Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 16

   As usual, Kira’s player log has been edited and expanded, so that it can serve as a general campaign log as well.

   I didn’t think we were ready to face the predators of Kahranoth yet. While those things were my best bet for learning more about the Anti-Force, the fact that the records maintained that it took several Jedi to kill one was most disturbing. Telera and I weren’t going to cut it, and I had my doubts on how effective the rest of the group would be against a predator that could paralyze people with a glance.

   Well, besides being used as distractions. Some of them have really useful talents that would be hard to replace if they were killed. I don’t think I am taking a cynical view on the value of life, but when several members of the group have shown predilections for finding superweapons or designing universe destruction devices, can I really be blamed for taking an indifferent view on their well-being?

   Meanwhile the Furipedes were busily repairing, tweaking and tuning the repaired hyperdrive. Jarik was busily studying one of them that volunteered to sit in the medical bay while he poked at it. Once again Jarik commented that his medical skill didn’t seem to apply at all to these creatures – but that he was rapidly collecting enough information for a major dissertation. I commented again on my idea that maybe the ability to learn languages and medical knowledge for all species in the galaxy easily was because all carbon based life could potentially have a single common ancestor.

   Shipwreck didn’t seem to understand as these creatures just looked like furry centipede creatures – and “of course” they would be similar to us. While that may be the case, the fact remains that on a very fundamental level, I have more in common with algae, rancors, and mushrooms than with the Furipedes.

   The other thing that has got my brain thinking is the strong resemblance between the Furipedes and droids. Indeed it was easier to explain to the base crew that the Furipedes were a type of droid we salvaged than to try and explain that this was a fundamentally alien species running around in the conduits. Is it possible that our creation of droids stems from some sort of deepseated urge to fill the gap caused by the lack of silicon based life in the galaxy?

   If that’s the case, then droids are pale imitations of the real thing if this single species is any clue.

   The topic came up again regarding our next destination. The general consensus seemed to be favoring Kahranoth as our next target. With that said, most of the group agreed with my assessment of our chances without some good preparations and plans in place first. I voted for pursuing another matter while we continue to plan and strategize on how to capture a creature that could nullify our advantages and readily overpower anyone here.

   That suggestion was also agreed to by everyone involved in the decision making and so the topic turned to what to work on next. The suggestion came up from someone, possibly even me although I forget, to try and salvage some of those Orb satellites around the Furipede world. Those power sources would come in handy for powering the hyperdrive we would need to move the base and for some of the experiments Ben and I wanted to run. Plus it would help with evacuating the planet once our production systems got ramped up.

   Everyone agreed to that plan, although I could tell Alys was disappointed to not be going hunting as quickly as she had anticipated. Strange, she gets her leg nearly torn off fighting a relatively minor animal and she gets eager to find the next big monster to kill. Ben reacts in the completely opposite fashion – now he’s deathly afraid of trees, jellyfish, and who knows what else.

   I do this stuff because I have no choice, on the other hand, the rest of this bunch seems to actively delight in throwing themselves into new ways to get themselves killed. Ben I was certain was going to move into the Jedi Temple on Coruscant where it was safe, but he was one of the first to want to leave again. I’ll be damned if I understand any of these people.

   While Handell prepared the ship to leave Jageroth and head back to the Furipede world, I mentioned to the authorities I would like if they would hunt for the datacard from the wreckage of the shuttle that fell apart into the ocean. At first they were hesitant to oblige – more of the “those experiments led to mass death, why would we want to look into them?” idea again – and I felt a little mischievious in response. Spinning a few nightmare scenarios of the Sith dropping hyper-accelerated soldiers onto battlefields to wipe out Republic positions seemed to get them eager to go looking for the datacard.

   Sometimes it amazes me how much resistance people will put up against ideas that are in their best interests, even if the whole things still gives me a headache. How can such variable timerates co-exist like that?

   Ben was a bit confused… The Republic military seemed to rather casually dismiss the various superweapons by simply assuming that they were never cost-effective and that they never worked properly anyway. But they demonstratably HAD! Alderaan still sported a crater eighty miles across, and there were plenty of devastated worlds in the galaxy! What was WRONG with these people?

   We left Jageroth shortly thereafter and returned to the Furipede world. The world was much as we left it with forty of the Orbs in orbit around the planet. Suggestions started on how to salvage one since it was likely that the Orbs would resist in some fashion.

