Here we have a somewhat expanded version of Kira’s in-character log for session eight of the Star Wars game…
With the characters free to knock around Alderaan, if not to depart – thinks to the ongoing republic search for Sith infiltrators – most of them went on working on their own projects (although Lazlo, feeling purposeless without Handell being around to protect, got towed off by some kids – and Ben had to rent a small warehouse to store all the parts and systems he bought).
Kira spent time with his family and friends.
I really didn’t want to leave, but until I can come to some kind of terms with the Dark Side I can’t stay here. After bidding my family and friends farewell I went off to find the others.
Jarik was apparently busy justifying his child psychology techniques to the parents and a medical review board – but he apparently managed to persuade them that scaring the hell out of the kids was, indeed, a legitimate medical approach when the problem was insufficient fear. For a medic, he had a real silver tongue – unless it was just another way of expressing his gambling fixation; would he get away with it this time?
Shipwreck was the first to get in touch. He apparently wanted to loot some old tourist attraction (the Natcheon Crater, said to be where some super-battleship or something called the Natcheon had crashed) from an old Sith war. He and Ben had already been poking around on a deepwater tour, and sending out probe-drones, and they got into a feverish discussion about what might be down there and why someone might not have looted it already.
From the records, it looked like some sort of Sith superweapon that was supposed to send the core of the planet into hyperspace, leaving the remains to break apart in dramatic fashion. Either the weapon crashed into Alderaan before working, or it blew itself up under the load while leaving a crater over 60 kilometers in diameter. I didn’t see much chance for any loot but decided to sit in on the conversation anyway. Even if there was loot to be had, being 40 kilometers down at the bottom of a pit in the ocean was not going to be practical to get to with our resources.
OK, pretty much not with any level of resources that anyone was likely to have available – or might be willing to waste on a wild goose chase. It wasn’t like Alderaan was big on chasing after remotely-possible superweapons anyway – and whatever it was obviously hadn’t worked to begin with.
Shipwreck determined that the crater wasn’t a blast crater liked I and everyone else had assumed. (OK, maybe some geologists somewhere had proven otherwise, but who would notice?) Apparently it was a collapse crater that formed when a sphere of crust many kilometers wide vanished entirely. Alright, I suppose if the weapon was shunted into hyperspace with the sphere, there might be loot to be had if we can find the sphere. Alderaan didn’t gain any moons during the war so it wasn’t going to be that simple. Given the amount of material involved, it probably still had to be in system somewhere as we doubted the weapon had enough power to shunt it out the system.
A quick review of the records from two millennia ago revealed nothing of use on the matter. Ben decided to pay an expert to comb the records and see if anything useful could be found.
Meanwhile, Alys was getting swindled by a photographic safari tour. Yet another group was illegally taking tour groups into the preserves to go photographing the animals while charging exorbitant fees. The authorities have been trying to put a stop to the practice for as long as I can remember and probably even longer than that. At least she can afford to get swindled, although I must admit she is a tad bit too trusting with how she hands out money. Apparently she’d run the thing to the satisfaction of all the participants after the “organizers” had skipped out too.
I sat there thinking of ways to lure out our mysterious woman while Ben, Shipwreck and their scholar pointed at charts and argued incessantly. I could not think of any way to flush her out without being blatantly obvious about it. Plus there was the fact she let the others live. Too many questions and not enough answers to get anywhere.
Eventually Shipwreck and company found three asteroids with unusual orbits, compositions, and that had recently been molten in the last few millennia. Records even indicated they might have broken apart from the same original rock. Not having any better ideas, I agreed to tag along with the rest of them while they scouted asteroids. The party was gotten together again, Ben got Handell to land after agreeing to pay his fines for him, and Shipwreck bought a drilling laser.
The Republic was willing to let us leave the planet since the local government was requesting that we leave too. Ben loaded all his parts and equipment onto the Nightraptor for our base and everyone got on board. Handell took us to each of the asteroids in turn while Shipwreck ran the sensor systems. I found myself sitting at one of the viewports looking back at Alderaan daydreaming during the whole event. Eventually Shipwreck announced he had found something near the center of either the second or the third rock we looked at, I couldn’t keep them straight.
I couldn’t make out what it was that Shipwreck was seeing in his scanner results either – it looked like pure noise to me and to the computers (maybe he was another force-sensitive, and was simply using the random noise on the screen like a crystal ball or something?) – but he swore that there was something down there.
It was decided to split into two groups again. Handell, Telera, the kids, Khadim, and 10CH would take the supplies and recruits to the base under construction. Shipwreck, Ben, Jarik, Alys, Lazlo and I would stay behind on the asteroid to commence digging and investigating. I left the digging and such to Ben and Shipwreck again as they tunneled through kilometers of solid rock to whatever anomaly Shipwreck had found. Alys and Jarik watched the drilling with curiosity.
