As usual, this is a combination of Kira’s player log and inserted material on the activities of the other characters to allow it to serve as a general session log.
With most of the group was in for weeks of medical treatment, Lazlo was enroute to Jerondal in his stealth-coated fighter to get back to Handell – and was running into some problems.
While there no longer appeared to be any major ships in orbit around the planet, there were a fair number of small ones. He headed for the largest apparent gap in coverage – only to discover, when he passed far too closely over a black ship-outline silhouetted against the clouds, that there was a “stealth” star destroyer intht gap – presumably using the same electromagnetic-diffusion coating that he was. The ore was the most unique natural resource of the planet after all. Was this why the Sith had wanted the place? Over and above seeing a weakly defended republic world?
Not that he had much time to think about it while frantically dodging. His fighter was well shielded, but the energies emitted by an active drive couldn’t be concealed – and at this range there was no hope of being overlooked. He considered firing for a brief moment – and then realized how utterly insane that would be.
In return, he wasn’t blown into fragments with missiles – but only his superior reflexes and the fact that the diffusion-coating also dissipated tractor beams (even if it did turn part of the energy into enough hard radiation to half-fry his fighters systems and ensure that he’d need treatment again later on) let him pull off a tight, high-speed, pass across the Star Destroyer and plunge into the upper atmosphere, with several fighters and assault shuttles in hot pursuit.
A few twists down the ravines in high-interference areas lost some of the pursuit – but left him with enough additional systems damage to send him into a semi-crash landing, a skid down the slope, and an eventual collision with a tree. Meanwhile, the last couple of shuttles were landing and unloading droid-troops.
There was a bit of harassment from the locals with mining explosives, but nothing particularly effective against real troops. Still, was a diversion that bought him a couple of minutes.
Lazlo still had a few functioning weapons – so he fired the few items which were pointing in roughly the right direction and then tried rigging the shields as an improvised repulsorlift to get some ground maneuverability. Unfortunately, since his fighter lacked any kind of ground-stabilizing system, all he managed to do was send it skidding wildly down the slopes until it finally flipped into a ravine. Still, he had skidded quite a distance, wasn’t too badly hurt, and was in a decent place to hide the ship…
As a bonus, he was only a few hundred miles away from the right location and Jerondal really wasn’t too dangerous if you didn’t try to go rock-climbing and didn’t need electronics to survive. It took him several days to make the trip, but it wasn’t actually much trouble
Along the way he pretty much determined that the Sith had completed their experiments, decided that they did indeed want a supply of the energy-dissipating ore for stealth-coatings (despite it’s extensive set of disadvantages)- and had started extorting it from the locals with threats.
Fortunately, when he arrived, the Furripedes had the Asrai pretty well fixed up – and heading out wasn’t that bad either; Handell was quite good enough to get past a few small craft, and Lazlo traded his new fighter – as-is – and some supplies for a new supply of the ore…
Meanwhile, back on Alderaan with Kira and company…
We got out of medical treatment a week later thanks to the assistance of the Arethi we rescued. After learning how they were able to avoid spending a week in medical themselves, I asked if we could learn those techniques ourselves. Being able to desilt myself would make these sorts of stunts much easier to handle.
Sadly, while we did learn how the technique works and how to replicate it, I found I simply didn’t have the medical skill and Force skill to pull it off. So much for that idea. Well, I understand the theory enough, maybe one day I will get the control and knowledge I need to pull it off.
Not that I plan on requiring desilting again soon.
Next question on the board for the Arethi was how they pulled off the time acceleration technique we found evidence of. The blank stares I got were not encouraging in the slightest. After much explanation and exchanging of records from the incident at Jageroth, they got some understanding of what we were asking.