   Someone suggested Ben try to crack the passcode again but Ben wasn’t keen on that. We couldn’t download any passcodes from the network since this stuff predated the Republic. Someone suggested mindcontrolling the maintenance crew, but I was against that until we knew more about the nature of the crew. Remotely manipulating them with the force seemed impractical. I suggested draining the neutronium supply so that it would be easier to capture, but no one had any good ideas on how to do that with the resources we had available. That left the suggestion to board the satellite.

   Shipwreck then proceeded to announce that he was going to scan the Orb for the computer codes needed to take control. Ben and I figured this was flat out impossible but Shipwreck insisted and fired up that Sensor Pack of Omniscience again. I felt the Force twist and churn around him in a most disturbing fashion as he went to work.

   Shipwreck was able to give pretty detailed scans and details on the structure and armament of the Orbs plus an excellent readout on the frequencies and modulation that their communication systems used. But thankfully (at least for my sanity), reality remained coherent and he was unable to scan the computer codes out of the computer memory or instantly break the communications codes – although Ben was getting quite excited about where he thought that Shipwreck WAS getting the information from. Theoreticians. Was that really important?

   The weaponry on the things was considerable, with multiple anti-capital ship weapons and orbital bombardment weapons on each one. But between sensor limitations, and firing angle issues, the Orbs would have a harder time dealing with anything smaller than a frigate. Speculation then focused on whether Handell felt he could get into a blind spot before we were blown out of the sky – possibly via a microjump so as to minimize the time spent dodging major weapons fire.

   I was noncommital and told Handell that if he didn’t think he could do it then I wouldn’t go with that plan either. Lazlo apparently took this plan as a threat to Handell’s safety as he proceeded to volunteer to use his fighter to sneak aboard the Orb. Handell proceeded to whip up calculations for Lazlo to use.

   Handell had some pretty severe doubts about his ability to execute – or compute – or for even a computer to time – a microjump with a tolerance of about a hundred feet either way. There weren’t many feats of piloting he had doubts about – but that was asking for a miracle! Still, if Lazlo wanted to try it… He told the kid it was suicide, but no one ever listened!

   Ben and Shipwreck volunteered to ride along with Lazlo on this venture. I was just as keen to stay on the Asrai as anything. I figured this was those protective instincts of Lazlo’s leaping into danger so that Handell wouldn’t be exposed to it and soon we would be missing a cat. Now we would be losing our sensor/demolitions expert and our superweapon engineer but once again I found myself rather indifferent to the whole matter. They volunteered and had shown tendencies on the extreme violence side anyway. Besides? Who knew? They might actually accomplish something.

   Jarik started taking bets on Lazlo and the rest returning safely. Various members of the group placed bets and while I did not bet, I was certain this was going to be a suicide mission at best. Alys and I started debating ways we could try and support the others. While we could certainly draw fire away from them, our ability to take a single hit was nonexistent. Chucking rocks wasn’t a smart idea either since we could potentially throw them in Lazlo’s path due to time delay issues. Never mind the issues with the intense radiation bursts they would give off after being consumed. Sadly I couldn’t think of anyway to support them except watching and waiting.

   There wasn’t all that much to watch while they were in hyperspace and once they dropped out, the massive hail of weapons fire obscured the view as well. Only way we knew they survived was when the communication came in that they landed successfully. From the damage report they weren’t in any condition to escape again without assistance.

   Lazlo and company had quite a time there… The main anti-capital ship and surface-bombardment weapons couldn’t really fire on a fighter, but the missile launchers, ion systems, and smaller lasers certainly could. Shipwreck had picked up on a few damaged systems, and the resulting gaps in the coverage – but those would only be useful close in.

   The microjump actually brought them close – but not close enough. The first volley nearly fried them, the second came close enough to partially melt the canopy (and blow the onboard life support) despite Lazlo’s frantic dodging, Bens attempt to provide precognitive advice, and Shipwrecks attempt to jam the sensors. Fortunately, everyone was already dressed for space… Lazlo brought them in in a wild, twisting, corkscrew – inadvertently aided by misfiring engines – but managed to crashland in one of the target areas. They nearly bounced back into space – and range of the weaponry – again, but managed to get the magnetic grapnels working in time.

   Trying to cross to one of the maintenance hatches nearly got htem all flung into space, as the Orb spun around the neutronium reserve at the center – using it as a counterweight – to redirect it’s planetary-bombardment weaponry at the Asrai. Still, they had no choice now; the ship was in no shape to retreat – and even after the systems rebooted, they’d have little chance of getting out again with the damage they already had.

