As usual, this consists of Kira’s edited player log with material about the other characters inserted so that it can serve as a general session log as well.
While Kira, Alys, Handell, and the rest of the group had been on their way home, Ben and Lazlo had been enjoying the hospitality of the Sith.
That actually wasn’t bad. There weren’t many Sith or Sith Students around and most of the staff was quite respectful of Sith and Apprentice Sith – after all, you never knew when they might blow up at the slightest provocation. Worse, Lazlo apparently had both physical combat-boosts and access to some technique which would grant him vast power for a brief time if he DID explode. Caution and respect would have been in order even if the Sith weren’t their rulers.
As per their orders, the staff also kept working on mental tests for Lazlo – and on trying to “brainwash” him into being free, self-reliant, and independent. After all, if whatever form of conditioning had been used on him held up, it would be valuable for other purposes – and if it didn’t, he’d make a far better Sith with some will of his own to back his powers.
For good or for ill, that conditioning seemed (thanks to a player decision) to be holding up.
Ben was beginning to think that the Force was a mirror. You demanded that it serve you, and it demanded the same. Use it only when necessary, it used you only when necessary. Turn it against others, it turned against you. Use it to help, it helped you. Use it all the time, and you could never get away from it’s demands… Was it actually something external, or were you just looking at yourself?
Regardless, the basic exercises were much the same for both the Sith and the Jedi – although he concealed just how quickly he was getting the hang of them. He had theories to research and superweapons to design anyway. Hm… Perhaps there was a difference in the exercises even at the basic level. Could the philosophy really have that big an impact? He kept forgetting that he really didn’t approve of superweapons when he got to doodling sketches and calculations… Oh! Now THERE was a good one! He had to write that down!
The social life was interesting too. The military staff was busy and there weren’t too many other students, so they mostly spent their time with the colonists. They were friendly enough – perhaps too friendly in the case of one young woman who apparently decided that Lazlo was cute, cuddly, and “had potential” – but they seemed to see the Sith as… just another government. More efficient and more ruthless than most, but no more nepotistic than most of the galactic systems and with a smaller aristocratic class than many other systems. They did run towards big military budgets and repressive social systems – with a modest allowance for popular input – but they apparently did a better job than the Hutts, if not really as good a job as the Republic.
OK, to be fair, even during the peaks of the Sith Wars, most of the population never actually met a Sith. They relied on bureaucrats just like everyone else, and none of these people had ever seen the benefits of the Republic – but it was STILL kind of creepy! The dark powers of the universe were ruling, and most of the population wasn’t really paying attention!
Meanwhile, back with the rest of the group…
As we were discussing our current mishap, the one called Shipwreck pulled out a sensor pack and began to run scans of me to see if he could determine what had happened to me. Apparently I weighed about 10 kilograms less than my counterpart. The guy must be more muscular than I am then as I am a fairly lean individual.
Things got interesting though when he announced my bone density was down 12%. That sounded like a potential medical problem to me given what limited medical knowledge I had. I was also passing radiation more readily than what was considered normal and my atoms were lighter than they should have been. Alright, either the laws of physics here are different enough that the difference between me and my counterpart is measurable or I am partially phased all the time.
That is rather disturbing. Maybe it could be that I am partially phased because I am not from here? Was it an indication that I was still linked with my home universe? I found myself REALLY hoping that was the case. If I never got home, Valerie would kill me!
What followed was an interesting discussion – or series of rants – about the less-than-noble personality traits of my counterpart and of how they might be able to get him back. Either this alternate Kira is not as bad as they like to say he is, or he has something massive to blackmail them all with. Personally, I prefer the former over the latter.
Shipwreck then proceeded to scan me again in an effort to determine where their Kira ended up. How he was able to produce such detailed hyperspace scans and a set of hyperspace coordinates using only that portable sensor pack is beyond me. He is obviously pulling the information from somewhere else and is only using the sensor pack as a focus of sorts. Shipwreck was also able to determine that there was some sort of link between myself and my alternate – if not with my homeworld. Perhaps the swapping bound us together somehow?
However we had a set of hyperspace coordinates that supposedly gave a course to where I came from and where their Kira ended up. According to their, rather drunk, pilot those coordinates looked to be valid – at least to HIM. Unfortunately the coordinates seemed to be unusual enough that the hyperdrive was going to need some modifications before it could follow such a course. Did this imply that a hyperdrive could travel between parallel galaxies with only a few modifications? Interesting!
