TRAVELING THROUGH HYPERSPACE! AFTER ESCAPING STARS’ END AND THE CLUTCHES OF INQUISITOR RAITH, OUR HEROES MUST DECIDE THEIR NEXT STEPS.
Inquisitor Raith can only watch from the Stars’ End docking bay as the glow of the freighter’s engines fades, then winks out as the Pecunia jumps to hyperspace. The Emperor’s prize has escaped her, being one of the few Jedi artifacts to remain unsecured. For now. But the jailbreak may have revealed something of equal value.
The stormtroopers accompanying her raise their weapons, and she turns, stepping over the blaster-charred corpse of Iaco, to face the perceived threat: Sargent Breil, clad in purple riot armor as he’s flanked by the guards manning Stars’ End. With a single raised hand, she calls off the troopers, and their blasters drop in unison. The sargent wilts under her gaze.
“Ye-yes, ma’am,” he replies. “There was a r-riot in the mess hall, and, uh, several, I’m not sure how many… uh, anyway, several of the inmates took advantage of the chaos, seizing control of the elevator and gaining access to sev-several other systems. And the warden…”
Clearly shaken, his report falters. Raith steps forward, and the man gasps, clutching his throat, clawing at the invisible hands crushing his windpipe. He struggles for several seconds before Raith releases him, and he falls to his hands and knees, gasping for air.
He coughs, nodding fervently as he tries to stand once more. “The v-vault was hit, but we c-can’t be sure what’s m-missing. The Warden, you see, he keeps, uh, kept his records encoded. The track-tractor beam was disabled. We have engineers running f-full diagnostics to determine—”
She gestures to one of the stormtroopers beside her, who offer a brisk nod and walks toward the guard, breaking his silence. “Don’t bother Sargent. We’ll take it from here.”
The trooper motions to his fellow white-clad enforcers as they spring into action. One gets a full prisoner list and begins reconciling the remaining inmates to determine who’s missing. One moves into the warden’s office, and deploys a variety of equipment that to access the warden’s computer. A nearby Star Destroyer relays the YT-1210’s last known trajectory. An alert is immediately issued to all systems within the freighter’s potential flight path.
Sergeant Breil watches, awed by the silent efficiency of the Inquisitor and her elite troopers, each of them heading off with their given assignments. The lead trooper remains behind, only leaving when she confirms what must be an unusual request.“Correct. The entire core.”
The blackness of space, visible through the open hangar bay doors, is soon replaced by the immensity of an approaching Star Destroyer, preparing to rip open Stars’ End and retrieve the prison’s computer core. Time would not impede a thorough investigation.
The hangar bay now empty, Raith’s attention turns to the loudspeaker she so easily crushed with the Force. And there’s no doubt in her mind that she wasn’t the only Force user to visit Stars’ End in the last few days.
Soon, she’ll have two prizes to offer the Emperor.
As The Pecunia rushes in the blue tunnel of hyperspace, the hold is filled a nervous energy. The cockpit being manned by the first employees of THE TRANS-HYDIAN SHIPPING COMPANY, the newest brainchild of Roark, the enlisted crew of the small freighter captained by an unsure Guy Arros. The hold’s silence is broken with a firm declaration from Roark.
“So, I have got a brilliant ide—-”
“No” Valara cuts off
“Nooo” seconds Naraana“Absolutely brilliant idea” Roark continues not hearing them.
“Ehhhh, I’m not ready for you have another deal with me..” Rebus quietly mutters in his helmet.
“Everyone likes money. We could start a business, THE TRANS-HYDIAN SHIPPING COMPANY. It could be a great cover for just about everything and make us some real money” Roark continues, speaking over Naraana and Rebus
“I don’t like your money. It’s dirty money” shrugs Rebus
“Here you go, with your honorable bounty hunter standards Rebus” laughs Roark “What if I told you this would be an amazing opportunity?”
The room quiets down again as everyone moves into their own smaller pairings, the stress of the recent escape pushing everyone to be with those most familiar.
