camp soon. She revealed that Harsol fancied her. Now that is a powerful tidbit of information!

After several minutes, the rest of the group returned empty handed. They managed to track Yav to their ship, but he managed to launch just as the gang caught up with him. Yav and his remaining toadies fired on them before flying off.

We told Cratala that we feared prosecution and death if Harsol did not want us to leave freely. The men (is M0-F0 male?) acted like they were doing Cratala a favor by not abducting her themselves. Oh dear. I wanted to work with Harsol towards a mutually beneficial outcome. Brak and Pand agreed. She reassured us that Harsol would treat us quite favorably since we rescued her. So back to camp we went.

When we met up, Harsol was quite happy to see Cratala. He stopped short of lifting her off the ground with a bear hug, but I suspect that is what he wanted to do. So why didn’t he? Was it because he did not want to do that publicly, or because Cratala would not appreciate it?

Harsol invited us to dinner, which of course we accepted. He told us we were free to come and go. We asked about the other survivors who might feel threatened by our departure. He replied that he would suppress the most radical, plus we considerably outgunned any rebels. “They would be fools to challenge you.”

After dinner, Cratala took us on a tour. She led us to a garage that included a mountain of scrap salvaged from the Sa Nalaor. She introduces us to the local engineer. We also meet some of her “pets” with some of them sporting technological augments.

We then went to the only decent place on the planet. The building was very neat and organized and the nicest structure in the village. It was Cratala’s lab. Why is it the nicest place, I wonder? I’m sure the reason is significant and something we can use in our favor.

Her droid, FX-07, appeared fully operational. It also has a complete record of her research for the last 30 years. This is what Remo really sent is for, is it not? The medical center was decent, but not as nice as Cratala’s lab. We did receive some medical treatment, which was minimally effective and horribly smelly.

Next, the generator in a room behind her lab. Imagine our surprise when a rybet jumps out in front of us, like a chicken protecting her eggs. Cratala told Feno Gamoc that we were friendlies. Turns out he was having trouble with the generator, and he eventually accepts help from M0-F0. In a short amount of time, M0-F0 had the generator tuned and purring like a nexu.

No surprise, Pand paid a visit to the local who runs the “whiskey” distiller. She seemed to relax just knowing he was there. We visited several forgettable buildings. The last one, however held a small surprise. It was a shuttle. Cratala told us it was not operational.

We spent another night, which was both uneventful and uncomfortable. At breakfast we talked to Harsol and asked how many residents wished to leave. He told us it was dozens. This is far more than what we can take with us.

We left early to return to the ship. Another ride on a revo. We took a detour to check on the previous day’s battle site. Not much left of the rodians and trandoshan. Just greasy, bloody stains on the jungle floor.

We finally reached our ship. L’hrequ cut away vines while Pand and I kept watch. Brak does a pre-flight check, making sure our eventual departure would go smoothly. M0-F0 gets a data recording device, a generator, and whatever else we can spare. The residents here lift such a wretched lifestyle that anything would be appreciated. My personal sacrifice was six bottles of designer nail polish.

The return trip to the camp went without incident. We are treated like heroes and the atmosphere is celebratory. M0-F0 and Cratala went to the lab to download her research. The rest of us went to bed. We took turns for watch.

In the middle of the night, someone came to our room and said Harsol wanted us to come. There was something outside the walls and he wanted us to check it out. This sounded suspicious to us. Was this a trap? After much debate, we agree to check it out.

Harsol was standing on a tower looking into the blackness of the nighttime jungle. He said something was moving outside the village wall. We asked if any of the residents were outside, and he said no.

We left the fort and Pand stealthed ahead of us with her night vision goggles. We kept in shortwave contact with Harsol, who informed us there were two teenagers who had snuck out of the village. Pand was ready to shoot anything that moved, and she was irritated to have this new limitation.

We all looked and listened as best we could as we crept through the jungle. Something shiny flashed in the darkness. Then a weird electronic chittering. Then BOOM! Pand shot an imperial probe droid. We took it out quickly, but was it quick enough? It had been transmitting when we destroyed it. Probably to a ship in orbit. Yav’s ship, we guessed.