   Alys and I were about to discuss how to evacuate them when we both got hailed. Although I had trouble placing the language, what I got sounded like the automated defense system wanted us to withdraw immediately. I was about to try and argue and stall for time when suddenly the Orb whipped around – how could something that heavy spin so quickly? – and pointed it’s primary weapons at the Asrai. I opened my mouth to tell Handell to pull us back immediately, but he was already jumping the ship into hyperspace (despite the damage that caused and the murderous difficulty of the stunt). Alys in her ship followed us.

   Once again, I was not strapped in as we made the jump to hyperspace as I was flung back against a bulkhead hard. At least this time I had some warning this was coming and managed to cushion my impact enough to escape with only minor brusing. Better than having my atoms scattered across the star system in my book.

   Dropping out of hyperspace about 20 light minutes away, we took stock of the situation. Alys gave me a dirty look for leaving the area. Well it wasn’t like my ability to take an anti-capital ship shot was any good so I failed to see what getting blown up would accomplish in supporting the others. I couldn’t tell if her comment about having this all figured out was sincere or sarcastic. I thought about pointing out that she left as well, but held my tongue.

   Alys hadn’t been that serious – but she’d be busy repairing the Dusk Gryphon for the next few hours. Her own emergency jump out hadn’t been as fast as Handells, but the fact that the Orb had been targeting the Asrai – and not her – had given her a chance. How did the man pull off that kind of maneuver without blowing half the circuits on the Asrai every time?

   Back on the Orb, Ben and Shipwreck were frantically trying to bypass the security protocols and get into the airlock before the thing managed to throw them all into space – and get them back in range of the guns. Unfortunately, cracking the airlock brought the maintenance crew out of stasis.

   The Rakata crews were fully aware of how long it had been. They had volunteered for this duty, knowing that it might outlast the Infinite Empire, since the elders had considered the Ranath (their name for the centipede-creatures) a threat to the race. While most of the other extra-galactic intruders had proved relatively easy to destroy, the Ranath had been found surviving on devastated wrecks. They appeared to be able to survive massive doses of radiation, the vacuum of space, and terrific shocks and extremes of temperature. Combined with their stasis technology, that meant that blowing up the planet might merely scatter the creatures – and there would be no intercepting a trillion planetary fragments.

   However, if they were kept from building any significant power sources, they could launch no ships – which meant that a planetary gravity well was a near-certain method of containment. They understood their duty. Still, visitors meant intelligence on the current state of the galaxy – which meant that communication came before extermination. They set things up to eliminate the intruders if necessary, and opened a communications link.

   Lazlo, Ben, and Shipwreck were in no position to threaten – so they tried claiming to be archeologists – or perhaps smugglers or tomb robbers since they weren’t too good at the language – investigating ancient relics of a long-defunct civilization.

   The Rakata were willing to accept the notion that their civilization might well be defunct – at more than 50,000 years, that was quite possible – but they were less than pleased to be informed that the Ranath had ALREADY escaped. That changed the priority to re-establishing the Infinite Empire to hunt them down IF – and it was a big IF – the Infinite Empire had actually fallen rather then merging into this “Republic”, secretly dominating it, or simply allowing it to exist while maintaining it’s own territories. They had been ordered to maintain a perpetual quarantine, and they intended to carry out those orders.

   The Rakata were amphibians – and normally spawned hundreds of offspring who spent their early years competing as free-swimming, non-sapient, predators. That left them with a limited time to spend on education, hence they tended to be highly focused and specialized. Unfortunately, they were also arrogant, xenophobic, and inclined to believe that they were superior to all other races. When the intruder-races had appeared on the borders of the Infinite Empire, and had refused to submit to the Empire’s control, the Elders had sent the military into battle.

   They sent out the signal for pickup. If they got a proper response, they could withdraw to fight again. If not, they would see what else they could do.

   We were discussing how to rescue or support the others when Ben hailed us to inform us that they were talking to the maintenance crew and needed help talking. With some time and effort we were able to place the language as belonging to the extinct Rakata of the defunct Infinite Empire. Well that neatly fit into what we understood of the timeline of events, even if it pushed things back another 20,000 years.

   This also made things incredibly difficult as the Rakata were reputed to be warlike nutjobs with a massive superiority complex. Any discussion about how the quarantine was irrelevant with the Infinite Empire gone was brushed aside with their single-minded devotion to their orders. Not much point in trying to mind control that as that intense devotion to a cause would be impossible to derail.