I stayed on the surface watching the stars while they worked. Since leaving Alderaan, a sense of dread has been building up inside me and I did not know it’s source. I was never very good about seeing visions of the future like many Force Sensitives or especially people like Ben. Except for a few seconds of precognition during battle, all I get are vague feelings and intuitions from time to time. I knew I was worrying myself over something I had little control over, but there wasn’t much to keep me occupied either way.
Shipwreck finally announced they had reached the target anomaly and – after some tunneling around – had found a door. Well, a door at the center of an asteroid was worth investigating I think. It looked like Ben and Shipwreck were really onto something other than a wild bantha chase. The door itself was unremarkable besides the fact it was in the middle of an asteroid. Definite signs of heat damage and no power whatsoever. Computer system looked to be fried as well. Ben went to work trying to hack his system into taking control of what was left of the door. I briefly contemplated slicing open the door with my lightsaber but really did not like the idea of opening the ship to vacuum with me in the way.
Suddenly a female voice came over the intercom:
(Voice) Now I knew I would find you at the bottom of some hole Kira, but I never thought it would be one you would dig yourself.
Oh no, I knew that voice. Valerie Soung was here.
(Me) Come to take your turn at trying to take me in then?
(Valerie) Or kill you.
Well damn, Valerie wasn’t the type to be provoked into trying to capture me when she had a very good chance at killing me. Not when she stands to lose her advantage. Think fast Kira, she’s going to kill me if I don’t do something fast. Alright time to bluff. This at least identified who knocked out Shipwreck and Alys with one hit each. I was better off not knowing I think.
(Me) Just to warn you, I am down here with a Sith superweapon, do you really think it a good idea to leave me down here with it? I mean, if I was you, I would either come down here and kill me to ensure I don’t use it against you or call my bluff and wait for me to come back up the shaft.
(Valerie) You disappoint me Kira, I had been expecting more from you. A pity.
Damn, that didn’t work. Climbing out and trying to overpower her wasn’t going to be pretty. I suspect we would lose about half to two thirds of the party if we tried that. Odds were better if we got her to come to us, since we have the mining laser, but she was too smart to fall for that.
Shipwreck detected an object heading down the shaft towards us at highspeed and accelerating fast. Looks like Valerie came prepared. Slicing open the door so that we could get into the ship wasn’t going to do us any good when the torpedo blastwave followed us in. Shipwreck’s insane idea of disarming the thing as it passed by wasn’t going to do any good either given the kinetic energy involved. Ben wasn’t having much luck getting the door operational so that we could open it and then shut it behind us. Not many options left. If we could somehow detonate the torpedo prematurely then we might stand a chance.
Shipwreck then proceeded to surprise me when he whipped around the tunneling laser and locked it onto the center of the torpedo. The torpedo exploded while some distance away and knocked loose a portion of the tunnel wall to block the passage. Subsequent explosions could be felt as I assumed Valerie was taking no chances and sealing us in thoroughly with more explosives. We were trapped.
Quick inventory determined we had less than eight hours of air left before we ran into problems. The rest of our supplies were back on the surface where Valerie was. Drilling back out was probably going to take the better part of a week unless we went back up the shaft – which probably wasn’t blocked for too far, but which would take us right back out in front of Valerie, when she’d be fresh, well-supplied, equipped with more explosives, and we’d be short of air. She was probably counting on it.
Ben finally managed to get the door operational – or at least to get power hooked up to the emergency opening system. Plan at this point was to see if we could get life support on the ship back operational and either wait for help or tunnel back out.
Once inside the ship my heart sank. The place was obviously subjected to intense heat for a sustained period of time. Even the paint had been baked off the walls. No wonder the door didn’t work. The odds of finding anything functional down here were slim to none. Ben and Shipwreck went off to find environmental control to see what could be done. They asked me to cut open the door and I was glad to oblige having something to do for a moment. Once inside they made an inventory of what parts they needed and sent Alys and I off to hunt for parts to steal.
Alys had some luck finding parts (even if the plastic packaging was melted into blobs) while I found myself just milling around with my thoughts to keep me company. It occurred to me that if Valerie was sloppy and had already left, plus I killed the others and took their air, I might be able to make it back to the surface in time. Of course, that presumed she left, and had left the supplies behind. I dismissed the thought as unproductive and exactly the sort of thing Valerie was hoping to achieve. I wasn’t sure I could look Dorothy in the eye again if I did that either.
As my thoughts became darker and harder to ignore, I went back to environmental control and began the emotional control meditations Telera taught me while practicing the oxygen conservation technique my Master had taught me. Valerie’s presence was certainly disrupting my cool.
