Unfortunately, with the planet subject to a Sith blockade, getting out wasn’t easy. While there was still massive amounts of traffic – it was a city-planet after all – most of it was cargo-only, and there were some pretty good sensor-precautions being taken to keep it that way. Most personal ships knew better than to try to run the Sith blockade – and they wanted something a bit bigger than that anyway. They hadn’t had any luck cracking the security on the spaceport – not that they’d really expected to be able to crack military codes – and they didn’t have the credentials to simply breeze past the guards (or the capacity to make them). Blast their way in? Despite Arak’s and the Wookiees enthusiastic endorsement of that “plan”, they just didn’t have the manpower to face the garrison. The local underworld had been of some assistance earlier, at least in terms of buying supplies, but they just weren’t very trustworthy – and would be less so when there were no further prospects of profit or assistance from a departing group.
Wait: if they simulated a bloody big attack on the port, all the ships there would start taking off. The Sith port commander would expect it – so all they’d need to do would be to be aboard a ship and steal it.
OK, that said nothing about getting in or getting aboard – which were sort of critical points – but it would cover the taking-off part. There might even be enough other ships launching to provide some cover for the jump to lightspeed.
Eventually they put Khadim-17, 10CH, and much of their equipment in a box. Neither had any conventional life-signs to give them away, 10CH could cloak much of their activity, and a little extra shielding on the box should let them pass for a shipment of specialized electronics. The local underworld could provide them with enough documentation for that.
Arak and the Wookiee took roles as cargo handlers. That was usually a job for droids, but small-scale operations sometimes used organics; they handled unusual situations a lot more readily – and both of them were certainly built for it. Keldav and Telera could be merchants, or possibly a merchant and a bodyguard. Handell could be their driver, Lesin could be a secretary, and the troops could be contract (“slave”) laborers being shipped out.
It was kind of thin, but who would suspect that the local resistance organization would break cover and walk into the enemies stronghold with no weapons?
For the diversion, they rigged up some really massive explosions. The area immediately around the port had been evacuated for security – but that left some enormous environmentally-sealed buildings unoccupied and with plenty of power and water. Setting up some large-scale electrolysis systems soon filled those structures with a pressurized mixture of hydrogen and oxygen – enough to put them in the low-nuclear potential range.
Nobody would suspect. They’d disabled the environmental sensors inside, there was no high-energy source to show up on scanners, the power-grid monitoring had been offline since the invasion – and still had months to go on the repairs – and who used chemical explosives any more?
They got past the basic perimeter thanks to Keldav and Telera’s combined force-hypnosis talents and some fast bluffing – and the first blast went off as they were trying to get past the secondary security gates. Unfortunately, the second blast failed to trigger; the shockwave from the first had apparently disrupted the mechanism somehow – and the Sith were responding to a single blast by starting to lock down the port.
Arak decided that this was a chance to redeem himself for having agreed to retreat. He took the truck he was driving and – like so many others – started “getting the hell out”.
Unlike the others, he crashed his vehicle into their second bomb-tower at full speed – and shorted the power supply an instant before impact.
Well, even among Kredath Berserkers, there weren’t many who rated a nuclear-level funeral pyre.
With the port foundations starting to crumble, most of the power systems down – and the third blast going off on schedule – there was a general rush for any available form of transportation, including the ships currently in port.
The damned Wookiee stopped for some sort of personal honor-battle with a guard-captain who’d yelled something insulting at him (despite attempts to persuade the player that not even Wookiees were that honorably stupid) – but the rest of them swept aboard a cargo transport just before they were getting the ramp up – and quietly got out Khadim-17, 10CH, and their weaponry while the crew was frantically getting the ship into the air and headed for orbit. After all, someone had apparently started a nuclear bombardment.
Back on Surkiant, their Wookiee friend with the unpronounceable name had taken some serious wounds closing with his chosen enemy – but once he had his hands on the fellow, he ripped off one of his arms and clubbed him with it so hard that he was hurled back into the flaming chasm which had opened up next to them. Unfortunately, as the edges collapsed, Mr Wookiee went down too, and was presumed dead.
On board, with the ship headed for orbit – and the captain (along with many other ships) having filed an emergency flight plan with the Sith blockade – it was time for the hijacking. Fortunately, the crew wasn’t prepared for three force-users (Keldav, Lesin, and Telera), Khadim-17, 10CH, Handell, and sixty-odd republic troops.