   I ended up muting my end of the conversation as I was getting tired of this superiority and intense devotion nonsense. I was severely tempted to tell them off completely but that wasn’t going to help the bunch stuck out there at all. Turning off that microphone was a difficult thing to do.

   Ben breathed a massive sigh of relief when they finally persuaded Kira to SHUT UP. Kira was at a safe distance; they were the ones who were trying to persuade this group not to kill them – and Kira’s constant sniping and insults were hardly likely to be helpful!

   We did learn the proper name for the Furipedes (at least according to the Infinite Empire) was “Ranath” and that the Elder Council has ordered a perpetual quarantine of the place. They didn’t destroy the planet either because they thought the Ranath would escape on some of the debris flung out into space. Either the Ranath were a lot more durable than I believed, or the Rakata were stupidly paranoid in addition to being psychotic nutjobs.

   Informing the Rakata that it was impossible to quarantine a population that had already escaped did not go as well as I would have thought. They understood that their empire was long dead and yet they still wanted to signal for orders on how to proceed? I’ve met droids more imaginative and independent than this.

   This also accelerated our time table significantly. Who knew who out there might have picked up that transmission and is now running here? We didn’t have the time or resources to build a convincing bluff or to think of another way around this mess. Time to get the Republic involved then.

   The group made frantic efforts to persuade the Republic to impersonate the Infinite Empire and send some ships to pick up the Rakata and “withdraw the troops”. The Republic was NOT keen on accepting another set of militaristic types, but eventually bowed to the logic of trying to get all the weapons away from the militaristic lunatics before “someone else” (like the Sith) scooped them up. Fortunately, Jarik determined that the Kreedath Berserkers were descendants of the Rakata – and thus might be acceptable as responders.

   Ben tried to negotiate for a salvage fee – but didn’t do that well. After all, they were asking the Republic to do a lot of the work.

   Our finder’s fee was cut from 10% to 5% due to the Republic having to do a lot of the work involved. That still left us with two of the Orbs in our possession. The Repubic also wasn’t happy about this species of nutjobs either. Not sure what to tell them other than to drop them on an uninhabited planet with a little equipment and wait for the few thousand years it will take for them to develop industry and hyperdrive again. Although I doubt they will do that.

   The Ranath confirmed that, while they could survive in space for limited periods of time, surviving the destruction of the planet was unlikely. Well good to see that that was relatively sane too.

   Jarik was busily compiling his notes on Ranath biology and was getting ready to publish his findings. While silicon-based “organic” molecules could be assembled, they didn’t normally replicate well – for reasons that were pretty poorly understood. The Ranath’s – of course – DID. But there didn’t seem to be any real physical difference in the molecular structure. Still, the metal-salts-and-semiconductor nervous systems were unique, and a lot of the other details – including the bioelectronic toolkits that had been genetically engineered into their exoskeletons – were certainly new to the galaxy.

   Jarik kept babbling on about biological details. What tidbits I did understand reminded me a lot of one of the Sith bioweapons projects we stumbled across. A bit of further digging – and asking Jarik questions – revealed that there was a lot more in common between the Ranath and the Sith Bioweapons than a simple similarity. Quite a lot of bits were identical… I suspected that the Sith had stumbled across a Ranath survivor that had been stuffed into stasis and dissected him to learn how to make the weapons. Either that or the Sith had come across another related species that was part of the same intergalactic expedition.

   Jarik wanted to go to Coruscant to publish his findings, but I was against heading back there. My headache had finally left and I was not keen on heading back to that world again anytime soon. I was willing to stop at a major Republic world and let him find transport to Coruscant and then pick him up again once he was done. Jarik said he would consider it.

   Jarik was actually giving way to “Mad Scientist Syndrome”. Silicon-based humans might have all kinds of advantages!

   While he did that and some of the others did their own research projects, I figured it was time to look into what it would take to generate an antimatter crystal and see how it differed from normal matter crystals. I am probably going to have to learn how to talk to the Ranath better than I can at the moment though for that to get anywhere. Spending hours to get across the simplest concepts was extremely frustrating.

   Besides, this would give Alys and Ben time to figure out how to capture a predator capable of readily killing Jedi. My notion for using repulsor droids armed with darts coated with paralyzing lizard venom wasn’t exactly met with enthusiasm. Something about it not being sporting.

2 Responses

  1. […] Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav: Session Sixteen […]

  2. […] Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav: Session Sixteen […]

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