Apparently the Arethi acceleration technique is more or less identical to how the Jedi and Sith do it. Whatever happened on Jageroth was an experimental accident. Apparently the researchers had tried to attune the non-force user’s force pattern to the force-user’s pattern and then “share” the acceleration technique. To make that work, they’d had to attune the non-force-user’s pattern very very deeply indeed – to the point of negating almost all other attunements. Apparently that was a drastic extension one of their usual techniques; they did a lot of deep attunement, but didn’t normally try to isolate their subjects that way. The Arethi did confirm that it did appear that the temporal distortion effect was related to how closely bonded one was to the Force. It also looked like while the experiment did succeed at what the researchers were looking for, it did have a side effect of permanently disconnecting them from the Force until we fixed it using the hyperdrive.
This was good, it did mean that the technique did not appear to be a Force technique. On the other hand, I am not keen on having to burn out a hyperdrive every time I want to return to normal. Another thing to throw into the pile of interesting ideas that needs more breakthroughs to prove useful. I’ve found a lot of those in a relatively short amount of time. At least it seemed to get Ben excited. Maybe he will come up with some sort of answer.
The implications of being able to surpass the limitations of normal acceleration techniques is tempting though. According to the Arethi, that kind of acceleration was flatly physically impossible; you’d boil the liquids in your tissues and tear your body to shreds trying it.
Well, that fit in with the side effects. How COULD you be hot enough to melt rock, or cold enough to freeze air, and not even really notice it?
The Arethi also seemed to think this gave credence to the idea that there might be an Anti-Force like I’ve supposed. Trouble is, I don’t know how to sever my Force connection to anything else and the research notes are not particularly clear on how to do this. Besides, I want more information on the consequences of doing that before I give it a try myself.
With Ben going on about theory of hyperspace and reality, and the military busy denying rumors, I noted that the first batch of royalties from the “Kira the Kat” show were in. A 20% cut yielded 150,000 credits. That was a lot more than I was expecting. Wait, that means the three kids are pulling in 600,000 credits on their cut alone. Whoa, that is a lot of money.
We split the 150,000 credits ten ways for each of the party members involved for 15,000 credits each. That brought my personal accounts up to 19,000 credits. Not bad, I must say. Jarik refused his share of the proceeds and the rest of us agreed to put his share into the party slush fund. Interestingly, Jarik was flush with cash from some other source. Must have had a run of good bets or something.
As part of our salvage claim to the Sith ship we brought to Alderaan space – if that wasn’t a bribe to keep us quiet – we were able to get enough credit to buy a massive hyperdrive system for the base. Now we had the base, the power system, and the hyperdrive we needed. Problem was, the hyperdrive was in the wrong system from the base. We were able to solve that problem with the power systems with some ingenuity and our ship, but now we were missing the ship as well.
Once Ben was aware of the problem, he got to work designing a mini spaceship to mount on the hyperdrive to get it to the Archegyph system. That cost us 20,000 credits to build, but the slush fund covered 15,000 of that. That left 5,000 in costs to split amongst the party. So that and my associated equipment repair bills ended up costing me about 1,000 credits. Maybe this is why the Jedi don’t have anything elaborate, it gets expensive to repair it all every few days?
The military was busy suppressing rumors that I had brought a superweapon aboard a Sith vessel to Alderaan to kill cats. One of these days I swear Mrs Beasley is going to drop the damn rants. I certainly doesn’t help that I am becoming a galactically renowned Sith Lord because of this nonsense. The cartoon at least it more palatable as it’s supposed to be funny, and it’s paying the bills. Hmm, at the rate the money is coming in at the moment, it may be prudent to renegotiate the split of the royalties. Each of those kids getting 200,000 apiece is a bit much even if they are doing most of the writing and animation.
At which point I think we all realized Lazlo had disappeared. Quick discussion revealed none of us had seen him since we went into medical care a week earlier. Talking with the Republic, we found out he had bought a fighter, coated it with some of that static mineral, and ran off somewhere. I can only assume it was to find Handell. He certainly can have a one tracked mind on that matter. I would have thought he would have waited for the rest of us to finish healing so that we could all help, but apparently not.
About the only way we could help now was to retrieve the base and take it to the Jerondal system. Once there, we could work on trying to get the Asrai out, forcing the Sith fleet to leave, or destroy the fleet. Maybe even a combination of those options. Deciding that heading to the base was our best option, we began our preparations.
