Campaign of the Month: June 2016

Fate Accelerated: Star Wars: The Infinite Empire

Episode : 12
GM: Brad

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Part: 1

HOLONET’S FAVORITE PLACE FOR NEWS FROM TATOOINE TO CORELLIA

THIS IS GALACTIC NEWS NETWORK

LIVE REPORT: CHAOS ON ERIADU!!!

A News Reporter stood in a marketplace now covered in smoke before a floating sphere of a Holorecorder Droid.

“I am coming to you live from Eriadu City in the midst of a firestorm. While covering the repeated diplomatic efforts of the Empire in the wake of recent events, GNN cameras caught on holo an attack by a massive droid on a marketplace right here in Eriadu City. We are still getting details, but I can say for sure that the Droid fired a volley into the marketplace. The attack left dozens killed and dozen more wounded before it was brought down by Jedi Knights. Wait…”

The Reporter touched the commlink in her ear before bursting into motion, “I’ve just been told that the Jedi are in fact the group being led by Galen Argyus, the Liberator of Socorro who was recently involved in a Lightsaber Duel over Coruscant just days ago!”

A crowd of reporters flowed towards the familiar face of Galen Argyus, Jedi Knight and his apprentice Leoni Venusia. This time around, as the cameras closed in, the Jedi held their own. In the wake of the Battle with Moag Wren, Galen and Leoni together with fellow Jedi Jaden Windu and their ally Captain Cortree Tincove did the only thing they could. They helped the wounded.

The Cameras came towards Galen as he pulled people out of the rubble only to be preempted by Jaden.

“You, reporters! Help us with these wounded. We need to get them to the triage station!” Jaden shouted, interrupting their chance at a story. At first the Reporters were reluctant, but their consciences swayed them to do the right thing and help the people alongside the Jedi.

Jaden broke open the crates of Imperial Medical supplies and began handing them out to anyone who would help.

Meanwhile, Cortree ran down to the marketplace at a full run and went to the crates. The Tech Savant started up the crates’ complement of Medical Droids, bring them to life when they were most desperately needed.

Galen and Leoni took deep breathes and used the power of the Force to lift a massive piece of rubble off of a group of bystanders. The slab of ferrocrete rose into the air and the people beneath were pulled out by volunteers, thanking them as they passed. The Jedi strained under the effort of the power as a reporter’s recorder droid floated in for some close-up shots.

The floating orb beeped and flashed lights directly in the Jedi’s faces threatening to interrupt their concentration as they struggled to save the innocents trapped by the rubble. The Reporter stood before Leoni and thrust a microphone in her face. The strain was simply too much.

“Stop Talking!” Leoni shouted at the reporter, her face red with effort, “More helping!”

The aid continued as the emergency services funneled in to cordon off the area and took over for the overwhelmed Jedi. The helmeted Security Forces of Eriadu surrounded the Jedi and looked at them.

“You need to come with us.” One of them said.

It wasn’t a request.

Over the next few hours Galen, Jaden, Cortree and Leoni found themselves interrogated by the Eriadu Security Forces at the local station. They told the truth as they knew it: They had been conducting Council business on Eriadu when Moag attacked out of the blue. The one good thing about the media being around was that all of their efforts had been caught on holo and the evidence was clearly in their favor. The Eriadu Security Forces and the Mayor of Eriadu clearly didn’t like the Jedi, but the evidence forced him to side with them and thank the Jedi for their help.

Since Jaden, Cortree and Leoni hadn’t seen Leena Arguyus, or knew that she was involved, they didn’t mention her. Galen on the other hand told the story that he had gotten onto a monorail car when it malfunctioned. He didn’t mention his sister, but did speak of the Bounty on his head and took responsibility for the tragic events.

The Security Forces believed him, but politely told the group to leave as soon as possible.

Afterwords, the Allies regrouped at the Hospital.

“Did you get it?” Jaden asked Cortree.
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Cortree smiled and opened his bag, revealing the memory core of the Tactical Droid, Katarn he had taken from the Basilisk to permanently disable it.

“That biggen won’t hurt anybody anymore.” Cortree said.

“Excellent.” Jaden said and turned to Galen,“You think there will be any more?”

Galen shook his head,“I saw a feed on the way here. The bounty’s officially on hold. No one wants to touch it after seeing the Huntmaster go down in flames.”

“What you think Mandalore’s gunna do?” Cortree asked.

“That’s beyond us, I think.” Jaden said, “Our Quest for Tython is more pressing. We should get back to the ship.”

“That would be wise.” Galen said.

The group stopped when Galen dodged a piece of fruit that had been thrown at his head. The thrower was a mother with a blaster wound in her shoulder. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she ran at Galen and slapped him in the face.

News holodroids seemed to appear out of nowhere to record the confrontation.

“Jedi! You did this!” The mother shouted as hospital orderly droids grabbed her, “You killed my baby!”

“I didn’t, we…” Galen said, shocked, at a loss at how to placate her.

“All your power and you still can’t do anything right! All you Jedi do is bring death and despair! Use your Force…bring my boy back!”

Galen looked at the grieving woman and his heart broke. The mother was dragged away screaming as the Jedi stood with his head bowed in sadness.

Part: 2

As the Jedi walked out of the Hospital back towards the Crucible, news broadcasts flowed past them on holos.

“We will give you more information as this story develops,” a news anchor said,” I’m told the Ambassador to the Fel Empire is about to make a statement. We take you to the statement live.”

A man took over the holos as the Jedi travelled, an imperial officer of some high regard they didn’t recognize. As the Officer spoke, he sounded sincere. Strong, calmed and reasoned. He spoke in the address as a concerned man desperate to help.
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“People of Eriadu, I am Grand Moff Matthias Tarkin, Designated Ambassador to the Republic for the Galactic Empire. I came to this planet as part of the Victory Without War program, a program meant to help those in need. I have heard about the tragedy that befell you today. My heart goes out to the victims…but I know that’s not what you want. You want to do what feels right, to respond with violence. The natural response is vengeance. Vengeance against the Jedi, the Mandalorians, even against the Empire. But that is not the answer. The details of this incident are not known at this time. Don’t jump to conclusions about this. Don’t follow the dark path. Don’t give in to fear, to anger or to hate. Following your feelings here will only lead to more tragedy. The wise choice, the right choice would be to heal. To seek peace.

“As long as the Starship Alderaan is in orbit above the planet, we continue to offer the same aid we’ve always offered. Food, medicine and materials to those who need it. I also offer aid to help in the repairs to Eriadu. To help promote peace.

“The Jedi in this matter by all accounts did their duty. They saved people and ended the threat. They did what was right and defended those who could not defend themselves.

“To the Jedi involved, I thank you. The Empire thanks you…”

As the Allies reached the Spaceport, local stations favored another broadcast…

“My name is Gul Shyssa and I’m here to ask you a question…’the Jedi Question.’ The Jedi Order: Guardians of Peace and Justice or Threats to the Galaxy? The past few months have been ripe with stories of both daring-do and conspiracy. Liberated Slaves. Bounties. Duels over Coruscant. Attacks on Space Stations and a new political power revealing itself in the Unknown Regions. The Senate’s Subcommittee on Jedi Affairs meets today questioning a century old Jedi General for his long history of questionable actions. Even now, Jedi Knights from all over the Galaxy, some not seen for years, gather at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant for unknown purpose. Should the Order be disbanded? Should they be pressed into service? Should they be imprisoned? Should their charter be expanded into a new Army of Light? All of these possibilities are on our panel tonight as all the eyes are on the Jedi and we seek to answer, ‘The Jedi Question’…”

“The Jedi Question?” Cortree asked, raising an eyebrow, “What kinda fodder is that?”

“Our future apparently.” Jaden said, considering the hologram, ”It would seem our Quest for Tython may have more impact that we originally thought.”

“Great…” Galen said as the allies finally made their way onto the Crucible.

They arrived in the common area to find Leena Argyus sitting down crosslegged before the Yoda Holocron. She turned to them.

“Oh, you’re back.” Leena said, smiling, “I let myself in.”

“I gotta change the security codes…” Cortree said, amazed she broke in so easily.

“I might have a few suggestions.” Leena beamed.

Part: 3

Leena gritted her teeth in pain as her brother Galen bandaged her up. When the Basilisk War Droid had fired into the crowd, even Leena had been hit by the blaster fire. The wound was small, but together with her exhaustion it was taking its toll.

“I don’t need your help, bro. Ah…” Leena said, a yawn cutting her off.

“The Force was with us today, but it might not stay that way if we don’t patch you up.” Galen said as he finished the bandage, “There.”

“Ready check complete, we’re taking off.” Cortree said over the intercom.

The pair stared out the window as the ship rose into the sky. Skyline became polluted sky, polluted sky became clouds and clouds gave way to space. As they left orbit, the slowed slightly to pass the mass of ships moving from the Imperial Starship Alderaan to the surface to aid in the recovery efforts. Leena leaned against the arm of her chair with her head in her left hand, looking at at the massive Star Destroyer as they passed it.

“There goes that opportunity.” Leena said.

“I still can’t get over seeing a Star Destroyer in the Republic.” Galen said, scratching his head.

Leena turned to her brother for a moment, “Do you not know why its here?”

Galen shook his head, “First I’ve heard of it was today. That Grand Moff Tarkin guy… thanked us.”

Leena looked back and pointed to the ship and its Republic Escort Ships. She spoke as though teaching a naive child.

“That is the Alderaan, the guy you spoke of is Grand Moff Matthias Tarkin, the Empire’s Ambassador and head of the Victory Without War Program.”

“Any relation to…?”

“Yes. The same.” Leena confirmed.
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Grand Moff Wilhoff Tarkin was had become a legend as the man who ordered the destruction of Alderaan as a demonstration of the power of the first Death Star. The Tarkin family had been one of the richest dynasties of Eriadu for decades long before Galen was born. Matthias Tarkin seemed to be a relative of that family.

“Worst kind of Imperial.” Galen said. He had no love for the Empire.

“I wrote up his dossier. I know a bit more about him than you.” Leena said.

“Like what?”

“When the Empire fell, there were riots on Eriadu and the Tarkin family fled with the rest of the Remnant. They lost everything. Every piece of wealth. The rioters looted and practically destroyed the old Tarkin Family manor. Though today we call it Eriadu City Capital Building. Matthias was born to the Remnant Empire and grew up in the shadow of his ancestor.”

“Good for him…” Galen said, “I don’t see how he’s not another Imperial.”

“He took an interest in Galactic History. In the legacy of his family and something changed in him. I heard he was being groomed for big things, but instead he took command of a program that had been abandoned.”

“Victory Without War?” Galen said, remembering the term from before, ”What is it?”

“Humanitarian offreach with the Republic. Relief Efforts. Peaceful negotiations. Using Imperial knowhow to promote peace. Ease tensions.”

“Peace? Propaganda.”

“It’s made a difference in places you wouldn’t expect, but with current tensions no one trusts him. It doesn’t help that his project’s undermanned and underfunded and the deal he brokered with the Senate was that he was allowed one ship for his efforts.”

“One ship? So he brings a Star Destroyer…Typical.”

“There are no other ships on that Star Destroyer.”

“What?”

“No shuttles. No Fighters. Not even escape pods. Most of it has been converted for cargo space. He has to hire outsiders and get permission to even be in a system let alone go down to a planet in person. If that escort wants to bring that ship down…all hands go down with it.”

“It’s still a Star Destroyer…”

“You are correct. As a Diplomatic Vessel with Diplomatic Immunity, that ship is a hotbed for Intelligence gathering. Tarkin was also one of the youngest people in Galactic History to reach the titles of Moff and Grand Moff. He won’t go down without a good fight…but only after all other options are exhausted. He doesn’t want a situation like that.”

Galen shook his head, “Why? That propaganda about peace?”

Leena turned to her brother and looked him in the eye so he knew she was telling the truth, “He’s believer… One of the good ones.”

“You trust him?…”

“No…but I do have a stash of credits that says he’s getting ready to start a coup…or defect.”

“That sounds more like an Imperial.”

“At the end of the day…he still is. And he makes no bones about it.” Leena said as the Crucible finally went to Hyperspace.

The Former Republic Operative got up and yawned as she walked past her brother towards the guest quarters.

“I need some rack time.” Leena said.

“I’ll wake you when we reach Coruscant.” Galed replied.

“Oh, by the way. The Jedi Temple sent a few messages while you were out. I didn’t answer because it’s not my job.”

Galen suddenly remembered that they needed to check in with Master Kataar.

“Great…”

Part: 4

Master Veshlan Kataar’s holographic image didn’t properly convey her disappointment at the crew of the Crucible. It showed her sitting peacefully with her arms crossed, but somehow that was not enough to express the mood of the Crucible’s cockpit as the Jedi explained the situation to the Jedi Master. Jaden Windu decided it would be better for him to give the report.

“Tell me the honest truth,” Master Kataar said, her tone encouraging a very careful choice of words,”What happened on Eriadu? I want to hear it from you.”

“We were attacked by Bounty Hunters throughout our journey. Moag Wren was just the last of them.” Jaden said as calmly as he could.

“Why were you on Eriadu?”

“Resupplying the ship primarily,” Jaden said, “We needed to after we completed the mission on Dagobah.”

“You found Master Yoda’s ship?” Master Kataar asked.

Jaden brought up holos he had made of the ship and the artifacts they had recovered, “Completely intact, Master.”

“Excellent. Now about Eriadu…”

“We found something else, Master.”

“What?”

Jaden punch in a few commands and the connection that Cortree had made from the commlink to the Holocron activated. The Caretaker, its visage that of Master Yoda appeared before the stoic Master Kataar.

“Greetings…What questions have you?” The caretaker said in the old master’s voice.
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Master Kataar shifted. Her expression changed. Her mouth dropped open a bit.

“Master Yoda’s Holocron. Also completely intact.” Jaden said, “Together with the ship’s navigational systems, we have enough data to get to Tython.”

“Very…good.” Kataar said, regaining her composure, “Get back to Coruscant at once.”

“We are already en route, Master.”

“Very good. Now about Eriadu…”

“We were there to resupply, but I believe Galen is better at telling this part of the story.” Jaden said, letting Galen take his place.

Galen decided the best course was to be truthful to the Council. So, he told Master Kataar everything. About the bounty. About his search. About the Attack and then about his sister.

“When I saw her, I felt it. My sister also has talent in the Force. She must be trained for her own safety and for others.” Galen said.

“The Jedi Order is not in the habit of recruiting convicted murderers.” Kataar said, dubious of his story, “That is why she was being persued is it not.”

“She already has a lot of self-control. She only was tempted by the Dark Side because of her…profession.”

“As an assassin?”

“Is this a secure line?” Galen asked.

“Yes…” Kataar replied, confused.

Galen went with his feelings and spoke the truth, “Leena Argyus is an Operative with the Republic Strategic Information Service…”

Master Kataar froze.

“Master?”

“If you have a student that could be taught in the ways of the Force, make sure she finds her way to the Temple. But tell no one.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about…”

“Very good.” Master Kataar said and then ended the transmission.

Galen exhaled in relief.

Later, Cortree and Jaden gathered around the ships main computer with Yoda’s Holocron in the main hopper.

“Are you sure this will work, Cortree?” Jaden asked.

“I looked at the bird’s specs and the systems are linked. Try it.” Cortree said.

“Caretaker.” Jaden spoke surely as he placed a hand on the Holocron to activate it.

The Holocron hummed and the Hologram of Yoda appeared.

“What questions have you?” The Caretaker spoke.

“Copy all data to the ship’s computer, please.” Jaden said.

“Why?” The Caretaker asked. A simple question, but if Jaden gave the wrong answer it might deny the request.

“Yoda was a great teacher of the Order.” Jaden said, “He oversaw the training of countless Jedi and this…the Crucible is a training ship. To make sure the Knowledge in this Holocron is preserved, there would be no better additional home for it. Additionally, the information will be of utmost import in our quest to locate Tython.”

“We could also use your aid in rebuilding the Archives already in the main computer.” Cortree added.

“Great wisdom, you have.” The Carataker said with a smile, “Commencing upload.”

The Holocron’s hum grew louder and the Main Computer sprung to life. The ship eagerly accepted the Holocron’s information. Now, the allies would have access to Master Yoda’s knowledge aboard ship after they gave this Holocron to the Temple for further study.

The upload ended when the humming and whirring stopped and a new hologram appeared on the Main Computer’s display. It was a smaller version of the Yoda Caretaker.

“Crucible travelling at Lightspeed. Currently on course to Coruscant. All systems operational.” The Ship’s computer said.

Later, Galen found himself standing in the training suite with his apprentice. The pair both had their lightsabers out and set to a training mode, but Leoni wore the ancient training helmet meant to block all outside perception except for the Force. Leoni swung at where she thought her Master stood as her master would circle her and strike at her saber from any angle imaginable. Galen always liked this training because it encouraged padawans to find their true power through the Force. It also encouraged a Jedi to work with the their partner even if one couldn’t sense the other.

While Galen had become something of a master of Ataru, the fourth form of Lightsaber combat, Leoni was still finding herself. She tried her new master’s style, by wasn’t as fast as Galen. She had some raw power to her, but didn’t have the focus for the more aggressive forms. Her style ended up being a chaotic mess that Galen had trouble predicting at times. If that was were the Force was guinding, Galen would see her through to it.

The first six rounds of exchanges went easily enough. Some stumbles. One big fall. By the fourth exchange Leoni was able to keep up with the master. By the sixth she managed to get good swings in and even an unexpected crescent kick.

It was on the seventh round of exchanges, Leoni finally drew on the power of the Force. When she did, Galen found himself actually having to work to deflect her blows. That is until a wild swing made Leoni overextend and she fell to the ground. Her breathing changed, becoming shallow and rapid. Then it turned to screeching, drawing Jaden and Cortree to the room and even awoke Leena from her slumber. Galen came to her, taking the helmet off of her and looked at her. He knew that look, the same look his sister had when Leena thought back to her past.

“What is it?” Galen asked calmly, “What do you see?”

Leoni’s breathing grew more controlled as Leoni got a hold of herself. Sweat came down her face. She finally spoke “I remember…”

“What is it that you remember my padawan?”

“I remember everything.” Leoni said, sitting down.

Everyone gathered around her as she spoke. She tried to be as clear as possible.

“Master Kelrune came to me one day and told me we were going on a trip. He didn’t say where. We got into a shuttle and flew for days. We ended up on a Planet at the end of a hyperlane, I didn’t know which one. It had dark power, I knew that for sure it was a place of dark power. It was a desert with tombs of ancient dead.”

“Korriban…” Jaden said.

“I remember we were exploring the old tombs, going through their history. Master Kelrune seemed to know the way and I could feel his power. He had told me when he was first training me that his father and grandfather were Jedi before him. He said that there was more to that truth than I could imagine. Then a new ship came. Master Kelrune touched me on the face with his hand and I felt his power. He told me to run to the Shuttle. Run to the shuttle, go back to Yavin IV and never look back. We started running and he started fighting someone I couldn’t see. I did as he told me and…blacked out. Then I woke up on Yavin IV.”

“You were close to him?” Leena asked.

“Too close…” Leoni admitted. She had promised Galen no secrets and she was sincere.

Galen rubbed his chin in thought, “I think it’s time we find out more about your old Master. There’s more to this…and I have a bad feeling about it.”

Part: 5

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The Crucible came out of Hyperspace above Coruscant, the Capital of the Republic and went straight to the Jedi Temple. They parked on the landing pad and moved to the gangplank.

Jaden walked to the gangplank with the Holocron in hand beside Cortree, Galen and Leoni.

“Cortree and I can handle delivery of these artifacts.” Jaden said.

“After we speak to Master Kataar, we’ll check the Archives for more on Master Kelrune. " Galen said.

“Your sister already left by the way, her quarters are empty.” Cortree said, “Looks like she already left.”

“She does that.” Galen said as the gang plank lowered.

They had expected a landing party, but they hadn’t expected one quite so…big. Their original send off to Dagobah had been met by Masters Kataar and T’Ket as well as some temple ground crew. The allies had heard from Master Kataar that word of their discoveries and their missions had traveled fast, but not as much as this. Their current arrival was being met by over two dozen Jedi. It was the most number of Jedi Jaden, Galen and Leoni had seen in one place for a long time. Some looked as traditional as the allies in traditional robes. Others wore the flightsuits and armor of mercenary work. The allies recognized some of them as informal members of the Order, but recognized others as Jedi who had long since left the Order. Younglings, Padawans, Knights, Masters and those who had failed the training.

Cortree’s droids opened the Cargo Bay and the hover-palette with the remains of Yoda’s ship floated out and past into the Archive’s loading area. The landing party all reached out hands, not to physically touch, but to touch with the Force. They knew what the ship and its artifacts were. But they wanted to feel them with their power.

When the palette passed the landing party’s eyes and murmurs all gravitated to Jaden. Master Kataar held up a hand to hold back the crowd as Jaden passed. Jaden walked to the waiting Master T’Ket and handed him the Holocron. The Verpine Jedi placed a chitinous hand on the box of green crystal and with a force of will the device lit up. The Caretaker’s appearance drew a gasp and silence from the crowd as the Hologram spoke its greeting.

“Who seeks Yoda’s guidance?” The Caretaker spoke. The Hologram turned and looked to the crowd of onlookers. It considered the audience. Even the assembled Masters seemed in awe of the device.

“Hmm…The Jedi Order it seems. Many new faces. Filled with fear, doubt and disbelief, you are…” The Caretaker observed, “Who speaks for you?”

“Master T’Ket, Current Keeper of the Jedi Archives.” T’Ket said.

“As Keeper of the Archives, all of my knowledge is available to you.” The Caretaker said, “What questions have you?”

“None at the moment, but more to come later. Thank you, Caretaker.”

“May The Force Be With You.”

“May The Force Be With Us.” T’Ket said as the device shut down.

Noise came back all at once as the crowd mobbed up on Jaden to ask him about the mission. Jaden did his best to bring the crowd inside to the temple. Master Kataar stayed behind to greet Galen and Leoni, but turned to find no one standing there. She eventually found Cortree returning to the ship. The fringer bowed to the Jedi in greeting.

“Galen said he’d meet you at your office in an hour, Master Kataar.” Cortree said as politely as he could, “No disrespect intended. He had a pressing matter he had to immediately look in to.”

“Thank you for telling me, Captain.” Kataar said, understanding, “What matter?”

“Research.”

While Jaden had the others distracted, Galen and Leoni ran to the Archives. They combed through files, wading through mindless data about Master Jaxor Kelrune. They found records of his training under Grand Master Veshraan, the stories of his Legacy. However…they couldn’t find any other information to corroborate it. They looked over the data multiple times and it all looked wrong. Galen didn’t know as much about forgery as his friend Maze, but he could tell that the information about Jaxor Kelrune was fabricated. The truth he could gleam in the time they had was clear. Jaxor Kelrune entered the Jedi Order under false pretenses, used those pretenses for personal advancement and his actual identity as such was unknown.

Unable to find more information in the Archives in the time they had, the pair went up to the top of the temple to find Master Kataar waiting for them.

“We have much to discuss.” Master Kataar said.

Master Kataar took the the pair up to her office at the top of the Jedi Tower. The door opened and revealed Leena Argyus standing at military attention for the trio inside the locked office. Kataar looked at her and then to Galen.

“She does that.” Galen said.

Leena salute, “Captain Leena Argyus, SIS.”

“I know all about you. Take a seat and do not speak until I ask.” Master Kataar said as she ended and closed the door behind them, “Tell me the whole tale. Leave nothing out. You can count on my discretion, Captain.”

They started from the beginning and went until nightfall. Master Kataar listened silently and asked pointed questions at keypoints, but listened nonetheless.

“And then we reported to you and came here.” Galen finished.

Master Kataar steepled her fingers in thought. She looked to Leoni and Lenna, considering the both of them.

She stood up and turned to the window with her hands behind her back, considering the situation.

“Master?” Leoni asked.

“I believe you. The Bounty was out of your control. You did your duty on Dagobah and Eriadu and the order commends you for that. But, circumstances have changed. The Galaxy’s eyes are on us now, Jedi Argyus. More than you know.” Kataar spoke as she turned back to them, “You saw the crowd outside?”

“Yes. Many Jedi I haven’t seen in years were downstairs.” Galen said.

Master Kataar paced around them as she spoke calmly to them, “They came here for your group, to see what you found. Word of the recordings of Master Kenobi, of the holos of Order 66 spread quickly. More and more having been coming to Coruscant to see them and to help however they can. The uncovered more recordings. Daily life of the Temple in the days and weeks before the attack. When word of Tython spread, people started coming here. Despite my previous misgivings, the Quest for Tython it seems is bringing the Order back together. We must hold it.”

“Even with our differences in views, I believe we will do the best we can, Master.”

“That’s not all.”

“What else has changed?”

“Somehow those holos also found their way to the press. It’s one thing to hear about Jedi in stories, but it’s another to see their daily life play out. To see their betrayal and slaughter with your own eyes. Now everyone in the Core has an interest in the Jedi. General Saberota is testifying before the Sub-Committee and holding his own in case you are curious. But news of Tython is changing the dialog already. The Senate is considering new legislation. It could mean expanding our powers and funding. It could mean a lot of other things too. New responsibilities. But regardless…the Eyes of the galaxy are on us. They want to know what the Jedi are. We must show them that we are what we have always been.“

“What does that mean for us?”

“We will train Captain Argyus for her safety and debrief her in private as long as she follows the orders of the Council. You will continue to do your duty. Train your Padawan and find Tython. We want to know what has become of it no matter its fate. If the planet is dead, we can still rebuild it. If the planet thrives…we want to know. Now go. May the Force be With Us.”

“May The Force be With Us All.”

Part: 6

The Crucible took off the next morning fully stocked and ready. The ancient Jedi ship headed out towards the Deep Core of the Galaxy. The allies onboard found themselves followed by a line of reporters. The reporters broadcast their live coverage to the Holonet.

“Legendary Jedi Ship the Crucible has been seen leaving Coruscant on a secretive mission with infamous Galen Argyus. What secrets are they after in the Galactic Core?”

Leoni stared out the cockpit’s viewport, admiring the ships coming alongside by for a closer look.

“Do you think they’ll follow us all the way to Tython?” Leoni asked.

“When they see where we’re goin’, they’ll bug out.” Cortree said, sitting at the Navigation console,“Sensible folk don’t go into the Deep Core.”

“We’ll find Tython. Whatever it takes.” Galen said, strapping himself into the Pilot seat.