Lazlo meanwhile had found some shuttle craft in the shuttle bay – along with the remains of the crew. Fearing a Force ghost of some Sith, I decided to have a look myself. A quick review determined the crew was pretty much mummified jerkey at this point, the remains of the launched shuttles could be found in the asteroid wall, and there were still some shuttles remaining. Strangely, no remains of any Sith though, looked to all be minions. The remaining shuttles looked like they were meant for atmospheric entry during combat and so were well heat-shielded. It looked like some of them might even be salvagable even because of that. I asked Lazlo to begin salvaging what he could. He was also going on with his “the robes are the source of force powers!” “Theory” again, but that really wasn’t worth considering…
We also noticed scrapping marks on the floor indicating one of the shuttles had been moved somewhere else on board. While Lazlo pulled parts, I followed the trail to see what the crew thought they were doing. I figured they were retreating into the very center of the ship where it was cool to await a rescue that never came.
The trail went into the very bowels of the ship. Things here still looked to be in working condition surprisingly. I saw massive power generators and something that looked like a hyperdrive of some sort. There was plenty of evidence of a rush job to hot wire something with all the spliced cable and torn open cabinets. The trail led to the very center of the hyperdrive system and then vanished.
Wait, wasn’t this weapon supposed to shunt the target into hyperspace? What if the crew turned the targeting inside and aimed it at a shuttle? Now that would be a clever escape attempt to try, if a bit desperate. Well, I may not be crazy, but I am certainly desperate right now. I called Ben over to have a look.
Ben and Shipwreck had gotten the air system working, at least for a few days. The air wasn’t exactly clean and wouldn’t be safe to breathe for long, but it was better than the mixture of nitrogen and toxic fumes atmosphere that was in the ship. Lazlo also managed to get one of the shuttles operational again which bought us another few days worth of air.
Alright, that bought us just about enough air to drill our way out. Sadly, while this was a big ship, it wasn’t big enough to come close to the surface anywhere. Debate then began on whether it was safer to drill out and see if our hunter was still out there or to try to use the escape route the crew has used. I really didn’t have much faith in our ability to overpower Valerie without heavy casualties. The others weren’t real big on throwing ourselves into a two millennia old weapon. Debate went on for some time before it was decided there was no good plan for getting out before Valerie killed us. Hyperspace weapon it was then.
Maybe we could just use it to call for help? It looked like the reason it had survived intact was massive cooling systems – enough to let it operate for several hours, since the rock outside would absorb heat nicely, but then it would have to stay off for weeks or months, since it would also coll pretty slowly. Ok. We could send a call, but we couldn’t stick around to see if it was answered.
Ben busily got the weapon operational again while we got the shuttle into the target area. I imagine most of the documentation on this thing was fried, and without more time to study it, determining where the other end of the tunnel was targeted was impossible. Eventually Ben gave the thumbs up and we all climbed aboard the shuttle. Ben’s precognition indicated that we could – if we were lucky and skilled in piloting – enter hyperspace safely. Lazlo took the controls and plunged the shuttle into the hyperspace tunnel. He really was pretty good, if not as skilled as Handell.
Well Valerie, let’s see how disappointed you are when I survive this.
The transition to hyperspace felt weird on a lot of levels. Passing through the mass of the asteroid was one odd sensation. The other was the fact that it felt like we didn’t enter hyperspace so much as space overlapped hyperspace for a moment and left us behind in hyperspace. Lazlo announced that dampeners of some sort had failed due to overload. I had no clue what that meant but the taste of sand in my mouth was a bad sign.
Within moment we exited hyperspace and found ourselves around a habitable world. It certainly didn’t look like Alderaan. We orbited a few times while discussing options. I eventually was able to identify the world from my old Sith history lessons as an old Sith world that was bombed back to the stone age some time ago. Looked like the radiation and other ill effects of the bombing had mostly worn off.
By this time I was certain my body was not doing particularly well. Looked like we had all picked up extra silicon after going through the asteroid in hyperspace. I was certain that with Jarik’s medical expertise and my own inner control I could survive, but the others may have problems for a while. It had been hell on the shuttle systems and our equipment as well.
It was decided we needed to build a subspace transmitter to call to Handell for rescue. We needed some metal and a couple vacuum tubes to construct it. Well in space, all you needed was some wire to make vacuum tubes, but metal was going to be hard to come by. Looked like we needed to land and scavenge in the cities for the materials we needed. This seems to be a recurring theme with us lately.
The landing was not the smoothest I’ve experienced, but considering there was no traffic control, no navigational beacons, and the shuttle was two millennia old and half it’s systems were full of microscopic particles from the asteroid, I have to give Lazlo credit on getting us down in one piece. While the others sat around and argued over what to do next, I disembarked and had a look around.