Handell took the controls and recklessly (at least for anyone else) jumped them to Lightspeed when they were barely clear of the atmosphere – and long before the Sith had the little exodus sorted out. With any luck, they’d just take it for general panic anyway.
They took Lesin and Telera back to their temple – and finally had the time for some in-depth conversations and a bit of investigation along the way. Keldav was especially interested in Khadim-17 – but was a bit shocked when he determined that, as an individual, the energy-entity was only a month or two old – and had quite a few “siblings”. Good god. Were they behind all those rumors of “undead” and “haunts” coming out of the region around Mandalor? No wonder the creature was so hesitant, confused, and asked so many odd questions! It could be a superb ally once it learned a bit more though. He’d have to come up with some kind of an educational program for it. Dammit though… The Jedi seemed to be almost as crazy as the Sith. Less violent and destructive, but just as arrogant and blind. There HAD to be some way to be a force user without going crazy!
Back in Republic space the Republic (naturally) impounded the ship – oh well, it was too big for their purposes anyway – and started debriefing the troops. They weren’t terribly pleased to hear that this random group of unranked weirdos working for some senile Jedi had more or less taken command – and seriously wanted to talk to the group. ESPECIALLY to the non-Jedi force user, whoever it was in the armor, and whoever had been installing all those systems in their droid. The fact that they had gotten access to the republic code sets was especially troubling. Those were pretty vital.
Fortunately for them, the group had already gotten Lesin and Telera to vouch for them and headed for the Jedi Temple. Unfortunately for them, back at the temple, there turned out to be a small contingent of Sith undercover operatives lying in wait. It seemed that they’d tracked the beacon on De’arc’s ship – and were pretty determined to capture Keldav, Khadim-17, and Lesin if it was at all possible. They’d brought along some fairly heavy firepower too.
During the fight they hooked up with Garyan – a local republic garrison trooper (heavy weapons specialist) – who’d been at the temple to talk about a a youthful cousin who was showing signs of force-sensitivity. Fortunately for him, given the ongoing war-alert, he’d had his kit and weapons in his speeder.
Lesin managed to get most of the kids out another way – although the group wound up with a couple of them in tow (along with a fair amount of information from the Jedi archives and a few odd relics) as they fell back to their own ship. It still needed repairs, but at least it was reasonably spaceworthy at the moment – and they’d had just about enough of the local welcoming committee.
Another emergency takeoff. Just ahead of the pursuit. After a mysterious assault on a Jedi Temple and skipping out on a military debriefing without explanation. Leaving massive damage behind. They hadn’t even really gotten any money! At this rate they were shortly going to have to find another galaxy to live in! Just ONCE they’d like to be welcome back somewhere!
Keldav’s old master showed up as an “astral projection” of some sort while they were boosting to orbit. He had some sort of a proposition for them. Unfortunately for that, Khadim-17 had reached his own conclusions: his encyclopedia database said that Sith Lords were more-or-less mythical beings of ultimate evil, on a par with various other demons and evil gods, and that bargaining with such entities – or even listening to them – was invariably a bad move. Moreover, from personal observation, listening to the promptings of the “Dark Side” made people explode. This was a bad thing. Therefore he turned off his audio circuits and proceeded to stun anyone who showed any signs of listening to Mr Sith Lord. Waking up with a headache was better than exploding.
Mr Sith Lord seemed to become pretty frustrated – but lost them when they jumped into hyperspace anyway. They never did find out what he wanted.
It was serious conference time. They might be able to explain to most of the Jedi – at least if Lesin made it out and/or they listened to Telera – but that would still leave the Sith, (probably) the Republic, assorted law enforcement groups, some bounty hunters, any unconvinced Jedi, and at least a couple of underworld organizations on the “hostile” (or at least really upset) list. On the positive side, they had a ship – even if it was still in need of various repairs – quite a lot of weaponry, most of the Republic and a basic set of Sith codes (lifted from the ship they’d stolen), a modest amount of cash, some Jedi databases and a few obscure artifacts, Keldav, Khadim-18, 10CH, Garyan (the replacement character for Arak; the Wookiee player hadn’t made it since the mess at Surkiant), Handell, Telera, and a couple of force-sensitive youngsters. Keldav was beginning to consider trying to found his own order. There HAD to be a better way to handle force-sensitives! He wasn’t sure if the others would be up for that though. After all, Telera, Handell, Garyan, and the Kids could just quietly disembark next time they hit a planet. It wasn’t like they were committed to any great purpose.