For the most part that meant watching as the technical types assembled a working spaceship on top of the hyperdrive system. With some time on my hands I made a video call home to the family and friends. The news of me actually bringing a superweapon to Alderaan to rescue people went over better than I thought, although Sabrina proceeded to yell at me over pulling more insane stunts.
It looked like things were going well and no more kidnapping attempts had been made since I was last here. That is good, sitting around Alderaan all my life waiting for attacks would drive me up the wall fast.
With the hyperdrive now ready to fly, we started preparing to leave. We managed to convince one of the Arethi to come along at least until we got to the Archegyph system to look at our unusual predator we captured. The suggestion that he would have plenty of people to heal if he followed us caused me to face palm but he assented anyway.
Without Handell to plot our route, the trip to Archegyph took longer than usual. The power supply gave out once we arrived, apparently only designed to handle the trip one way. Luckily the base was still in system and it picked us up. Ben, the Furipedes, and the rest of the crew busily worked on getting the hyperdrive installed in the base while we showed the predator to the Arethi that came along with us.
The Arethi confirmed that the predator (we really need to name this thing) was reducing it’s Force presence when it accelerated. That at least helped confirm what we already suspected. Oddly enough, the regenerative power was a Force monotalent after all, and a rather common one at that. I started asking questions whether it was possible to learn a technique that did the same thing and whether that would be a Dark Side technique, but the Arethi was busily probing after the paralysis effect.
That did not appear to be a Force technique. Or if it was, then it was a very obscure one that was difficult to recognize as such. Alright, another data point for the Anti-Force speculations. Questions about the nature of the Dark Side and the feedback loops it entails went over my head with medical jargon.
With that done, the Arethi then gave us all thorough medical examinations. I pulled up a copy of my medical records from Alderaan for him to use for comparison. I kept expecting some sort of pronoucement but was declared healthy and normal. That was unusual, usually the doctors would go into long diatribes about avoiding sunlight or going through expensive melanin treatments, or even horrendiously expensive gene therapy treatments. Apparently doctors don’t seem to realize that getting sunburns at the slightest bit of exposure does a lot to remind me to be careful.
Interesting though that albinism doesn’t show up as a flaw in my Force pattern, despite Ben and Lazlo showing weird issues with their patterns. Apparently not all genetic alterations are created equal.
I mentioned Alys’s disease to the Arethi and she seemed surprised I was aware of it. The flaw in her Force presence was enough to tell me that something was wrong, and I had seen enough sick people lately to recognize the signs of some sort of disease. Now recognizing the disease and treating it were way beyond my abilties, save for some personal stuff with the cold and such.
Alys had her disease adjusted to be symbiotic as opposed to parasitic. Not sure I understand what that means, but that should help her long term health I think, right?
Jarik spent time learning advanced force-medical techniques from the Arethi, Ben learned more about how not to lose his Force ghost and why a moment of dee shock or “out of body” projection at the wrong time could result in that – basically, if you had timing so bad that your body flipped into hyperspace while you were “out” – and we finished getting the hyperdrive installed. We were about to head for Jerondal system when I got a call. Unfortunately out on the rim we couldn’t answer it so we headed back to Alderaan. Answering it there, I found myself facing a holo projection of a holo producer being held hostage by one of the most ridiculous bounty hunters I’ve ever seen.
I mean, seriously, that bikini armor couldn’t possibly afford this woman any protection whatsoever and it didn’t look like she was wearing anything underneath it. This nut was asking for my head as a great Sith Lord as a worthy trophy. Being rather attached to my head, I wasn’t keen on parting with it. I was about to try and explain when Ben of all people came to my defense on not being a Sith and thereby not a worthy bounty.
The argument that followed was one of the most hilarious scenes I’ve seen. It was clear this woman was crazy, and had been fed a load of crap by her village elder. She even got the armor from the guy. Alys smacked me when I asked if the village elder was a major pervert. I’m sorry, but there is no other reason why a woman would wear such an outrageous getup if she was actually going into combat.