Jaden booted up the sensor console and the holographic star charts as the group neared the Empress Teta System, the end of the Hyperlanes that led to the furthest reaches of the Core Worlds. As they neared the edge of conventionally known space, more that half the reporters changed course or stopped still as their navicomputers told beeped with warning klaxons of unsafe flightpaths.

“Our map from Master Yoda’s ship is far from complete,” Jaden said, “but based on stellar drift, I think I have found a few stars on the sensors that have not moved in relation to Tython.”

“Great, we have a star to steer by.” Galen said as he punch in the course for parts unknown.

It would have taken a few hours to reach Tython at Lightspeed, but without a confirmed Hyperspace Lane, the crew of the Crucible was forced to take the long way. Scanning of unknown space took up all the ship’s computing resources. They made the occasional short hop through Hyperspace to close the distances, but even those hops were dangerous.

Their first hop took them close to a blackhole, forcing them to hop out again at Lightspeed to escape.

The line of reporters continued to drop away as hours of travel became days. After a week, only a single ship continued to follow the Crucible. The Jedi looked at the last remaining ship with astonishment.

“Galactic News Network,” Galen said, looking at the ship on the ship’s scopes,”Tenacious bunch.”

“Stupid is more like it.” Leoni said, earning a smile from her master.

“Who do ya think is stupid enough to follow us out here?” Cortree asked.

“If the Force is with us? A team of disposable droids.” Galen said.

“If it’s against us?” Leoni asked.

“You don’t want to know…but that possibility requires a capital ship.”

The scopes beeped, turning their attention forward.

“Coming up on something… Wo!” Cortree said, cut off when something big flew past the ship. Galen’s speed allowed him to easy dodge it and the others that followed it.

“What was that? Did we hit an asteroid field?” Leoni asked.

“Looked like pieces of metal.” Galen said, “Sensors?”

“Debris, definitely artificial.” Jaden said.

Cortree leaned over the sensor console and smile. The son of salvagers knew exactly what is was.

“This ain’t an asteroid field. It’s a graveyard.”

The Crucible slowed and switched on its search lamps. The cones of light illuminated the pieces of debris floating past. The smaller pieces became bigger chunks of familiar forms. Chassis. Engines. Skeletons of hulls stretching for parsecs.

Ships. It was a graveyard of starships.

Cortree toggled a switch in the cockpit and the Crucible fired a sphere with a blinking green light at the edge of the debris field.

“Navigational Buoy deployed.” Cortree said, “That should let people find their way here and back to the major hyperlanes. It’ll make the return trip much much shorter.”

“Good work, Captain.” Jaden said, expanding the holographic display of the sensor console so the others could more easily see it, “I’m picking up remnants of the tail-end of the Old Hyperspace Lane Master Yoda spoke of. This whole section of space is safe passage from here save for this graveyard.”

Leoni bite her lip at the sight of so many starship pieces dead in space, “What do you think happened here?”

“I seen plenty of starship graveyards like this one.” Cortree said, “Massive battle. Leaves a trail of dead ships. Great for salvage if you can get there quick…but this one looks cleaned out already.”

Galen set a course to move them closer to the larger pieces for a scan, “What kind of ships are they, Jaden?”

Jaden punched in a few commands, “Scanners are picking up remains of multiple large starships. Capital Ships. Frigates. Can’t get a good reading on the age. Too much radiation.”

“If they had core meltdowns that makes sense. But, if this is the end of a hyperspace lane, this is also a great place for an ambush. Keep your eyes out.” Cortree warned, “What’s the most complete ship? Might be able to get some answers.”

Jaden scrolled through the scans until his eyes stopped onto a piece larger than the others, “This ship looks almost entirely intact.”

Galen took the Crucible by a massive starship of that lay adrift. Cortree looked out the cockpit window at the vessel and whistled in surprise. The Tech Savant knew that kind of ship by heart, having salvaged a few himself. The ship sat silently in space.

“Munificent-Class Star Frigate. Staple of the Clone Wars. 825 Meters across…155,000 Battle Droids aboard,” Cortree said, “Sensors say this one’s called ‘Diligent’.”

“Munificent-Class?” Jaden perked up, “That’s a Separatist ship.”

“What’s a Separatist ship doing this far inside the Core?” Leoni asked.

“Let’s find out.” Galen said, bringing the ship to a stop alongside the bridge for a docking maneuver.

Jaden’s scopes beeped in alarm. Galen turned to him.

“Trouble?” Galen asked.

“Radiation is spiking. I can’t get a good scan through it. Need to recalibrate…” Jaden said as he punched in controls, “Looks like the escape pods have been jettisoned.”

Cortree, the veteran fringer pointed to several areas of the scan, “Looks like the Reactor’s leakin’ radiation. It’ll cook us in our spacesuit after more than a few minutes.”

“We’ll have to work fast.” Galen said, getting up to get the spacesuits.
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Minutes later Galen, Cortree and Jaden found themselves floating in the airlock in their spacesuits, getting ready to disembark as the air was slowly let out and the artificial gravity dropped. Leoni sat in the Crucible’s Cockpit, ready for anything.

“Best things to get are the navicomputer and the blackbox of the main computer.” Cortree said over the group’s commlink.

“I can move the fastest, so I’ll take the navicomputer.” Galen confirmed.

“I’ll get the Blackbox then.” Cortree said.

Jaden pulled a cable that led from a spool on the ship to himself, “This safety line should allow us to get back more quickly.”

Cortree placed a hand on the hatch as the airlock’s depressurization sequence finished. He looked down to the radiation gauge on his suit.

“Radiation from that reactor will cook us in five minutes starting from… Now.” Cortree said as he opened the outer hatch.

The allies pushed off the Crucible and floated towards the ship. Jaden dragged an ascension cable behind them as the gap closed and their radiation detectors began to increase in readings. The trio had tools ready when they reached the outer hatch of the Diligent’s bridge. It took only a few seconds to bypass the now dead mechanical lock and open the hatch.

The allies exhaled a collective sigh of relief that there were no bodies floating on the bridge. There were droids, however. Cortree recognized the B1 variants still floating around their ready stations. The ship itself only required a small flesh & blood crew, so most of the stations were manned by droids like the ones he had restored in the past as helpers and bodyguards. Cortree floated past a Super Battle droid that turned in circles forever with its arms at its sides.

“Are these droids live, Cortree?” Galen asked as he pushed himself off the walls.

“Don’t think so,” Cortree said with trepidation, “But I don’t want to find out.”

Jaden looked around the bridge, dragging the Safety Line behind him and checked his radiation detector, “Four minutes.”

Galen reached the navicomputer and began pulling it away from the console.

Cortree reached the computer core and began the old motions of salvaging. His tools whirred quickly as he detached the components he didn’t need and let them float away.

Jaden’s eyes caught sight of a console right next to him. He floated towards it and inspected it.

“The Communications Console is intact” Jaden said over the commlink.

“Might have some old logs on it.” Cortree said as he reached the blackbox, “Think you can pull it?”

Jaden looked over the console and found the switches at the side for easy disassembly. He pressed the needed buttons and the communications system came right out.

“Yes.” Jaden said, looking again to his radiation detector, “Two minutes.”

Galen pulled out the last connection for the Blackbox in record time. He let out a cheer and raced off the bridge like a rocket with the power of the Force.

Cortree and Jaden both follow him as their radiation detectors went from red to black. The pair both grab the safety line and engage the attached motor, dragging them both off the ship and back to the Crucible as the Radiation became too much.

Later the allies found themselves in the lounge gathered around the consoles they had recovered now wired to the main holoprojectors. Jaden combed over the information form the Blackbox. He decrypted the personal information the the Captain had stored there in a backup drive he hadn’t intended others to see.

“According to the Captain’s Log they set out as part of the fleet that attacked Coruscant at the End of the Clone Wars.” Jaden confirmed.

“Wasn’t that the one where they, ‘kidnapped’ Chancellor Palapatine?” Galen pined.

“The same.“ Jaden confirmed, “Looks like they were ordered to radio silence and were in reserve Galactic south of the main battle to tie up the Republic Fleet.”

The Jedi Archaeologist booted up one of the logs. The holo was of a Muun captain who clearly looked frustrated.

“Diligient Captain’s log.” The message spoke, “Still on commlink silence after a week of flying around in these hyperlanes Dooku gave us. I keep asking for more intel on this mission, but the only response I ever get from command is, ‘Don’t ask.’”

Cortree booted up the communications board that Jaden pulled out, “Lucky. This board’s still got data on it.”

The fringer brought up the communications log. Jaden looked to the last two entires.

“What is the last entry?” Jaden asked, indicating its priority, “Flagged as utmost important.”

Cortree brought up the entry and laughed, “No wonder. It’s the kill code they sent out at the end of the Clone Wars.”

Galen raised an eyebrow at that, “That’s the one that shut down the droid armies isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Jaden confirmed, remembering his history “That code was sent out Galaxy-wide. It shut down every Separatist ship exactly where it was.”

“This code looks like it was written for bottom credit,” Cortree said, “These guys cut corners everywhere. No wonder the reactor’s leaking and they abandoned ship. Would also explain the dead ships out there. They didn’t have enough hands on board to pilot ‘em.”

“What’s that second to last communication? It’s the same priority.” Leoni pointed out.

Jaden brought up the holo and when the speaker’s image appeared everyone’s heart stopped at once. They got close up to confirm what they were seeing.

“Is that who I think it is?” Galen asked.

“Yes…” Jaden confirmed as he started the message. The speaker was an older gentleman with a white beard in a black tunic with a cape flanked by a pair of battle droids. He sounded just as regal as the records used to say, even with the battle that visibly raged through the viewports behind him.

“This is Count Dooku. I have a new mission for you of utmost importance. Take your fleet to the following coordinates on the designated hyperspace route. Destroy all threats in system, capture the fifth planet and all enemy personnel. Do not destroy any major structures on planet. Expect little resistance compared to your forces… “

A droid moved forward and whispered into Dooku’s ear, “Count, the Jedi are here.”

Count Dooku nodded and continued, “After capturing the system, secure it and ready yourself for a Siege on Coruscant and raids on the Core Worlds. Dooku out.”

The communication ended and drew silence from the room.

Jaden punched in a few commands and drew up the metadata from the message.

“Was that?” Galen asked.

“Yes…” Jaden confirmed, “Timestamp confirms that was Count Dooku’s Last Order before Anakin Skywalker defeated him.”

“Go back to the Captain’s log. What were they doing here?”

Jaden pulled up the entries from the ship’s log. He browsed a few of the entries until he found the data he needed. Cortree ran to the navicomputer and pulled up the star map that Dooku sent them.

“It seems the Diligent was parked here as part of a reserve force for the invasion. “ Jaden confirmed.

“That must mean the Vanguard was already headed to Tython.” Galen said, “And that Count Dooku knew about Tython.”

“I got it!” Cortree shouted. The Star Map enlarged and the stars shifted after a few command keys.

“Finally! Tythons actual location compensated for stellar drift.” Cortree said, “We should be able to jump straight there from the end of the graveyard.”

“Good work.” Galen said.

The trio ran to the cockpit and took their positions. This was it, they were ready for anything.

“All stations ready?” Galen asked. People responded in unison.

“Punch it!” Leoni said, more excited than the rest of them put together.

The Crucible went to Lightspeed for a few moments and came out again soon after. With their connection to the Force, the allies didn’t have to check their charrs or scopes. They knew. The somehow knew they were in the right system.

They had found it…

Tython.

But that wasn’t all they found…

As they approached the planet their scopes screeched in alarm. The images of the ring silver objects orbiting the planet gained static as they tried to capture it.

“What the hell is that?” Galen asked.

Jaden checked the sensors again, “Military Grade Jamming. It’s coming from the Planet. Blocking Sensors and Communications.”

Cortree punched in a few commands to focus on the ring of silver.

“What’s that orbiting the planet?” Galen asked, “More debris?”

Cortree looked and nodded, “Nope…those are starships. They’re in orbit like a picket line. Some are destroyed though, looks like the remaining ships are using them for cover and concealment.“

“What’s that?” Leoni pointed to an image on the side of one of the ships visible on the scan.

Jaden brought the image up, punched in commands to clear up the image and said, “Looks like some of them are from the Clone Wars. Other look more recent. We can’t get a better look until we get closer…”

The image cleared up as best it could and rendered solidly on a symbol on the side of one of the ships. Jaden ran the symbol through the ship’s computer and immediately got a result.

Cortree looked in surprise and checked the computer, “No way…”

“What?” Leoni asked, pushing past.

“The starships in orbit,” Jaden said, “Are branded with an ancient symbol of the Jedi Order…”

End of Episode: 12

Continue to Episode: 13

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Episode : 11
GM: Brad

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Part: 1

“Caretaker,” Jaden Windu said to Master Yoda’s Holocron, “Tell me about Korriban.”

The name had stuck with Jaden since the device had first mentioned it during initial questioning at Sluis Van. Galen Argyus’ Apprentice, Leoni Venusia had apparently been there and it appeared to Galen it might be linked to the rediscovery of Tython. When the Jedi Training Ship the Crucible set out into hyperspace for Eriadu, Jaden took the time to speak to the Holocron once more.

The Holocron’s Caretaker, the holographic visage of Master Yoda’s diminutive green form, closed its eyes, raised its large eared and summoned several streaming images and pages of information stained in red light. It started by showing its location, at the end of the Dragon’s Trail Hyperlane in what was now the space of the Corporate Sector Authority.

“The birthplace of the Sith, Korriban was…” The caretaker said. It recounted what little was known by Yoda of its early history. Jaden took notes on his datapad as the caretaker presented the knowledge.

“At some point the planet was conquered by an ancient power called the Infinite Empire…”

The fact caught Jaden by surprise. Another connection to that mysterious Empire.

“Enslave the population the Rakata did, but eventually abandoned the planet. The Massassi, planet’s native inhabitants, of greater concern they are.“
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The caretaker continued for an hour at least. It told of the rogue Jedi that colonized it. Of the Sith Order that was born from Korriban’s sands. Of the empire that rose from it and was lost to the pages of history.

In the meantime Cortree Tincove, the Captain of the Crucible and Galen Argyus sat at the communications. Cortree sipped his drink as he considered Galen’s recounting of what his contacts told him.

“Moag Wren? I heard a that guy,” Cortree said, “Likes a good hunt and threw his money around for all the best gear a couple years back. Even went to Raxus to find rare parts.”

“Any idea of his loadout?” Galen asked.

Cortree shook his head, “Expensive. Gotta be expensive. Be ready for anythin’.”

“My contacts on Eriadu have gone dark for the time being. Once we’re on planet they’ll be after us.”

“Maybe not. I got some friends in the docks there. I’ll see what I can do about dodgin’ the Moag…”

“Thanks Cor.” Galen said, “If you could please let everyone know that I need to spend some time with my apprentice I would appreciate it.”

Later, Galen sat with his apprentice Leoni Venusia in her quarters. Leoni had been on edge since the cave, but her anger had spiked up when they had been on Sluis Van when confronted by the reporters.

Galen needed his apprentice to calm down, so he spent a half-hour guiding her through a session of Meditation. But he also needed her to remember what happened to her master.

“Clear your mind.” Galen said, “Allow the Force to wash over you.”
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Leoni’s felt the Force flow through her. Past the pain and fear she began to feel a calm. Her mind wandered deeper and deeper into her memory. She remembered her old master, she remembered Yavin IV, she remembered being called to leave on a survey mission in the Outer Rim. She could remember a long flight into parts unknown.

Then there was a torrent. Of emotion, of memory, of…power. She couldn’t keep track of it all. Tombs and sand like before. She let out sounds of distress and Galen placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. The help brought her out of the dark vision, aware that she had been sweating heavily.

“What did you see?” Galen asked.

“Nothing yet. “ Leoni said, “I think…I know I will remember in time. When I am ready. You will be the first to know, Master.”

“Thank you, Leoni.”

Their lesson on meditation was cut short when the bridge’s intercom chimed.

“We’re comin’ up on Eriadu.” Cortree said over the comm.

Jaden, Cortree and Leoni met up in the Crucible’s cockpit. Galen gathered himself as he reached out through the Force. Felt for his sister. He could sense that the message was from her…

“Did you get through to your contact in ground control?” Galen asked.

“Yeah,” the Fringer confirmed, “My buddy in ground control will delay reporiting our arrival for a while. If anyone asks, we are the Azure Fortune for the time bein’.”

Cortree toggled a control and the streaking starlines of hyperspace slowed to normal space. Before the Crucible appeared the familiar sight of their destination the Planet Eriadu. Above the planet on the other hand was a wholly unfamiliar sight. A long black, triangular capital ship that made the companions shutter in unison.

“Star Destroyer!” Leoni squeaked against the heart in her throat.

“What the hell is that doing here?” Galen growled, “They follow us from the Wheel?”

“No. That is not the same Star Destroyer…” Jaden replied.

Cortree punched a few commands into his scopes and zoomed in on the holographic rendering of the craft.

“You’re right, Jaden. The one from the Wheel was a Pellaeon-Class Star Destroyer,” Cortree confirmed, “That one there is a… Victory IV-Class Battle Cruiser. Heavily Armored. Pinnacle of Imperial Firepower. Bigger…than most ships in the republic fleet. ”

“Look again. A Republic Escort.” Jaden said as he pointed to a trio of Republic Capital Ships lagging around the massive Star Destroyer.

Jaden zoomed the Visual Sensors on a line of ships moving in and out of the bays of the Star Destroyer, “It looks like it’s trading. No other Imperial Craft. No Tie-Fighters, Shuttles or Imperial Escort Ships.”

“Captain,” Leoni said raising a hand, “Maybe you could ask ground control.”

Galen smiled and nodded at his padawan’s thoughtfulness.

Cortree toggled the comms.

“Ground Control.” The other end said.

“Ground Control, this is the Azure Fortune.”

“What’cha need Cor?”

“Ah…Star Destroyer? Are you being invaded or held at blasterpoint?”

The Ground Control Officer recited the information like he had a hundred times before that day, “That there is the Imperial Starship Alderaan. Diplomatic Vessel. It’s got Authorization to be in this sector from the Republic Senate Sub-Committee on Imperial Affairs and the Sub-Committee for Relief Efforts until the Governor tells it to leave. Don’t bother it and it won’t bother you.”

The companions blinked in surprise, not recognizing the name.

Jaden Windu broke the silence, “They named an Imperial Starship…WHAT?”

“Cortree,” Galen suggested, “Don’t go anywhere near that thing. Just…just…fly casual.”

As the Crucible flew towards the planet and changed angle on the Alderaan, the companions could see that the ships going in and out were not imperial vessels, fighters or even commercial merchant ships. They were small, rusted starships that were barely space worthy. Cortree pointed out that they were not the craft of well off folk, but the craft of those who could barely afford a ship. A few clear merchant ships seemed to be turned away from the massive Star Destroyer.
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“They seem to be transmitting somethin’.” Cortree said, toggling the Comm as the Crucible flew past.

“Attention all vessels, this is the Imperial Starship Alderaan. We are on a Mission of Peace as part of the joint Victory Without War Program. We mean no harm and have no intentions to start a conflict. As a recognized diplomatic vessel, this ship is Sovereign Imperial Soil under Republic Law. Any conflict begun with this ship could be considered an Act of War. Any fire will be returned in kind. As part of the Victory Without War Program, we offer food, constructible shelter, medicine and supplies for those in need of it for no charge of fee or favor in Docking Bay 4. Merchant ships wanting to resell the goods will be turned away and deceptions will face prosecution from the Republic. Those seeking weapons for purchase will find none. Victory Without War is the way of Peace…“

“Very unusual…” Jaden said, intrigued by the words.

“I don’t trust anything the Empire is trying to sell…” Galen said, clenching a fist.

The Crucible came in for a landing at the Eriadu City Spaceport. The port was abuzz with activity. The raggedy ships they had seen go to and from the Alderaan occupied every available landing site. Out of the crafts came hundreds of crates with Imperial markings. The local authorities gathered around the new arrivals, retasked for customs duty for the new imports. Crates were opened and inspected and let through. Just like the message said. Food, water, medicine. The people hauling them looked to be just as ragged as their ships.

The Crucible set down and the Jedi disembarked.

“We can use this opportunity to resupply.” Cortree said as they came down the gangplank, “No tellin’ what surprises Tython has in store for us.”

“Leoni, go with Jaden and Cortree.” Galen said as he put his hood up,“My sister will want me to come alone.”

“What if the Bounty Hunter finds her first?” Leoni asked.

“He will have to face a group of Jedi ready for him.” Jaden said with confidence.

“I’ll stay on the comms. Don’t be reckless.” Galen said.

Leoni forced an unsure smile, “May the Force be with us.”

“May the Force be with us…” The group said in unison, their feelings tempered.

Part: 2

“Are you sure these disguises will keep us hidden, Master Windu?” Leoni asked.
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“Of course,” Jaden said,“Master T’Ket loves flea markets. They are always a good place to find antiques others found worthless, but Archaeologists find priceless. The first key to being a good Jedi is the ability to blend in with the environment…”

Jaden, Cortree and Leoni used the lessons of T’Ket to blend in with the crowd as they searched for supplies for the coming trip to Tython. The marketplace was cluttered with stalls and penny credit merchants selling all manner of goods. But now the stalls were being overrun by the Imperial Crates from the Alderaan. Crowds of the hungry and desperate surrounded the crates as people gave away sealed packages of food from inside. A few of them looked like hired mercenaries, sent by the empire to distribute the requested goods. A few merchants tried to buy the crates of food, but were met with growls and displays of blasters. The mercenaries insisted at the ends of blasters that the food and supplies must given freely only to those who need it.

It was the damnedest thing any of the Jedi Companions had ever seen.

The group came to a flea market stall that Jaden sensed was the right one.

“Lesson two,” Jaden whispered, “The art of ‘The Haggle’.”

Leoni stood and watched as her fellow Jedi engaged the merchant in pleasant conversation for some new astrogation sensors…

Meanwhile, Galen moved quietly through the spaceport. He moved not just through the crowd but through memory. For a moment Galen was six years old again. He was being dragged by the arm of his sister towards a waiting ship. Galen saw himself walk into docking bay 47 and climb up the gangplank of a ship for parts unknown to him.

In the present, Docking Bay 47 was closed for maintenance. There was no ship waiting for him. Hairs stood on his neck as he searched the crowd for any signs. The crowd had no threats but a glance up revealed to Galen a shaped high in the sky. A shape circling the spaceport. Something the size of a Starfighter but too far away to fully make out.

“It that you, Moag?” Galen asked the sky, “What are you waiting for?”

Galen’s introspection was cut off by a new presence that moved in behind him. He had never felt a presence like it before but somehow he knew it. The figure, a little shorter than he, appeared silently behind him. Galen tried to look at the figure, but the figure matched his movements. What little he could see of the form’s face seemed steeped in impossible shadows.

“Not here,” A distorted voice said, “The sky has eyes. Go down the hall.”

Galen and the tail moved down the hall towards the front platform of the municipal Maglev train station as an empty car pulled in. The figure touched the turn style and the holographic display shifted rapidly and bleeped confirmation as the train stopped. Instead the entire train opening for passengers, only the doors in front of Galen opened.
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“We are sorry, this train is being taken out service. Please wait for the next available train.” The droid announcer said.

Galen and his tail moved into the front car as the doors closed behind them. There was a clack as the front car decoupled and only a single maglev car rode out onto the track around Eriadu City. The light came up and the blinds came down, sealing Galen and his tail inside. The figure walked out in front of Galen at last and leaned against the wall for a moment, breathing heavily with the sound of fatigue.

“This place should be secure enough to talk.” The distorted voice said.

The figure toggled a control and the darkened face changed. The Holographic Stealth field dissolved and revealed a young face a few years older than Galen. Lean, fit and beautiful. A military-style bodysuit held a dozen pouches of gear, tools and weapons. A sword was strapped to her back. A pistol of some variety at her waist and a wrapped package slung over her shoulder. Galen guessed it a collapsed sniper rifle. But, Galen didn’t need to guess as he looked upon the figures face. The eyes, the hair and the features all made his stomach drop out and his Jedi training fade away.

For a moment, Galen Argyus was six years old again as he gave his sister Leena the biggest hug he could muster, lifting her off the ground. Tears streamed down his face. After so many years he felt whole again.

“I thought I’d lost you, sis.” Galen cried.

“You’re so tall, you little womp rat.” Leena Argyus replied.

Galen laughed and set her down.

As they held each other, Galen could feel something new in his sister. Something cold.

He released the embrace and wiped away his tears, “I heard you were in trouble.”

“You have noooo idea…”

“Explain it to me.” Galen said, sitting down.

Part: 3

“So…”Galen said, “Where have you been? Where did you go after Kashyyyk

Leena’s smiled faded a bit as she held up a part of he hair. At the base of her neck was a distinctive but tiny surgical scar.

“They took me back to Nal Hutta. I was bought, sold, bought again and again. It took me five years to figure out enough slicing to program a Medical Droid to cut out the tracking implant and remove the slave collar.”

“Five years?”

Leena put her hair back down and leaned against the wall, “Five years of doing what I had to… I stowed away on a dozen ships until I got to the Core. I was legally dead so I couldn’t find anyone. But I was found. Found…and given a new purpose.”

Something seemed off to Galen, “Bounty Hunters? Assassins?”

Leena shook her head and smiled,“The Republic Military. They admired my ingenuity, ability to adapt and blend in. They gave me food, shelter, education and a new home as an Agent with the Republic Strategic Information Service.”

Silence followed. Galen couldn’t believe it.

Leena picked up on the silence and confirmed it, “I’m a spy for the Republic.”

“A spy?" Galen stood silent, contemplating the implications, "Why didn’t you contact me?”

“The Jedi Code forbids attachments. I wanted to respect your new religion’s way of life.” Leena said without malice.

Galen chuckled at the thought, “You’ve never met the current order. We are more flexible on family these days.”

“And I wanted to keep you safe. You didn’t need to get involved in my business.”

“I’m a Jedi Knight. I can handle a little trouble, Sis.”

Leena laughed at that.

“Slavery is a drop in the bucket. There are many many more games going on, Little Brother.“
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“Like what? What exactly do you do?”

“I make a better Galaxy…”

“How?”

Rhaan Cheska in the CSA builds a new line of droids? Agents like me make sure they have more design flaws and bugs before and after they reach market. I still have no idea where Gul Shyssa gets his intelligence for his newscasts. I have pirates raiding hyperlanes in the Deep Core. I have the Mandalorian Supremacy on the brink of Civil War and the only faction sympathetic to us lost power a century ago. And, for the past decade, I have being trying hard to make sure that the next batch of Hutt Gangsters that comes to power after the current ones kill each other off are ones that are sympathetic to the Republic and know that joining the Republic is a better way of doing business.”