In one corner, separate but not alone, Yem Tandar and Valara sit together. The older ChadraFan sits quietly with his hands on the knees of his crossed legs and his eyes closed. Valara mirrors this wise alien, but her inexperience prevents her from being as still or silent. While she has been studying some of these methods with the Holocron, her situation hasn’t yet allowed her to afford the skill to master even this most basic tenet of meditation. Yem Tandar, sitting across from her, made the practice seem easy, betraying the nuance and effort required.
“Do you know who that was back there?” asks Valara, “I’ve never seen anyone so…dark. Ominous.”
Yem Tandar sighs, his concentration broken “I… don’t. She was what appears to be an Inquisitor. The Empire has tried to hunt me, and all the remaining Jedi, for many years. The Emperor even went so far as to create a powerful group, the Inquisitorius, which sends its own dark agents. I believe that to have been Inquisitor Raith, though I have never met her before personally. Whenever I have dealt with these agents in the past, the best results come from fleeing.”
“So by dealt with, you mean ran away from?” questions Valara
“I can sense your fear young one. While this advice is not what the Jedi considered proper, it has served me well. Embrace that fear and run. It is the only way to survive.” warms Yem Tandar “Our order is too small, it is the only way to survive the Empire”
“You are the first of the Jedi I have seen in…” Yem Tandar says quietly “In many years.”
His breathing becomes raspy as he holds back a coughing fit. The other members can’t help but eavesdrop, unable to add anything helpful.
“You know a lot about this… force… " opens Valara after a moment. The request hanging in her throat. “.. and how to use the, uh force…”
“You seem to have a bit of training yourself” assures Yem Tandar
“… yeah, I had this thing that, well it was helpful,” explains Valara, her shoulders fall as she continues “well it’s gone, I don’t know where that ran off to…”
With a deep breath Valara finally manages to ask “Would you be able to teach me?”
Yem Tandar stiffens, trying to find the right words without rejecting her outright
“Well the cube isn’t entirely gone…” offers Naraana
“What does that mean?” asks Valara
“When we went into the vault we got things I got this cube” explains Naraana “but I don’t know why it’s so important. But I got it for you”
She reached into her bag and grabs the Holocron. Moving across the room, she hands it to Valara.
“May I see the Holocron?” asks Yem Tandar
Valara hesitates before handing the object to the small creature. It looks much larger in his hands. Everyone watches as the Holocron expands, revealing its many layers. Facets split from hidden seams, as his hands move knowingly. He rearranges the corners and faces of the object, before closing it. Once closed, the same returns to its original state, but many of its inlaid designs now reveal a different pattern. Everyone within the room takes silent notice of this very mystical event. He hands it back to Valara once he is finished.
“This holocron is an ancient Jedi tool used for teaching. This one was set to teach the very young.” Yem Tandar explains “Now it’s teachings should be more appropriate for a person of your… experience. This is the safest way to allow you to learn your powers until a time where I can teach you. When two members of our order are close to one another, the presence they exude is very… powerful. As the Inquisitor demonstrated, whenever we are together we endanger ourselves, and those around us. We can’t stay together for very long…”
“…so it’s not wise for the two of us to occupy the same space for very long. Splitting up may divert her attention long enough to allow us both to escape her pursuit.”
“So definitely not just some piece of art” says Rebus. The context of his dealings a year ago now made much more sense.
“So is that how everyone here ended up in Stars’ End together? Because of that little thing”
“Oh Corran you know me, I just happened to be making a deal with some very powerful people who were looking for that particular, uh, Hulocrom there and uh well… I just wound up in jail” begins Roark
“You know what? that’s 100 credit that I have and that I know you don’t. And I’ll have you know that… well you’re right and I had no clue”
“So where are we headed?” asks Rebus
“Taris, the planet city of wonderful lights!” cheers Roark.
“Well wherever it is we are going, we are all still fugitives. We need to clear our records, and divert attentions from ourselves. For now we’re foxhole buddies until this is over” warns Corran.