Ben’s proposal of the bounty hunter letting go of the producer in exchange for meeting her in a quiet location didn’t go anywhere when he added the stipulation of no weapons. Apparently the knives were a part of what little armor she was wearing. Alys slapped me when I commented that leaving the weapons and the armor was fine with me. Telera was giving me dirty looks too.
Hey, I promised not to bring the lightsaber. Not my fault if she doesn’t wear appropriate clothing and armor.
Negotiations continued from that point, Ben got her to release the hostage and promise not to “hunt” me. I promised I couldn’t be held responsible for any messes that occurred should she attempt to hunt me anyway. Now she is wandering the base somewhere I think. I am so not looking forward to the first “honor kill” incident likely to occur.
We were about to head on to the Jerondal system when the Asrai appeared hauling a large supply of that static ore. They also had tales to tell of the remaining star destroyer in orbit now being stealth rigged.
A quick set of questions and answers with Ben and the Republic technicians revealed that the static ore once refined and plated properly could generate an effective cloaking system. That was probably what the Sith were after in the first place. Something like that would give them a way to sneak past Republic lines readily.
More questions and answers led to the conclusion that it was likely that the star destroyer had some means of retracting the stealth plating. It was also determined that the stealth plating would interfere with the proper operation of shields and would create a perpetual hard radiation problem.
Now that was interesting.
That meant that if we could get a chance to shoot at it while it was cloaked, we could probably cause considerable damage. Lasers, ion blasts, and emps would be ineffective, but kinetic weapons and explosive weapons would work just fine. Hmm, without proper shields to deflect projectiles, an antimatter strike might actually be able to cripple or sink the thing. Usually antimatter weapons just aren’t worth the expense because of shields.
Well we have a total conversion power system at our disposal. Shipwreck might be able to give us the targeting data we needed to hit it too.
We got to work building some antimatter missiles to fire at the stealth star destroyer. It took some weeks to collect the necessary amounts of antimatter, but finally we were ready. The Asrai dropped in some distance from the planet while the base dropped in much further away from the planet. Shipwreck began systematically scanning the area looking for the enemy fleet.
We were most shocked to find out the enemy fleet was gone. In it’s place was several dozen orbs (or maybe more, they were awfully hard to detect) in low orbit around the planet cloaked in more of that mineral and only two to four meters in diameter. Freighters were coming and going from the planet and it looked like three different areas of the planet had been bombarded.
That wasn’t good.
Talking to one of the freighters under the false ID’s we had wasn’t very revealing either. It did look like the Sith had left bombs or weapons of some sort in orbit and had only given ward off codes to freighters that would bring them ore for money. Coming out and asking that might reveal too much about ourselves while also being unlikely to tell us more.
Looks like my run of bad luck has started already.
I was about to begin discussions on removing the stealth orbs from around the planet when news came in of a major step up in the number and scale of assassinations going on. The timing was too coincedental to me. Digging into that further, the assassinations started six weeks ago, but two and a half months after this world was invaded. The attacks stepped up about three weeks ago which was shortly after the last sighting of the stealth star destroyer.
Intuition told me this was all related. General suspicions in the media were that the assassin was either able to teleport, shapeshift, or turn invisible. Turning invisible was impossible for a person even with something like Valerie’s stealth suit. Shapeshifters were possible, but rare. I’ve encountered them myself. Teleporting wasn’t something anyone had figured out how to do with the Force though and it seemed the assassin was a Force user.
The latest attacks though had involved crashing ships full of explosives into hardened military targets. I was willing to dismiss it as a droid pilot and not a suicide mission. Alys shot that down because of all the laws requiring a living pilot be on board ships. The looks on everyones’ faces when I suggested the Sith might be taping people to the chairs while the droid piloted seemed to imply the others were horrified I would think of such a thing.
Seriously people, this is something the Sith wouldn’t bat an eye at doing.
Something clicked though when someone asked why would someone stealth a star destroyer. I had written it off as getting enough firepower behind Republic lines to cause serious damage before disappearing again. But the other reason you might do it is if you needed the massive power system.