Then we received a shortwave comm. It was Dirtbag Dolan. How could he have possibly found me here? I guess Cholganna is a secret no longer. I’m tempted to tell him to come and get me. I’ll be waiting for him at the nexu cages.

View
Prison Planet

Planet of Choganna
Evening, hours from the fated Sa Nalaor
Lakeside, wet and hurting

I find myself taking a short deferment from my swim to warm my limbs and both throbbing lobes. I shall however, start this recording some hours before this respite.

I last wrote just before we had come upon a great bluff on great beasts. At its base, a semi-circle of enclosures clearly routed from the crashed Sa Nalaor to protect survivors from the elements and its indigenous life not to mention is virile flora.

We made our way between two walls terminating in built up spires resembling towers between which two fortified gates that were now open. Inside, sadly dressed survivors now thirty years since the unfortunate crash landing and their children noted our appearance and seemed mostly suspicious.

At one of the larger structures we waited inside for a time for someone named Cratala. Finally, Harsol’s fellow survivor and cyberneticist, an Arkanian, walks in. We sat on logs as did the Rodian captives and with us many of the adults of the scrap-built town.

Harsol then began speaking behind a lecture of sorts, appearing as some kind of small town judge. He then began an address clearly meant for the locals. Our party and the Rodians watched as Harsol gave an unemotional telling of the discovery of our parties in their backyard.

He then turned to our party and began launching questions that made it clear we were defendants in quite potentially a Tauntaun court. He seemed surprised and unbelieving of the method and likely the reasons for finding their ancient vessel.

Winter stood and quite artfully and persuasively narrated some of our methods, motives and discoveries including the escape pod, the armor plated Nexu, the finding of the broken treasury ship and finally our encounter with the Rodian attackers.

To further bolster our defense and add weight to Winter’s claims, M0-F0 stood and played relevant historical HoloNews clips. Starting with the battle of Yavin then continuing with a string of key moments clearly showing the swift collapse of the Galactic Empire. Finally ending with the death of the Emperor himself.

The Rodians were questioned similarly, eliciting unsurprising falsehoods laced with accusations of our parities actions and motives. The long-suffering crowd, made paranoid from the old power of the empire and perhaps more so by their leader, were predictably split between our deaths or keeping us whole, but either way keeping us on Choganna.

Without resolution, appointed survivors lead the Rodians and our party in opposed directions to be sheltered for the evening. Our stewards are kindly and security is lax. In near privacy we discuss the trial and run through our options. A little later we are taken by armed guard to a building where Harsol and Cartala were waiting at table. We were then served dinner with our host, accompanied by additional questions.

After a few nostalgic flights into what did not occur since their crash. I had had quite enough. I stood and spoke with granular detail of my home planets role in the conflicts from the Clone Wars to the present. I did not hid my disgust at his insistent ignorance nor did I hide my pride in Cerea’s difficult decisions and commitment all these years.

After more unresolved back and forth, including some words from Cartala we were led back to our holding. On our way, I am called by name from the path by a Nautilan named Chantu. She tells me she had a dream of one who looked like my Master, Sleavox who spoke and commanded that I be told the Force would be with me. I fear Sleavox as I had known him is gone. Transfigured into the Living Force.

Before we bed down, some of have our wounds attended to. Before sun up, we are summoned by shaken looking guards to Harsol’s shelter. There, he informs us that Cartala was taken by the Rodians but it was unclear if the went north or south. Some go north we go south. Pand and Winter work together it pays off. We find booted tracks.

In little time we are catch up to a Rodian and take him down. We spot three in the foliage further back. I close midway to cover, shooting ensues by both sides. I move, engage and reign blows upon one then another. The other is downed by blaster fire.

We then spot a Trandoshan without the typical heavy weapon but still giving my team a run for their money. I then catch a glimpse of Yav, the Rodian leader with Cartala being roughly dragged along towards the lake. Knowing any delay could see the Rodian and Cartala away on his Rodian junk space I employ concentration from my topmost lobe and action with the lower.

I use the Force and bend the mind of the dangerous Trandoshan so he can no longer see me. I race with all speed toward Yav and the faltering Arkanian woman. He senses me as I near the lake and shoves Cartala into the lake. To my great destress I just notice her hands are bound behind her.