“So, that’s your solution to slavery? Silently conquer the slavers one world at a time while innocent people die?”

“Don’t talk to ME about slavery, brother. Slavery is terrible. I’ve been a slave, dammit. But, Mom… always said you have to treat the disease and not the symptom. Slavery is a symptom. One of many. I treat the disease.”

“Slavery is a disease… We can’t just ignore it.”

“Would you rather we go to war? Turn Nal Hutta and Nar Shaddaa to glass? Start a revolution on Mandalore? Maybe we should just start a purge of all the imperials in the Galaxy. Our way is not fast, I admit. It’s not pretty, but in time things will change.”

Galen fell silent. He considered the words and moved onto another topic.

“What happened with Vargolla?” Galen asked.

Leena swallowed. “He was an asset helping me with my biggest problem.”

“That would be?”

“Ever heard of Special Projects Unit 1138?”

Galen sat and thought. He barely remembered a part of a report he had read.

“Not really. Who are they?”

“Imperial Army Unit. No one knows for sure what they are about. For the past few years they’ve been burning through credits digging up artifacts all over the Galaxy. They also seem involved with the Force Sensitives in Imperial Space disappearing without a trace. Your fellow Jedi, Jora Tarkin, mentioned it as much when he got debriefed. They made waves recently when 1138’s own Colonel Valarus attacked the Wheel with a Star Destroyer.“

Galen blinked, “That Star Destroyer?”

“That Star Destroyer.”

“What’s it have to do with Vargolla?”

“1138 was buying artifacts from everyone including the Hutts. I was using Vargolla to find out what was so damned important about a bunch of old relics.”

Galen thought for a moment about relics, “Have you heard of the Infinite Empire?”

Leena stood silent for a moment and shook her head, “1138’s Artifact hunt and the like is outside my experience. Lately I’ve been caught up cleaning up your messes and the messes of the other Jedi.”

“The SIS tracks the Jedi Order?”

“It’s a part of our mandate from the Sub-Committee for Jedi Affairs. Simple really. ‘No more Palpatines. No more Vaders.’ One of yours goes off the edge, we do what needs to be done.”

“The Senate has that kind of pull? That kind of authority?”

“The Senate could draft you all into lifelong service or revoke your order’s charter and political identity if they wanted to. Right now they just want to make sure you behave yourselves. The policy was the Jedi Council’s idea. But I don’t make policy, I merely enforce it. Especially when one of your own goes off the edge like the one last month.”

“Who went off the edge?”

“Some Jedi went to a planet designated off limits by the Jedi Council. When I set foot on world I…felt something.”

Galen steeled himself for the story. Leena’s calm exterior wavered as she remembered and became confused by her own tale.

“My implants and training keep me level-headed but I felt…angry. I don’t even remember leaving planet. Vargolla was just an asset. Doing what Hutts do. He still kept slaves for appearances sake. He didn’t free them like I wanted him too. He didn’t care about them, they were property. I went back to that slug and I got so angry…I felt something in me. Some strength I never had.”

“Sis…”

“Before I knew it I had killed him and the witnesses. I bugged out… But I didn’t give the slug enough credit. He knew who I was, somehow. He knew my real name… But my cover information held. The SIS hasn’t returned my calls so…I think I’m burned.”

“You think the SIS sent the Bounty Hunters?”

“No. Too public. They wouldn’t do that.“

“Why did you come here?”

“Lots of escape routes and for the big thing you probably saw on your way in.”

“The Star Destroyer?”

“It’s a Diplomatic Vessel. Diplomatic Immunity. I can use it and the Ambassador on board to ‘defect.’ I can use it to get close to Special Projects Unit 1138. I can find the missing Force Users.”

“No you can’t.”

“Why not, little brother?”

“The feeling you felt was the Darkside of The Force. You are like me. You have power, I can sense it. You could be trained as a Jedi. We could use someone like you…”

The siblings went back and forth, arguing the points for a while. The argument never got heated. But, both used every argument they could think of until it came to a head.

“Come with us. We can give you sanctuary aboard the Crucible. Please, Leena.” Galen said solemnly.

Leena sat back, “Say I come with you. Where could I go that’s safe?”

“We’re on a mission to find the Jedi Homeworld of Tython. It’s been lost for like 1000 years. A symbol of our order. It isn’t on any maps and maybe your commanders would appreciate you help rediscovering something that could bring the Jedi Order together.”

“So…you want me to help you go into uncharted space into an unknown situation with potentially galactic socio-political ramifications?”

“Yeah…”

Leena stood silent for a while, considering the possibility. She finally made her decision.

“Sounds like fun…” She said with smile.

Galen and Leena laughed together and smiled in each other’s company. They had a way forward. They had finally reunited. They were ready.

Then, something big landed on top of the Maglev Train car, splintering the windows with its weight, putting massive dent in the roof and tearing a hole to the sky.

The light of a red mechanical eye sensor peered through the tear and into the car.

A synthetic voice came from the thing, “Targets located.”

Another voice came from the thing, this one human sounding.

“Boy, you better run. I like a good chase.”
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Galen looked to his sister. Leena looked back with a knowing gaze, smiled and nodded. They were both on the same page.

With impossible speed Galen dropped his hooded cloak, drew his lightsaber and ignited its blue blade.

“I am a Jedi. I do not run.”

Galen swiped his lightsaber at the splintered glass, clearing a way. Leena took the cue and took out the control for a small device just as fast. She toggled it and a holographic field surrounded her and made her disappear.

Galen jumped onto the rim of the broken window and then up into the air. He hung for a moment and passed through what felt like a shield. He found himself on the back of the massive metal thing. Galen didn’t take time to look at it. He just knew it was big. And it screamed

Part: 4

Jaden Windu sensed the danger to Galen immediately, throwing a chilidog over his shoulder and into a nearby trashbin without looking. He turned towards the Maglev.

“Galen’s in trouble.” Jaden said, motioning for the attention of Leoni and Cortree who followed.

He held up a hand towards the passing traffic and flagged down a Droid-Controlled Autocab. The trio piled into the speeder and Cortree typed commands into his small datapad.

“Triangulating his commlink’s position and…” Cortree said.

Cortree typed commands to its destination console. The speeder took flight and flew straight towards the Maglev train. As the taxi’s alarms went off for the invalid destination, Cortree pulled a small device out of his belt pouch and stuck it into the droid’s credit slot. The slicing device tied the autocab to Cortree’s datapad for the time being and allowed him to override it’s safety protocols. As the cab rose past the maglev tracks the trio opened the side door, getting ready to jump onto the maglev train. Then they caught sight of the Train car and froze in shock.

“Look at the size of that thing!” Leoni said, flabbergasted.

The thing on top of the maglev train was too big to be a speeder or a conventional-sized fighter. Besides, Fighters didn’t have clawed arms and legs, a tail half its length or a dozen blaster ports on the front of its scaled hull. Fighters didn’t have a head that moved like a bird stretching out from the armored cockpit and astromech droid module. Fighters didn’t have glowing red eyes the same color as its back ion thrusters. Fighters didn’t mechanically screech when Galen landed on its back…

“Take me to oblivion…” Cortree swore, his memory going a hundred light-years an hour “That there is a Basilisk War Droid. Best…arsenal money can buy.”

Jaden pondered the revelation, “In the past…such droids were used to hunt Jedi and fight entire armies.”

“That thing is a DROID?” Leoni squeaked.

“They’re about as intelligent as a dog. Linked directly with their pilots. But, this one seems smarter somehow. I want one…just not one right here, right now.”

“Get us closer, Captain.” Jaden said calmly, drawing the lightsaber of his ancestor.

“Right.” Cortree replied, already starting to reprogram the droid driver.

Galen steadied himself on the back of the Basilisk. He saw that on its back were a pair of cryotubes meant for transport and labelled for him and his sister. The hatch for the sealed cockpit opened and Moag Wren, Huntmaster of the Mandalorian Supremacy jumped onto the massive droid’s back. The afternoon light glistened off the chromed durasteel of his Mandalorian Battle Armor and the pair of custom heavy blasters on his hips. Galen couldn’t help but take in the various trophies that hung from his armor. Wookie hair cords. Trandoshan claws. Imperial officer insignia welded to the front.

“I like a good hunt.” Moag said.

“Don’t make me destroy you. Leave us alone. This hunt isn’t worth the credits.” Galen said, readying his lightsaber.

“Can’t do that, slick. I got a reputation to uphold. I’ll give the credits to your Order.” Moag’s hands moved to his blasters.

“Okay, then.” Galen said and moved with lightning speed.

Galen braced himself and drove his lightsaber down into the droid just above where he figured the power core was in a flawless strike with all his might. The lightsaber blade could cut through any substance and with but a few seconds, Galen’s strike would destroy the power core and cause an explosion.

Or at least that is what Galen expected to happen.

Instead, Galen’s blue lightsaber blade passed over the hull of the basilisk and did absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. No cut. No burn. No boom.

Galen blinked in surprise.

“Nice try,“ Moag laughed, turning to the Droid’s head “Katarn: Locate secondary target.”

“By your command…” A synthesized voice said.

Without warning, Moag drew his blasters. The Custom Blasters fired a rapid, machinegun volley of blaster bolts towards the Jedi. Galen was faster, deflecting the bolts with practiced motions of his lightsaber. A few bolts whizzed past his defenses and told Galen’s senses that any one of them could fell him.

The droid began tearing up the Maglev train car, searching for the now invisible target, but it couldn’t find its target. Lenna invisibly leapt off the train into a roll on the tracks.

Cortree fired his own heavy blaster at Moag as he leapt though the shield and onto the back of the Basilisk with style. Cortree’s shots sparked off Moag’s armor and Moag continued shooting at Galen, the shots that passed through his defenses heading towards Cortree, forcing the fringer to take cover behind the cryopod meant for Galen.

Galen continued swatting down the blaster bolts as he force leapt onto the other side of the bounty hunter into a flanking position. Moag fired a machinegun volley of blaster bolts at Galen with one blaster, then fired another volley at Cortree with the other, forcing the Fringer to stay behind cover.

As the Basilisk’s claws tore the roof to pieces, Jaden stood in the autocab’s entryway and held out a hand. He grabbed the pieces of the roof with the telekinetic power of the Force and hurled them towards the bounty hunter as distraction. The pieces of metal hit the bounty hunter, but the Mandalorian’s armor stopped the impacts cold and his helmet’s targeting software kept a lock on Galen and Cortree.

Cortree punched commands into his datapad and shouted into his commlink, “Galen, watch your z-axis!”

The autocab immediately lowered and parked itself on top of the Bounty Hunter and onto the back of the Droid beast as it leapt off the back of the maglev train car. Galen stood to the side, over the Bounty Hunter’s exposed head. The speeder’s weight crushed the droid and ground its hull against the track. The Basilisk bird-like head looked out and its sensors caught a glimpse of movement across the raised bodies of a billboard stretched across the distance between the train and the nearby marketplace structure. The thing’s vision switched to infrared and Leena’s form became a stark contrast.

“Secondary Target located, heading toward marketplace.” The droid spoke.

Moag lay underneath the autocab and looked up towards the marketplace.

“Katarn, attack mode!” Moag said as he toggled his jetpack, sweeping out Galen’s leg as he flew forward out form underneath the speeder. Galen’s Jedi reflexes allowed him to stay standing.

Moag fired a machinegun volley behind him and Galen deflected them in kind as the bounty hunter flew through the window into the marketplace.

“By your command…” The droid said as it rose on all fours.

The Basilisik War Droid screamed…

The droid clawed the the autocab and fire blaster bolts toward it. Jaden and Leoni ducked as the claws and bolts tore through the autocab’s outer hull. The angle was strange for the basilisk, preventing it from getting a good hit in. But the damage it did manage shorted out Cortree’s slicing device. The driver droid’s safety protocol’s engaged and the autocab detached from the beast’s back.

Cortree tried to override the cab, but it was no use. He used the time to move up the beast’s back towards the base of its neck. He moved to a hatch and desperately tried to open it.
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Jaden noticed the movement, the chance to get onto the beast faded and he decided quickly. Jaden Windu leapt toward the Basilisk, passing through its shields and grabbed a handhold on the side of the droid, one meant for climbing up the side. The Jedi barely held his grip as the droid lurched from side to side trying to shake him off of level a blaster towards it.

Further down, Leoni jumped onto the roof of the Marketplace and ran back towards the Mandalorian.

Galen force leapt onto the billboard and leapt off of it, tumbling through the window and after the Mandalorian.

Through his helmet, Moag Wren scanned the marketplace below for the invisible Leena. The Marketplace was huge, the tracking software couldn’t sift through all the movement and heat signatures. Moag knew Leena’s tradecraft let alone her holographic tools would allow her to hide and then escape his grasp.

But the Huntmaster had a reputation to uphold.

The Bounty Hunter designated his target zone with a laser light and gritted his teeth as Galen came into view.

“Katarn, drive the girl out!” Moag seethed.

“By your command…” Galen heard from the commlink as his sight traced the laserlight to its target.

“No, stop! No!!!” Galen screamed as he ran as fast as he could towards Moag.

The Basilisk engaged its ion engines momentarily to rise into the air. The sudden movement drew the attention of Jaden, who sensed the coming danger. He flipped over and hooked a foot through a hand hold, hanging upside down. Jaden desperately hacked at his target, a weapons cable underneath one of the armor plates. But the lightsaber couldn’t cut through fast enough.

The War Droid aimed its blasters, let out a synthesized screech and fired a volley into the marketplace. The blaster bolts tore through the roof and into the crowd of people.

People screamed and fell and died.

The companions couldn’t stop or undo the massacre, but they moved to avenge it.

Jaden Windu’s violet lightsaber blade found a gap in the primary blaster’s power cable and cut off the droid’s volley into the crowd. Cortree Tincove moved to a panel and struggled to get it open. He motioned to Jaden to strike at the bottom of the panel as the pair dodged the swipes from the war droid.

Galen continued forward and rushed towards the Mandalorian as he raised blasters towards him. Galen reached for the power of the Force to gift him speed and swatted down the blaster bolts without thought.

Galen reflected a blaster bolt into the Bounty Hunter’s faceplate, distracting him for an instant. The Jedi screamed as he struck blindingly fast, swiping his lightsaber across the Bounty Hunter with everything he had.

The alpha strike cut through the Mandalorian’s armor and burned through his dominant shooting hand, blaster, chest plate and head. The Bounty Hunter’s head snapped back, knocking off the Helmet that now had a cut burned into its front.

Galen felt his balance disappear as the Bounty Hunter kicked him with technology enhanced strength. The Jedi flipped back and regained his footing, exhausted form his efforts.

Galen looked up and found the dark skin and red cybernetic eye of Moag Wren. The Bounty Hunter had a nasty head wound and was breathing hard from the alpha strike, but he looked ready to go three more rounds with a Rancor and win.

“That your best shot?” Moag said, “Your sister is dead or run away like the mouse she is and your lightsabers can’t stand against my Basilisk. Do you yield?”

“Argyuses don’t yield…” Galen said.

Moag screamed as put his remaining blaster in Galen’s face, ignited his jetpack and extended a vibroblade from his injured arm, moving in for his own alpha strike…

Which was cut short as a sniper shot slammed into the back of the bounty hunter’s exposed head. The Mandalorian crumpled and fell forward, dead.

Agent Leena Argyus stood there, her sniper rifle raised and her holographic field collapsed.

“Damn right, brother.” Leena said, smiling.

Galen smiled back as he heard the worst sound on the planet. The synthesized voice of Katarn the Basilisk as it descended on ion engines above the siblings.

“Targets acquired,” The droid said as it aimed at Leena with its primary weapons, “Initiating anti-personnel strike.”

The power cable Jaden cut sparked and prevented the weapons from firing. The droid tried to compensate as Cortree finally opened the panel with Jaden’s help. The Fringer fired his heavy blaster into the guts of the droid, cutting primary power cables loose. Then, he grabbed one cable from the main reactor and shoved the live wire into delicate circuits and the main drive-train with more amperage than it was designed to take.
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The panel sparked as Cortree’s maneuver created power surges inside the Basilisk, causing explosions and sparks all over the droid. The Ion Engines sputtered and the Basilisk fell like a stone back onto the Maglev track.

The Basilisk looked back up at Galen and Leena and took aim.

Then, Leoni recklessly leapt off the marketplace’s roof at Basilisk and slashed her green lightsaber across its birdlike head. The lightsaber sparked off. The Basilisk swiped at the Padawan, knocking her out of the air and sending her tumbling over the Maglev track.

“Leoni!” Galen shouted as he ran and leapt in front of his Padawan without thinking.

The two Jedi stood in front of the Basilisk War Droid point blank as it reared up on its haunches. The damage had been done but it was still moving.

Leena threw a smoke grenade between the Basilisk and Galen, but knew it wouldn’t do much…

The pair, master and apprentice Jedi didn’t have to look or speak to each other to know what they had to do. They only had one chance. If they missed even one move, they would both be disintegrated and then the droid would move on and keep killing more innocents.

The Basilisk leveled its anti-starfighter blasters at the Jedi and fired.

For the first time, Galen and Leoni moved as one.

Their lightsabers wove a complex barrier as they intercepted the vehicle-class blaster shots. The Jedi knocked the bolts back at the Basilisk. The shots impacted, ripped through the chassis and punched holes through the Beskar armor plates, exposing the Durasteel beneath.

Galen and Leoni ran at the Basilisk, weaved between each other to confuse its tracking algorithm and stabbed into the beast’s exposed insides. The Lightsaber blades turned the durasteel orange then to liquid, then ran the blades through…

The Basilisk War Droid screamed as its core melted down and its power system sparked, overloaded and exploded inside the armor plates. Blue smoke surrounded Cortree and Jaden as they leapt from the droid to safety and the giant beast fell limp.

The beast hung for a moment on the side of the maglev tracks, then gravity pulled it down and it fell to the street below. It landed with a crash.

The companions looked down at the droid, ready for anything.

“Help.” The synthesized voice said from the fallen beast, “I require aid. Please. Anyone…”

Cortree and Jaden made their way down to the wreck, opened the cockpit and laughed.

“The Droid has been neutralized!” Jaden shouted, “All that’s left is the…head.”

Right over the command seat, hooked into the controls for the systems sat the severed head of one of the most formidable Droids from the Clone Wars.

“Wow…” Cortree said, “A Baktoid Combat Automata T-Series Tactical Droid…head.. No wonder it could find Leena anywhere.”

Cortree began to examine it just as the droid lodged a protest together with the crushed Astromech unit as Jaden moved towards the Marketplace to help tend to the wounded people.

Up on the Maglev tracks, Galen and Leoni caught their breath as the made their way back tot he marketplace and over to find Leena. Except they found the spot she once occupied empty. Galen’s commlink buzzed and he answered it.

“I’m not leaving you now bro, just headed to your ship if that offer’s still good.” Leena said over the comm.

“It sure is. I’ll see you there, Sis.” Galen said, smiling.

“Roger. You should get out of there too before…”

Out of the marketplace came a crowd of reporters with holorecorders. They looked desperately for the people responsible for saving the crowd, demanding answers.

“More reporters…” Galen said dejected, “How are we going to handle this, now?”

Leoni looked at her master and said, “Together, Master.”

Galen looked back at her, “No more lies?”

“No more lies. No more secrets.”

“No more recklessness?”

“Only if you stop getting us both into trouble…”

Leoni smiled and Galen smiled back. The pair finally trusted each other.

They were finally a team…

End of Episode: 11

Continue to Episode: 12

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Episode : 10
GM: Brad

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Part: 01

A trio of Attack Skiffs approached the Crucible just as it took off on the swamp planet of Dagobah. The lizard-like Trandoshans aboard screeched at their fleeing prey. The Leader, the Bounty Hunter Zost held up a commlink and signalled the rest of his kin, the Red Talon Clan.

“Mikaz,” Zost hissed into the commlink, “Scoop and scoot. Pursue the one we seek!”

In perfect coordination a customized YT-2400 Freighter, The Red Predator, came from the sky and scooped up the skiffs onto magnetic hardpoints. The Freighter flew forward in pursuit of the Crucible through the fog, trees and mountains of Dagobah.

Aboard the Jedi Training Ship, Crucible the scene was chaotic.

“Mind if I take the Pilot seat, Captain?” Galen Argyus said to Cortree Tincove, the owner of the Crucible.

“Just fly an’ fly fast!” Cortree shouted across the ship.

“That I can do!” Galen replied, “Sit next to me, Padawan.”

Leoni Venusia jumped into the Co-Pilot seat, still not wholly familiar with what she needed to do. She managed to get her restrains fastened just as Galen dove the Crucible into the treeline.

“Who are those hunters?” Leoni asked.

“Markings look like the Red Talon Clan.” Galen said, looking at the readout of the ship’s hull.

“You know them master?”

“Sort of…They took me prisoner on Kashyyyk during a raid. Master Saberota and the rest of the crew on the Crucible rescued me and freed the wookiee slaves,” Galen said, remembering the fight months ago. The ship rocked violently from a near hit. “It seems that they were not appreciative of our efforts.”

SWFotJFAE_LogPics_1001.pngGalen relied on the Force to tell him where to fly. Where to turn, when to accelerate and decelerate. He felt the ship and its place in the universe rather than use the instruments on the console. He attempted a dangerous maneuver that took the ship into the treeline of the swampy planet. Despite his connection to the Force he nearly lost control and the ship’s shields exploded into light as the Crucible sheered through the mighty branches of ancient trees. And the freighter was still hot on their trail.

“That was too close…” Galen said, “Cor, get those shields back up.”

“Bypassing the safeties on the power regulators.” Cortree said, flipping switches and pushing buttons in the engine room. The shields powered back up as the ship continued to take evasive maneuvers.

Aboard the the Bounty Hunter Ship, the Trandoshan Pilot Mikaz pulled down his goggles and gunned the engine. Mikaz was the fastest pilot in his clan and loved to fly this way, by the seat of his pilot suit.

The Bounty Hunter Zost took control of the ship’s guns and fired at the Crucible. His clan’s Bloodoath would be satisfied. They would take the Jedi’s head and score many jaganath points for their goddess the Scorekeeper.

The YT-2400’s blasters grazed the Crucible’s shields and ripped through the jungle below. The Red Talon Clan crew members made it to the ship’s systems and gained a target lock on the Crucible.

Aboard the Crucible, Jaden Windu battened down all the hatches and made the ship ready for incoming fire before heading toward the cockpit. The Bounty Hunter Ship fired at the Crucible, but Galen managed to evade the blasts. The evasive maneuvers scrubbed the Bounty hunter’s target lock , but the nimble pilot Mikaz kept on the Crucible’s six.

“I need more engine power!” Galen said.

“Rerouting secondary systems.” Cortree said, creating an engine boost that lurched the ship forward.

Galen used the newfound power to outmaneuver the other ship and get some much needed distance.

Jaden arrived at the cockpit and jumped into the Communications and Systems chair.

“Jaden, find me a way off this planet.” Galen said.

“I am on it!” Jaden said, bringing a Topographical map of the planet. “There’s a series of canyons ahead. Aim for this route.”

Galen looked at the map and spotted his target point.

“This is going to be close!” Galen said rapidly moving controls.

The Crucible flew into the canyon and beneath an arch of rocks towards a mountain going at full speed. At the last second Galen cut the throttle and pulled the nose of the ship up, going vertical, kicking in the afterburners scorching the swamp below. In the middle of the maneuver, Jaden used the ionic charge from the engines to try and overload the sensors of the enemy ship.

Mikaz the pilot, though not a Jedi, had nearly Jedi caliber reflexes. He pulled the ship up at the last second and went vertical too in the Crucible’s wake despite being sensor blind. The Bounty Hunter Zost growled in rage and shouted into the ship’s intercom. The Red Talon Clan Members punched the console a few times and barely managed another target lock.

“This guy’s incredible! I can’t shake him!” Galen said impressed.

A warning beep came from the systems console, red light flashing.

“What is that?” Leoni asked sheepishly.

“Missile Lock…Concussion Missiles!” Jaden shouted.

“Brace for impact!” Galen said.

The ship bucked violently as the enemy missile took down the shields.

“Shields are gone. Minimal damage.” Cortree said over the intercom as he made his way to the ship’s gunnery chair.

”But they still hurt my baby",he growled as he powered up the turret. Cortree took his time despite the rocking of the ship. He carefully lined up the shot and fired the Crucible’s few cannons at the enemy ship. Their shields exploded and fell.

“Help me out here, Jaden.” Cortree said, “Give me a fix on their engines.”

Jaden pressed a few buttons and made some adjustments, “Target Locked.”

Galen moved the ship into a firing position, but the Trandoshan pilot matched his course. He didn’t however recognize Cortree’s trap. The ship’s captain fired the guns and nailed the YT-2400’s engines. A trail of smoke and black liquid flowed out of the freighter’s damaged engines.

“Are they slowing down?” Galen asked over the intercom.

SWFotJFAE_LogPics_1002.png“Naw.” Cortree said inspecting his scopes, “But they’ve got a fuel rupture.”

Aboard the Red Predator, the clan reported the damage and pleaded over the intercom for their Leader, Zost to call off the hunt for now. But Zost and the Red Talon Clan’s Bloodoath against Galen Argyus could not be be satisfied with retreat.

“Almost to the safe area for the jump to Hyperspace.” Galen said as the Crucible and the Red Predator both climbed out of Dagobah’s atmosphere.

“They ain’t giving up the ghost. They gonna keep chasin’ us.” Cortree said.

Jaden examined the readings of the enemy ship, “I concur, their behavior suggests they may seek death before abandoning the hunt. And they still have concussion missiles which could easily destroy us without our shields.”

“No choice then. Blow them out of the sky Cor.” Galen said

“Locking onto the Fuel Leak.” Cortree said, “Jaden, hop on that secondary remote turret.”

The two ships weaved and swerved both pilots trying to gain an advantage. The Red Predator moved into position for a boarding action. Jaden then fired the secondary turrets, causing the Predator to dodge right into Cortree’s waiting sites.

The blaster shots impacted the fuel leak and the Red Predator erupted into a momentary fireball in space.

“Target destroyed.” Jaden said, letting out a sigh tinged with sadness. Galen, who despised slavers such as the Red Talons, seemed far less disturbed by the death of the trandoshans. He calmly began entering calculations into the jump computer.

The Crucible jumped into Hyperspace and went to auto-pilot inside the hyperlane. The crew gathered in the main room as Cortree checked the damage.

“Good news: We are in one piece more or less although we do need repairs.” Cortree said. “Luckily, we are close to Sluis Van. Nice shipyards there.”