There was one way we knew of to teleport an object from one location to another, even on a planetary surface. Consulting a calender, the assassinations started four weeks after we lost track of Valerie near that superweapon. That thing would require a capital ship’s power system to work effectively, but could teleport objects around more or less on demand.
This resulted in another question and answer session with Ben on whether Valerie could build such a superweapon or repair it given time, technicians, and a few hours to look at the device. Turns out the answer was – probably – yes. Alright, what would need to be done with the system to mimic what the reports were telling?
Turns out you would need to be close to the planet in question to teleport objects or people off the surface. Being that close would also reduce the silting issue immensely. You would need at least a military grade targeting system to grab moving objects though, like a person off a moving shuttle. Interdictors wouldn’t block it as the planet’s gravity well didn’t stop it either. Keeping the target mass small would also reduce the load on the system to manageable levels too.
Further discussions suggested the assassin could probably have used a cruise ship’s hyperdrive to get in and out again without anyone being the wiser until the stealth star destroyer was ready. Checking records showed cruise ships near the worlds with assassinations before the stealth star destroyer likely became involved. But the records just weren’t detailed enough on hyperspace jump detections to prove or disprove it.
Wait, this can’t be right. If you could do that and you were an evil Sith Lord, then it would be much easier to teleport nukes near the targets than to go through elaborate and dramatic melee assassinations. That announcement got the party staring at me again. Lazlo declared me a Sith, regardless of the fact I hadn’t fallen to the Dark Side and several of the others agreed with him. To me that was a contradiction in terms. All Sith had fallen to the Dark Side to become power crazed loonies.
Valerie just managed to keep her sanity through it all, but she is still otterly ruthless. Surely she isn’t so stupid to not see that it would be easier to kill people by teleporting nukes next to them. No, it can’t be her then. It has to be some Sith so stupid to not realize what he has at his disposal to use it the way only someone with no scruples could. But if so, then why do they have it and not Valerie since she stumbled upon it trying to catch me?
The list of targets was even stranger. Military experts and scientists were easy enough to understand. Kill the strategists and the scientists most likely to figure out how you’re teleporting around. But they were also targetting Republic hardliners advocating no compromise with the Sith. Since when have the Sith ever cared about compromise? You’d think they’d be going after every Senator and governor they could get to effectively disrupt the Republic government.
Something is wrong here and I am making some critical assumption that is preventing this all from making sense. Alys’s suggestion that the Sith might be using terrorist tactics made some sense, but it still didn’t explain the choice of targets and the lack of massive explosions.
What is going on? And why do I have this sneaking feeling in my gut that something really dangerous is happening?
Ben announced that he was willing to offer himself up as a target by proclaiming he knew how the Sith are assassinating people. I had to give him credit for bravery, but had my doubts. Our ability to repel an assassin of this caliber was iffy, and even in the best case, the assassin could just teleport away, possibly even with one of us. Plus there was the fact that Ben could be traced back to me, and given my involvement, the Sith would surely figure it’s a trap.
Problem was, this was the only way to ensure we were even in the same system as the stealth star destroyer. But finding it and destroying it was the only way to stop or slow down these attacks wasn’t it? Blast, we could get in the same system as the ship, but we were unlikely to find it before it was too late anyway.
Only better idea I had was to break the blockade of Jerondal and use more of that ore to plate the Asrai and the base. With the base stealthed, we could potentially turn the base’s hyperdrive into another superweapon that might even the playing field should we manage to lure out the stealth ship. Teleporting antimatter missiles aboard it would surely cause some damage.
We could even use the superweapon to break the blockade of Jerondal. Use it to teleport the stealth orbs out of orbit and to somewhere far away. The sun was probably out of line, but next to an explosive charge several AU distant was certainly worth trying. The party wasn’t real enthusiastic over the idea though.