Green grass, blue sky, trees of some sort, warm temperatures and water indicated we could probably survive here a while. Suddenly six limbed lizard creatures larger than me wielding stone weapons of all things leapt up from the grass and pointed their spears at me. Not making any threatening gestures or moves, I waited for them to make the next move. One of them spoke in Cellosian (wasn’t that a feline or canine language?) asking if I was a god or a demon.
I immediately recalled a holo where a very similar question came up and determined the best idea was probably to answer that I was a god. That seemed to satisfy the primitives who lowered their spears and proceeded to tell me a tale of how the gods left a long time ago after the demons came and destroyed the cities. Sounded like a highly bastardized version of the Jedi/Sith war to me but there was no need to quibble.
We apparently had to prove ourselves to the locals and hunt some monster as part of their ritual of adulthood like their youth had to undergo. Well, if a bunch of youth armed with stones and sharpened sticks could do it, then surely we could armed with modern weaponry. Alys leapt at the idea immediately and began asking questions about what sort of creature this monster was like.
It was a large lizard hexapod that spat a paralytic venom of some sort. It ate other creatures and even sapients like a classic large predator. It was supposed to have excellent senses. Interestingly it got smarter, faster, stronger, and more durable whenever it ate someone. When was was killed, the contents of it’s stomach were always found to be fresh despite however long ago it may have eaten last. This sounded to me like a Force monotalent not unlike one of the Sith bio weapon experiments we ran across. I was willing to bet the contents of it’s stomach was kept in a sort of stasis as the creature fed off the meal’s abilities and health. Whenever the meal finally died, it was time to grab another one.
Well this could be tricky. No wonder the locals had such a high casualty rate killing these things.
We were invited to dinner the night before the hunt. Ben decided to stay in the shuttle and eat rations, pretending to be a slave of ours – and trying to fix some things. My lightsaber would be a strain to use until the impurities burned out of the crystal, the performance of everything else was seriously degraded, and the more delicate circuits weren’t working at all. There was a weapons locker aboard – banned painguns, ancient blaster pistols, variable grenades (bloody expensive toys there), and knives. Well, at least those still worked reliably.
The rest of us ate and drank. Shipwreck either drank but didn’t eat or drank so much more that his food didn’t have a chance to digest. The rest of us were in pain the next morning and Jarik had to treat us all for food poisoning.
I could have sworn that I learned that food was compatible across the galaxy due to the panasperma effect. Either the food was toxic, or our systems were still having issues recovering from the excess silicon in our bodies. Either way, this put a time limit on how long we can stay here before we starved. Best to get this hunt over with soon so that we can get the transmitter built.
According to Jarik, the local ecosphere apparently contained a serious excess of metals. Oh. The place must have suffered a major bombardment. Well, that helped place it. Given what the locals had to say, and what could be gotten from the shuttle’s instruments, it looked like we were on Varidean – an old Sith homeworld. Just great. Evidently smaller masses could be sent a lot further – and the previous escapees had jumped themselves home. Sith Bioweapons, Sith Superweapons, Sith Planets… This was going to look SO good if it got out.
Ben elected to stay behind and teach the locals how to smelt iron. I wasn’t sure that was a good idea, but we were going to need a smelter anyway. Oddly they decided to build it on another tribe’s land. Go figure.
Actually, the locals had many legends about attempts to recover the powers of the gods. They pretty much all wound up with “and then the Demons came and killed everyone nearby”. If you had a budding scientist in the tribe, you donated him or her to your enemies.
It looked like we had three choices for hunting grounds: the coast, the jungle and the city ruins. The coast was likely going to involve chasing the things underwater which I did not look forward to. The jungle was less dangerous, but the sheer amount of life was going to saturate my senses. Plus there wasn’t going to be any metal to steal for our transmitter. The city ruins was going to have the most agressive creatures, but it would also have abundant metals and less life to interfere with my senses. I elected for the city but left the decision up to Alys who did this sort of thing all the time.
Alys elected to take us into the alleyways of the city where we might be better able to defend ourselves from attack. We also took some of the youngsters with us as guides. We were given stone weapons to use, which I took mine to humor them. One of the youngsters wanted to bring a shield but was hesitant to seem cowardly. When I pointed out I was carrying one, he seemed to cheer up and took his along with a bit of a bounce in his step.
Oh dear, they see us as gods, so I just probably spawned some new religion of the shield now. At least he was more likely to survive the coming fight this way. I doubt few youngsters around here can say they get to go with a galactic hunter and a Force trained with a lightsaber.
Time to get some metal and to kill a monster. Maybe I should be a bit concerned that this is becoming routine for me. Getting off this rock before I starved was once again making me desperate.
Besides, a giant man-eating lizard is a lot easier to face than Valerie any day.
I’m also out of sunscreen, damn.