Even with the Force as my ally, I cannot become two of myself and I must choose which path to pursue. I choose life over death. I leap into the lake. This however was made worse for on my approach I spotted a great worm like thing. It’s head jerking towards the flailing but sinking Cartala. It’s one emotionless eye pinpointing it’s next meal.

I leap. Ungracefully I pound the water and thrash towards the sinking Arkanian. The furry naga darts towards us. I thrust my hand between her side and arm and bend my arm back so we are locked elbow in elbow. I twist myself towards shore and pump every limb again and again. I’m the Force and the Force is in me!

I gulp water as I submerge with her weight and the water slowing every effort. Then I feel the ground beneath my boots. Like pistons, I put the last of my energy in my legs and push and lift and push. Out of the water we rise and fall towards land and then crawl and haul her and I away from the lake an that… thing.

As my party shows up, we are on the shore, myself partly on Cartala’s recovering but prone form, partly looking in the direction Yav fled so he doesn’t simply pick us off. We are aided by M0-F0 and others and I have finally caught my breath. My focus returning, I look to see what is happening now.

View
Discovered!

We try to get some sleep in the make-shift huts we found but little sleep is to be had before Mofo hears a sound. A loud sound. A loud feline sound that is not a Togo. I get up. I hear nothing. I return to my hut to find a creature rummaging in my pack. IT HAS EATEN ALL MY RYSHCATE!!!!!

I kill it of course. After what happened last time I tried to share crumbs of my ‘Cate with a cute cuddly creature I was overwhelmed by rodents bent on taking chunks out of my beautiful fur. I wasn’t about to let that start again. The moment my gun went off, we were attacked by Nexu, one landing on top of the hut I shared with Little Pax, and four more instantly in our camp. These were different than the Nexu that had attacked us before. These wore armor!

We brought one down and the other Nexu ran off into the jungle after we’d injured them enough. In the aftermath, we found that I.T. was injured with wires hanging out from his arm. Brak and L’hrequ were injured. Pax was lovely as ever. Mofo patched everyone up as well as he could.

With the one Nexu corpse still in camp, I took a trophy of one of its many teeth for an earring. After some rest, we followed the trail of blood shed from one of the Nexu and Mofo spotted a ship fly by. He said it looked like the one that attacked us when we were leaving the Wheel.

We continued to travel north, following the lake. Approaching a clearing, Pax sees a Rodian looking back at her with a scope and she quickly tells us to duck down. After some discussion, Mofo and L’hreque walked ahead to negotiate. The Rodians told them that all they wanted was I.T. Well, we’re not about to give up our metallic buddy, right?

So of course a fight begins. Mofo drops to the ground. Is he faking it? Is he really injured? No time to decide, IT runs into the middle of combat and grabs Mofo by the heels and tries to drag him back out of harms way. All the while, I am trying not to laugh at the scene as Mofo is trying to aim and shoot while he’s being dragged around like a kitten-toy as IT dodges bullets.

In the battle I am critically wounded, but again I.T. saves the day and slaps a stimpack on me. For being such an annoying droid, he is becoming quite the hero, not that I would say that in front of Little Pax. She does not seem to like droids much.

The fight rages on and I concentrate my fire on the Rodians’ Trandoshan merc, while Pax alerts us that the Rodian’s leader has arrived, the one she recognizes from the Wheel. The Trando falls, much to my relief.

We are still heavy into the fire-fight when three giant creatures rise from the lake bearing barges on their backs, each barge holding several people and old droids with guns trained on us all, as in both us and the Rodians. Their leader orders all of us to cease fire, which we do.

I.T. runs to their leader. So it’s true! I.T. did, indeed belong to the Captain of the fallen vessel we were sent to search out. IT is reunited with his lost owner of 30+ years. Pax explains to their leader that the Rodians we were fighting were trying to take I.T. from us and had already stolen him once but we had rescued him.

I would think this would sway their leader into acknowledging that we were the good guys, our having protected I.T., but he did not give us any more of a welcome than he did to the Rodians. They separated us, our party into a barge upon one of the giant white creatures and the Rodian party into another with the Leader in the barge between us.