Corran knew the stakes. This was the deepest trouble he had gotten himself into, and he definitely did not want to go back to Stars’ End. It didn’t fit him or his noble lifestyle. He was lost in thought for a moment, as R2-C4’s whistles and beeps broke his attention.
“That’s a good question R2-C4” responds Roark
R2-C4 lets off another volley of chirps and tones.
“Oh well, some people just get left behind like that…”
“I’m not worried about Kith the Assassin” adds Yem Tandar “She is very capable, she made it out without trouble”
The droid whistles and chirps in reply.
“Well the trouble you are in is a little bigger than a mere assassin can handle” Yem Tandar assures “But I trust her not to have fallen into the wrong hands”
With that the droid turns toward Naraana, and lets out a low tone.
“That sounds like a good idea R2, Let’s head over to the computer and see what we can do”
The Twi’lek and the droid head into the next room and begin working in concert, bringing the ship’s computer console to life. As they leave Corran shakes his head
“Great. I managed to go from being in jail to escaping with Rebels and the Jedi. This gets better all the time…” muses Corran
Back in the cockpit the crew is deep in discussion about how much trouble they are in. Guy Arros explains the business decision to double cross Iaco made everyone safer. His trust in Roark could lead to amazing opportunity for the Pecunia. The crew disagrees, as the exposure leaves them unable to travel into the Core, as the ship’s registration was clearly recorded at Stars’ End. The arrival of the Empire seriously complicates the deal, as the Corporate Sector Authority is much smaller than Imperial Space. The argument is being heard by the ship’s computer, who gives this information to R2-C4.
“What was that? Of course there’s no way to spoof a transponder code R2-C4” says Naraana
She stops her work, and looks down at the little droid. His scomp-link spinning, stopping and reversing in the computer port. His dome turns back to her and he whistles and beeps.
“You’d need an actual code, if there’s any error at all, you’d be flagged immediately.” chides Naraana “I can get to it, but the code is the real problem”
Corran and Roark overhear Naraana‘s issue. They immediately start to write out an old "Safe Code’ they would use when they used to work together for the Mid-Rim Shipping Company. The effort is waylaid as they exchange bits of a story about Gal Boroweic, their old boss. Nothing got by that guy. He was also impervious to intimidation and lies. Blaster bolts, however, were not something he could stop. The shot that killed him sparked the chain of events that led them both to Stars’ End. The memory of working to pry open his boss’s door after the Empire assassinated him was something that still took a toll on Roark.
The code is given to Naraana, who gets to work immediately, making the appropriate changes. She finishes bypassing the original transponder circuit with her spoof, and is able to increase power to the communications console. The fix, though short term, is sufficient to broadcast an encrypted signal back to Signal’s Core Intelligence. With a little luck they should be close enough to receive her.
Her luck holds, as the console connects to the rebels with a sharp squeal
“Gamma Three Six receiving, Code in please” a female voice calls out
“This is Operative: Lopsided, coming in.” Naraana responds
“Lopsided! Are you still running with that Garbage Can?” the female replies
“I sure am.” laughs Naraana
“It’s good to hear your voice, how can we help you?” the woman asks. The signal squeals out and back into range as Naraana replies
“We’re coming up on Ta—-”starts Naraana
“HOLD A MOMENT!
-— We’re secure go ahead” the operator cuts off in an effort to keep spies from listening, after seeing a momentary fluctuation.
“Alright, we’re coming up on Taris, and we’re looking for some friendly faces. Can you advise what assets are in place?” ask Naraana
“Uhhh… Hold on” The operator pauses a moment to collect information from others in the room “Give us a moment to collect that for you. Records show you’re four days past check in, what is your sitrep?”
“There was a mission complication. We ended up stationary and in custody of the CSA. We came out the other side with some new allies, and uh, maybe a holocron?”