No one aboard the ship or their Base had the requisite skill needed to understand the new coordinates enough to make the hyperdrive modifications we needed. Again this Ben Therus’s name came up as a major hyperspace expert, but he was in Sith custody. A rescue was definitely in order if I was to get home then.
Back with Ben, Lazlo had discovered that Ben had volunteered to come along simply to look after him (or at least to keep an eye on him), and had gotten quite emotional. That was the nicest thing that ANYONE had ever done for him!
Although he also insisted that he “Liked these Sith!” because they “Were the nicest people that I’ve met yet!”.
That said some pretty bad things about Lazlo’s life – and left Ben wondering… Just how unstable WAS Lazlo? Was he likely to switch sides based on nothing more than who’d been nice to him recently? He’d encountered a Shaman, been treated decently, and had promptly taken suicidal risks to become a Shaman. Was he about to see Lazlo flinging himself into becoming a Sith?
Still, he had a plan; he’d located the main computer room – and determined that it was far too well protected – but there were backup sites all over the ship; if they could just get the coding algorithms for the satellites from one of them, they could take care of the satellite system in short order – hopefully well before the Sith could react. A backup/access system near the colony holds – apparently used for downloading information into the new colony’s systems and thus a fairly busy place with a lot of people going in and out – seemed ideal.
Meanwhile, over with alternate-Kira and the main group…
They proceeded to show me a number of holo movies to give me an idea of what Jedi and Sith can do so I wasn’t going into this totally blind. I had to say the lightsabers were pretty cool, although the idea of melee weapons still being viable just seemed odd to me in an galaxy full of blasters. I mean yes, the precognition supposedly allowed them to block blasters, but there had to be a limit. Still, it seemed hard to believe that my alternate self could do those same techniques, but the others assured me of it and the “Adventures of Kira the Kat” cartoon was said to be fairly accurate of their exploits.
That led to the revelation that not only was my counterpart not engaged, but Valerie Soung was an enemy of the group. They all did seem shocked at the notion that I was engaged to my version of Valerie. When I tried to ask for details on the history between their Kira and Valerie, they were unable to give me very much. It seems my counterpart kept a lot of things to himself. He’s not very trusting. Of course, given what I’ve been able to piece together, he has a right to be.
Visiting Kira’s quarters was at once both familiar and strange. It was obviously my room and yet it also wasn’t. I saw pictures of the family, Dorothy, Barcos, and Nathan. I didn’t really see pictures of my other friends though and that struck me as odd. It doesn’t look like he has a great number of friends. Reading through the mail was also enlightening. Sabrina was snotty know-it-all and Nichel was being the darling child of the family.
Geez, Mother and Father never gave up the grass painting? In my timeline, they gave it up shortly after I was born due to the albinism. I couldn’t imagine anything more boring and tedious to grow up with if I had to. No wonder he’s gone a bit stir crazy. I suppose he is somewhat justified to be a bit of a snarky ass if that was how his childhood was spent. Especially if that old lady neighbor of his really is as crazy as her rants about him and her cats implied.
His equipment was also enlightening. It looked like he had several spare lightsabers from somewhere. The others thought they came from defeated Sith. Lots of other minor weapons including flamethrowers, knives, explosive gel, some sort of grappel system, and several vials of some sort of drugs. I might ask the doctor about those later. The robes were lighter than they looked and did seem rather comfortable. I couldn’t see gun fighting in the things, but I suppose he didn’t. It was cool when I discovered the color changing option though. I had to admit, he was prepared.
Donning one of the spare robes and a set of armor, I asked the others how the look worked. The big blaster at my side was out of place, and apparently I needed to wear a lightsaber and a shield to complete the effect. There didn’t seem to be any spare shields in his quarters and none of the other lightsabers were really his. However the Base was able to fabricate facsimiles readily and that seemed to complete the image. Looking in the mirror, I had to say the look was… cool.
The others had completed their own preparations for the rescue mission. I was a bit disturbed to find out they were shipping valuable cargo to the Sith as a means of infiltrating the place and that this was their fifth load so far. Are they sure they aren’t working for these “Sith”? It’s definitely getting into the gray areas when even you’re not sure if you’re a Sith operative… Anyway, the hyperspace journey itself was uneventful, and I took the time to read up on my counterpart and learn how to act like he did. I imagine the scathing wit and sarcasm may be difficult to keep up for long though. Might be best to not open my mouth any more than I have to.