We make small talk with the “natives” who have been stranded on this planet for three decades and I ask one if he is not happy to be rescued now that we have found them. He nervously says that some of them do want to be rescued but…. The man driving the barge hushes him with “that’s enough.”

I also learn from him that it is Cratala (the scientist whose research we had been looking for) who has been training the armored Nexu who attacked us last night. That explains how those wild cats came upon wearing armor pieces. Were they armor pieces, or were they more sophisticated than simple armor pieces? I did not examine the downed one well enough to see if there were any electronics involved with the pieces the Nexu wore. Hmm, I cannot even remember if the one we actually killed had any armor on it. I know the ones that ran off did.

We continue North along the lake until we reach a river and then continue along it as well for about 10 imperial minutes until we reach a make-shift pier. The Revos (the name for the great white beasts) lower so we can disembark.

Both our group and the Rodian group are walked up a path for another tenish minutes until we reach a formidable wall, perhaps 15 feet made of scavenged materials and logs. It is joined by two tall towers of about 30 feet each and there are 2 separate large gates. All of this walls off a settlement that is defensively built up against an enormous rocky bluff.

Inside we see people, young and old, so I must surmise that some are the original crash survivors while others were born to this world and know of no other life than the one they were raised in. There are probably about 30 of them, people and old droids. Some of the people still wear threadbare clothing from their first days here while others wear clothing made of furs from the local animals. The droids are sorely in need of repair. Mofo actually worked at trying to repair some of them on the barge on our trek here.

We were marched to a large building. On the way to it I notice a water-wheel. I look but do not see any Nexu. Formidable creatures they are, but what I wouldn’t give to adopt a kitten of theirs!

Their leader, Captain Harsol sends for Cretalla. And here we wait for her arrival….

View
It's a jungle out there
Welcome to the jungle.

M0-F0 calculated the most likely location for the remainder of Sanalaor. Brak launched to take us there, but it was a rough start. Our landing gear was held by sucking mud and vines that had grown and wrapped around the landing legs. L’hrequ considered going out the hack the vines off the ship, but the last time he did that, he was attacked by a nexu. Instead, M0-F0 assisted Brak with the piloting, but still no clean take off. Captain Shorwarr, the wookie at Mila’s Comet, was not exaggerating when he said Cholganna eats ships. The pilots kept at it, and we finally cleared the surface.

Flying above the jungle canopy, we spotted another large portion of Sanalaor, but alas, there was no place to land nearby. This planet has no good place to land. Not even a decent or workable place to land. There are impossible landing sites and then there are very bad places to land, which is our best option. We returned to the same place we launched from. With only about three hours to sunset, we debated waiting for morning or setting out immediately. We decided to set out, knowing we’d need a small bit of luck to get us to the wreckage by nightfall.

Unless I’m in a shopping mall, I have no sense of direction. After wandering about the jungle a bit, we stumbled upon Sanalaor’s bridge. I’m amazed we ever found it, as it was camouflaged with grime and foliage. We saw empty ports where escape pods had been. Over the empty ports, vegetation had been woven into nets.

We climbed into the wreckage through a tear in the hull. The ship is tilted, which made moving around it very difficult. It is obvious that some of the occupants must have survived the crash. Many of the doors and chairs have been removed. We search the ship, but most useful things have been taken.

We exited the Sanalaor. In the jungle, we spotted the glint of something in the darkness. Pand used her night-vision goggles to stealth out and investigate. When we heard her blaster rifle fire off, we went running towards her. Bark rats swarmed over her, and then swarmed us after we caught up. We exterminated them quickly. Nasty things, those bark rats.

The glint we spotted was a big metal door from the ship. It had been used to build small hut. We found 20 of these ram-shackle structures. Searching through them, we guessed at least 40 people had lived here, but that was years ago. Nearby we found 20 burial sites. No information, only names. Poor souls.

We returned to the wreckage. M0-F0 opened a door on an escape pod port and we went in. One area of the ship had a fire. The central array control room was still intact. Under a tarp, Pand found a clean workbench. Someone had used it to disassemble a console, cannibalizing it for parts. If anyone is still on this wretched planet, they might have usable electronics. Could we use that to find them?