“Good thinking,” Galen said, “I have contacts there who can tell us more about these Bounty Hunters.”

“I can use the time to unlock the mysteries of Yoda’s ship.” Jaden said.

Leoni emerged from the cockpit, shaking and stumbling from the G-Forces of Galen’s desperate maneuvering.

“You did well, my padawan.” Galen said, proud of her coolness during the rocky flight.

“Captain, do the freshers still work?” Leoni asked looking decidedly pale.

“Yeah…” Cortree said pointing to a door down the corridor.

“Good.” Leoni said and stumbled towards it.

The sounds of her misery echoed back to the crew who all hid their smiles.

“Well, I think she’s coming along…” Galen said.

Part: 02

During the flight to Sluis Van, Galen got on his comm and called up an old friend.

“Sreb Rejo here.” The Twi’lek said on the other end.

“It’s Galen, I’m my way to you and I need some info.” Galen said.

“Anything for you, man.”

Sreb had been one of the many slaves liberated by Galen at the Battle of Socorro. In the years since the Twi’lek had become a successful, if low level, information broker who was dedicated to combating slavery on the Outer Rim. If there was one person in this sector that Galen could trust to not sell him out to the Hutts, it was Sreb.

“My sister Leena,“ Galen said solemnly, ”I need to know her last known location and who’s hunting her. Keep it quiet.”

“Can do. Drop by the Blackhole when you arrive. May the Force be with you!”

“May the Force be with you, Sreb.”

Some time later, the Crucible dropped out of hyperspace before a series of space stations shaped like traingular prisms. The snake-like Sluissi saw starship building not just as a craft but as works of art. Their shipyards as a result were known as some of the best in the Outer Rim Territories and also among the slowest. Decorum had to be maintained after all and that often got in the way of what many other species would refer to as efficiency. For the Jedi, it was the perfect place to take a breather and regroup.

“Orbital Dock V-475, Azure Fortune requesting permission for docking.” Galen asked over comms. The Sluissi were known for their adherence to protocol, so Galen asked as politely as possible.

“Purpose of your visit?” The Sluissi on the other end hissed.

“Repairs and rest.”

“Wait…is this Galen Argyus?…”

“Negative, you’re mistaken on that V-475.”

“No. I recognize you. I saw you on GNN. You are Galen Argyus… The Liberator of Socorro can dock here anytime, Master Jedi. You are clear to land in Docking Bay 41.”

“41, roger. Crucible out.” Galen said as he rubbed his temples in pain, “So much for laying low…”

The Crucible came in for a landing and found a crowd of people waiting for it. News reporters carried recording devices, ready to catch a glance of the (In)Famous Jedi Liberator. Luckily safety restrictions prevented the reporters from just rushing the ship which gave them some room to breath. The gangplank lowered and Galen and Leoni slipped out onto the bay floor with their hoods lowered and their faces in shadow.

“Keep a low profile and stay close to me, Padawan.” Galen said indicating the waiting horde, “Reporters can be more ruthless than kath hounds.“

“Yes master.” Leoni said.

The pair of Jedi moved swiftly and silently in the opposite direction from the crowd. Calling on the Force, they easily outpaced the reporters to the turbolift on the other end of the dock. Just as the doors closed Galen noticed a Trandoshan dock worker slinking off by himself with a comlink in his hands.

Part: 03

Meanwhile, Jaden and Cortree looked over the lifeboat of an ancient Jedi Master while a team of droids hosed the swamp muck off the outside of the lifeboat and the inside of the Crucible’s cargo bay.

“There better be somethin’ here,” Cortree said unscrewing the front of a panel in the cockpit as the muck on the outside dripped down, “The faster we move the sooner we can clean out the cargo bay. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the smell out.”

Jaden pulled the last of the drawers out of the ship dresser with great care and placed it into the arms of one of Cortree’s pit droids.

”I say patience…We will find what we are looking for with patience. Besides, finding knowledge aboard this craft will make the smell worth it” Jaden said.

“Patience. Right.” Cortree sighed as he pulled a black box out of the old navigation console. He sat on the Crucible’s deck with the Black Box connected to the Navigation console. He typed furiously, navigating through the data. A few beeps from the computer drew his ire for a moment, so he loaded the data onto a datapad and moved to the main room.

Jaden had Yoda’s personal effects laid out before him in a careful order. He took methodical steps to catalog each item and take scans of them. The Jedi Archeologist looked up to Cortree as he approached.

“And?” Jaden asked.

“Patience paid off. The ship’s memory core seems mostly intact.” Cortree confirmed a bit sheepishly, “Looks like he just copied data from his old fighter into it. I ran the star charts through our navigational computer, but they are a century old.“

”Was there any data on hyperspace routes to Tython?” Jaden asked.

Cortree handed him the datapad and the Jedi lit up, “Looks like there was a route programmed into the system even though the lifeboat couldn’t make the trip. Goes to the Deep Core about where Galen pointed to."

“Tython is within reach then?”

“Not perfectly. I tried to compensate for stellar drift an’ such, but there’s too many unknown variables that deep in the Core. Uncharted black holes. Stellar anomalies. Old junk floatin’ in space. With this information we should be able to get to the planet. It will be risky though,” Cortree replied cautiously.

“It will have to do.”

“What’s that you got here?” Cortree asked, looking over the various objects.

“The personal effects of Master Yoda. Clothing, pieces of his lightsaber. Long expired rations…” Jaden listed.

“What’re these tools for?” Cortree pointed to a pile of tools off to the side.

“They look like tools for making a Holocron.” Jaden said rubbing his chin, “But, I didn’t find one here.”

“Could it be back on Dagobah?”

“No, I can feel something is here. But I looked everywhere on the ship.” Jaden said.

“Don’t think so.” Cortree said, “I think this Master Yoda knew how to keep things hid. Well…so do I.”

Minutes later, a legion of small droids began scanning the inside of the lifeboat rivet by rivet. Jaden stared at the little army impressed.

“Very useful these droids of yours…” Jaden said.

“The right folks for the right job.” Cortree confirmed, smiling.

Part: 04

SWFotJFAE_LogPics_1003.pngMeanwhile, Galen and Leoni found themselves in the Blackhole Cantina. The band played the same old playlists and people moved all around. Galen found his contact at his usual spot in the back. Something felt off though. Something wasn’t right. Srub seemed more wired than normal and had three empty glasses sitting next to him as he polished off a fourth drink.

The Twil’lek looked up as he finished his drink gave Galen a hug, “Galen, my friend. It has been too long.”

“It has, Srub.” Galen said, turning to Leoni he whispered, “Stand guard Padawan. Be ready for a quick exit.”

“Yes, master.” Leoni said and she began to scan the patrons of the Black Hole.

Galen sat down and looked over the datapad that Srub handed to him.

“Did you find her?” Galen asked.

“Yeah…last spotted around Eridau heading towards Coruscant.” Srub said, shaking.

“Good work, Srub.”

“But, honestly Galen… what the hell?”

“I know things seem shaky…” Galen began.

“No…what the hell, man? What are you into here? You need to get your sister outta whatever trouble she’s in and find a nice remote planet to take a long vacation on. Just saying.”

“You found her? How close is her pursuit then? How many Bounty Hunters?”

“Last week there were like ten hunters looking for her. Yesterday there were four. As of today…just one.”

“Just one?”

“Competition got scared off. They want nothin’ to do with it.”

“Who?”

Srub looked around skidishly and moved in close, “Your sister is being tracked by the Moag.”

“The Moag?” Galen whispered, the name unfamiliar.

Moag of Clan Wren of House Visla. Current Huntmaster for the Mandalorian Supremacy…”

Galen blinked.

“Mandalore’s top Bounty Hunter is after my sister?”

“Yeah.” Srub confirmed.

“I don’t know much about this Moag Wren.”

“Only thing you need to know, Galen: He’s got the best arsenal money can buy.”

Galen sat silent for a moment, contemplating the situation.

“I can get more info about if you need. For you man…” Srub said.

“No. You’ve put yourself at enough risk.” Galen said.

“Thanks.” Srub said, his eyes darting around. Galen felt something off.

“What aren’t you telling me Srub?” Galen asked.

Srub bolted up and ran away through the crowd, “Forgive me, Galen. The money was too good!…”

Galen and Leoni stared at the Twi’Lek in surprise. Leoni looked over to her master.

“Meeting over?” She asked.

“Let’s get out of here.” Galen said, standing up.

He then found his path blocked by a tall, massively muscled Herglic. The alien looked big enough to break Galen like a twig. Behind him were others who seemed interested by the discovery. The mob surrounded them. Too many. Far too many.

“Galen Argyus…” The Herglic said, his deep voice vibrating throughout the silenced cantina, “I have been looking for you.”

“Get behind me.” Galen whispered to his apprentice. She moved into a defensive position.

His massive hand went to his waist. Leoni’s hand went to her lightsaber. Galen raised a hand stopping her, realizing the situation as the Herglic something from his belt.

A Holorecorder was stuck in Galen’s face by the massive Alien, “Master Jedi, Galaxy Network News.”

The mob of people surrounding him pulled out their own recorders. Reporters. They were all reporters.

Give Galen a group of slavers, he’d find a way to free the slaves. Give him starfighter, he would dogfight in it. Give him a cave full of energy from the Dark Side of the Force and he’d walk through it. Give him a Rancor on the surface of a hostile planet and he would fight it with his bare hands. The Jedi trained him for situations like that.

But reporters with livestreams to the Holonet? Galen didn’t know how to fight them…

The torrent of questions came faster than he could comprehend. How could anyone talk so quickly? It was only because of his intense training in Ataru that Galen was able to think quickly enough to keep up. But just barely.

“What were your intentions when you fought those rogue Jedi in the streets of Coruscant?”

“No comment. The Jedi Council has my report.”

“Are you planning to leave the order like so many other Jedi? Will you head your own faction?”

“I am staying with the Order.”

“Will you be freeing more slaves in the future? With there be another Battle of Socorro? Is Nar Shaddaa or Nal Hutta next?”

“I will do what is right.”

“Does ‘Doing what’s right’ mean defying the Council if you think they’re wrong?”

“I follow the Order.”

“Do you support the current Council’s platform? Does Master Veshraan support intergalactic slavery?”

“The Jedi Council does not support slavery. Excuse us, we have to go.”

Galen tried to push his way through crowd. The crowd went for his apprentice. The torrent of questions came with no replies back.

“Do you support your master’s anti-slavery policies?”

“Will you defy the Jedi Council if the Republic decides to legalize indentured slavery?”

“Are you dating your apprentice? Isn’t that forbidden by the Jedi Order?”

“Do you think the Jedi Order should be given extra-judicial powers to free slaves?”

“You’re Leoni Venusia, is it true that you killed your Master?” The Herglic asked Leoni, putting the recorder in her face.

Leoni did not have her Master’s training and exploded in rage,”I did not murder my master!”

The room went silent and all attention turned to her.

“He was good to me. He saved my life. He put me on a ship and told me to run and I did.” Leoni cried.

The undignified rage was unbecoming of a Jedi and it had just been caught on holo. Galen had to do something. His mind raced before the torrent started again. He steeped forward toward the Herglic.

“I recognize you now, you made false accusations against Incom about falsified reports on the manufacturing of the XJ10 series X-wings. Clearly you need to do your research before asking such unfounded questions. My padawan had nothing to do with the death of her master. Implying such a thing is irresponsible.”

The crowd turned from Galen to the Herglic and like kath hounds began to devour their own giving the Jedi a brief respite. Galen and Leoni ran for the door.

“I’m sorry master.”

“We’ll talk about this later.”

Part: 05

Back on Yoda’s lifeboat, Jaden and Cortree sat as the team of droids worked.

“Maybe it is back on Dagobah…” Cortree suggested, ”I think I can borrow some Mole Miners if we need them.”

The conversation was cut short by a pit droid screeching in Binary.

“What is it?” Jaden asked.

“They found something.”

Cortree and Galen moved back into the lifeboat where the Droid team stood like parade line. The little pit droid pointed down at the floor tile below Yoda’s bed.

Both of the Force-sensitives could feel it now. A faint pulse.

“What did I say? Patience, Captain.” Jaden said serenely with no malice.

Jaden moved to the floor tile and removed it and then the both of them really felt it. It was as powerful a feeling as the one they had felt on Durace. But where before they had felt anger, rage, fear, here there was calm, serenity, and warmth. The archaeologist reached into the alcove and pulled out a box-shaped green crystal device. A Holocron made by the Jedi Master who had taught Jedi for nine hundred years.

Cortree followed Jaden as he moved carefully through the lifeboat and back into the Crucible. He seemed to know where to take it.

The main lounge area the team used for their inflight conversations was also the teaching room a long time ago. The Crucible was built centuries ago for training Jedi. An alcove in the wall just the right size opened of its own accord, somehow sensing the presence of the Holocron. Jaden placed the holocron into the proper slot and the device lit up with a bright green glow. The built-in holoprojector started up and the Caretaker of the Holocron, who would have to be dealt with to gain entry to the holocron’s secrets rendered itself.

Jaden looked around for a moment, expecting someone of human size, finding nothing. He finally looked down to find a alien with big ears. The Caretaker looked up at Jaden and smiled with familiarity.
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“Master Windu, oohohohohoooo” The Caretaker said, “It has been too long.”

“Master?” Cortree asked.

“Master Mace Windu is a member of the Jedi High Council and one I would trust with the knowledge within this device.”

“Right.” Jaden said, realizing that the Holocron was speaking of his ancestor. The Caretaker had no sense of the passage of time. Jaden felt inclined to go with the will of the Force.

“That’s a Jedi Master?” Cortree asked, in awe of the device.

“Size matters not.” The Caretaker pined, turning to Jaden, “What questions have you?”

“Tell me about Tython.” Jaden said.

The Caretaker nodded and windows of data scrolled.

“Lost and found, many times it was. Birthplace of the Jedi. The place we go to rest, meditate and seek guidance of the Force. Where we go to rebuild when darkness comes.”

“Do you know where it is?”

“Rediscovered it was shortly before the blockade of Naboo by the Trade Federation. During the incident, the Council discovered the existence of a Sith Lord. Darth Maul.”

A graphic of the Zabrak Sith appeared in red. It sent a chill down Jaden and Cortree’s spines it see images of the Sith taken from the Naboo Palace security sensors.

“But, always two there are. Seen one we had, but not the other. Decided the Council did, to keep the location of the world a secret until the threat had passed.”

“Why?”

“Long have the Sith wanted to burn Tython. So secret it was kept. Trusted to a small team of Jedi and allies from the University of Alderaan.”

“What about the Clone Wars?”

“The Clone Wars proved difficult for this information. The Council did not fully trust the Supreme Chanceller, so secret from him it was kept. Tython was on no star maps. In those times, its secrecy became more valuable. How do you find a planet on no maps, hm?”

“So what did you do with it?”

“Many Jedi wanted nothing to do with the Clone Wars. Believed Jedi not to be Soldiers, they did. Rather than risk their leaving the Order, we sent them to Tython to rebuild and restore the ancient temple. As the war continued, many Jedi took serious injuries of not just the body. Taken off the line they were and taken to Tython to heal. About a third of the population, these Jedi made up. Others were sent there because they had become targets for the enemy.”

“Others?”

“Hm…Ex-Patriots. Turned Spies. Informants with too much knowledge and no where else safe to go. Another third, these made up.”

“And the last third of the population?”

“Tython’s secrecy had somehow come to the attention of Republic Intelligence in the last year of the war. Desperate, both sides had gotten. The Council decided to use the Tython System as a staging area for Special Operations. Special Clone Troopers, Republic Military Commanders, Agents and Jedi were sent there as the last third of the population. This in addition to the legion of Clones from the 503rd Clone Legion garrisoned there for security.”

“When was your last contact with the planet?”

“Last contact with the planet was the day Count Dooku fell. The Battle Over Coruscant.”

“Who was in charge of the people on Tython?” Jaden asked.

“Jedi Master Gelom Xalek and his Padawan Caleb Balian.“

Questions continued for an hour. Jaden learned all he could about the planet and the history of the place that Yoda had recorded.

“Caretaker…” Jaden said, putting down his datapad, “Tell me about Master Windu.”

“Mace Windu was a fine Jedi…”

The conversation went on for a while longer continuing until Galena and his apprentice returned from their excursion. As they ascended the ramp, they lowered their own voices and sat down in the back.

“How can Tython help the order?”

The Caretaker turned his head and smiled, “When the Order has been divided. Tython is where we return. For twenty five milennia have we done this. It is a place of healing. Of finding oneself. Of finding what Jedi were meant for."

Galen’s stomach dropped out when the Caretaker continued. The words it said must have been something older than Yoda. Something passed to him by his masters and so on to the beginning of the Order.

“The Jedi Order has endured countless struggles. We rise. We fall. We rise again. We protect. We teach. We open minds and hearts. We bring hope to the hopeless. Sometimes we rise to greatness. Sometimes, we fall into darkness. But, no matter how dark the paths ahead may seem…there is always a light to guide the way.”

The room was in awe at the words. They could feel their power. Then the caretaker laughed at Leoni as she approached it.

“Master…” Leoni asked.

“Yes Padawan? What questions have you?”

Leoni looked to Galen for permission. He nodded in return.

“I was on a planet once. I don’t know where it was. It felt dark. It was a world of Deserts and tombs…”

The Caretaker sighed, “The place you describe is Tython’s mirror. The birthplace of the Sith and their dark path. A place of darkness and dark power. It has had many names. Moraband. Pesegam. *Korriban*…“

Leoni slumped down to her knees in shock.

Jaden rubbed his chin, “Perhaps it is balance that the homeworld of the Sith is rediscovered at the same time as the Jedi’s Homeworld.”

Perhaps,” Galen said, helping his apprentice off the floor.”But we need to leave soon. This place isn’t safe.”

Galen helped Leoni into her quarters so she could recover and then heard his commlink beep. An incoming transmission for him.

He moved to the communication console and brought it up. It was scarmbled. No video. Just a woman’s voice. A voice he recognized immediately. A voice that could only belong to his sister.

“Meet where we left for Kashyyyk…”

End of Episode: 10

Continue to Episode: 11

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EPISODE: 09
GM: Brad

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Part: 01

The datapad showed Galen Argyus a woman’s face. The correct age, a face reminiscent of his mother, but he still couldn’t believe the datapad and what it said.

“WANTED: 2 HUMAN SUBJECTS

FIRST SUBJECT: LEENA ARGYUS, WANTED FOR THE COLD-BLOODED MURDER OF HER MASTER VARGOLLA THE HUTT. KNOWN TO BE ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. APPROACH WITH CAUTION.

SECOND SUBJECT: GALEN ARGYUS, RENEGADE JEDI AND BROTHER OF FIRST SUBJECT, WANTED FOR THEFT OF LIVE PROPERTY AND THE MASSACRE OF SOCORRO. KNOWN TO BE ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. APPROACH WITH CAUTION.

BOUNTY OF 2 MILLION LOCAL CREDITS EACH FOR LIVE CAPTURE OF SUBJECTS. NO DISINTEGRATIONS.

BOUNTY PAYABLE BY VARGOLLA’S NEXT OF KIN, PORBOTTA THE HUTT AT HIS COMPOUND ON NAR SHADDAA UPON RECEIPT.”

Galen stood frozen in the moment. Memories flowed past his vision. A ventilation duct. The sounds of screams and blasters. His older sister being taken by slavers with the rest of the children. Reptilian growls…

“Galen?” Jaden Windu asked, bringing Galen back to the present.

“My sister, Leena. She’s alive, “ Galen said, “and I have to find her.”

“We will.” Jaden said, putting a hand on his shoulder.

The pair of Jedi together with their ally Cortree Tincove walked past the Corusant Security Forces hauling the pair of Bounty Hunting Brothers aand Former Jedi, Biggs and Wedge, into the back of a hovertruck. Biggs was hauled in shackles next to his brother, Wedge, who was strapped to a gurney.

Master Ashlan Kataar calmly strolled out from the throng, her hands behind her back.

“That was well handled, Jedi Argyus. Very Good work.” Master Kataar said.

“I did my duty, Master.” Galen said, bowing to her, “Any word on the woman, Halcyon?”

“She will be found.” Kataar said with no emotion.

“The brothers?” Galen asked.

“They will face the justice of the Republic and have a fair trial.”

“Master…” Jaden said, raising a hand, “Perhaps the Republic holds an opportunity for these brothers and other exiled Jedi. Service to the Republic in some fashion has been used in the past and may be a way to redeem those that have fallen from the Order’s strict standards.”
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Kataar rubbed her head tail between two fingers in thought, “That is not a bad idea, Jedi Windu. The Council will consider it.”

Mast Kataar moved to Cortree and shook his hand.

“Captain Tincove, thank for your work in the temple. Finding that message. The Council is grateful to you for finding a piece of our history.” The Master said, her voice faltering for moment. Kataar, like all Jedi Masters spent all her time not hiding, but controlling her emotions. But that message had touched everyone in the temple.

“I was just fixin’ something that broke, Master Jedi. Ain’t no thing.” Cortree said.

“Indeed, Captain…” Master Kataar said, gathering herself, “Keep me apprised of your progress and situation. I will see what I can do about the bounty, but…you have your mission.”

“I can handle the Bounty. I will insure that it does not harm any innocents and I will complete the mission, Master.” Galen said.

“And Tython, Master?” Jaden asked.

“If the Force guides you there, it will be found.“ Master Kataar said, steel in her words, “If you can find it, it will more than just the Council that will be indebted to you all. May the Force be with you.”

“May the Force be with you.” Galen and Jaden returned in unison.

Less than an hour later, the Crucible flew out from Coruscant and went to hyperspace. Aboard ship, Cortree Tincove worked on the Communications array.

Cortree punched in a few more commands into the console and offered the seat to Galen.

“Is the line secure?” Galen asked, sitting down.

“Not sure. Best I could do on short notice.” Cortree said, “Bounty that big, someone might be listening.”

“It’s a chance we’ll have to take.”

Galen spent the next few hours calling his contacts in the Outer Rim. Among them were the Eriadu Emancipators and their Liberation Lane, an underground route for escaped slaves to find new lives in the Core Worlds. Galen had helped dozens of people through them. He could slep well at night knowing he had done something good.

“Hobbs, it’s me.” Galen said into the communicator, hours later.

His contact’s visage came up garbled, as always. The precautions he took always seemed excessive to Galen, but you never could be too safe in his line of work.

“Galen, I saw you on the holos. Very nice! You heard about that Bounty?” The distorted voice said.

“I need all you can dig up on that Bounty. Everything. All biographical data. Every rumor, every echo. Everything.”

“Pull back your throttle for second. You know how I work.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll be there.”

“I’ll get what I can. I can’t promise I can keep it quiet.” The Voice said.

“Just do it. See you there.” Galen said with fury before cutting the transmission.

Galen turned off the Communicator and ran a hand down his face. He found his hand shaking. He took deep breathes to get his mind back to its center.

When he calmed down, Galen moved through the ship to Jaden’s station at the Crucible’s ancient Computer. A holographic display of a planet floated in the air with a few lines of miscellanous data below it. The other Jedi sat at his station and placed another datapad into the neat stack building next to him.

“Any luck on finding more about Tython?” Galen asked.

“Not much in the ship’s computer.” Jaden said, dejected, “The archives aboard have been encrypted, corrupted, overwritten or purged at some point. Most we have is general information on the planet.”

“Like what?”

“Terrestrial Type. Breathable Atmosphere. Orbital Position five… The planet has been abandoned, lost and refounded several times in its history. Seiged at least once and had it’s Hyperlanes erased by the Sith at least once. Last confirmed record of Jedi habitation dates back to about one thousand years ago when the Jedi High Council ordered to have the Temple rebuilt. ”

“Master Obi-Wan mentioned a Temple in the message.”

“If it is the same Temple mentioned in the old records, it would be the oldest and largest Jedi Temple in the Galaxy. As large as a whole city. Maybe have its own archives or backups of the archives on Coruscant.” Jaden said, pointing to the ancient, out-dated blurry hologram that spun in the air.

“The Isolationists seemed ecstatic that we found evidence of it.” Galen said, scrutinizing the image. He felt a weight through the Force. A power coming from the very visage of the planet.

“I believe that the whole Order will take interest in it. It is the birthplace of the Jedi. Where one could gain knowledge of the past and of one’s self.”

“And the perfect place for the Isolationists to say we should all move and get out of the Galaxy’s way.”

“Or perhaps they would find new wisdom there. Change their perspectives.”

“Maybe when Hoth gets beach side property…” Galen chuckled.

Cortree walked in from the cockpit, stretching out. “Where are we headed first?”

“Eriadu.” Galen said, “My contact is there. He insists on meeting in person.”

“That’s fine, Dagobah is right on the Rimma Trade route. We can pick up some supplies while we’re there.”

“Weren’t you born on Eriadu, Galen?” Jaden asked.

“Yes.” Galen said.

Part: 02

The Crucible dropped out of Hyperspace and came in for a landing on the Planet Eriadu. Located at the center of several major Hyperspace lanes, Eriadu fancied itself as the future Coruscant of the Outer Rim. Ships and Trade Goods flowed into and out of the planet every minute. But, the fires of Industry created skies of smoke that matched the corruption of the planet’s government. The Planet’s Senator was notorious for his landslide victory in his Senate Race despite having not set foot on his home since taking office.

Galen vaguely remembered it as home.

The Ship landed and the Jedi disembarked. Galen and his apprentice Leoni walked together in the rain with Cortree right behind ordering around the maintenance droids hooking up the ship to refuel.

“Stay with the ship, Leoni. I’m going to meet my contact. If you get word from me, drop everything and make a fast getaway.” Galen said.

“Yes, master.” Leoni said with a slight bow.

“Careful out there, Galen,“ Cortree said,“ Watch for tails.”

“I will and I will.” Galen said, putting the hood up on his robes as he walked into the streets of Eriadu.

Cortree resupplied the ship with everything they could possibly need as Jaden practiced flying the shuttle. He practiced on a cargo container the estimated size of Master Yoda’s ship and had marked out the estimated search radius.

The lifting crane lowered for the target…and knocked the cargo container over. Again.

But Jaden kept at it. Kept practicing with the shuttle.

Meanwhile, Galen walked through the streets of Eriadu City. Workers and tourists moved past as he made his way to meeting site, an open-air Cantina with plenty of ways to enter, exit and be hidden.

A holoprogram blared out over the streets as Galen found a seat in the Cantina. A familiar voice to Galen these days given his notoriety.

“I am Gul Shyssa and I’m hear to ask you a question: What has the Jedi Order come to?…”

A stream of images from inside speeders played. Images of Lightsabers cutting through the roof of the hoverbus. Galen looking through the holes cut shouting, “Get down!”. Galen taking a Telekinetic ram to the gut.