Valara is attempting to meditate as the visions from her dream and the events of the previous day keep her from reaching a place of peace. She works hard to push everything away and follow her teaching. She starts to fall away as she hears the transmission in the next room. Her sense of security shatters as with her secrets are shared with the stars. The cold weight of fear presses against her chest as she’s too late to stop them.
“Repeat transmission, too many people over there talking, did you say Holocron? Can you hold a moment” The operator’s voice hangs in the air.
“You spoke a little too soon there Twi’lek” challenges Valara.Naraana shrinks back slightly as Valara dominates her personal space. The radio squeals a moment as the operator returns to the line.
‘Okay we’re gonna reestablish contact with you shortly. we’re going to move some assets and we’re going to give you instructions once they are in place. Can you confirm, you said Holocron, right?"
R2-C4 beeps and chirps at the console
“It’s an item of significant historical value” adds Naraana.
“Understood. Commander Merknor is moving assets and assures you that he will meet you both on site. He is very excited. I have never seen him like this” responds the operator
“Oh good point.” she tells Corran before relaying the message to the Rebels “Make sure those agents are armed. This may be a hot landing”
“Understood and good luck! Let us know as you arrive, so we can be in place”
As a contingency, Roark and Corran reconcile which contacts are on Taris as a backup plan. The only people Roark knew there, he owed money to. Corran, better suited at maintaining relationships at this point, someone that might be able to offer a safe port for them to land. After inputting what he needed into the communications array, he switched the call to a headset, and quietly spoke away from the group. He finished quickly, returning to the group.
After a moment of connection issues Roark is able to connect with Jacen Don. The connection is terrible. After a brief unintelligible conversation the line is dead, which is replaced with a muzak cover of the Model Nodes’ classic tune, “Tweetily Doo (A Song to Get Drunk to)”. As soon as Roark hangs up, the console starts beeping, signaling an incoming transmission.
“Code in, please. Gamma Three Six Transmitting. Please code in”
“This is Agent Lopsided, go ahead”
“Hold… we’re secure. You will be meeting an agent, Dek Lom, in the city of Antella. If you could plug in that Garbage Can you have over here, we’ll transmit the data to him directly.”
R2-C4 plus his scomp-link back into the appropriate port. He confirms the receipt of transmission with a beep. With that the transmission ends.
A moment later the ship leaves hyperspace with a roar. Guy Arros is asked for his flight plan and clearance information, which he transmits immediately.
At the Bureau of Ships and Services office, a sector alert is in effect for all early YT-1200 series freighters, entering system from any western trajectory. Imperial High Command sent out an IQ6 ORDER 4 hours before with the explicit instruction to hold any ship until “a designated team arrives to investigate”. The Pecunia arrives WEST 16, and transmits promptly. The code received does match up to the alert. The Commander walking by and flagging the ship for a scan, was bad luck. The scan matching the IQ6 ORDER scan sent by the Star Destroyer Steadfast… well, that was something else. The ship is ordered to Bay 41, as units are moved to secure the location.
Jetendra – Calling in that favor. Meet me at Hanger AIDB-41.
There is no reply. The Pecunia flies through the skies of Antella, a city darkened by heavy rain. Making its way past the city’s taller buildings, the ship casts a trail of water as it flies. It stops in the air over Docking Bay 41, and gently lowers itself into the open roofed building. Inside the passengers collect their things, ready to depart quickly. Naraana helps R2-C4 with the last minute removal of his pesky restraining bolt. After some quick work it pops off with a small bit of electricity cast into the air.
Inside the docking bay is quiet except for the steady pouring of rain drumming against the freighter’s hull. The doors to the bay are all closed and one man is seen working alone at a computer console to one end of the landing space. The ramp lowers to the ground and the passengers all leave the ship, lead by Corran. The crew is seen switching off the last of the systems before following everyone out. As everyone keeps under the ship for shelter, Corran walks toward the man, his jumpsuit nearly soaking through in the brief moment he’s unsheltered. A loud whine of wind can be heard making its way through the streets as they arrive together.