We entered a nicer area of the ship. Nothing luxurious, just a little nicer than what we’ve seen so far. Officer’s quarters. Empty weapon racks. It has all been looted a long time ago.
We did find two locked footlockers. Inside first locker was a book, a few personal items, and our first useful prize, a vibroknife. The next locker held halotapes, a camera, a credit chip, and a datapad. M0-F0 tried to charge the datapad with his internal battery, but no luck. We took everything, hoping we would be able to extract more clues once we returned to our ship.

Continuing through the ship, we found the galley, which has also been completely stripped. The lowest decks of Salanaor are buried under the clay muck.

We went outside again and returned to the makeshift hovels. There was no proper place to bathe, my hair frizzed from the constant damp, and I had no change of clothing. We settled in to rest, Pand and I in one hovel and Brak and L’hrequ in another. The droids kept guard while the people tried to sleep.

From the jungle comes a low growl…

View
part 1

Now see here, after spottin this hear blip on the screens we figures this must be the ship, so we sets to checkin her out, well we don’t make it half a country mile before m0f0 shorts a circuit. He aint moving he aint doing nothin, where I come from a good sharp rap upside the dome usually gets these things ticking again but we aint got no time. So we leave m0f0 to to his own makins while we go check out this ship.

We gets near enuff and see that its at the bottom of a big old crick, so we gotta get down using this flimsy rope, so as we is all makin our way down the rope, i see’s the biggest damn cat I ever seen, except this critter has 4 eyes and a mouth fulla sharp teeth, i think he is fixin to have us fer dinner, so i tells the bunch what i seen and they skitter down that rope as fast as we can, by this time I am up there by myself and i spot him again, i never was good at climbing with ropes and i manage to stumble and bumble my way to the bottom.

We reckon this was an escape pod from a big ole frigate, might even be the one we is looking for, its about half sunk in this stinky swamp, i can’t remember if the door was open or not but next thing i remember is a whole bunch of nasty bugs come out o there like a cat with its tail on fire, then they is all over me stinging, somebody yelled get in the water fool, in my panic i had forgotten that, so i drop into this stinky swamp and almost immediately them bugs scattered like hippies around a shower. After we smoked her out real good we decided to go inside and see what we can find, besides a coupla dead folks we didnt see much. half full of water we try and see if we can finds the black box or the emergency beacon, it3p0 is able to recover it and we put that in the sack and decide to go back to the ship and see if we can recover the data stored within. About that time Pand and L’rehqu mention they spotted that damn cat again we gotta git while the gittin is good.

We gather up m0f0 and git back to the ship, we get almost thar and that damn trees and vines and crap has taken hold of the landin gear, might cause some problems takin off so L’heruq starts cutting them vines back with his fancy sword, i start doing preflight to get the ship fired up, it3p0 gets to figurin out whats wrong with m0f0. About that time i hear blaster fire, what in carnation could be going on now? Well it turns out them damn cats came back and were fixing for some jedi stew, luckily Pand was able to scare them off before they killed the jedi, i gotta say that jedi is one tough hombre and took out a couple of them before they almost got him.

We take off just before the cat came back with all his friends, we get up into orbit and start running some scans to see if we can find the freighter, m0f0 comes back to life, apparently he was in some diagnostic state, not sure what that is but it don’t make no nevermind nohow, IT and m0 scan the box and find some hologram….too be continued

View
Leaving the Wheel, into the unknown
Where teamwork prevails

Day 1 – 1600 – All units (organics and cybernetics) are loaded on board of loaned YT-1300 serial number EHWISKSBHNT-4566230.

Day 1 – 1601 – Pilot Brak does not wait for clearance and leaves station’s cargo bay, in clear violation of the Wheel’s regulations. I hope we won’t have to come back here, the fine is going to be literally astronomical…

Day 1 – 1602 – As our ship approaches the doors, a huge cargo hauler approaches our vector, almost blocking our exit. Brak zigzags around the juggernaut and clears the wheel without collision. Passengers are tossed about in the living quarters, with minor damage.This alien has more skills than common sense. He asks me how I liked the exit. “Dangerous and foolhardy,” I reply.