“A duel in the skies above Coruscant between Jedi. In one corner, a pair of brothers who took the names of heroes of the Galactic Civil War. Disgraced. Forced to hunt bounties for the Hutts. In the other corner, their bounty. Galen Argyus, Liberator of slaves. Hero to many for doing what the rest of the Order refuses to. The right thing. The just thing…”

The Program continued and Galen inputted the specific order he wanted into the table’s controls. An item not on the menu. Code for the meeting.

“…The Jedi Order is in shambles and they still play at being politicians. Is Galen Argyus, son of Eriadu the enemy of the Jedi Order? Or the Jedi they need right now?”

At the mention of his home planet, the crowds watching the feed wooped. Galen pulled his hood down lower.

An hour later, after sipping a glass of water, the empty seat in front of Galen was suddenly occupied. An invisible shield and hologram came up around them, protecting them from outside eyes and ears.
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Hobbs was a Dugg whose eyes never stopped moving and his four hands never stopped grasping things. He was a slicer instrumental in keeping the Liberation Lane running and Galen knew that if anyone in this area would know something about a Bounty, it would be Hobbs.

“We don’t have a lot of time. You got a lot of people looking for you and your sister. Two million a head is a lot.” Hobbs said. The Dugg passed a datapad under the table with his “foot” and Galen took it.

“Tell me about her. What did you find?” Galen said almost immediately.

“A whole lotta weird, friend. Your sister escaped a few years after she was sold a few times then she just disappeared for five years.”

“Define ‘Disappeared’, Hobbs.”

“No traces. Clean getaway. Then five years later she’s back with the Hutts again. Word is she was a Heavy Hitter for those slugs.”

“Heavy hitter? Like an assassin?”

“She made problems disappear as far as I can tell. How her name got out there but not to us before now…I don’t know. Weirdest thing is that her employer Vargolla wasn’t even with the Cartels.”

Galen scoffed. He had a hard time believing a Hutt wasn’t a gangster, “Spice Miner on Kessal?”

“Archaeologist. He authenticated Relics for Shogo the Hutt’s collection. Biggest brain for the stuff this side of the Galaxy. “

Galen looked at images of his sister, standing over the dead Hutt, “Leena killed him?”

“Word is they were tight. No problems. She just snapped one day out of the blue. Killed him, disabled his entire security entourage and stole his research without being seen. That’s all I got.”

“Thanks Hobbs. I owe you one. Try to find out where she’s been.” Galen said, passing some credits under the table.

Hobbs got out from his chair and stared at Galen for a moment, “I’m sorry about your sis. There will be more Hunters looking for you and ones that aren’t former Jedi won’t be as polite.”

Part: 03

As soon as the meeting was over, Galen could sense he was been followed. He didn’t know where or how, but he could sense them. But Galen knew how to beat tails.

Galen sent a message to Cortree and moved around Eriadu City for an hour. He moved to the industrial district, carefully taking the slowest, most circuitous route he could.

Galen went past places he hadn’t seen since he was a small boy. Memories of his sister found him. She didn’t want to go to Kashyyyk. But mom made them go anyway.

He moved silently into a droid factory. Any speeder or ship would not be able to go indoors. Galen used his Force enhanced speed and mastery of Ataru to leap and ascend to a higher level in a few quick hops. He moved to an open window, leapt to another factory and moved along the crossbeam along the roof. He moved to another window and leapt out to the waiting open hatch of the Crucible.

The Crucible flew off as fast as it could towards the skies, but behind them stuck in aerial traffic was a ANOTHER SHIP. The Bounty Hunters scrutinized their screens and spotted the Crucible’s tail section.

The Crucible left orbit and went to Hyperspace. The Ship came out of Hyperspace over the swamp world of Dagobah. The Jedi hid the ship on its only moon and flew down to the surface on the SHUTTLE.

Part: 04

A BOGWING flapped across the swamps of Dagobah with its croaking song as the shuttle touched down. The landing hatch opened and the gangplank extended.

The voices inside echoed out the front.

“Are you sure this is the site?” Cortree asked, “Not the best place to land.”

“These coordinates were taken from Grandmaster Skywalker’s own X-Wing. It’s the only lead we have to go on.“ Jaden said.

The first person on the plank was Galen’s Apprentice, Leoni. She put a hand over her mouth as the smell of the outside came to her attention.

“What is that stench?” Leoni asked muffled, “I thought this was..AHHH!” The Young Padawan slipped and fell face-first into the mock.

Galen followed her out, quicker than she was and did not slip. He reached out and pulled his apprentice out of the muck.

“What was that?” Galen asked.

“I said I thought this was the Desert planet.” Leoni said, spitting out swamp water and wiping muck away from her face.

“That’s Tatooine, my young apprentice. You should brush up on your history.”

“You thought it was the sand planet too!”

“No, I listened to Jaden.” Galen said and looked out to the landscape.

Cortree and Jaden walked out behind the pair and gave the landscape pause. Cortree shivered as he walked out.

“What’s that tingle?” Cortree asked.

“That is the Force.” Jaden said, “This place has a lot of life in it. It might have been why Master Yoda came here.”

“I woulda preferred Tatooine,“ Cortree said, “There are Cantinas there.”

Jaden looked over his scanner with a smile, “Coordinates are dead on. We should be within a hundred meters of the ship. I’ll take the East. Galen, take the West. “

“I’ll stay here in the warm, safe shuttle.” Cortree said, holding up a modified communicator,“My Beck ‘n Call will call the Crucible if we need it.”

Leoni looked into the fog of the swamp as she bound her wet hair back. She felt something in the fog.

“What’s that?” Leoni asked, “Its cold.”

She ran towards the feeling in the West.

“Leoni!” Galen shouted. He ran through the swamp in pursuit. His Ataru training had made him light on his feet, giving him amazing agility.

It did not do the same for Leoni. She let out a sound as she slipped again and fell back into the muck. Galen caught up to her as she got up herself in front of a large CAVE.

“This place feels cold.” Leoni said, overwhelmed by the Cave.

Galen picked up on it immediately, “There’s power here.”

Leoni’s eyes drifted to the side of the cave. She found a series of letters carved into the stone. She ran her fingers across them.

“Master, these were carved by a lightsaber.” Leoni said in awe, “It says, ‘You will find only what you take with you.’”

Leoni didn’t understand the words. Galen did.

“That is the Darkside of the Force. This place is rich with it. We must be cautious.” Galen said.

“Master… Yoda might have hidden something in there.” Leoni said.

“That is possible.” Galen said. He scrutinized the words cut into the rock. Burned there as a warning. The Forces inside called to him to enter, but his instincts told him it would be dangerous.

Galen removed his lightsaber and utility belt and handed them to Leoni.

“For once, do as I ask and stay here.” Galen said calmly.

“Yes, master.” Leoni replied and sat down on the stones.

Galen let out a deep breath as he entered a meditative trance and walked into the cave. He felt the power flow over him. The tingle, the cold. He walked down a flight of carved stone steps. He let the Force guide his way through the darkness.

Meanwhile, Jaden ran his scanner this way and that. He stepped carefully through the swamp. He set his feet and let the mud cover his boots. Eventually he turned off the scanner.

Jaden closed his eyes and let the Force flow through him. He could sense the rocks, shuttle, the dragonsnake, DON”T STEP ON THAT! He made his way through and he heard an echo. Something beneath him.

Jaden took another step and hear it again. He had found solid ground. Not just ground. Metal. Durasteel.

He toggled his commlink. “Galen, I found the ship. Galen?”

On the other end of the line, the distorted voice came out from Galen’s Commlink on his Utility Belt. Leoni got up and looked to the commlink and then to the cave. It was too much for her. She had to find her master.

She ran into the cave.

Part: 05

Galen’s training had taught him about places like the cave. A Force Nexus. Here he would be steeped in the Darkside and he would see other places. The Future. The Past. Old Friends and Loved Ones. Parts of himself he would rather be forgotten or buried brought to the surface. He couldn’t resist it completely, so he let it flow through him.

Galen wasn’t in the cave anymore. He was six years old on Eriadu. He was looking at all the people around him. So many people around him. Big people walking past without a care.

In front of him he saw the back of his sister arguing with their parents. She was angry.

“Mom, we can’t go! We have to do something about the slaves. We can free them!” Galen’s sister shouted.

She turned to him and stopped Galen cold. Her eyes were red and tinged with gold. The veins were practically popping out of her skull in rage.

“Right Galen?” She asked in a darker voice.

Galen kept his trained resolve. He heard a blastershot. He saw his sister as she was in the Bounty, in a tactical bodysuit of some kind standing over Vargolla The Hutt with a raised blaster. Her eyes were red, full of rage.

“He isn’t a traitor!” Leoni’s voice echoed down the tunnel, snapping Galen back to the present.

“Leoni?” Galen called out, running as fast as he dared in her direction.

He found his apprentice with her Lightsaber out, lighting her way like a torch. Leoni’s young face contorted as she closed her eyes and clenched her teeth in effort.

“This is a vision. There are no tombs. No sand. He is not a traitor…” Leoni said., “He is not a traitor. He is not a traitor. He is not a traitor!”

Galen grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, “Snap out of it. It’s just a vision.”

Leoni got up and slipped past him, her eyes still closed. She ran deeper and deeper into the cave. Galen’s force enhanced speed allowed him to easily keep pace. He could hear her shouts echo.

“He is not a traitor! THIS IS NOT WHAT Galen is supposed to do! He is a good person! I don’t want to spy on him! I don’t want to lie anymore! This not the way of the Jedi!”

Galen caught up to her and grabbed her, ignoring the images that passed his own vision, not letting the Darkside take hold.

“Leoni, open your eyes!” Galen shouted. That finally seem to work. Leoni stopped, took a few short shallow breaths and looked ahead.
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Leoni stood in a small chamber with pile of bones. Robes. Lightsabers. Big..ears?

“Is that Master Yoda?” Leoni asked.

“Don’t think so. Yoda became one with the Force. This one looks long dead.” Galen said. He didn’t know what he was looking at, but it felt important to him. But he felt that he had spent enough time in this place.

“Leoni,” Galen said coldly, “Run outside. Now!”

The pair of them ran. They ran as fast as the force could carry them. Visions flew by Galen’s eyes. Visions he chose to ignore.

As he reached the area where daylight seeped in, new visions came. Warm feelings. Some were familiar voices from static-filled Holograms he had watched on Yavin IV as a student. Some he didn’t recognize. But Galen knew what they were.

Jedi Masters of the Past reaching out through the Living Force. Teachers whose lessons had been forgotten. Their voices came in a torrent, one picking up where the other left off. A trail of history from Galen’s own master back thousands of years.

“The Jedi Order has endured countless struggles. We rise. We fall. We rise again. We protect. We teach. We open minds and hearts. We bring hope to the hopeless. Sometimes we rise to greatness. Sometimes, we fall into darkness. But, no matter how dark the paths ahead may seem…there is always a light to guide the way.”

Galen saw the light now. A trail of luminance that guided him to a beautiful place of peace, warmth and wisdom. Tython…

The Light faded and Galen stood in the swamp again. But he knew what he saw. The Way to Tython was here. He knew it.

He looked to his apprentice who was doubled over taking deep breaths in. She looked up to him.

Leoni stumbled over her words, “Master. Back there. I…”

“You should have followed my instructions. Do that or you won’t be able to pass the trials.” Galen said, “You can trust me Leoni.”

“Yes master.” Leoni said, “I went in there to tell you that Jaden found the ship. He’s waiting for word back.”

“Good” Galen said, taking his possession back and strapping them back on.

He toggle his commlink and Cortree’s voice came back, “Galen, where you been? We lost you for a second there?”

“Walking a different path. I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Copy.” Cortree signed off.

Leoni got up and Galen stopped her for a moment.

“Apprentice, is there anything you wish to tell me? Anything you haven’t told me?” Galen asked.

“No.” Leoni lied and Galen knew it.

Part: 06

Jaden Windu stood in the mud with his Vibrotunneler whirring. Preparing the site had gone smoothly with only a few local flora and fauna that had to be cleared away first. Cortree stood next to him, minding the equipment as he worked.

The last of the mud cleared away and Jaden found what he was looking for, the dorsal emergency hatch. He worked the handle with some help from the force and the hatch hissed open.

Jaden hooked on a line and lowered himself down into the ship.

“The ship must have sunk in the first few years here.” Jaden said, “It looks like Master Yoda built the Hut on top of it.”

“If this is a Fighter or a modified Lifeboat, then with a century of corrosion it’ll never fly again.” Cortree shouted over the tunneler, “Poor bird. But the interior would have gone hermetic and sealed itself shut mechanically, so it’ll be mostly watertight.”

Jaden moved his glowlamp around the pod. He found the interior as a ship inside should. Bed. Shelves. Sink. But the walls looked brown with corrosion. Swamp water dripped in slowly.

“Looks mostly intact. Mostly watertight.” Jaden said.

Jaden moved to the dresser drawers. He found them undisturbed and sealed. He could feel the echoes of life in here. Something was here for them to be found. He could sense it.

“Personal Effects are preserved. Perfect.” Jaden said.

“Check the cockpit!” Cortree called down.

Jaden’s light moved past the corrosion and found the cntrols for the ship. His lamp moved over the console and stopped on a single display long since gone out.

“It has got a Navigation computer!” Jaden called up.

Cortree clapped his hands, “Hot damn!”

“Call the Crucible. We need to get this out of here now.”

Less than an hour later, Jaden used the shuttle’s tractor beam in a practiced motion and carefully hauled the ship and the hut atop out of the muck. The Crucible came out of orbit and floated down near the surface.
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The Crucible’s Cargo Bay opened and in a practice motion, Jaden hauled the entirety of Yoda’s Ship and hut into the cargo bay. The Swamp water and mud continued to drip down as the ship settled in the cargo bay.

Cortree’s prepared team of droids dutifully tied down the vessel in preparation of spaceflight. Cortree on the other hand covered his nose in disgust as Jaden brought the shuttle in, set it down next to Yoda’s ship and walked out next to it.

Galen and Leoni walked in behind him and covered their mouths too in response.

“The stink…it followed us in.” Leoni said dejected.

Cortree held his nose, “I hop I can scrub that out of the cargobay.”

Jaden walked past Yoda’s ship amazed by the sight of such history.

“Do those pit droids have olfactory sensors?” Galen asked.

“No. Don’t have a socket for ‘em either.” Cortree said.

“Lucky bastards…” Galen said.

The Jedi all stopped at once when the sensed more than heard it. They looked out the back of the Crucible and stared into the distance. Engine sounds.

“Attack Skiffs!” Cortree said, able to identify the threat form the sound alone.

“Bounty Hunters!” Leoni gasped as everyone came to the same conclusion and burst into motion to get the ship moving.

In the distance, a trio of Attack skiffs floated over the water as the Crucible rose out of the water and took to the skies slowly because of the trees.

The Skiff Pilots rose hands in a signal and the skiffs ascended and pursued the ship with great speed as their mother ship, a YT-2400 Star Cruiser came overhead.

The Chase was on…

End of Episode: 09

Continue to Episode: 10

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EPISODE: 08
GM: Brad

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Part: 01

Galen Argyus had finally returned to Coruscant after healing from the wounds he had suffered at the hands of Trandoshan raiders who had kidnapped dozens of Wookiees from Kashyyyk for the Hutt slave markets. The idealistic Jedi had infiltrated Trandosha in Hutt Space and made a failed attempt to free the wookiees with the help of the Kashyyyk Liberation Front. He had been severely wounded and captured by the trandoshans. But not before he got a message out to the KLF who petitioned the Jedi Council for aid. The Council opted not to get involved.

Despite that Galen and the wookiees had been rescued by a small band of Jedi, led by General Saberota, who had gone into Hutt Space against orders. Many on the Jedi Council saw Galen as a maverick and a troublemaker and sought a way to keep him under control. To that end he had been called in to meet with Master Ashlan Kataar at the Jedi temple on Coruscant.

The Jedi Master sat calmly in an isolated meditation chamber that looked out on the skyline of Coruscant. Galen suspected that the reason for meeting him here instead of the main chamber of the Jedi Council was to limit the audience for his Seeker arguments. Galen waited impatiently as Master Kataar was in deep meditation. Finally when he felt like he couldn’t take it anymore the Togruta Jedi opened her eyes and regarded him intently. Galen met her gaze steadily.

“Galen Argyus you have often gone against the edicts of the Jedi Council. What do you have to say for yourself? How do you justify invading the sovereign space of the Hutts to further your own agenda?”

“Forgive me Master Kataar but I fail to see why freeing sentients from a lifetime of servitude should be referred to as ‘my agenda’. It should be the calling of all Jedi in the Galaxy to fight against the enslavement of sentients.”

The stately Togruta’s eyes narrowed, “It is not our place to judge the actions of governments. We must remain neutral no matter how distasteful that may beco…”

Unable to hold back Galen interrupted, “How can you possibly believe that, Master? There were lives at stake! We only did what was necessa…!”

The Jedi Master held up her hand and Galen stilled himself mid sentence. He mentally chastised himself for being so impulsive as to interrupt his superior. His gaze went to the floor as he struggled to control his emotions. Master Kataar continued on calmly as if nothing had happened.

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“History has taught us what happens when Jedi become embroiled in Galactic politics. Such actions led to the corruption of Anakin Skywalker and turned countless others to the Dark Side of the Force creating the darkest time in the Galaxy’s History. We can never let that happen again.”

“But, Master, if we, through inaction, allow oppression and injustice to thrive while we have the power to do something about it we will likely create our own worst enemies! We will be despised for doing nothing by the victims of our passivity. We are part of the Galaxy! We cannot ignore it,” Galen rebutted his voice rising with increasing passion.

“Do you suggest we use our ‘power’ to invade Hutt Space and rule it as we wish?”

Surprised by the question Galen was off balanced, “No, master, of course not! But I…”

“From there I suppose you believe we should use our ‘power’ to rule the entire Galaxy? To impose our own morals and beliefs on all sentients?” Galen was silent. His eyes downcast.

“Of course you do not. Because such arrogance would lead you to the Dark Side,” Master Kataar said decisively.

“Many on the Jedi Council see your actions as dangerously presumptuous and some believe that you act only to increase your personal glory as the ‘Emancipator of Socorro’.”

“What? No, Master. Please! I have no interest in being a celebrit…”, Kataar held up her hand again and Galen went silent.

“I believe you, Galen” she continued again. “That is why I prevented a vote to exile you.”

Galen started at that and his eyes came up in shock. The Jedi Master held up her finger to quiet him before he could protest. “I am convinced that you act out of compassion, not to increase your own status.”

The Jedi Master sighed heavily clearly feeling a great burden of some kind, “Exile is distasteful. We recently had to exile two Jedi from the order for acting irresponsibly and endangering innocents.”

Appalled Jaden retorted, “But Master, how could you do that? If you exile these Jedi will they not continue on a path of destruction? Any acts they may commit will be the full responsibility of the Order that abandoned them!”

“Do not presume to lecture me on responsibility! They were using the secrets we taught them out of greed and taking bounties for the Hutts. We had no choice but to exile them!” Master Kataar replied her voice rising for the first time.

“I…I…Please forgive my impertinence, Master. I meant no insult.”

Master Kataar paused for a moment to regain her composure.

“As I said there were some who called for me to exile you for your actions. But, I have another solution. We will see if we can focus your efforts on teaching. Perhaps if you are responsible for a padawan you will act more sensibly in the future.”

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“What? A padawan? You can’t be serious!”

“You may come in now,” the Jedi Master turned her head and called out to the open door way ignoring Galen’s objections.

“Master I…”, Galen stopped when a young woman with shoulder length red hair entered the meditation chamber her head bowed. The Jedi Knight knew immediately that the padawan had heard the entire exchange between him and Master Kataar.

The Jedi Master gestured to the young lady, “This is Padawan Leoni Venusia. Her master, Jaxor Kelrune is recently deceased.”

“Master Argyus will take over your training, Leoni.” She said in a kindly voice. “He is a compassionate and wise Jedi. You are fortunate to have him as your Master.”

“Thank you, Master Kataar,” Leoni Venusia acknowledged humbly. Looking up her face featured a crooked smile.

“I am honored to be your padawan, Master Argyus.”

Galen Argyus simply stared at her in shock.

Part: 02

The Crucible, owned and operated by Cortree Tincove after he salvaged it on Raxus Prime descended gracefully through the clouds of Coruscant and gently touched down on a landing platform at the Jedi Temple. A guard of several serious looking Jedi Knights awaited the disembarkation of the ancient Cruiser’s passengers. A tall, robed figure moved slowly down the ramp flanked by Jaden Windu and Cortree Tincove.

General Saberota, please come with us,” said the leader of the troop of Jedi. “We have made the arrangements as we discussed.”

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“I understand,” the old General turned to his companions, “Until we can get some answers it is best I stay under the supervision of the Order. I will see you as soon as I can my friends. May the Force be with you.” He clasped arms with Jaden and Cortree and turned away.

The cyborg walked toward the Temple with trepidation clearly etched on his face. He had not been back at the temple since Anakin Skywalker had led a legion of stormtroopers into it’s walls in an assault to wipe out the Jedi order. That had been the worst day of Gisaku’s life as he had failed to save countless children from the blade of Darth Vader and his clone troopers. The Jedi had been cut down by Vader himself while attempting to stop the slaughter. That was his last clear memory before waking up aboard the Crucible in a stasis pod.

The pod bore an uncanny resemblance to the one that the Cultists on Durace had hatched the Dark Side cybernetic warrior known only as Aurek. Which raised several red flags. And finding the same type of pod on the five thousand year old freighter crash site was disturbing. It suggested that there was something much deeper going on.

The General was left with some very disturbing questions. How is it that Saberota’s cybernetics were almost identical to Aurek and the ancient corpse found on the crashed ship? Where had he been for the last 100 years? Was he a danger to his new friends? To the galaxy itself? What ties did all of this have to the mysterious Infinite Empire? These questions raced through the Jedi General’s mind as he calmly made his way deep into the Temple.

Jaden Windu walked alongside Cortree into the temple carrying the case that contained the ancient holocron that they had found on Durace. Cortree carried his own prize. The head of the medical droid from the crash site. He had been working on recovering data from it but so far was unsuccessful. The droid was over five millennium old after all. It would take a good deal of time to restore the failed data.

As the pair entered the Temple Cortree looked around at some of the unfinished construction and even blocked off areas in the temple. He saw a flickering broadcast of the Galactic News Network on an old console with the host, Gul Shyssa reporting on what had happened on Durace. It was shocking that the Chiss Ascendancy had come out of hiding after over a decade without contact. Gul Shyssa was just hitting his stride when the console shorted out in a brief shower of sparks.

Cor walked over to the old console with open panels and began poking around. He felt almost drawn to the old transmitter that he found there.

“Looks like y’all need to give your help a raise,” said the mechanic as he instinctively began the reset protocols on the panel.

“The temple is still under construction,” Jaden Windu said slipping into a lecturer’s cadence.

“It used to be the Emperor’s Palace after all and it suffered extensive damage during the Civil War. The Jedi Order is being very careful to clear and inspect it before allowing anyone to endanger themselves.”

He began looking over the mechanic’s shoulder watching his dexterous fingers fly across the old circuits.

“Palpatine was a powerful Sith with many schemes,” he continued somewhat fascinated by Cor’s ability to fix nearly any device, “Master Skywalker did not want to reopen the Temple here at all but Grand Master Veshraan decided to move the Jedi Council here to be closer to the seat of government for the Republic.”

“Hey! Looks like I got something,” Cortree exclaimed. “These old logs have been in the data buffer since The Clone Wars it looks like.”

“Can you activate them?” Jaden asked excited. As an archaeologist he was captivated by the discovery.

“Yeah. Yeah I got it. Looks like several entries. Not sure if the files are all intact though,” Cortree said. With a click the holoemitter fluttered to life. The fringer continued to work the transmitter as the image stuttered from garbled static to an image of recognizable surveillance footage. They saw a group of Jedi around a holotable watching an incoming message from a robed figure.

“I know him,” Jaden said, “That’s Obi-Wan Kenobi!”

“Who?”

“He was a General during the Clone Wars like Master Saberota. He eluded the Empire for decades and was Grandmaster Skywalker’s first teacher. Can you play the video?”

“Wait. I have something…”

“I am….ppy to report that General Grie…..s dead!” the room erupted in cheers and the image went blank.

“Wait! Bring that back! Can you bring that back?” Jaden asked with excitement.

“Naw. The data is just too corrupted. I might be able to get more out of it with time. There are other entries though.”

He brought up an single image of a cloaked figure marching up the long stairs of the Jedi Temple with a whole legion of clone troopers behind him.

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“By the Force. I think that is Anakin Skywalker,” Jaden said.

“Darth Vader actually,” said a familiar voice. A smiling Galen Argyus entered the chamber flanked by his new padawan.

“Galen! It is good to see you my friend,” Jaden said shaking his friend’s hand. “And who is this?”

“Jaden Windu, Cortree Tincove allow me to introduce you to my new padawan, Leoni Venusia,” Galen said introducing her with a flourish. The young lady bowed her head in greeting.

“Masters.”

“Padawan?” Cortree exclaimed still working on the transmitter. “How did that happen? Y’all think we can get us some padawans to crew the Crucible? Might come in handy.”

“No. I am afraid that is unlikely. The padawan does have a new mission to present to us. A mission that the Jedi Counci…”

Galen went silent as another log came to life. It wasn’t very clear and the sound wasn’t functioning but they could clearly see images of Darth Vader cutting down any Jedi he came across in the surveillance footage. No matter what age they were. All of them were overcome by the slaughter and rendered speechless.

“I have read about the Jedi Purge but seeing it in action is…distressing,” Jaden said quietly. The log cut to a later point showing Obi Wan Kenobi sending an emergency message.

“…repeat. Do not trust your clone troopers. They have turned on the Jedi and are killing us wherever they find us. I say again. Tython Temple. Do not tru….one troopers. They have turned on t….You must stay an…otect the temple at all cos….”

“Tython Temple? That is the mythical birthplace of the Jedi Order!” Jaden exclaimed. “It is thought long lost and is supposedly located somewhere in the galactic core.”

“Cortree, can you trace the location of the temple from the signal?” asked Galen.

“Naw. There is no way we can do that. That part of the log was heavily encrypted and is almost totally degraded. Not even I can recover that. Sorry.”

“Perhaps I can try something instead,” Galen said closing his eyes and putting his hand on the transmitter.

