Despite Kevin’s attempt to put a priority on lunch, Raphial put a priority on reporting to the base commander – who started his own report to the sector commander before Raphial was even finished.
When Raphial mentioned that – and Jarvian showed up again suddenly (apparently he’d just been sent on by the backup group somehow) – the rest of the group decided to get out before they were mired in weeks worth of explanations and interrogations of why they’d unleashed a monstrously powerful and evil ship on the empire. The place was a major transfer point, so there was a ship leaving on a four-hour shuttle flight to Fraccion, a tradeworld specializing in computer technologies. There were plenty of seats available, so they used a little mind trick on the guy checking authorizations and identities and got going… Hmm.. Ilthulsin was still with them, but Mr “Visiting Mind Flayer” had vanished. Still, that was his privilege.
Jarvain wanted to see what he could snag in the way of technology upgrades, but… It was a small interstellar drive that went from a planet in one solar system to a planet in another solar system and touched down again in four hours with no apparent source of fuel. Force shields, no apparent source of thrust, no jump points, no space-only jump system, no dropships… It was violating so many laws of physics that it might as well be powered by an old woman stirring a cauldron. With that technology he could conquer the inner sphere within a year.
Besides, as Kevin pointed out, Raphial was an engineer from this realm and there were public databases. Jarvian could just ask or pull up the public database.
With Jarvian deep in research, Kevin got the kids a tour of the ship, which put them on the bridge when the news of the running battle with the Hellstorm came through… It took some careful psychic leaning on the captain – and a lot of rational suggestions as to why turning back might be a bad idea – to persuade him to complete the trip rather than turning back. It looked like the ship was heading out of the galaxy, under heavy fire from interception fleets all the way…
On Fraccion Marty and the rest went looking for a ship-for-hire and stocked up on stuff they thought might interest a bunch of Sith – advanced computer systems, sith antiques, specialized armor materials, exotic crystals, exotic venomous and dangerous pets, and high-end miniaturized power supplies. They had to persuade Jarvain that the power supplies probably wouldn’t work in most places – and they turned up a weird psitech diagram for some sort of force-amplifying force screen circuit designed to work on a regional scale. It was apparently a prototype for the “Tomb Archive”, whatever that was. They bought it anyway.
Kevin found Orcish and Italian restaurants. What was up with that? That was the same pair of restaurants they’d found in London… At least the orcish place didn’t officially serve sentient beings and it didn’t seem to be a sub-realm. Marty tried the Orcish food (and concluded that it was pretty interesting), everyone else decided not to risk their digestive systems that way. Jarvian picked up a plasma rifle for small-scale self-defense.
After lunch, Kevin went shopping for local communications gear and tools, a package of thermal detonators, rent-a-ship prospects, and any young slaves with souls (although it turned out that the Emperor Darth has banned slavery). Oddly enough, there was a merchant – Dimentio or Shyan, depending on what name he was using at the moment – trying to “recruit adventurers to go on a trip to Korriban”. He wanted someone to help him “search” for Sith artifacts from the tombs there.
Kevin considered the coincidence level there, and concluded that Mr “Visiting Mind Flayer” was making a re-appearance. Evidently whoever-it-really-was wanted them to continue on their eccentric path through the cosmos… Kevin could go with the joke: he made a point of negotiating about the price while he was holding an entire box full of thermal detonators under his arm.
Meanwhile Raphial went looking for the most intimidating personal plasma cannon on the market and started modifying it for more intimidation and less lethality. Ithulsin was playing with the lightsabres and datapads. They got him some, along with local weapons and gear.
“Shyan” told them that the Hellstorm was going to get free anyway, so they shouldn’t worry about it too much. It had its own role’ to play as the singularity war got back underway. Trying to fight the plotlines was trying to fight the very laws of nature (Kevin noted that this could be done, but it was best to be sure that it was worth the effort). The darknesses were loose and the plots of the worlds that had been integrated into the core realms were stirring. They were currently tracking down the pawn of one creature and would have their own roles to play – but they had yet to choose them. His business was making sure that all the players were assembled together with the time came. If humanity was to survive, people with power would need to be guided to focal points. As to what decisions they would make at those points, he could not say: only that they were among the ones who were likely to make a difference for better or worse when the time came. It would be nice to see humanity survive though, so few made it beyond the first stage…
The Sith world was pretty lifeless. The remaining ecology could barely maintain a breathable atmosphere. The lines of some sort of mystical diagram were laid out across it, some had nearly burned through the planetary crust. It was related to that circuit diagram – a shielding effect that focused the dark side of the force into an annihilating shield. Evetnually it would eat the planet for power
Kevin thought that that was ultimately futile: the first thing to go would be the ecosphere, and that was about all that was really worth protecting. There’s was lots of barren rock out there.