The system itself was amazing. A shipyard of this scale was beyond anything I’ve ever seen or heard of. That super star destroyer was also a disheartening sight. There hadn’t been the resources to build something like that in my galaxy for many millenia. Just how large did these wars get if this was potentially a minor Sith faction?
We landed, got paid for our shipment of this precious war material, and everyone set out to do their things.
Shipwreck decided he was going to work on interrupting sensors – although how he expected to do that with a hand sensor pack against a ship this size from the inside was beyond me. Even if he had some binding technique to do it with, surely a ship this size – with it’s own crew of binders – would have countermeasures. Still, his abilities with the thing were obviously supernatural. Hopefully he knew what he was doing…
Handell and Telera stayed aboard the freighter, ready to try to escape at a moments notice.
Alternate Alys, Khadim, and 10CH set off to make their own distractions. Alternate Alys was eager to see people after six months in a near-empty galaxy, and had decided to take her two “bodyguards” along and spread some rumors in hopes of starting a riot or a panic. Oddly enough, there seemed to be a lot more guards around than had seemed at all likely.
Jarik was going to go meet some buyers to sell drugs that would cause the Sith to explode or something. I wasn’t sure I understood that, or why a doctor would do that, but I decided it was better not to ask.
Actually, Jarik had headed for the open areas of the system, intending to sell massive overdoses of force-boosting drugs in hopes of causing a few Sith to explode themselves – as well as visiting the local underworld to check on his bets.
Unfortunately he didn’t make it in time to notify the rest of the group that one or more of the Hutts had decided to tweak the odds on the mission he’d bet on – Kira versus the Super Star Destroyer – by leaking the information that Kira might be on his way to the Sith. He’d have to be a little more careful about revealing enough of the details of their missions to get his bookies to give him odds on them next time – if any of them lived through this mess.
Since I was going to be the center of Sith attraction during this event, I headed out alone and snuck aboard the super star destroyer. As impressive as the ship was on the outside, it was even more so on the inside. The place was a veritable city. Once I managed to stop gawking, I made my way to one of the larger and more crowded marketplaces aboard and got into the middle of the crowd.
Standing there, I then proceeded to read off a tongue-in-cheek speech I had prepared that was designed to attract attention to myself. I got a little disturbed when the crowd panicked and dispersed immediately. Either Kira has a serious reputation going, or the Sith are really as bad as the holos seem to indicate. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know which.
When several kids and adults came up to me and started asking for autographs, I decided it was more likely the Sith had that reputation and Kira was only working against it. For amusement’s sake and to keep myself occupied while I waited for the Sith to respond, I started signing autographs. I heard a transmission between Telera and Alys, apparently the Sith had surrounded the ship and tractor beamed it in place. Alys gave the go ahead for Handell to make an escape attempt and that was the last I heard from either of them.
About the time I finished signing autographs, an older man approached me and asked if I was Kira Keldav. I acknowledged my identity and didn’t bother to inform him I wasn’t the Kira he was looking for. We can save that fun for later. The guy then proceeded to make note about my distinct lack on any real Force power and demanded I surrender. I offered to surrender if they caught me and to not surrender if I got away. The Sith then proceeded to laugh at me.
Looking around, it did seem like I was surrounded by numerous soldiers and security guards all armed with blasters. Waving at the Sith, I then proceeded to drop out of normal time and ran off. The look of utter shock on the Sith’s face was hilarious, especially when I dodged the telekinetic blast he threw at me and watched it collide with about a dozen of his own men. Waving again, I then ran through the hole in the line he created.
And so began a merry chase through the corridors of the super star destroyer. They couldn’t possibly keep up with me and I was easily able to outmaneuver their attempts to pin me down between two teams. It was especially fun to watch them try to close blast doors ahead of me only for me to slide through with ease.
I did run into a really big guy that I could only guess was a Sith based on the robes and lightsaber. I pulled out my blaster and unloaded upon him with a full set of blasts. He was actually able to block one of the attacks surprisingly. Maybe there is something to that precognition after all. The other blasts connected solidly though much to my satisfaction.
I was quite dismayed when the Sith tanked all the hits and didn’t look the least hurt by it. If my blaster isn’t doing squat against him, then I really don’t stand much of a chance one on one against this guy save hoping for a lucky hit to something vital. Besides, the longer I played with him, the more likely someone else would come to assist him. Not coming up with any better alternatives, I ran again. I was shocked to see the Sith try to follow me, and move significantly faster than I would have thought he could move.