Part: 03

Galen Argyus surrendered himself to the Living Force controlling his breathing and falling into a deep trance. He imagined himself being Obi Wan Kenobi, felt his confusion and distress as the Jedi order was decimated by the machinations of Palpatine.

He had visions of coming to the Temple with Yoda, the wizened Jedi Grandmaster. He felt the despair of discovering that his friend, his brother, Anakin Skywalker had murdered children and had become the monster that is Darth Vader. The site of the slaughter shook Galen to his core and touched on the tragedies of his own life.

Suddenly he was six years old again and hiding in a ventilation shaft from the Trandoshan slavers that had murdered his parents and taken his sister from him. Struggling to maintain his vision Galen forced down the old pain using the teachings of Master Tosh Diath. Fear and hatred threatened his control and with a snarl Galen refocused on his goal but not without a taint of anger and darkness as old emotions surged within him. He opened his eyes with a start.

Part: 04

“I know where the Temple is,” Galen exclaimed triumphantly to his fellow Jedi. He called up a galactic map and indicated a system deep in the Galactic Core. “Here,” he said. “It is in this region.”

“Well, that is nice an’ all but do yah happen to know a hyperspace lane leading to it? Because that there is No Man’s Land. The Deep Galactic Core is full of black holes and is the most dangerous region to jump into in the galaxy,” Cortree drawled.

“He’s right,” Jaden said shaking his head with disappointment. “We can’t take the risk without getting more information.”

A smile lit up Galen’s face as he had an idea.

“I believe my new padawan may be of help,” he said cryptically. “The Grandmaster of the Jedi Order from that time would likely have access to that kind of information right? Well, my padawan was asked to brief us on a mission the Council want us to undertake. A mission that might just hold the key to finding Tython.”

All eyes turned to Leoni and she didn’t shrink from their regard at all. She smiled her crooked smile in acknowledgement and understanding. “My master is correct. The Council has tasked us with going to the place where Master Yoda hid out from the Empire. A planet called Dagobah. The Empire expunged all records of the Old Jedi Order and no images of Yoda survived and they want to commission a statue in his honor. We have been asked to investigate Yoda’s home and find any images or effects from the old master. Perhaps he had the information we seek.”

“Exactly. The Force is with us. It is guiding us to find Tython. I am sure we will find what we need on Dagobah,” Galen said smiling.

Part: 05

For several days the group of Jedi gathered the materials they would need for their expedition. Galen was convinced that his new padawan was reporting on their activities for the Jedi Council but said nothing about it to her. He was working hard to establish a relationship with her built on trust and didn’t want to accuse her falsely. If the Council objected to their goals they had ample time to intercede. In the meantime they had preparations to make.

They requisitioned a small shuttle pod because it was felt that the Crucible was too large to land on the uncertain surface of the swamp covered planet of Dagobah. They gathered supplies and equipment while Jaden did research on the ancient Holocron that he had brought back from Durace with his former master and current Chief Archivist of the Jedi Council, Master T’ket. It was slow going as they were taking every precaution with the dangerous Dark Side artifact. Jaden was unable to learn much other than the artifact was far older than five thousand years old. It suggested it might even be from the era of the Infinite Empire thirty-five thousand years ago. This was very exciting to the young archaeologist and his verpine master. But Jaden was eager to make his way to Dagobah and hopefully to Tython. To walk on the planet where the Jedi Order was founded would be a triumph. And from what he read it was a tradition for a new Jedi Order to send emissaries to Tython to meditate. Finally, the day came when they had finished their preparations.

They were heading to the Crucible’s landing platform to embark on their journey when Galen and Jaden sensed they were being watched. Galen signaled to the scholarly Jedi to distract his padawan and keep her out of harm’s way while he ducked behind some crates and circled back around in an attempt to sneak up on their tail. He failed.

“Stop where you are, Galen Argyus!” called out a familiar voice.

Galen stopped and turned to see a young woman standing before him. “Wait. I know you,” he said. “You’re Kerris Halcyon aren’t you? Your grandfather was one of Master Skywalker’s first students. We trained together on Yavin IV. You were expelled from the order years ago.”

A pair of identical twins stepped out from their hiding place both carrying lightsabers. Understanding lit Galen’s face.

“And you must be the pair of Jedi that was expelled from the Order recently for taking bounties. Master Kataar mentioned you.”

“We have names, " The Twin with a strange lightsaber said, “I’m Biggs and my brother’s Wedge.”

The other Twin, Wedge, telekinetically spun small stones in the air around him, “We gave ourselves those names to honor the old heroes.”

Names aren’t everything." Galen said.

“Galen Argyus,” Kerris said ignoring him, “We are here to bring you in. Porbotta the Hutt has put out a substantial bounty on you and your sister and we are here to collect.”

“My sister? W-what do you mean? She has been dead for 20 years now,” Galen stammered in astonishment.

“Your lies won’t save her, Argyus. You are coming with us and you are going to take us to your sister, Leena Argyus,” Bigges snarled.

“I asked you a question,” Galen said softly a dangerous glint in his eyes, “And you will answer me. What do you know about my sister?”

Lightsabers ignited and the three bounty hunters charged the lone Jedi with inhuman speed. But their reflexes were no match for Galen’s. He was a Master of Ataru and moved with a blur of motion that was too fast to be believed jumping through the air in an acrobatic leap that placed him directly behind them.

To his credit one of the twins managed to move away to prevent the flanking maneuver from being effective. Lightsabers clashed and sparked as the three of them cut and slashed at the elusive Jedi Knight. Galen’s blade spun and he flipped and twisted in a stunning series of moves that left him untouched.

Jaden called out to Leoni to stay where she was and took off toward the fight as soon as they all heard the crackle and pop of lightsabers clashing. Cortree followed and neither noticed that the young padawan was fast on their heels. They arrived just in time to see Galen jump off the floating platform suspended thousands of meters above the surface of Coruscant right into traffic. The twins leaped immediately after him while Kerris Halcyon ran over to a speeder bike and jumped on it. Jaden followed the group leaping from the platform as well and Leoni was right behind him.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Cortree whispered as he lined up a shot on the woman with his heavy blaster as she fired up the bike’s turbines. His barrage took the female bounty hunter by surprise and she gunned the engines to evade his barrage. Cortree shifted his aim and blasted the steering vanes of the bike causing it to spin out of control and slam into the side of a building exploding on impact. Kerris leaped from the back of the vehicle at the last second falling out of sight.

“Well, poodoo,” Cortree muttered lowering his weapon.

Galen fell for some time aiming for the main traffic lane of airspeeders. He landed on the roof of a speeder in a three point stance. He got up and jumped from one speeder to another leading the twins on a dangerous chase. It seemed he would leave them behind but he tripped when an angry dug pilot kicked out at him in annoyance after he landed on the hood of his speeder. Galen fell to the next layer of traffic below and, twisting desperately, managed to barely land atop a bus going in the opposite direction. Unfortunately he lost his lightsaber on impact with the bus’s roof.

“I’ve got it master!” his padawan screamed as she continued her dive after the lightsaber excitement apparent her face.

“What? No! Leoni, get back here!” Galen started to follow his reckless padawan but one of the twins landed next to him on the bus and began swinging at Biggs, the Jedi with his odd looking lightsaber. Galen managed to duck and flip out of the way of the series of thrusts and cuts from the bounty hunter but it took all of his attention. He very nearly lost his head when the twin adjusted a knob on the saber’s odd hilt and the lightsaber’s blade grew a meter in length giving the bounty hunter far more reach than was typical.

Galen was able to dodge the twin’s blows but was getting increasingly desperate as he noted the second twin was fast approaching. But luckily Jaden appeared in rather spectacular fashion. Using magnetic boots to adhere to the bottom of another oncoming airspeeder the cerebral Jedi blocked the twin’s approach. Jaden was hanging suspended upside down swinging his blade at the startled opponent with assured calm.

“Master, catch!”

Galen reached up his hand without looking and his lightsaber slapped into it. He activated it just in time to block a deadly blow that would have cut him in half.

“Perhaps padawans aren’t so bad after all,” he muttered to himself under his breath.

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The passengers on the bus, mostly schoolchildren, erupted in cheers when the Jedi went on the offensive driving the bounty hunter, Biggs back with a rapid fire series of quick cuts. Seeing that his brother was in trouble the second twin, Wedge, disengaged from Jaden and jumped onto the bus behind Galen. He began concentrating on the Force.

Realizing that the amount of power the twin was gathering would likely destroy the hoverbus Galen leaped away putting as much distance as he could between him and the children aboard. Unfortunately, this left him wide open to the assault. Pure telekinetic Force slammed into the Jedi Knight and he crashed into the open bed of an oncoming speeder truck, stunned.

Jaden caught up to the hover bus at that point and was engaged by the first twin as the second one leaped into the back of the speeder truck anticipating his triumph. Galen was queasy and found it hard to focus clearly suffering from a mild concussion. He struggled to rise while wiping blood from his mouth as the bounty hunter approached grinning.

“You are mine, Argyus. The bounty on you is enough to make us all rich,” Wedge said opening his coat. He activated a second lightsaber and two more floated out telekinetically and began circling around him in a barrier of light. The four blades menaced the concussed Jedi as the bounty hunter stalked his intended prey.

“You are willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent children just to make a profit?” Galen asked incredulous. “I owe Master Kataar an apology. She was right to exile you. You are no Jedi.”

The battered Jedi stood up resolutely holding his lightsaber in a guard position. “I am going nowhere with you. You and your brother will surrender immediately for endangering the lives of those children. I cannot allow your recklessness to continue.”

“That will never happen,” the brother snarled.

“Very well. I offered you a chance.” With that Galen exploded into motion charging straight at the bounty hunter. He reached the perimeter of spinning blades and blocked one on his lightsaber while somersaulting forward past the second one before it came down on him. He ended up in a crouch right in front of the surprised bounty hunter who swung his right handed blade at Galen’s head with the left handed one scissoring toward his legs. Barely pausing Galen used his momentum to spring up over the flashing blade aimed for his legs while deflecting the second lightsaber with a flick of his own blade. He spun, landing just behind the brother and thrust his blade back at his unprotected back. The lightsaber erupted from the bounty hunter’s chest and for a moment all was still. Then Galen closed down his lightsaber and the bounty hunter fell to the truck bed along with all four of his lightsabers.

NOOOOOOO,” screamed the unwounded twin, Biggs jumping onto the truck bed.

Galen reactivated his blade and aimed the point at the brother’s throat.

“He still breathes. Surrender now and we will get him the help he needs,” Galen said calmly. “Do not make me destroy you.”

The twin’s lightsaber fell to the ground. Galen moved aside as the brother ran to cradle his wounded sibling in distress. Galen sighed and picked up a datapad that had fallen out during the battle. On it was the bounty featuring his image. Next to his picture was the image of a young woman who Galen recognized immediately. The file claimed that she had been behind the death of a Hutt.

“Leena. It is you,” Galen whispered overcome with a jumble of emotions.

End of Episode: 08

Continue to Episode: 09

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Episode: 07
GM: James

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With the Station saved and the danger past, Cortree Tincove took his time repairing the Jedi Training Ship, The Crucible. He felt an old love tingle through him as he reconfigured broken pieces into working order.

Digging up this old bird on Raxus Prime had changed the fringer’s life, taken Cortree out of the Outer Rim and into a wider galaxy. The ship continued to teach him how to build better machines and how to feel what they needed to work. But, most folks didn’t feel how something should work. Cortree’s Jedi allies called it, “Mechu-Deru.” Cortree called it, “Just fixin’ things.”

Regardless, the old bird would need Cortree to keep her tip top for what she was about to do.

As Cortree worked, Jaden Windu and Gisaku Saberota stood in the poured over the information they had on the planet, Durace. Over the course of several hours, Jaden managed to find a landing site on the planet and a possible route through the chaotic ion storms that plagued the world.

Saberota worked to follow his own investigation, but he continued to be distracted by the situation. The whole planet pulsed with the Dark Side of The Force and with his own memories of the lost world Cassandra’s Hope. His attempts to find paths through the storms and to safety met with failure. After a few hours, the conclusion of both Jedi was clear. They would have to fly directly though the storms to reach the surface.

“That should do it.” Cortree said, closing a hatch. He pressed a button to restart the engines. The engines let out a high-pitched putter and died a moment later. Cortree slammed his fist on the wall and the engines sprang to life again. He smiled and continued his check.

The ship’s systems restarted throughout the ship, brighting up the displays and the Jedi scrutinizing them. Cortree emerged from the engine room to see Saberota and Jaden still at their work.

Saberota looked to Cortree, “Good work. Are we online?”

“The ship’s as ready as she’ll ever be.” Cortree said.

“We should go now,” Jaden said, “According to the scans, the Storms will be at their lightest for the next few hours in ten minutes.“

“Alright then,” Cortree said as he sat in the captain’s chair, “Strap in Master Jedis, the Chronometer is tickin’.”

Within moments the Crucible left the station’s docks and flew towards the surface of Durace.

As they approached the outer atmosphere, Jaden manned the Systems console and Saberota sat in the Co-Pilot’s seat.

“Redirecting shields to counter the storms.” Jaden said, referring back to his previous calculations.

Cortree tightened his grip on the steering sticks. The displays indicated the danger to come and warned him to turn away. Cortree was a brave soul, but he had never stared down a Class IV Ion Storm before.

Cortree said, “Are you sure we can do this?”

Saberota placed a cold cyborg hand on the fringer’s shoulder. The Cyborg spoke calmly in his mechanically annunciated voice.

“Cortree Tincove, your piloting and Jaden’s intellect are amongst the galaxy’s greatest and in my experience there is no obstacle such a combination cannot over come. We can do this because we must do this. We must free ourselves of fear, doubt and disbelief for the good of the galaxy. The Force will guide us through this storm. The Force is with us.”

Cortree took a breath and his nervousness subsided.

“Okay then,“ Cortree said with new energy, “Atmo is gunna be bumpy. But I’ll just go with the flow…”

The ship angled down and began to shake as it entered the stratosphere. The motion of the storm forced the Crucible aside and Cortree moved the ship with the turbulence. He used it to gather momentum and burn it off.

The ship’s sensors flashed as Jaden gathered data on the Ion Storm.

Saberota looked over the scopes and plotted an updated course through the storm.

The pair of Jedi spoke rapidly to Cortree from two directions with course and data.

“45 Degrees to port!”

“Windshear increasing by 15% Bank Starboard, bank starboard!”

“MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!”

SWFotJFAE_LogPics_0701.pngCortree tried to use the conflicting data the best he could and just went with the flow…just in time for the ship to be hit by a bolt of lightning from the massive storms. The planet almost seemed like it was alive. And it did not want them to land.

“Ship’s takin’ damage!” Cortree shouted as alarms klaxoned and sparks sprang from the consoles.

“Ionizing our exhaust! That should attract the Lightning.” Jaden said, typing commands into the console.

The Ship moved past the clouds and the surface of Durace came into view. The planet had once had colonies, but the storms had destroyed those hopes. The surface structures ravaged by rogue energy. The geodesic domes shattered by winds and debris.

“General, there should be a landin’ beacon on the surface. You need to find it. ”

Saberota reached out for the Force to guide him, but all he felt was…chaos. The rage of an entire world trying to take the craft from the sky.

Static from the storm reached out and slammed into the ship. The Navigation console flickered before Saberota as the ion storm’s energy coursed through the ship.

The console sparked and static hit the general, coursing through his vulnerable Cyborg body. His respirator sped up his wheeze…and his anger.

This rage, this maw of a world would devour them. Like Cassandra’s Hope. Like the Clone Wars…

“Not again. Never Again!”

The old General clinched his fist tightly as he reached for something, anything beyond himself to aid them. He found something. Something old and powerful. Something easy.

His own darkness…

General Saberota punched the nav console and grunted in frustration. The console solidified into a new image.

“There it is, the beacon!” Saberota said, pointing a bunker below out to Cortree, “Rerouting unessential power to the engines!”

“Nice one, General.” Cortree said, “hang on!”

Cortree spotted the foundations blocked by a mountain range and moved the ship to use it as cover against the wind. The Ship was never meant to go that fast, but with Jaden newest course calculations not providing solutions, Cortree just went with it. He used the power to fly a steady course through the husks of the civilization and fly directly to the waiting bunker they sought.

Once inside the Bunker’s open doors, the winds and static disappeared. The mountain and the remaining systems shielded them. Cortree carefully reduced speed and smoothly brought them into a landing. As the ship touched down, the bunker’s automated systems revved up and the dock’s elevator began to lower.

According to Jaden’s research, the Bunker was an automated archaeological survey station. Originally dropped from orbit, construction droids had dug out a piece of the mountain and expanded the bunker into a wider area beneath the surface. But, the bunker was now abandoned. The facility’s droid caretakers were the only inhabitants, still dutifully carrying out their programming to maintain the station despite all life fleeing.

The hanger’s droids emerge from their charging stations and approach the waiting ship.

Inside the Crucible, Jaden carried a datapad into the main lounge where the others were gathered.

“I tried to plot a course through the mountains, but the storms are too heavy.” Jaden said.

“No matta,” Cortree said, forcing a boot into place, “Still a six hour drive in the hovertruck.”

Saberota stood up in the spacesuit he had been strapped into to protect his cyborg body from the ionization of the storms. He looked at Jaden through the domed transparisteel helmet.

“The Force is still with us.“

The ship’s cargo bay opened and a hovertruck emerged, Cortree hanging his head out the window momentarily.

Cortree drew the attention of all of the maintenance droids on instinct. They all looked to him as the hovertruck passed by slowly.

“Run a full repair sequence please, “ Cortree politely asked the droids with utter confidence, “Make her look good as new when we get back.”

“Dokey okey.” The foreman droids said in unison as they passed, impressed at the Fringer’s friendliness. That and for having their first task a long time.

The hovertruck accelerated and moved through the halls and onto the surface of Durace. They moved slowly in the hovertruck, hiding from the ion storms as best they could. They parked in alcoves that dotted the landscape, built by droids to protect inhabitants from the storms.

After six hours, the hovertruck came to a stop in an alcove sitting before the road to the ship.

The trio disembarked and stared at their destination. Rain poured down on the old ship. It was red, u-shaped and partially buried beneath the muddy surface.

Cortree examined the craft through macrobinoculars. “Old ship. Looks intact.”

“First we have to get to it.” Saberota said, walking forward in the spacesuit.

The trio trekked through the rocky expanse. The winds had stripped the soil and scourged the rocks of the adjacent cliffs. The rains poured down relentelessly.

Jaden looks down at his datapad, directing their path through the rocks toward the ship.

As a static cloud rolled towards them, Jaden motioned and the three took cover. The static passed by like a stalking presence guarding its nest.

The trio continued their journey, pushing themselves forwards as the winds picked up.

“What’s that?” Cortree said, looking up to the distance.

There was a cloud, not of wind or electricity, but of…things. They were flat and slimy and fluttered like strips of paper in the winds towards the Jedi.

As they came into sight, the creatures reminded Jaden of anti-bodies or more specifically T-Cells.

Jaden reached for his lightsaber for he new what T-Cells did to invaders.

“Heads up!” Jaden said as he ignited his purple blade of energy and started swatting the creatures away.

The creatures flew in at speed and latched on. Their digestive juices sizzled as they contacted clothing.

Cortree pulled out his Heavy Blaster and shot them out of the air like romp rats on Raxus Prime. Saberota was too slow to find his lightsaber, so he just punched the things as they tried to devour him. He pried off one that had latched on with brute strength and threw it into the wind. A large one approached and he headbutted it away, forcing others away in response.

The cloud passed and the trio continued.

They reached the ridge the Ship sat upon and finally got a good look at the craft.

Cortree gave the craft a good look.

“No doubt. Core Galaxy Systems Dynamic-Class Freighter Cortree said, amused with the find, “Classic.”

“Classic?” Jaden asked.

“Popular like…5000 years ago. Reliable. Fast. Good for gettin’ places and haulin’ goods. I think I might keep this one.“

“We’ll see.” Saberota said.

The trio made a circuit around the ship, looking over the exposed surface. Most of the ship lay buried in the mud and rock, water pounding all of over it.

Cortree pointed to advice on top of its exposed end, “Pump workin’ overtime. Looks to be taking on water. Original survey team must have set it up.”

The trio moved to the exposed starboard side of the ship. They climbed through the shattered cockpit window.

“Did it shatter on impact?” Saberota asked.

“Negative,“ Jaden said, picking up a piece of transparisteel with a burned edge, “Blown out by a blaster.”

Saberota hit a control nob and activated a lamp in the crown of the spacesuit’s helmet. The light immediately illuminated the skeleton in the pilot’s seat. Jaden motioned, carefully pointing out forensic details. The bones showed that the throat had been slashed by a blade both cauterizing and sharp. A Heavy Blaster lay in pieces near the body, cut by an identical weapon. A familiar weapon.

“An Assassin Droid killed the pilot in his seat. The struggle was probably what shot out the window…” Jaden concluded.

The trio moved through the ship cautiously, sweeping over the area with glowlamps. The ship’s communication consoles were all cut up. As they moved through the ship they found more cut up bones. In the Medical bay they found a cut up Medical droid as well as other dead crewmembers.

The trio moved through the water damaged common areas and towards the engine room. As they approached, Saberota sensed… dread. The door lay on its side, busted down with great force. His light passed over a familiar sight. His breathing slowed as he stood still.

It was a pod. A medical stasis pod.

“Hey, that looks like the kind of pod we found the General in.” Cortree said, looking closer.

“You’re right.” Jaden said, “Same design. Same model.”

The light passed over the front window and Saberota shuttered. He grabbed the wall and crushed the door frame with his colossal strength.

Inside the pod was a cyborg. The exact same cybernetic systems Saberota had.

“What… What is that?” Saberota asked, “It looks like…my body.”

Cortree gasped, “Infinite abyss. Same design and not as well put together, but it looks more advanced.”

“Is he still alive?” Saberota asked.

Jaden pointed to the unmistakable cut of a lightsaber blade in the side of the pod, “No. This one’s dead.”

“What’s that?” Cortree asked, indicating the back of the engine room.

Wires flowed from the life support computer to the engine. A power cable flowed from the engine. Saberota followed the cables out the door, around the corner and into the Cargo Hold.

His light found a skeleton against the wall. A lightsaber rested in its bony hand. Jaden pried bones away to pick up the lightsaber and examine it carefully.

“Design suggests this Jedi was from Dantooine.” Jaden said, placing the lightsaber into a pouch for safe keeping, “We should ask about this further back at the Temple.”

The headlamp moved to the power cord along the floor, which ended in the head of an ancient war droid lying against the wall. The droid appeared disabled and sat in a pool of water.

“It’s dead thankfully, “ Cortree said, examining the droid, “But that jury rig it did would preserve its memory banks.”

“After 5000 years?” Jaden asked.

“Maybe.” Cortree confirmed.

“Let’s check the rest of the ship.” Saberota said.

They passed the major water logged areas of the ship. A makeshift pump worked furiously on the water coming into the airlock. If they opened it, it would flood the ship.

The trio reached the Starboard dormitory and found another skeleton inside. Killed in bed. Saberota’s gaze founds itself drawn not to the skeleton, but to the trunk in front of it. The trunk was open and inside the headlamp illuminated a pair of objects. The first was a Medallion of Stone in the shaped of the Infinite Empire’s symbol. Jaden examined the object and put it into a protective pouch.

The second was what got Saberota’s attention. It was a metal case about two feet wide. From a few feet away it felt cold and dark and full of hate…

“Don’t touch the case!” Saberota warned, shining his light on it “I sense the Dark Side within it.”

Jaden examined the case and punched up some data from his datapad.

“This is a Jedi dangerous materials carrying case.” Jaden said, “For a holocron.”

“Holocron?” Cortree asked, “You mean a Holographic Chronicle? One of them memory devices?”

“Precisely,“ Jaden replied.

“Why’d they put it in a box like that?”

“Because this Holocron is of the Dark Side.” Saberota said, “We must not let it fall into the wrong hands.”

The two Jedi were about to keep talking when they stopped simultaneously.

“I sensed it too.” Jaden said.

“A Speederbike.” Saberota said.

Jaden grabbed the case and carefully put it into his pack. Cortree readied his blaster and Saberota readied his Lightsaber.

The trio cautiously moved back to the shattered cockpit. In the distance, they spotted a Republic Army Unit led by none other than Jedi Master Garek Malon.

“Jaden Windu, Gisaku Saberota, Cortree Tincove,” Master Malon boomed, “throw out your weapons and surrender.”

Jaden threw out his lightsaber and Cortree his blaster.

“We are salvaging artifacts from this craft,” Saberota said, projecting is augmented voice like a loudspeaker, “Leave us be and we’ll be on our way. There is no need for unnecessary violence.”

“Unnecessary violence? Do you have any idea what you have done?”

“We have stopped information about Dark Side artifacts from falling into the wrong hands.”

“An Imperial Star Destroyer entered Republic Space and assaulted a Republic Space Station! We are on the brink of war!” Master Malon said.

“We can settle this peacefully. We have only done what needs to be done.” Saberota said.

“We cannot do as we wish because we think it is right. We must do as the Council wills!”

Saberota clenched his fists as echoes from the rage before echoed inside of him along side memories of before.

“You mean have us be hermits? To live as monks in the highest peaks of the most remote worlds in the galaxy and pretend that the problems of the Republic will go away if we ignore them? To train in battles never to be fought, to construct lightsabers never to used for protection, to seek the secrets of the Force and never use them for the good of the people? To do nothing as the galaxy chokes itself death?”

“Jedi are not soldiers, General!”

Saberota controlled his breathing and with an act of will chose to not give into his anger.

“You are right, Master Malon. I can remember a time before… before all of this. In the Old Republic I remember, Jedi Knights were not hermits or monks on the fringes of society. We were more than the Guardians of Peace and Justice. We were leaders and teachers setting an example for the rest of the Galaxy… guided not by politics or personal agenda but by the power of The Force.” Gisaku Saberota said

“Strong words…But they will not stop my mission. You will…” Master Malon said only to be cut off by heaven-splitting BOOM. He looked to the ground in confusion as darkness seemed to spread across the land.

All of the people involved looked up to the largest Starship they had ever seen and it made their brains pause for a moment. It was massive. A Dreadnought. So big it was blotting out the sun. Bigger than the Empire’s infamous Super Star Destroyers. A Pyramid floating in space had appeared out of nowhere. Through macrobinoculars it looked to made of Light and Stone. In orbit, it made the Republic Star Cruiser look like a fly. SWFotJFAE_Starships_TheDevourer.png

Master Galon’s comm activated for an emergency signal from Malon’s capital ship, the Emancipator.