Someone suggested we trace the ore freighter shipments back to the dropoff point and see what we could find. I figured we would find the Sith shipyard where they would be building the second one of these things. Fat load of good that would do us in finding the first one. Still, stealing or destroying number two would surely help. Worst case we end up having to inform the Republic of the location and leaving it up to them to handle.
The vote went for that plan. Options we had were to get a transmitter on one of the freighters, try to follow a freighter through hyperspace, or hijack a freighter. Getting a transmitter on one was going to be a lot of work if not impossible. Following one through hyperspace was impossible. So that left hijacking one. Hijacking too close to the planet invited those stealth orbs to intervene, and waiting too long made it likely they could escape into hyperspace.
That didn’t leave us much of a window to hijack the freighter then. Lazlo was going to pilot his fighter ahead of the freighter to try to block it and possibly board it. Handell in the Asrai was going to try and disable it from behind while helping to try and box in the freighter. With Lazlo busy piloting his fighter, someone needed to run the guns. Being the best available, I volunteered.
It took nearly a day of waiting to find a lone freighter to hijack. Lazlo made some comment of me engaging in piracy was further proof I was a Sith. I disagreed, as the Republic was aware of what I was doing to some extent and was lending support. Can it really be called piracy when the legitimate government of the system is backing me against the occupiers? OK, privateering maybe.
Having spotted our prey, Handell and Lazlo took after it. Feeling in a humourous mood, I hammed up the “Kira the Kat” roleplay while playing the theme over the comm. We were shot at repeatedly, and I fired back with the ion cannons. Between us and the Asrai, we managed to slow it down and Lazlo latched us on for boarding. Lazlo and I got through the outer airlock door and pressurized the airlock before working on trying to open the inner door. Unfortunately it looked like the crew had barred the door from the inside.
If I could have seen the bar, I might have moved it out of the way telekinetically, but as it was, I had to do this the hard way. Powering on my lightsaber, I sliced through the most likely location for a barring mechanism. As I finished the first cut, a blaster was pointed through the hole at my chest. Lazlo knocked me aside and took the hit himself for a minor injury. We really need to get him some armor if he is going to insist on taking shots for us.
Finishing the second cut, I was about to open the door when a grenade was shoved through. My hands busy holding the lightsaber, I used the Force to push the grenade back through the hole. A small concussive blast went off on the other side. Opening the door, I found two guys unconscious on the floor and another three aiming blasters at me. A fire fight started with Lazlo shooting back while I deflected shots aimed at me. Luckily they were all shooting at me since I was the obvious Force user and thereby considered the greatest threat. They hadn’t seen the cat maul someone.
No recognition when I claimed to be Kira when asked to identify myself. They did exclaim “Jedi” when they saw me deflect blasts though. Now that was revealing, surprising, and expected all at once.
Revealing as they apparently believed Jedi would board them like this. Surprising as I had not been mistaken for a Jedi before now. It was also expected, because I figured they were working for the Sith and Jedi were the natural enough enemy to encounter. Now if that wasn’t a confusing jumble of reactions to have in response to one word.
I did miss one of the blaster shots as it hit me in the chest. That burned a hole in the robes but the armor absorbed the impact neatly. I had just gotten those robes fixed! At least tanking the shot seemed to upset the defenders. The calls for help told me we didn’t have much time to knock this bunch out before more would arrive. Easiest way I saw to turn this to my advantage was to repeat an earlier tactic.
I telekinetically pulled the pins on one concussion grenade each of the three were carrying then ducked back into the airlock to shelter myself from the concussive blasts. Opening the door, I saw Lazlo on the ground unconscious. Apparently he hadn’t learned the same lesson I had back on Alderaan. The three defenders were also unconscious, but I could hear more coming any moment now.
Well crap, it looks like I am on my own. Hopefully they will ignore Lazlo and concentrate on me. I don’t think I can defend both him and myself at the same time. That feeling of foreboding I have is only getting worse.
Accused of being a Sith trying to destroy Alderaan to kill cats. Accused of being a Jedi engaging in piracy. I have my own cartoon show and I have a (potentially teleporting) Sith princess chasing me down to kill or capture me. What a strange life I lead.