Wait… He’d blocked the one shot that would have hit his head. Had he simply blocked the one he’d foreseen would hurt him? If these “Sith” could do THAT, it really would make melee weapons viable for them. Even if they couldn’t move in hypertime themselves, interacting with them brought them partially into phase with me anyway… I’d have to avoid that at all costs; they might well be able to match me if I gave up part of my edge that way.
I was still faster though and I raced ahead. Turning one corner, the blast doors ahead of me and behind me slammed shut with that speed and forcefulness that only machines could manage. I could hear someone speaking over the intercom to me presumably, but was unable to hear them because of the timerate issue. I also heard a hissing of air and could feel the air begin to get thin. Guessing they were venting the corridor to vacuum, it became time to demonstrate another technique. I could either sit in here and try to hold a personal atmosphere around myself, or just phase through the door.
Holding a personal atmosphere was going to be difficult to sustain for long with my skill, let alone the fact that there may be blasters or stunners still in this corridor. That left phasing through the door. Wrapping just enough air around me to keep things from getting too uncomfortable, I ran into and through the door. On the other side were a pair of guards that seemed most surprised at my sudden appearance. I waved and continued on, laughing to myself as I imagined the report heading to their superiors trying to explain what just happened.
I played around some more with the security forces and what few Sith I enountered but eventually determined that more than sufficient normal time must have passed for the others to have accomplished their goals and escaped. Besides, the Sith were getting better at making their traps and it was only a matter of time before they caught me at this rate. It was time for me to be making my own escape.
Checking the odds of probable escape methods, the always present “drop out of the universe” option was there. That was always an option of last resort, should I face imminent death or something as I would be unlikely to ever find my way home afterwards.
Next best option surprisingly was take an escape pod and radio for help. I could only imagine someone was out there waiting for me. Unfortunately, the best odds of finding an escape pod for whatever reason seemed to lay on the far side of the ship. Well nothing for it now save to keep my rear out of the fire. Dropping into hypertime again and phasing through every wall in my way, I ran in a straight line directly to the escape pods. I seriously startled a good number of technicians, soldiers, Sith, shopkeepers, and other crew members as I ran through wall after wall on a mad dash across half the length of the ship.
Entering the escape pod, I activated it and then slowed my personal time rate below normal to reduce my life signs. Once clear of the super star destroyer, I radioed for help and was picked up by a small freighter. Climbing aboard, I was surprised to find Jarik the doctor. He asked me if any of the others had escaped, and I had to confess ignorance. Attempts to radio the others resulted in no replies at all. I really didn’t want to abandon the others, but with no way to verify they were even alive, getting myself killed meant nothing.
Alys’s efforts had gone wrong from the beginning… It had been easy enough to spread a few rumors, but the locals had too much experience with the guards to riot readily aboard a military craft – and there had been too many guards. Worse, it had seemed like those guards had been ready and waiting for them. They’d started closing in as soon as they’d started to make trouble… Oh BLAST. Precognition! And they no longer had Ben with them to blur it so throughly!
The Sith guards had shown enough respect for the weapons Khadim and 10-CH were stuffed with to try for a peaceable capture rather than going straight to a heavy firefight – and they were in the colony hold, which meant that they could duck the guards for a bit – but it was never going to work.
Things went completely sour when Handell called; the ship was being surrounded by guards, and heavy weapons, and was about to be pinned down. She told him to get out – and didn’t have to tell him twice.
Out in the docks, there was a short, sharp, fight as Handell tried to break away – and wound up having to jump to hyperspace inside the docks. All his incredible skill – even with the Force helping (a force point and an experience point) was barely enough to limit the damage of that stunt to the point where they and the ship survived. They made it into hyperspace surrounded by cloud of junk and with half the systems aboard burned out. They’d need repairs – and medical help – somewhere close, if they could make it anywhere at all.
Inside, Alys, 10-CH, and Khadim barely managed to avoid capture several times. 10-CH could simply duck into a droid bay and plug in to recharge – the Super Star Destroyer had tremendous numbers of droids around (a normal compliment of up to 450,000 crewmen and nearly four million droids), and 10-CH was easily capable of bypassing the security systems on a droid closet – but hiding Alys wasn’t so easy…
Eventually Khadim and 10-CH put her in stasis, put her inside Khadim, and had him hide under water in the lake in the recreational park. Without a droid-transponder, or conventional life signs to show up on instruments, he might be able to escape the search for quite some time – especially if Alternate Kira drew enough attention.