“Are you Corran?” The man asks, not waiting for a reply “We don’t have a lot of time. Good thing you can rely on Mid-Rim Shipping for all your shipping needs”
“Yeah, I need a go bag and about 5000 credits. A favor was owed to me.”
“We anticipated your needs, here you go.” He hands Corran the bag “You have about 12 friends outside that want to talk to you, so I’ve also secured a way out”
Corran turns to wave everyone over, and sees Rebus and Roark inspecting the red industrial docking clamp, with B.O.S.S. stenciled on it, that came installed and hidden on the floors of landing pad. Rebus slowly places his fist against the metal clamp and winds back for a punch. Just before he strikes he starts shaking his helmet and walking away defeated.
“Let’s get out of here” commands Roark
“Can you get us to that exit?” Corran asks the man.
Yem Tandar is quietly meditating, as everyone moves to leave
Rebus grabs the ChadraFan and carries him underarm, as they all quickly make their way to Corran’s contact, who has already removed a wall panel, exposing a maintenance shaft. The entrance to the bay is already starting to glow, as sparks spray through one end.
Corran jumps down the hole, followed by Rebus, who drops Yem Tandar before leaping into the hole. As the jedi falls, he slows his descent, to allow for a softer landing. Yem Tandar is quickly followed by Roark, and Valara who lands with a tucked roll. Naraana hesitates and ordered by R2-C4. Once she’s out of the way, Guy Arros and his crew jump down. R2-C4 drives to the edge and is pushed down the hole. The droid lets out a wail as he lands on his side with a loud bang. Everyone rights him as extends his leg and rolls with the group.
A whine is heard at the panel is fused shut with a shower of sparks. Once the mysterious stranger lands he leads the group out to the street, a block from the building. Before exiting, Corran opens his duffel bag and changes into street clothes. Jetendra even thoughtfully included a cape in the bag.
The tunnel opens to a covered alley, then out to the street. Once at the corner, the commotion is clearly visible. A squad of stormtroopers can be seen cutting down the door. Three bounty hunters are also there, having words with the Landing Captain, none of which can be heard. Bystanders surround the commotion, rebels hidden amongst them. The door finally gives away with an explosion as the group moves into the bay.
R2-C4 begins to leaves the group to investigate, while everyone looks on in horror. He makes it less than a quarter of the distance there before he is intercepted by a pedestrian, who grabs him right off his treads and runs into an alley. He lets out a wail as he moves out of view. Once out of view of the group, the man lets R2-C4 stand back on his own feet.
“What are doing here? Why are you in the open” demands a rebel agent
R2-C4 lets out a low toned response.
“Why am I talking to a droid? Let’s get you to safety” the agent replies.
The man and the droid walk side by side down the alley, as Rebus turns the corner ready for a fight. He is shocked to see everything is fine, and runs to catch up, reholstering his blaster. He is followed by the rest of the group, and tailed by Corran. They all arrive together as a transport speeder is waiting.
“Good thing we brought the big bus. We weren’t expecting such a big group.” says one agent to Naraana as he ushers everyone aboard.
“Yes, it was good thinking, soldier” Naraana replies as she steps aboard.
She is quickly followed by everyone else. Yem Tandar, however pauses, standing outside in the downpour.
“You need a boost little guy?” asks Corran, who is waved off by the small Jedi.
Valara moves to the door, not willing to leave. “What, why aren’t you coming with us?”
“Well there’s one less terrifying problem to deal with” quips Roark to himself
“We can longer travel together any longer. The risk is too great. I’ve given you the tools you need to learn what you now must. I will find you when the time is right” He states as Valara moves out to meet him in the rain.
“Can we part at a calmer point?” she asks
“It’s smarter and safer for us if we separate right now. The longer we’re together, the more risk we create for one another.” he states
“I thought we’d have more time!” she pleads
“I’ve given you the tools you need. Go. Now.” He says, “Hurry”
His voice starts to rasp, as the door shuts and the speeder halts to motion. The small ChadraFan pulls his hood over his head to block the rain as they all pull away. The heavy downpour makes him harder to see. The speeder rocks slightly as it crosses an intersection, distracting Valara, and when she looks back again, the Jedi has disappeared from sight.