Day 1 – 1610 – We plotted a course to Togoria to drop the freed slaves, and are spooling the FTL engine. Pand’ora notices a smaller and newer ship (YT-2400) following us and catching up quickly. They open fire. Dogfight ensues, Pand mans the only turret (dorsal), Brak uses his excellent piloting skills to try avoiding damage as much as possible, while I use the copilot console to mitigate the stress on the ship’s systems. Meanwhile, L’hrequ Paku Geil boosts our rearward shields and hacks the freighter’s systems, while Winter assists Pand with fire discipline, calculating the best possible firing solution. The attacker manages to place a few good hits, but Pand’ora returns hit for hit. I can hear her roar into the communicator and am glad she is on our side. We only need a minute before we can escape via FTL.

Day 1 – 1611 – Pand’ora hits our adversary hard, pieces fly off and it chooses to keep its distance from us (they probably plan on following us to hyperspace). As we are about to jump, something hits the YT-2400 from behind. The ship goes dead and as we jump, Pand sees the silhouette of a Tie-Fighter emerging from behind the freighter. What would a Tie-Fighter help us? Is the Empire (or what’s left of it) interested in our objective as well? If so, we are not paid enough… The hyperdrive trip to Togoria will take 36 hours.

Day 3 – 0100 – We land on one of Togoria’s spaceports, a very small location lost in the middle of the jungle. Pand’ explains her clan’s tribe lives nearby, but she won’t be able to step foot on the planet. I know better than to ask why (Curiosity killed the Droid, they say). The ship is damaged and we coordinate some partial repairs so as not to waste too much time on this planet. We take the time to communicate with IT3-P0, a very polite and amenable droid. He seems eager to please, but the other team members believe he should not be trusted, as he could be used by Remo to spy on us, and maybe trick us. IT has coordinates to reach the Cholganna that match what I had gathered from the beacon. We learn that captain Harsol was the leading officer on the ship, and IT has not seen him for 30 years. L’hrequ Paku Geil negotiates with togorians to help take care of the freed slaves we rescued on the Wheel. They will help them get to their homeworlds. Our Cerean also decides to visit Pand’s family to learn more about the Togorians. He leaves with them for the night, and we get to see a male of the species: 10 foot tall, all claws and teeth. Let the Togorian win, they say.

Day 5 – 0100 – The repairs are done, we are ready to go. First we need to get rid of the Location device that was planted on your ship. There is only one other ship we can place the device on. Brak goes to talk to the captain to provide a distraction. I enable my routine “Good bot 1.01” and bring a bundle of useless parts from our ship in my arms. I approach, ask my Master where he wants them, and trip over a cable. The jumble of parts spreads out over the tarmac, and I apologetically start picking up everything. As I pick up parts, I stick the tracking device on the landing gear’s leg, out of sight. Who said droids couldn’t be sneaky?

Day 6 – 0200 – We take off. IT3PO explains there is a shorter route, faster but also more risky. We decide to take the longer route and deal with any potential consequence of our tardiness. We start on a well known trade route, then deviate into terra incognita toward Cholgana. When we jump out of hyperdrive, we enter a no-visibility zone, inside an atmosphere (not too shabby course plotting, if I might say). It is a nebula filled with red dust and debris. A large chunk of something hits the hull and causes mild damage to the hull. We bring the ship to a halt. We try to detect the environment, IT3P0 helps us with the sensors. L’hrequ Paku Geil boosts the forward shield and Brak pilots slowly around the largest rocks.

Day 6 – 0300 – We emerge from the cloud and finally see Cholgana. It is an enormous planet, almost entirely covered with a gargantuan forest. We drop into the atmosphere. I set the sensors to detect the ship, detecting magnetic anomalies under the forest’s canopy. We start a search pattern to locate the ship.

Day 6 – 0500 – The first blip, something the size of a shuttle or drop capsule. We land at the nearest clear spot, about two clicks from the small ship. As we approach it and see the small ship covered in vegetation, my subroutine gets into Flashback mode and I freeze…

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.