Shipwreck hadn’t been able to scramble the exterior sensors – despite a truly heroic effort, he just didn’t have the power or the range – but he had managed to set off any number of interior alarms and had created quite a diversion.
He’d also managed to stay ahead of the pursuit for an unreasonably long time by scanning for their locations and the layout of the ship around him. Unfortunately, he had no effective method of fighting back – and he could only dodge for so long. When he headed for the escape pods, he found that all the alarms he’d set off (and the bad-luck backlash of overusing his probability-twisting monotalent) had already launched them all.
He wound up climbing up into the cable runs, buckling himself into the maze of piping, and putting himself into stasis for a time. With no life signs to follow, he might not be found – and when the timer woke him, he might be able to find a better place to hide if the search had passed him by. A Super Star Destroyer had a LOT of places to hide in.
Jarik had done well; he’d mostly been working through the Hutt syndicates – inevitable when dealing with the underworld in this system – and he’d sold a plentiful supply of force-enhancing drugs (in overdose allotments) and had sold quite a lot of drugs, for some VERY high prices – as well as the Formula, for yet another very high price. Unfortunately, the fragmentary report he’d gotten from Telera had indicated that they might not be able to get him out. The Sith enclave was going on high alert and sealing itself off.
Fortunately, he was flush with a tremendous amount of cash – and the entire system was a shipyard dedicated to selling ships to smugglers and underworld groups. Picking up a fast, well-shielded, and well-equipped, light smuggling/freighter/armed merchantman class ship with a stock of precalculated courses was easy enough. He needed a good autopilot as well, but that was nothing… He arranged to pass near the Sith enclave on the way out, just in case, but made sure that he didn’t get too close. Being hailed by an escape pod was unexpected, but he went with it. Nothing was unlikely when you were associating with people like Handell.
Nobody else showed up though – so he got Alternate Kira out of stasis and got the heck out before anyone could get too suspicious.
Ben, meanwhile, had indeed assumed that this was their promised diversion – and had headed out to steal the information they needed. Unfortunately, Lazlo was indeed drifting towards the Sith. He wasn’t going to betray Ben – but he was certainly doing a splendid imitation of an old-style ships anchor.
Fortunately, the students had no assigned positions to go to – and most of the lower ranks were not inclined to question even low-ranking Sith. Taking over an office near Ben’s targeted computer room proved surprisingly easy.
Getting in was not. There was an elite human guard as well as some droids, probably due to the alert. After a couple of failed attempts – at least by Ben, Lazlo wasn’t being much help, since he’d apparently decided that he didn’t want to betray his new friends and Handell wasn’t around to give him orders – Ben eventually wound up sending in a suitably-reprogrammed maintenance droid to swipe what he hoped was the relevant memory-chip.
He then made a duplicate, and had the Droid plant the original in the room of one of the more obnoxious Sith Students. Afterwards he tried to insure – via intimidation, bribery, and the Force – that the person who was actually supposed to be using the room they’d appropriated wouldn’t report their intrusion and headed back to the students quarters. It didn’t look like the rest of the group would be able to rescue them on this attempt, and with the ship on high alert it was no time to be trying to escape on their own.
Back with Alternate-Kira…
Jarik activated the auto-pilot to take us out of the system where we might regroup with any of the others that might have gotten out. Hopefully the others did get out, but if not, I may have to begin looking for another hyperspace expert to talk to regarding getting home. I still have a copy of Shipwreck’s notes after all.
Besides, I can’t help but feel… concerned about this version of Valerie. What information I can find is spotty to say the least. The group doesn’t seem to know very much either save that Kira felt that Valerie was a prime candidate for their assassin they’ve been tracking. Is it even my business to intervene should I get the chance?
Shortly thereafter at Trayus Academy
Pel Soung was reviewing the reports and video logs and was flabbergasted. When the hell did Keldav learn to do anything like this? He couldn’t possibly have powers like that – those were abilities out of legend, and the Valen who’d actually confronted him said that Kira was showing virtually no force presence! He’d have suspected technical trickery, but holograms didn’t work that way and Force ghosts couldn’t be detected with cameras. Valerie’s assertions that something really weird had happened to Keldav appeared to be accurate though.
Exactly what had happened remained to be determined – but Keldav has suddenly shown himself to be far more valuable than even I had anticipated.