“Master Malon, what the hell is that? It came out of nowhere! What…” The Captain of the Emancipator cut off at the same time as the sky was lit by an explosion far, far, far above the the atmosphere of Durace.

The parties on the ground stared in silence as a smaller craft descended from the pyramid. The ion storms subsided and just seemed to die off as the tine ship grew closer. When the ship was struck by the lightning it seemed to somehow absorb the energy. The winds stopped entirely. All was quiet.

Lieutenant Katarn,“ Saberota broke the silence, shouting to the commander of the Republic troops, “I suggest you take cover and make ready for an assault.”

“You heard the general! Move! Move! Move!” Rast Katarn shouted to his troops, spurring them into motion.

Saberota turned to Cortree, “Get the Droid’s head!”

“Right!” Cortree said, running down the hall. He pulled out his tools with practiced motions, ready to remove the droid’s memory core in two minutes flat…

Except that he found the Droid where they had left it with its head already missing. Cut off with fresh marks like the ones all over the dead people and machines on the ship. The kind from razor… sharp… claws.

“Not good! Not good!” Cortree shouted, drawing his blaster.

The Jedi and Cortree rallied to Master Malon, taking cover as the craft descended. The shuttle-sized ship was unlike anything any of them had ever encountered. Like the Dreadnought above it looked of made not of metal or plastics, but of stone and white light.

The ship came to a stop on a ridge above the Jedi. There was no landing apparatus or anything conventional about the craft. A hole merely opened in the front of the craft.

Out of the the craft came the woman from before. Selan Mela’s attendant…Ecalia Rowan. Behind her, a mass of Cultists in robe-like garb pulled a stasis pod like the one in the ship below with them.

“Master Jedi, I come before you as an envoy for the Infinite Empire! “ Ecalia said in a sultry voice tinged with madness, “Surrender now and submit…”

Master Malon left his robe fall to the ground to ease his movement as he drew his lightsaber, “Jedi Knights do not submit.” He ignited his Blue blade alongside Jadens Purple and Saberota’s Green.

“Take them!” Ecalia said, lighting her own Red Lightsaber, “Release The Hound!”

She crouched and made Force-assisted leap towards them. Her saber met Master Malon’s and the pair clashed.

At the same time, Cultists appeared out of the shadows all around the Jedi and ran at them with Vibroblades in hand. The Cultists nearest to the Pod began to toggle controls on its side.

Saberota tried to aid Master Malon, but the Master was a WARRIOR BORN and refused to employ Saberota’s suggestions. Galek descended mentally into the primal fury of Vaapad and went after Ecalia with astounding speed. But Ecalia was just as fast and nimbly parried the blows of both Jedi.

Jaden used his Lightsaber to fend off the cultists as he ran towards the stasis pod. He could feel the dark side from within it, even from this far away. He knew that whatever was inside mustn’t be released.

Cortree barely dodged out of the way of the vibroblades as the cultists came for him. He tested to see if the Cultists were Jedi or Sith by blasting them with his Heavy Blaster. Their Vibroblades didn’t deflect the bolts and they fell.

Saberota broke off from Ecalia and faced a pair of Cultists. The General was more highly skilled in melee and physically stronger, but the cultists were much faster. His swings were met with dodges and rolls. Their stabs were met with armor and Saberota’s mighty fists and brute strength.

Jaden cut down the last cultist on him and force leaped up to the ridge.

Lieutenant Rast Katarn and his troops used their seasoned fire discipline to mow down the Cultists that came for them despite their acrobatic nonsense. When he down the ones coming for him, he set his men to the ones on Saberota.

“Protect the Jedi!” Katarn shouted, firing his blaster carbine at the cultists.

The cultists fell as the nearby battle between Ecalia and Master Malon intensified. The pair of master swordsmen cross blades and screamed furiously.

Jaden’s strikes cut down the cultists working on the pod just as the last command was punched in. The Pod hissed and steam released. The hatch opened and a giant emerged shrouded by the concealing fog…

He was seven feet tall, a cyborg of the same technology as Saberota, wore a black hood and reeked of the Dark Side of The Force. The only distinguishing mark upon him was the Aubresh letter Aurek above his right eye. He looked to his master, Ecalia .

Ecalia flipped up and kicked off of Master Malon, landing next to the cyborg.

“My Hound, show them the Power of the Dark Side!” Ecalia shouted.

Aurek raised a hand and the atmosphere around him coalesced in invisible Power. He grunted and a ball of pure force flew into the side of the mountain. The Ground shook as the avalanche of rock began. Boulders came down all around the Republic soldiers and the Jedi.

Garek Malon dropped his lightsaber and reached out with the Force, creating a bubble around himself and the soldiers and slowing the onslaught as best he could.

“Go!” He shouted to Saberota who moved as fast as his slow body could take him.

Ecalia attacked Jaden in a flurry of acrobatic Ataru strikes. Jaden only survived by using fundamental Saber Techniques. He leaped backwards, landing atop the stone craft.

Unseen by her, Cortree took aim at the Force Witch, waited for his moment and fired. His blaster bolt took her in the side, opening up her defense long enough for Jaden to leap over her and slash her across the belly. She grasped her wound, screeched and fell to one knee gasping for breath.

“Kill them, Hound!” Ecalia screeched.

Aurek ignited a Red Lightsaber, Stalking towards Jaden.

Saberota pressed a few buttons through the space suit, on the front of his Cyborg body. He overcharged his servos for a split second, his breath pausing as he leaped as far as he could, landing in a crash on the ridge before the Hound.

Aurek The Hound and the General clashed with equal strength and similar fighting style. But the hound seemed more at home with his body than the General. He stabbed Saberota in the belly, causing the body to spark.

Saberota, though was ready to go the distance and readied a swing.

Then a fleet of strange starships appeared in the skies above from Hyperspace.

Commlinks came to life for the emergency hail. The hologram of a blue-skinned, red-eyed humanoid alien addressed them.

“This is Captain Varm’nus’armu of the Chiss Ascendancy. Leave this area immediately.“

“Hound! Droid!” Ecalia shouted.

Aurek leapt over Saberota and grabbed his master. The Stone and Light Shuttle took off and the Hound leaped into its open hatch. Right behind him, came the Assassin Droid from Raxus Prime, carrying the head of its brethren. A massive energy blast came down from orbit completely obliterating the ancient crash site and the old ship.

The shuttle docked with the Pyramid and then, just as fast as it appeared…it vanished from space with a loud boom.

End of Episode: 07

Continue to Episode: 08

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Episode : 06
GM: James

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In the aftermath of their encounter at The Wheel, the team of Jedi aboard the Crucible glided through Hyperspace. The coordinates taken from the auction guided their way through the endless transdimensional space towards their destination on the other side of the Galaxy.

Jaden Windu, a scholar and archaeologist spent the time studying their destination as best he could. He accessed the New Republic database and found several reports from Outpost 17, a space station that orbited Durace. The Outpost was a central way station in the Unknown Regions for Republic ships. It had facilities for ship repair and refueling as well as extensive scientific sensors and equipment.

Old entries from surveyors in the early days of the Old Republic indicated that Durace was a garden planet perfect for supporting a colony. However, by the time the Republic revisited it some mysterious catastrophe had ravaged the planet leaving it barren of all life. Jaden discovered mention of extensive caverns with strange pictograms carved into the walls and rumors of a lost temple hidden deep beneath the planet’s surface.

As he delved further into the station’s research he learned that of one of the scientists assigned to the Outpost was Professor Ameet K’sona who was trying to determine what had happened to the planet. Jaden had once attended a lecture by the Professor at the University of Coruscant and had found the man to be exceedingly boring. However, he was an expert in climatology and planetary weather phenomenon.

As Jaden continued he discovered one holofile that he instinctively knew was important. It was almost as if some outside Force drew his eye right to it. Activating the holosystem he was greeted by the Professor’s bland countenance floating in the holotank as he made his report. Jaden could sense unease coming off the professor in waves. Unease that the older man finally voiced:

“To be honest I cannot wait until I am reassigned despite all the fascinating data we are collecting. There are times when I swear the planet is watching me. Waiting. Looking for a way to hurt me. It is the most unsettling feeling I have ever experienced.”

The scientist, clearly afraid, seemed to gather himself and said, “One of our probe droids has made the most fascinating discovery. The wreckage of an ancient ship. Preliminary scans indicate that the vessel is well over four thousand years old! I had the droid bring back some artifacts from the site that I have sent back to the University with the resupply shuttle. But I cannot investigate the discovery properly from the station so there is nothing for it. I am going to the surface tomorrow morning,” he said with determination in his shaky voice.

“I swear that planet is going to be the death of me…”

That was the last of Professor K’sona’s logs. However, there was a notation in the file that there was a shuttle accident caused by an ion storm that flared up unexpectedly. The professor’s shuttle crashed on the planet’s surface.

There were no survivors.

Jedi General Gisaku Saberota sat down in his quarters in the traditional Jedi meditation stance. Ever since his revival by Cortree Tincove months before, General Saberota had been struggling to re-attune himself to the Will of The Force.

The energy he once felt flow through every cell of his body and the space around him was now replaced with cold and emptiness. His breath once calm and meditative was now the mechanical rasp of a regulator gathering in air and releasing it. Physically his cybernetic limbs gave him sensation, the feelings of pressure, temperature and balance. But spiritually, the limbs were just pieces of metal, ceramic and plastic. They were not a part of the Force.

Saberota closed his his eyes and followed his old exercises. His respirator slowly wheezing out his mechanical breath as he took in the room. A room he remembered from a century before.

The ship called The Crucible had once had a single purpose: The training of Jedi Younglings. For a thousand years, it was the ship where The Gathering, the ancient Jedi rite where Padawans would assemble their first Lightsaber, took place. Gisaku Saberota had been one such Padawan. He had passed the trials, gathered his crystal and followed the instructions of an old droid to build his first lightsaber.

But those days were lost. When Cortree had rediscovered the ancient ship on Raxus Prime, it had already been scavenged. The Old Droid, Professor Huyang, was gone. His collection of Lightsaber components, the greatest in the Galaxy, were also lost.

Yet, the room still gave Saberota solace.

As they approached their destination, Saberota felt his balance wane. So, he meditated to regain his composure. But as the Crucible approached the mysterious planet, Saberota felt more…unblananced. As he finally fell into Deep Meditation, his mind drifted to the past.

Saberota saw and heard only bits and pieces. Pulses of cold and darkness. A Sky of Lightning.

TPM-1138…Cassandra’s Hope. Saberota saw the demise of General Thelsamar Cheska’s fief when the plan came to fruition and the ion pulse was triggered in the massive teraforming World Engines. It ended in one swift stroke. The weather changed and the droid armies died. But something went horribly wrong. City-sized ion storms erupted and raged out of control across the planet scouring the surface of all life. The transports desperately struggled to break orbit with thousands of refugees but left millions behind to be killed in lightning and fear.

He heard screams of fellow Jedi. Of children. He stood between a group of Younglings and an army of Clones led by a single Blue Lightsaber. Anakin Skywalker with burning eyes. The feel of the Dark Side as the blade cut through his arm.

His friends falling. Loved ones dying. The Temple burning. Everything he cared about crumbling around him. He felt rage and shame and fear all threatening to overwhelm him as he had visions of his friends and fellow Jedi all dying by his own hands. With a flash an intense white light burned into his vision and brought an end to the litany of failure and death.

Darkness. Voices from it.

“Our best, we have done.“

“Can we save him, Master?” asks a familiar voice.

“I know not. Up to him it is. And to the will of the Force…”

There is a death curdling screach and Gisaku jumped awake to the calamity of Alarm Klaxons breaking the Darkness. The mechanical rasp of his breath returning.

The stars appeared out the window as the Crucible lurched out of Hyperspace with a loud bang.

Jaden Windu and Gisaku Saberota rushed to the Engine room to find Content Not Found: cortree punching the engine with a mysterious component in his hands.

“What’s going on, Core?” Jaden asked.

“Sabotage. The engine intakes were rerouted burning out the Ventral Multitronic Particle Chamber. It wasn’t meant to destroy the ship but it would cause the hyperdrive to fry leaving a ship helpless and stranded."

“Good thing I found it when I did…” Cortree said in a stammer, “The hyperdrive is damaged but it wasn’t completely wrecked.”

“Who could have done this?” Saberota asked.

Jaden moved to the Security monitor and scanned through the records of their time on The Wheel. He stopped on the image of a familiar woman sneaking onto the ship.

Selan Mela’s Attendant…” Saberota said, confirming his suspicions. “She must have sabotaged the hyperdrive just before we ran into her in the hangar.”

“There’s something else too, “Cortree said, holding out a component with a blinking light, “A Tracker. Looks Imperial.”

“This complicates things.” Jaden said, “How long will it take to repair the hyperdrive?”

“I can’t repair it. Not without the right facility and parts. But I think I can rig up something that should let us make one jump. It will have to be short one though. The hyperdrive was severely damaged."

Jaden moved to the Star Map and raised a hologram of the Galaxy.

“The closest system is our destination. Durace. At the Lagrange point there’s a Space Station. Outpost 17.”

Saberota nodded, “Make for Outpost 17. We can take the tracker with us and place it on an outgoing ship. Hopefully that will lead whoever is following us on a wild bantha chase.”

The Crucible limped through hyperspace for hours travelling at a quarter of its usual speed. Space and the stars beyond went on forever. The black went on until a pair of new forms came upon them.

The Jedi gathered in the cockpit, staring at the growing shapes. A feeling of unease gripped them all.

A modestly sized Space Station sat before the planet. The planet’s atmosphere flashed arcs of blue and violet lightning.

“That’s it. Outpost 17, “ Cortree said, “And that planet there behind it is our destination.”

“Durace…” Saberota said, in shock at the sight. His breathing stuttered.

“General?” Jaden asked, concerned.

Saberota rushed to the Sensor console, pulling up a holo of the planet. The Hologram showed lightning arcing across the surface in a series of storms.

“It’s the same, “ Saberota said, “The same as Cassandra’s Hope.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. Same storms. Same Planet Type. Same feeling.”

Cortree looked over the holo, indicating features on the map “There’s the site of the ship we’re lookin’ for.”

Jaden had a sudden insight based on his earlier studying and asked, “General, were there any reports of mysterious temples on Cassandra’s Hope?”

“During the siege, “Saberota said nodding, “I remember early reports of some kind of temple discovered beneath the surface of Cassandra’s Hope. One of the reasons for the mass colonization.”

“Did they investigate the Temple?” Jaden asked.

“No. Archaeological efforts stopped because of the war. We disregarded it because of the occupation.
Why? Do you think they are related?”

“Perhaps. While researching Durace I found ancient reports indicating that it was originally a garden paradise that had suffered some unknown calamity. There was mention of a lost temple beneath the surface of the planet.”

“And there are no coincidences…”

“Exactly.”

A console beeped out a klaxon, drawing Cortree back to the helm.

“Automated Tractor beams are pulling us in to dock, but it’s weird…” Cortree said, scrutinizing his screens, “There’s no activity anywhere. No response to hails. No commercial traffic. Nothing.”

“I think with the planet as it is,” Jaden put forward, “Nothing is as it seems.”

The Crucible came in for a landing smoothly. But the docks were empty. No dock workers. No droids. Only silence…

The Jedi disembarked from the Crucible on edge. Cortree’s Squad of B1 Battle Droids led the way, providing a wall of protection. The droids swept the area cautiously, motioning to the Jedi when the way was clear.

“The docks seem deserted, sir.” The lead B1 Droid said, “No signs of life.”

“Search ‘round for any other ships or droids.” Cortree commanded.

“Roger, roger.”

The group moved forward through the Docks past empty merchant stalls and maintenance stations. Greeting messages echoed through space.

“Welcome to Outpost 17, your one stop shop for Durace Colony. With competitive prices and friendly Galaxy-class Customer Service, Outpost 17…”

The Lead Droid raised a fist and motioned to a docking station.

The Jedi came to a YT-2400 Freighter with its docking hatch deployed and a bloody corpse of a security guard at its base. Beside the corpse lay a crate, shattered from the inside as if something had exploded out of it.

The Jedi moved through the Ship and found another body in the cockpit, its throat slit. The engine room was a mess, looking like an extended firefight had raged there. Cortree figured it would take a great deal of work to get the old freighter space worthy again.

Jaden checked the body, “Also killed by blades both sharp and cauterizing.”

Cortree thought about it, “Some kind of Vibro maybe. Might mean a droid. I have seen wounds like that before, but… it can’t be…”

Saberota rasped calmly despite the carnage, “Stay sharp. We’ll check the rest of the station and get out of here as quick as we can.”

The Jedi moved through the derelict station. With every room they checked, more mysteries revealed themselves. Customs empty. Hallways empty. Living quarters empty. They came to the main pavilion and found food still on their plates. Possessions left behind.

“They left in a hurry.” Jaden said, “Something dangerous scared them off the station. We need to get to the Command Center to find out what happened here.”

“Looks like they left a short time ago. Several hours after that ship landed,” Cortree said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

The group continued through the station and came to a massive Blast Door leading to the Command Center.

The B1 droids tried the door, but it didn’t budge. Cortree moved to the control panel and tried a few commands. “Door’s locked by a command key card.”

“A lightsaber would take two hours to cut through that door.” Saberota said.

“I could splice the lock in half that time.” Cortree perked.

“Or we could take five minutes… “ Jaden suggested, remembering something he noticed earlier and ran off.

Cortree and Saberota looked at each other. The pair then followed Jaden to a hallway further down leading to the personnel’s living quarters.

They came to a stop in an area with cots and beds and personal items…and a keycard sitting out in the open. Jaden grabbed the card and held it up.

“…and search the living quarters.”

They unsealed the massive door and made their way into the control room. Nothing seemed out of place amongst the consoles and computer stations although Cortree was concerned that he was getting no signal at all from the station’s power plant. The circuitry from there must have been damaged somehow he speculated. He eventually came across the captain’s last log entry.

“We don’t know where it came from. I have organized several search parties but the droid stalked them and ripped them to shreds. I am afraid that everyone in Engineering may have finally fallen. We haven’t’ been able to reach them for over an hour now. I have no choice but to take our short range shuttle and abandon the Outpost. May the Force be with us…”

Cortree’s hands flew across the control console as he explained, “We can’t leave the station until we get some parts from the repair bay. I confirmed that they have what we need. I will have to do the repairs either here or on the surface of the planet. I can’t do them in space. So we are gonna have to make a choice.”

“Let’s get moving to the repair bay then. We can decide what to do after we have secured the parts,” the General replied. The group gathered up and started cautiously moving to the corridor leading to the repair bay.

Noises rang out from darkness. The B1 Battle Droids looked around, their weapons drawn.

“What was that?” The lead droid said, searching.

The Jedi moved towards the droids, taking out their lightsabers and surveying the derelict halls.

The darkness surrounded them. The lights flickered.

Cortree pulled out his blaster, making ready for a fight.

“Ahhhh!!!” A B1 Battle Droid cried as it was cleaved in half out of the flickering shadows. The B-1 droids tried to react but their blaster fire hit nothing as a shape blurred away with inhuman speed. Three more were turned to useless scrap with a blur of incredible speed and ferocity.

The Jedi caught sight of the attacker then. Seven feet tall. Made of some ancient metal but faster and tougher than any human body. A droid built from an Empire that was lost to antiquity.

Cortree recognized the droid. He had dug it out of the rubble of Raxus Prime, his home. A C21 Highsinger Droid. Old, rare with only one other of its kind known to exist in the whole galaxy and too valuable to ignore or scrap. Cortree had reactivated it. And then the ancient Assassin Droid started killing folks. It stole a starship and tore its way halfway across the galaxy…leading Cortree all the way to General Saberota as it came to kill him.

“The Assassin Droid!” Saberota shouted, drawing his Green Lightsaber next to Jaden’s Purple blade.

“Take’em down!” Cortree ordered.

The remaining four Battle Droids moved in unison and fired, “Roger roger!”

The Assassin Droid was faster, tearing through two more B1 Battle Droids. Jaden lunged at it, but missed. The Droid slipped past the final B-1 droids destroying one with a savage swipe of one of the vibroblades that extended from each wrist and went for Cortree.

Saberota interposed himself between the Assassin Droid and Cortree. He swung his Lightsaber but the Droid flipped over the General and disengaged the group. It became one with the shadows again.

Cortree motioned forward, “Let’s keep moving. Get the parts and get outta here.“

“Good idea.” Saberota agreed.

The Jedi ran down the halls, on the lookout for the Assassin Droid.

They moved to the closed Blast Door.

Cortree swiped the keycard. The door hissed and rose, revealing a supply room full of ship parts.

Then the Assassin Droid struck again.

It dropped in the middle of the group from the pipes above and swiped in all directions, causing confusion. Saberota took a swing and damaged the droid barely.

The Assassin droid killed the last of the B1 Battle Droids and went after Cortree, cutting him.

Jaden attacked the Droid, but with its greater strength and speed it easily held off the Jedi.

Cortree jumped into action, using his instinctive connection to mechanical devices through The Force, called Mechaderu, to create a power surge in a nearby conduit that caused the Assassin Droid’s systems to spark and sputter as they were nearly overloaded.

Saberota used the opportunity to aggressively swipe at the droid. The droid’s chassiss resisted the Lightsaber cuts, but its right arm fell limp to its side.

The Droid fled at lightning speed, running up the wall past the Jedi but its damaged arm combined with the power surge and a telekinetic push from Jaden allowed the normally slow and ponderous Saberota to keep pace with the droid as it ran down the hall.

The staccato strikes of Saberota’s Juyo fighting style carved sizzling cuts into the droid’s resistant chassis, damaging one of its legs and a kick to its chest knocked it into the back wall.

Saberota knew that even with the damage that the Assassin Droid would be a tough fight and that all three of them may not be able to take it down. But the old General faced the walking force of nature anyway with calm resolve. The same resolve that had earned him the nickname, “General Stoneface” from his old Clonetrooper Legion.

But the droid was too fast.

The Ancient Assassin Droid hit a button on the wall, opening a hatch. It ducked under another lightsaber strike, dove into the waiting escape pod and pressed a button launching it into space.

The vacuum of space pulled the nearby atmosphere forward, but Saberota grabbed the wall, his inhuman strength digging into the wall. He instinctively held out his other hand toward the pod. He reached out with the force to pull the craft back or knock it off course.

But Saberota felt nothing. He didn’t feel the Force around the pod or the distance between them. His will didn’t grab anything. His arm was dead. All he felt was his cold, dead flesh of metal, ceramic and plastic.

The Escape Pod flew away toward the planet Durace.

Jaden motioned and closed the hatch with the power of the Force.

“Are you alright, General?” Jaden asked.

Saberota gathered himself, turned to the others and mechanically rasped, “Yes. We should check Engineering further. That droid may have left us surprises.”

Five minutes later, the Jedi stood in front of the Station’s Main Reactor. The reactor consoles emergency klaxons blared.

“How bad is it?” Jaden asked.

Cortree raced between consoles.

“In about half an hour this place may…actually…explode.” Cortree said.

“Can you stop it?” Saberota asked.

“I might be able to slice it and save the station,” Cortree said, “Y’all should get back to the ship though. It is gonna get pretty hairy in here.”

“I’ll stay with you.” Saberota said without missing a beat, “Jaden you can go back to the ship.”

Jaden Windu shook his head, “Jedi should stand together.”

“Master Windu would have said the same thing.” Saberota said. Jaden couldn’t see the General smiling past his respirator, but he could sense it.

“May the Force be with us…”

The three scrabbled. They gathered together components from all over the sections of the station that they had access to. Jaden used his instincts to keep out of Cortree’s way and provide the tools he needed. Saberota discovered a tank of reactor coolant as big as he and dragged it back to the reactor.

As the minutes passed, Cortree fell into the force. He felt the machines around him and somehow instinctively knew exactly how to stop them from melting down…

The Reactor shifted and then grew silent. The klaxons stopped and the readouts went green.

The Jedi let out a collected sigh of relief.

Cortree wiped sweat from his brow, “You think we could claim this station for salvage?”

Jaden let out a chuckle, “I think the Republic would take issue with that.”

“They did abandon the station…”

“But, now the fun begins, “ Saberota said, turning to a nearby readout showing the current conditions on the Planet Durace, “We still have to go down to the planet before the Empire arrives…”

End of Episode: 06

Continue to Episode: 07

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Episode : 05
GM: James

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JEDI KNIGHTS GISAKU SABEROTA, JADEN WINDU and the apprentice CORTREE TINCOVE finally made it to the auction following their ambush aboard the TRAM. They found Shogo The Hutt and his entourage had gotten there first.

“What the hell happened to you?” Kel Markatta, the Mandolorian Security Chief of The Wheel said, looking over their wounds.

“If you are here for the Auction, " Varn Talath The Administrator of The Wheel said, twirling a cred stick in his hand, “I am afraid you are too late. Bids were supposed to be in five minutes ago…however, since you are the only others to arrive I may be open to more offers.”

Varn Talath held up a datapad, “The auction is for the coordinates of the world with the ancient ship will be awarded to the highest bidder. Current bid is 10,000 Credits.”

Jaden Windu held up the Datapad they took from the Nikto Mercenaries, “We were attacked by Nikto Mercenaries hired by Shogo The Hutt!”

A GROWL came from next to the Mandolorian in the form of Mad Claw Mazak, Shogo’s Wookie enforcer.

The Beast looked at Gisaku Saberota and the sound made the old General hesitate once again. He had to fight the urge to LET THE WOOKIE WIN.

Kel sized up the Wookie and put his Helmet on with one hand, gripping a Blaster pistol in its holster in the other.

“Preposterous!” Shogo said in his deep basso, “We were attacked too. Look what they did to Mazzak!” The hutt pointed to makeshift bandages on the wookie and the rest of his goons.

“That’s a strong accusation. " Varn asked, “What is your evidence?”

Jaden handed the Mandolorian the datapad, “We took that from the mercenaries that attacked us and we already sent messages to your security forces.”

Kel Markatta looked over the datapad, “This contract appears legitimate….” The Mandolorian scrutinized the bandages, “And these bandages don’t have any blood on them.”

The Wookie growled under his breath.

Kel’s commlink beeped. He pressed a button on his armor and patched into a security frequency, “Security, report.”

“Sir, we got firefights all over the station!” The voice on the other end said, “A bunch of Nikto mercs started shooting and the Imperials led by Captain Gellor and Commander Gorlen’s ESPOs fought back. But, now the two groups are shooting at each other and converging on the Grand Casino in a big crossfire with heavy weapons. Sir. It’s…It’s chaos down here!”

“Send reinforcements and secure the area. Keep them away from the casino,” He switched off his comm and turned to Varn Talath a question in his eyes.