Anyway, they could try to neutralize it in an area, create their own version and merge through it, try a complimentary pattern to divert it, or try to shield against the shield. Anyway, testing was the first order of business. It didn’t go well: the shield absorbed the kinetic energy of incoming things and slowly dissolved them.
They decided to check the moons: Kevin was betting that the Sith had a concealed base where they could sit and laugh as people tried to land to invade them. As a defense, the shield was like poisoning yourself to keep the enemy from capturing you.
There were three large ones and one only 30 feet across – very shiny – a perfect sphere to within the limits of resolution – and with enough gravity to produce detectable TIDES? Kevin promptly put in directions to stay FAR AWAY FROM THAT. The density and surface gravity of that thing would be… Density of 4 * 10 ^ 17 kg/m^3 would give it a surface gravity in the neighborhood of 62 million gravities. The orbit was nearly perfectly circular. That COULDN’T be an accident.
The larger moons were a forest moon, a volcanic moon, and an ice moon. All very large for the planet they were orbiting, all in near-circular orbits. Who’d been stealing and moving planets?
There were lights on the nightside of the forest moon, some communications traffic coming from volcanic moon, and not much from frozen moon. They headed for the ice moon and sent down a probe; it looked like it had a worldwide ocean, very deep, and with various life forms – up to 2000 feet long – under the ice. They could search that in the Orb for a century with no luck. They headed for the Volcanic moon: the locals might have more data.
They called ahead for permission to land the Wanderer and it turned out to be inhabited by robots. An automated production center – populated by robots from the Singularity War – shipping warbots to the Federated Americas to fight nazi necromancy. They didn’t have port regulations, but they did have diplomatic protocols.
They didn’t have a lot about the planet: attempts to reach or probe it went badly – although there had been many tries. They’d been considering setting up a warning system, but all of the vessels so far had been hostile anyway.
The Hellstorm – about 15 years ago – had been the only one that landed (in the center of the hexagon of lines at the south pole) and got away. The robots had arrived fairly recently via wormhole and had set up manufacturing. The volcanic moon was very rich in metals and minerals.
They also got more information on the Singularity War: it had been against a runaway AI and the Archangels of the Apocalypse. Four humans took on the roles of the four horseman/archangels of the Apocalypse and attempting to begin the purging necessary for the salvation of humanity. Purging humanity, even for salvation, was not to be tolerated. After the end of combat operations, The Legionary Cohort Urbanes took out the remainder of the Praetorians.
The robots were running a wormhole nexus – including their original earth. Well, that was the one they wanted – although the robots wanted to know who they were representing… Kevin noted that he represented House Fion of the Fey and The House of Roses of Core Earth. Raphial represented the local galactic empire. Marty represented his own world and Amarant Solutions. Jarvian was from the Recon Element from the 3rd Sword of Light unit, House Kurita of the Inner Sphere. Still, they’d have to visit the rest of the system first. Something about the planet itself seemed ominous and should be explored further, and it looked like the two other moons figured into the puzzle as well. The robots noted that assistance would be available if needed – and they did have detailed map surveys of all the neighboring moons and planet, as well as some information on the creatures in the ice ocean. Very large sulfur-metabolism creatures. There had been a civilization once, but the creatures who built it had apparently gone extinct.
The group started setting up for probes and detections. They needed more information on that shield. There were some weak points in the runes: most of the energy for the shield was concentrated around a 100 square mile area around the Southern Pole though. The north pole was similarly strong for other reasons, and the equator was about the weakest of the system. A massive positive or negative energy field should be able to mitigate the effects
Well, that crystal Jarvian had turned up with seemed to carry massive amounts of positive energy. It was fairly easy to identify: it was the Silmaril of Earth – and Raphial thought he could hook it to a shield-circuit to generate a countereffect.
Kevin was a bit worried… It looked like humanity has it’s own robot peacekeeping army to deal with besides the one invading from the galactic core – and he wondered just how broad their definition of “human” was… Apparently that was still under debate, although it had been devided that hordes of invading undead, machines, aliens, and orcs were to be stopped.