A while later everyone is collected at the Rebel safehouse. Roark, Rebus and Corran stand together in a corner, listening to Roark once again discuss his business plan for the Trans-Hydian Transport Company, reshaping the concept into an actually decent strategy. Corran appears to be warming to the idea of working with Roark again.
The crew of the Pecunia have moved to another room to sleep. Naraana and R2-C4 are quietly working together refining yet another circuit design she is adding to her slicing kit. Along a far wall alone, Valara sits cross legged, staring at the Holocron.
Merknor has already moved toward the group. Rebus, wearing full armor and a helmet, stands cross armed, and seems too intimidating to The commander. Corran seems too… refined to be able to hide such a secret. He moves immediately to Roarke who seems cautious.
“Are… Are you the Jedi?” he asks Roark
“You have no idea how much we needed—- We’ve been waiting for years—- I mean it’s been so long” he stammers
“Whoa,” Valara says, motioning for the older man to slow down “I’m… I’m not exactly a Jedi… I can.. Well I can jump really high. That’s about all I can offer”
“Wow. That’s amazing! Tell me everything!”
“Have you considered lowering the amount of Stim-Caf you take in your diet because… wow”
“You know, I’m sorry. I know how this looks… it’s.. it’s…” he apologizes
“Like I said sir, we think that maybe this is what we found. You should really be connect us with someone who knows a lot about this, and would actually able to identify… what we have.” Naraana suggests helpfully.
“If only we could,” resigns The commander “With what few resources remain, there’s barely enough knowledge, not corrupted by COMPNOR to remember clearly who the Jedi even are.”
“ Naraana, you make a great point, but outside of Alliance High Command, I can’t think of anyone outside of myself who can offer any meaningful help. But, personally, it’s been years since I’ve seen a Jedi and… if that’s the case…”
“Why… do you need to me to be a Jedi?” asks Valara, the nerf herder who thought she’d stolen some art.
“Because you’re the hope we’re looking for. We need your help” pleads The commander “The Jedi’s fire has been gone from the universe for years and in its place the darkness that comes from the Empire is almost overwhelming. It corrupts even the most well meaning people across the galaxy. Even finding somebody who doesn’t understand the Jedi arts, maybe we can pool resources… but this is the first honest hope we’ve had in over a decade..”
“Listen, I don’t know what you think I’m going to be able to do here. I’ve been barely been able to make out of scrapes. And these guys can tell you, I’m not a Jedi.” says Valara
“She’s pretty great.” Rebus says without hesitation
“Thanks. That’s great…” mutters Valara, flustered.
“We don’t expect you to be powerful, we’re not asking you save the universe. But maybe we can help you on this journey” The commander offers again
“Alright. Alright” Valara concedes, “Let’s talk”
Without a word, R2-C4, projects a hologram into the room. A Jedi, fighting in the Soresu style, defending a group of clone troopers. As they watching one of the trooper touches the side of his helmet, and they all stop firing. They all start to turn toward the Jedi Master as the recording ends.
The room falls silent after the unexpected display. Some sadly aware of exactly what came next, others simply awed by the Jedi’s flowing movements and overwhelming power.
“You don’t understand How important you are to all of us. R2-C4 has been looking forward to meeting any Jedi for… For a very long time. Maybe for the first time in your life, you have help. We are here to help you.”
The commander clears his throat, and changes his tone one familiar to those he leads.
“On to more important things, you are all in a lot of trouble.”
“Oh. You are all in quite a lot of trouble. R2-C4, let’s get that data put into the hands of some analysts. Let’s see if we can offer any assistance. You are lucky you contacted us when you did, sources say that Imperial agents have already begun to scour the ship for any data that could find. Also reports tell me you lost a member, who died?”
R2-C4 beeps a quick reply.
“Also there’s a matter of our fugitive status” offers Corran
“Let’s see what we can accomplish”