Varn Talath gulped some wine, “Shogo’s dishonorable actions disqualify his participation. Very well, since you are the only other group to come here in good faith, I’ll give you the information for your bid.”

“12,000 Credits.” Jaden stated. The Hutt cowered, the price too high even if he hadn’t been disqualified.

“Going once…. "Varn Talath said, looking around, “Unless there is anyone else…”

“15,000 Credits!”

The Jedi turned to see Selan Mela and her Assistant, both cloaked in black hoods walking towards them.

“And these are a group of impostors. They are Jedi Knights in disguise! Check the Cyborg for their lightsabers!” Selan said with disdain in her voice.

Varn Telath spit out his wine. "Jedi? "

The Jedi found themselves surrounded. Saberota shifted, trying to size up the battlefield.

“Our master Porbota the Hutt will not be pleased,” Saberota said, trying to maintain their cover, “Besides. So what if we were Jedi? We have the credits and are willing to pay for the coordinates of the crash site.”

Kel Markatta Put a hand on his blaster. “There are only two things I can’t tolerate on my station, Liars and Jedi. One or all of you is one of those two. And you are both of them. Take them…”

Before Kel could finish his orders, Mad Claw Mazzak roared and struck him with a vicious hay-maker that bounced him off the bulkhead and knocked him out cold, denting the metal wall.

“Kill them! Get the data!” Shogo shouted as his mercenaries jumped into action.

Varn Talath fell over and looked up in absolute terror as the wookie loomed over him his deadly intent apparent. Mad Claw GROWLED and moved in for the kill.

Before the wookie could get his claws on Talath, Saberota jumped into action. He retrieved Jaden’s Lightsaber from his hidden compartment and threw it to him. The old soldier, his body still damaged form the previous battle, then put himself between the enraged Wookie and Varn Talath. He ignited his Green Blade and stood down the monster with the calm resolution of Juyo. The sound of his respirator was measured and unchanging despite his fear of the wookie.

Jaden caught and ignited his purple-bladed lightsaber in a single motion and moved in to attack the rest of the Hutt mercenaries.

Cortree meanwhile began hacking the nearby consoles.

Mad Claw Mazak swiped at Saberota with his Metal CLAW. But the Jedi remained calm and let the Wookie’s anger guide him. Small movements made the CLAW barely miss its mark…

Then Selan Mera’s assistant FORCE LEAPED into the fray with a RED-BLADED LIGHTSABER. Saberota’s saber met her’s and he found himself faced with two enemies.

“It was you at the ship…” Saberota said, “A Sith…”

“It is here you will die!!!” The Sith shouted, driven by the Dark Side.

The Jedi General was impressed by her skill as her barrage of skillful cuts and thrusts came close to striking his damaged cybernetic body.

But Gisaku was an old soldier and his defensive parries strategically put the Wookie, Mazak between him and the Sith. The strokes and counterstrokes knocked the Wookie OFF-BALANCE. Then the General struck the Wookie with a staccato of motion, his lightsaber damaging Mazzak’s Cybernetic Claw and a punch to his solar plexus knocked the massive wookie back an step.

The beast GROWLED and both the Wookie and the Sith, strangely united by their hatred of the Jedi General, pressed their attacks further.

“A Little help!” The General shouted.

Cortree’s hacking paid off as the Console chimed, “Y’all like a good hoe-down?”… and created a series of STROBING LIGHTS and SIRENS into the environment.

Jaden flipped in next to Saberota and a fast wipe of his blade knocked the lightsaber out of the Sith’s hand and away from them both. Jaden then slid into the Wookie and DISTRACTED the beast momentarily on his other flank.

Mazak, blinded by the STROBING LIGHTS and with his Cybernetic CLAW damaged didn’t notice Saberota’s next move until the Lightsaber blade stabbed him in the chest, forcing a GROWL in the face of the cyborg Jedi.

Cortree ran for the Sith’s fallen lightsaber and got there just before she jumped in. Thinking quickly, he took the Lightsaber apart and threw the pieces in opposite directions and pointed his MAKESHIFT BLASTER at the Sith. Then she raised her hand and Cortree started choking…and rising off the ground.

Cortree raised his blaster tried to fend the Sith off, but she just laughed at him in cruel ecstasy.

“Do you feel it? Do you feel the power of the dark side? The only real power! The only thing worth living for!”, she hissed, obviously delighted to inflict pain on an enemy.

Jaden came in with a sweep of his Lightsaber that forced her to lose her concentration and Cortree fell to the ground gasping. After a series of swipes at the Sith she realized that her only option was to retreat and she Force Leaped onto the 3rd story balcony before running deeper into the station.

Saberota and Mazak stared each other down. Mazak growled at him, trying to intimidate the Jedi as he wound up another haymaker…but Saberota maintained his calm in his Juyo stance and pushed past his terror of the Wookie.

The haymaker that took out the Mandolorian in one blow came and Saberota ducked under it and stepped in past with a deadly stroke of his lightsaber.

Kel Markatta came to just in time to see Mad Claw Mazak’s SEVERED RIGHT ARM fall to the ground next to him as the Wookie SCREAMED IN PAIN and ran off, his Hutt master close behind him on a HOVERSLED. Outside the casino a firefight erupted as the Wheel’s security forces and the Espos and Imperial Commandoes attacked each other in a chaotic three-way battle.

Kel witnessed the Jedi stand in front of Varn Talath, defending the man against the next wave of Hutt goons.

Blaster bolts took the remaining goons in the head faster than the Jedi could see.

The men fell and Kel’s TWIN BLASTER PISTOLS returned to their holsters as fast as they appeared. “Clear!”

The Jedi deactivated their lightsabers.

“Are you alright, Lord Talath?” Saberota asked as a datapad was thrown to him.

“Take it! For saving my life I am giving you the data, I don’t care. Just get off my station!” Varn said.

Saberota bowed slightly, “Thank you, sir. May The Force Be With Y…”

Just then the whole station rocked as turbolasers lashed it with withering fire. Van Talath screamed into his communicator for a report.

“Sir, the Imperial Star Destroyer, Inexorable has just dropped out of hyperspace and a Colonel Valarus has demanded we surrender,” said a nervous voice over the comlink.

“Surrender? To the Empire?!? Never!!!” Varn spit out with obvious hate. He turned to Markata.

“Sir, we can dispatch both of our picket cruisers along with all of our starfighters, including the reserves,” Markata replied. “But it won’t matter. We won’t last long against a capital ship’s firepower.”

“We won’t have to. Send a distress call to the Republic Fleet. We just have to hold out until reinforcements arrive. If they wanted to destroy the station we would already be dead. They must want the Wheel for themselves. Or something on it,” he glared at the Jedi. “You Jedi are a plague on the galaxy. But I owe you my life. Go. We will deal with the Empire.”

He wheeled away and started barking orders into his link, “Prepare the security teams for a boarding action. Lock down all the airlocks and secure the bulkheads. Move!”

“I am in your debt Jedi. I will not forget this.” Kel Markatta said.

The Jedi ran down the hallways as fast as their legs could carry them. They went up into the upper level scaffolding of the station and ran above the mayhem below. The ESPO SQUAD blasted the station with their RIOT GUNS and the Elite IMPERIAL STORMTROOPERS returned fire with HEAVY WEAPONS.

The Jedi made their way back to THE CRUCIBLE’s hanger just as the Imperials caught up to them.

They dove through the ship’s open starboard hatch, Blaster bolts following them.

Cortree’s Droids reactivated, taking their positions and his nimble fingers brushed the controls, bringing the ship to life.

“The ship’s already warmed up.” Cortree said surprised, “Wait, what about Maze? We can’t leave him behind.”

“There’s the Jedi! Blast ’em!” A Storm Commando said, aiming a ROCKET LAUNCHER at the ship.

But the group was stopped from behind by a FLURRY OF LIGHTSABER STRIKES as Content Not Found: twi-lek-jedi appeared out of nowhere.

Jaden reached out a hand to his comrade.

“Come on Maze, get on!”

Maze moved to the hatch and shook his head.

“I have to make sure Rilu is safe. I’ll return when I’m done.” he said as he hit the button and closed the hatch. He disappeared back into the chaos.

Saberota put a hand on Jaden’s shoulder, “He can take of himself. Get us out of here Cor!”

The ship lifted off and flew away from the station….

An alarm chimed from the sensors, Jaden ran to them. “We have…company.”

Four Tie Defender Starfighters pealed off from the heated battle surrounding the space station to pursue the Jedi Cruiser. Meanwhile, two small cruisers bravely faced off against the clearly superior star destroyer preventing it from coming after them directly.

“Starship Crucible this is Colonel Valarus of the Imperial Armada.” A voice from the comms came, “Surrender your vessel in the name of Emperor Fel.”

Ignoring the Imperial commander’s broadcast Cortree Tincove moved to his controls, “Hold ’em off while I get coordinates from the Navicomputer!”

Jaden moved to the Shields and started them up, “Shields up!”

General Saberota slid down the ladder into the Weapons Array chair. He looked at the unfamiliar controls with apprehension.

“Here they come!” Jaden said over the comms.

The TIE FIGHTERS closed in, maneuvering into position for an attack run on the old ship.

“They are right on top of us,” Jaden said helping Cor out in the cockpit, “Getting a lock on them. General, you okay with those controls?”

“Patience.” The General replied calmly through his vocabulator.

Saberota controlled his breathing. Slower. Steady. He struggled past his damaged flesh. Past his body of metal and plastic.

He struggled to feel the life around him. His friends. The Ship. The Tie Fighters. Their pilots.

For a moment, the Old Jedi became ONE WITH THE FORCE.

“Target locked!” Jaden said, “Let ’em have it!”

Saberota opened his optics, grabbed the controls and fired a barrage that dropped the shields of one of the Ties Defenders and damaged another.

“Good hit!” Jaden shouted, “Nice work General!”

“There’s still too many of them.” Saberota replied, continuing to fire.

The squadron of Tie Defenders closed in holding formation, shooting as they strafed the old Jedi Ship.

They seemed doomed as withering fire rained down on the ancient ship’s shields. But just then a MON CALAMARI HEAVY CRUISER dropped out of hyperspace in front of them and launched its fighters to engage the Imperial Destroyer.

“Not anotha’ capital ship! " Cortree shouted, punching the Navicomputer to compute faster.

“No, this one’s a Republic Ship.” Jaden said, looking over the markings. “But how could they have gotten here so fast?” he asked obviously puzzled.

“Jedi Cruiser Crucible this is Garek Malon aboard the Emancipator,” said a familiar voice, “Shut down your engines and prepare to be boarded in the name of the Jedi Council and the New Republic.”

“Well that explains that. Malon must have been tracking us. It is just a coincidence he arrived here at this time. But it looks like the Emancipator will have its hands full with that Destroyer which gives us a chance to finish our mission. If we survive these Ties that is,” said Jaden.

A lone RZ-7 A-wing Jedi Interceptor peeled off from the other Republic fighters that were engaged with the Imperial forces.

A transmission came in from the ship, “Crucible, this is Seeker One. Master Diath said you could use an assist.”

The A-Wing ran rings around the Tie Fighters that attacked the Crucible taking advantage of their formation flying destroying two of them with one pass.

Jaden looked at the screen in amazement, “That’s a Jedi Pilot…”

“I can handle this Crucible. I’m a Rogue. Impossible is our stock in trade, and success is what we deliver., " Amira Forge, the A-Wing’s pilot said, “Get yourself to a safe distance. May the Force be with you.”

The Navicomputer finally beeped.

“Coordinates locked in.” Cortree said.

“Punch it!” Saberota said as the ship went to Lightspeed.

End of Episode: 05

Continue to Episode: 06

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Episode : 04
GM: James

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With the auction delayed until the next day, Cortree Tincove, Gisaku Saberota, Jaden Windu and Mazer Val’Zian set out to do some exploring of the station.

While Jaden and Gisaku sought fruitlessly to find other potential backers, Mazer seemed concerned with other matters and requested Cortree come with him. The pair ended up at the quarters of Commander Piter Gorlen and found Rilu Secura coming out of it. The pair tailed her into the Red Quarter, an area of the station for higher level socialites. Mazer in his DESIGNER THREADS blended right in with the crowd, practically disappearing next to his friend Cortree in his mechanic’s jumpsuit.

The Station’s security didn’t take kindly to Cortree or his ensemble and detained him in an effort to teach him how things worked around the station. Mazer on the other hand had simply vanished into thin air…

An hour later, Cortree was released and found his way back to the Crucible to meet up with the others. As Gisaku and Jaden returned to the ship, something felt…wrong. Jaden, who had been sensing a darkness in the Force shadowing him all night long felt that same presence in the landing bay. Being weaker in the Force, Gisaku made use of his CYBORG BODY’s Thermographic vision mode and found a shape concealed in the corner, hiding from them.

Gisaku motioned to the others and the trio surrounded the form, the Cyborg looming over it with Cortree holding a blaster pistol on it.

“You can’t hide from us., " The Jedi General said as he sized the form up, “Who are you?”

The form turned out to be a humanoid woman in a black hood. She reached out and FORCE PULLED the blaster from Cortree’s hand and FORCE LEAPED upwards. The General, having sized up the foe, drew his Lightsaber and just barely cut her cloak as she blurred past and landed up in the utility pipes above.

Cortree lamented as pieces of his blaster pistol fell from the ceiling onto floor. He then grabbed an ascension platform and the trio pursed the Hooded Woman.

Gisaku’s body gave him strength but not speed, making him unable to pursue the Woman as she moved effortlessly away. Jaden and Cortree decided that cleverness was needed.

Jaden used the Force to slow her as Cortree used his own Mechaderu ability to slice the maintenance computer to lower the BLAST DOORS. However, the Woman was too fast and she barely managed to make it through the blast doors and into the dark parts of the station just as the doors slammed shut. They were trapped in the landing bay by the doors and could not escape. They would have to wait for someone in maintenance to reopen the blast doors for them from the outside and that could take awhile. They were a bit surprised that Mazer reappeared then asking, “What’d I miss?”

Concerned about his infatuation with Rilu, the others asked him why he abandoned Cortree. The former scoundrel responded, “I needed a distraction so i could follow her. You did your job well and I found out where she is hold up.”

The Jedi followed Mazer to Rilu’s room on the station only to find it ransacked and Rilu grievously wounded. Mazer used his healing powers to stabilize Rilu as best he could and took her to people he knew who could help. Having been on the station before Maze realized that he couldn’t take the mortally wounded Twi’lek to the hospital. She would be an easy target there. Instead he led Gisaku to an underworld doctor he knew of on the station who would take care of her no questions asked. For a fee of course.

Jaden investigated the scene while Gisaku and Maze got her to the doctor. He made a couple of startling discoveries while looking over the ruins of Rilu’s apartment. First off the door, which at first glance looked like it had been shot open with a blaster, turned out to have been cut open with a intense plasma cutter. Or a lightsaber. The blasts to the lock appeared to have been an attempt to conceal the nature of the original entry. Second, the light blaster that they had found next to Rilu had been fired several times. Jaden was convinced that it had in fact been used to blast the door and to shoot the twi’lek to again cover for what he believed were lightsaber wounds. Given the mysterious Force using figure they had encountered in the docking bay earlier he was starting to wonder if they were dealing with Dark Jedi. Or even Sith.

With these dark thoughts Jaden, Gisaku and Cortree made their way to the auction. Maze had decided to remain behind and protect Rilu. On board a TRAM CAR that crossed the station, the Jedi were attacked by a large group of WEEQUAY and NIKTO MERCENARIES armed Stun Batons and Blasters. They tried to call for help, but found their communications jammed. With nowhere to run, and surrounded by enemies and innocent civilians, the Jedi had no choice but to fight.

Cortree held his ground with his new jury-rigged blaster as Jaden tried to fend them off with his own Jedi training. Neither he nor the General drew lightsabers because they were unwilling to give away that they were Jedi. This limited Jaden considerably. Jedi General Gisaku Saberota on the other hand fared much better in a fist fight and for once was glad to have a CYBORG BODY.

The Mercenaries tried to stun Saberota with their batons, but one sweep of his mighty arms relieved them of their weapons. The group tried to punch the General out, only for their hands to recoil in pain after punching ARMOR PLATING. Playing the part of a bodyguard, Saberota fought with brute force. He kicked one mercenary into the wall while grabbing, punching and elbowing others to the ground. Cortree blasted away with his pistol set to stun dropping several of the mercenaries.

When one brave mercenary from the group stood before Saberota, the General grabbed him by the head and THREW him down the tram, through a window into the next car.

Cortree then shot out the overhead light above the group before him and Gisaku into them as bodies flew out of the darkness. The trio finished the fight like master Jedi without a single unnecessary loss of life.

Jaden found among the mercenaries a datapad from Shogo The Hutt, ordering them to detain their group with killing them. Obviously a move to reduce the number of bidders for the auction. Similar attacks were ordered by the Hutt on the other bidders. Realizing that lives were at stake and concerned for Selan Mela, the professor from Coruscant University that they were pooling their bid with they attempted to contact security. But they couldn’t get through the jamming. Cortree got to a console and using incredible skill sliced through the jamming causing a feedback loop that caused the jamming device to explode.

When the Tram arrived at the station, the Jedi informed Kel Markatta and his security of the scheme, fearing the other bidders would be attacked too. Their instincts were rewarded when Cortree found reports of disturbances throughout the The Wheel.

There was a report of a brief firefight and of an airlock that had been opened illegally around the Imperial’s quarters. It seemed clear to Cortree that the Imperial Stormtroopers had made short work of the Hutt Thugs and then tossed their bodies out an airlock. The security force of Espos protecting Commander Piter Gorlen were far less efficient. There had been a terrible firefight around Gorlen’s quarters with many bystanders suffering injuries from the indiscriminate fire the Espos had used to defend themselves. There were also reports of a disturbance around Rhaan Cheska’s quarters and he had been hospitalized. He was no match for the mercenaries without his BG-173E Bodyguard Droid. Finally, it appeared that Shoto the Hutt had been attacked as well although the fight had not resulted in any casualties. Cor found no mention of Selan Mela or the other scholars.

End of Episode: 04

Continue to Episode: 05

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Episode : 03
GM: James

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The Wheel is a Space Station on the edge of Hutt Space protected from the laws of the Republic by ancient deals. The station’s casinos and black marketplaces stand both as a Lap of Luxury and a wretched hive of Scum and Villainy…. the perfect place for a team of Jedi Knights to save The Galaxy.

Arriving at The Wheel, Jaden Windu, Gisaku Saberota, Cortree Tincove and Mazer Val’Zian took steps to make sure their presence went unnoticed.

Cortree modified the Crucible’s Transponder to make it appear as the Azure Akkadian to all relevant scans. Upon docking, Mazer used 1000 Credits of the funds they received from Galen Argyus to secure some HIGH-END THREADS to better disguise their Jedi natures and support their story of being in the employ of Porbota The Hutt. Mazer went in as Jarlezek Zemay, Saberota as the tall silent Bodyguard, Jaden as a visiting scholar and Cortree as their accompanying mechanic to check over the condition of the goods. In addition, General Saberota took advantage of his Cyborg Body‘s many hiding places to conceal the team’s Lightsabers.

While mingling around the marketplaces and cantinas of the station they learned as much as they could about the lay of the land. Eventually they made their way to the site of the auction, a ballroom of neon and lights in the famous Grand Casino. A playground of live bands and loud noises. Of luxury and sin.

When the Jedi cased out the station they discovered that the Station’s Security, commanded by the Mandolorian Kel Markatta was as solid as a ray shield. Markatta confirmed their identities, which were solid thanks to Galen, and then gave them a communicator for the auction. After that he dismissed them, warning against any interference with the auction or any conflict with their fellow bidders. The Jedi would not be able to get out if it came to firefight. But they were not forbidden from talking with their fellow bidders.

Five Others appeared interested in the Lost Ship.

When they had first arrived, the Jedi discovered a Sveldt-Class Imperial Shuttle (A craft built for stealth and perfect for special operations) registered to a Captain Gellor docked at the station. Jaden remembered that Gellor was one of the Empire’s, “Top Men” and had written a series of papers 20-30 years ago on the ancient history of the galaxy. He was considered an expert xenoarchaeologist.

However, the Captain they found on the Ballroom floor was far too young to be the Captain Gellor who had penned those papers. His entourage of Stormtroopers had the customized weapons and armor of an elite commando team and seemed far more professional than the average Imperial foot soldier.

The second bidder was more like what they had expected. Selan Mela, a history professor at the prestigious University of Coruscant, seemed out of place on the Wheel wearing nice clothes she could barely afford. Professor Mela was a scholar for an Elite Coruscant Educational Society so prestigious that even the scholarly Jaden had been denied entry. She was accompanied by a pair of assistants one of whom seemed unusually quick-witted and strong willed. Upon speaking with Mela, Jaden and the others convinced her to help them by revealing that they were Jedi. They asked her to combine her credits with the Jedi since she clearly couldn’t afford to get the Ship on her own. They promised to turn over any archaeological objects to her for the museums on Coruscant after their mission. As long as the items weren’t tainted by the Dark Side of the Force. She agreed. Albeit reluctantly. She apparently did not hold a very high opinion of the Jedi in general.

The Third Bidder immediately caught Gisaku Saberota’s attention. Rhaan Cheska, the Vice-Prex of Research of the CSA was something of a boy genius who built a little corporate empire of new droids that had taken the Galaxy by storm. Saberota asked Selan Mela if he was any relation to the infamous Thelsamar Cheska, a man who he knew during the Clone Wars… but the scholar admitted that no one had ever considered that possibility. Given his ancestor’s role in the destruction of Cassandra’s Hope during the Clone Wars it would be embarrassing if anyone made that connection. Mela then recognized Saberota for who he was and asked if he would come to Coruscant for an interview about the Clone Wars. Saberota said he would love to as long as she helped them.

Cheska himself seemed like a simple business man and the tech tycoon and was by far one of the wealthiest bidders of the lot. Cortree seemed to get along with him talking about technical issues and droid designs. Accompanying Cheska was his assistant and a Content Not Found: bg-173e-bodyguard-droid. The Droid seemed to Cortree like a top of the line model but it had a critical design flaw. It was so aggressive that Saberota’s very appearance as a bodyguard created a strong reaction and Cheska had to use a hand-held communicator of his own to restrain the Droid with voice command codes.

What the Vice-Prex didn’t realize is that Saberota’s Cybernetic Sensors managed to pick up and record those codes.

The fourth Bidder was an ESPO Commander named Content Not Found: commander-piter-gorlen. Word had it that he and his band of corporate thugs were agents of Gul Shyssa, another Vice-Prex of the CSA. A man whose wealth even outstripped Rhaan Cheska’s.

The Fifth Bidder turned out to be a decently-sized Hutt, Content Not Found: shogothehutt. A Hutt who knew how to get things and a collector of rare antiquities. Jaden had heard of him acquiring a Holocron that had been put up for auction several years before on The Wheel. He was well known as a fence but was far from the wealthiest or most powerful Hutt.

Along with Shogo was his enforcer, the fearsome Wookie, Content Not Found: mazak. When Mazzak spotted the cyborg General he growled in challenge. For Saberota it brought back memories of a campaign on Kashyyyk during the Clone Wars. Memories of War Droids being ripped apart…by Wookiee hands…and this Wookie had a claw made of metal . Saberota’s feelings told him that the Wookiee was a threat and that letting it win was the wise option.

After all the Bidders appeared the entertainment began. The Twi’lek Singer and Dancer called Leela Chab’unu put on a big show for the Auction’s bidders. Her beauty, charisma and grace drew the entire crowd’s attention and even stirred up feelings in the disciplined Jedi Knights…all except for Mazer. He recognized Leela as Rilu Secura, an old flame of his from before he joined the Jedi. Maze had been Rilu’s partner, lover and victim during his old life as a scoundrel. Needless to say their relationship was…complicated.

When Rilu introduced herself to Maze, the pair of them made small-talk with their voices but spoke in secret with their Leku head-tails. Rilu as it turned out was there for her own scam. She had to pay off an obligation to a mysterious patron it seemed. She demanded Maze pay her 10,000 credits or she would out them as Jedi. The Twi’lek Jedi proposed that she would get a better pay day if she helped them get the ship instead. Specifically he asked if she would distract Piter Gorlan and get him out of the running for the auction. He convinced her with the promise of more credits after the job was done. Rilu went to work and proved to be a very very good distraction for Commander Gorlan…

Having met all of the bidders now, the Stations Owner Varn Talath brought out holograms of the Ship and samples of its contents to prove it’s authenticity. Their worst fears were confirmed by the taint of the Dark Side Maze sensed on the artifacts. The Jedi realized that by sheer arithmetic that were unlikely to to be top bidders with what few credits and allies they had.

Force Adept and master Mechanic Cortree Tincove had an idea that might disqualify one of the bidders though…

Cortree reprogrammed his hand communicator, took the recordings of Rhann Cheska’s Droid Security Codes from General Gisaku and exploited its major design flaw by commanding Cheska’s BG-173E Bodyguard Droid to attack Mad Claw Mazak. The Droid reacted with inhuman speed and precision but its blasters didn’t do more than anger the Wookie who tried to rip the Droid limb from useless limb.

The Wookie was only stopped when Kel Markatta and his security team downed the Droid in seconds with one of the greatest displays of precision shooting any of the Jedi had ever seen. Markatta was propelled through the air by his Mandalorian Armor’s rocket pack and he landed between the enraged wookiee and Cheska with his blaster drawn intent on stopping the fight before the wookiee’s rage escalated it out of control. Mad Claw was only barely able to restrain himself, staring down the Mandolorian even with a Heavy Blaster pointed at his head. It wasn’t until the Security Chief primed his wrist mounted flame thrower that the wookie was able to calm himself and back down. The behemoth’s glare promised a reckoning at some future date. The Chief removed his helmet and seemed unfazed by the wookiee’s murderous snarl.

The incident proved for the Jedi who was professional and who wasn’t. The Imperial Stormtroopers that had accompanied “Captain Gellor” were as fast on the draw as the Station’s Mandalorian security, while the ESPOs dragged their commander and Rilu out of there very quickly but in a very disorganized manner. Clearly the ESPOs were little more than thugs in uniforms while the Stormtroopers were elite operators.

With the situation diffused and violence contained Cheska agreed to repay Porbota The Hutt for his droid’s malfunction with 5 units of the same model droid when the kinks are worked out and the droid it put into mass-production.

Varn Talath, disgusted by the unfortunate incident decided to post pone the auction until the next day when cooler heads would hopefully prevail…

End of Episode: 03

Continue to Episode: 04

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