I awoke to find Virstris standing over us in the early morning light. She looked like she had a rough night judging from the scrapes, but didn’t seem the least bit hungover.
(Virstris) Well aren’t you two a cute couple!
(Valerie) Just a bit tired from performing for the crowd last night. Any word on how the others are doing?
(Virstris) Augusta is pretty tanked right now, Ban disappeared with a local last night, and Vincent is busily helping those that partied a bit too hard.
(Valerie) Alright, get them rounded up, fed, and then back aboard the Mrs Beasley. I’m sure Vincent can help Augusta with her issues.
(Kira) You just need a pilot able to hold his liquor.
(Valerie) I want a pilot with more blood than liquor in him.
(Kira) Can’t argue there.
While Virstris went to round them all up, Valerie and I called the “family” here on Alderaan. At first my alternate’s mother answered and looked really confused for a moment before realizing what was going on. Once that happened, she quickly gathered much of the family before the screen to get in on the conversation. It looked like even the Soungs and other married in families like the Tethys and Mauves were also in attendance. There were greetings all around before the conversation really started.
(Kira) Sorry we can’t be there in person, but the resonance between us and our alternates causes a number of issues.
(Sabrina) Looks like you bunch were out partying last night.
(Kira) Hey, saving a galaxy and ending a war I think entitles us to a little rest and relaxation.
(Viridiana) I suppose we will let you off with that. Codifiers do love to host a party.
For some reason that last statement struck me as odd despite how reasonable it was. It took me several moments to place why.
(Kira) Tell me, do any of you know of a Glithe family?
(Sabrina) No, why?
(Kira) Just a random thought.
It was probably me being paranoid and reading too much into Viridiana’s statement.
There was more discussions from there about how things were going with family life, business, and such before we finally settled down to discussing our concerns regarding Alys’s new constitution and the unsaid implications it made regarding troublesome people. We made sure that they had copies of the blueprints for building the transtemporal hypertunnel system, coordinates for our own galaxy, and instructions on how to get in touch with either the Varen or Jedi Councils in case they ran into problems and needed more help. They thought I was being a bit paranoid about it all, and played along enough to take the offered materials and promise to ask for help if needed.
It was about the time we finished that, that Virstris showed up with Augusta, Ban, and Vincent. None of them looked especially well rested, but we loaded into the shuttle and returned to the Mrs Beasley. We were met at the shuttle bay with a massive scene involving hundreds of droids, lots of yelling, and a number of security forces. It looked like they had decided to revive Elder Ben and Jacob and Elder Ben was now at the center of the commotion. It actually looked like the droids were using crowbars to pry Ben loose centimeter by centimeter as they dragged him into the shuttle as he protested kicking and screaming the whole way. Much of it was unintelligible, but the general gist seemed to be that he thought I was going to use the Mrs Beasley to destroy the galaxy or some such nonsense.
I found Alys standing off to the side shaking her head.
(Kira) I take it some sort of deal was reached?
(Alys) Yes, although his learning of your arrival has reignited his reluctance to let us borrow the ship for a while. But my Elder self , our Ben, and I approved of the plan.
By this point the droids had gotten Elder Ben to the hatch of the shuttle and were busily trying to use their swarming mass to push Ben the rest of the way. I casually walked up behind the droids with a smug grin on my face as I watched the whole proceeding. Elder Ben caught sight of me quickly enough and renewed his efforts to escape without much effect. The droids finally managed to shove him into the shuttle and hold him there as the hatch closed. I couldn’t resist walking up to the closing hatch and giving some parting words.
(Kira) I just wanted to let you know how much it means to me that you are letting me borrow this magnificent vessel! I am sure that with a few minor modifications, it will suit my purposes quite nicely indeed! Thank you!
That wound him up even further and I could hear him pounding his fists and feet into the hatch door trying to force it open and get to me. I could hear his screaming through the hull of the shuttle even. The shuttle then took off and departed for the planet below as I waved goodbye.
(Valerie) You neglected to tell him that those modifications you wanted were a hot tub and a large game room.
(Kira) Oh I am sure he understood. Besides, it is not very often that I get the opportunity to thank people while being absolutely evil about it. Consider it payback for naming this ship after that woman.
(Virstris) And once he gets to the surface, he is going to find a Kira Keldav considered a local hero – and that another Kira Keldav is widely considered a major savior of the galaxy.
(Augusta) Welcome to hell?
(Valerie) Umm, best that I send a message planetside for our alternates to watch out for a certain crazed superweapon designer.
(Kira) You know, I am going to be annoyed if this is what starts the whole building superweapons to destroy Alderaan craze.
(Valerie) I doubt it.
Ben had actually had a fairly extensive talk with his older self – admittedly, via a comlink to avoid the feedback-headache – and had traded quite a lot of technology. His elder version had never done much with subspace (and had doubts about any drive that required pointing a lightsaber at yourself) – especially since that meant that a big radiation pulse would create a high-powered lightsaber blast throughout your entire ship.
Ben hadn’t thought of that particular nightmare scenario; it was quite sobering. He’d have to do something about that potential suicidal problem…
Alys was kind of busy… She needed to set up a transfer code for her pension start work on improving her armor, and talk with her older alternate self about foods to try, planets to avoid, and other minutiae.
Lazlo was wandering… Somehow gratitude just felt WRONG. Either he was having aftereffects of probing Huriel so wrong or he was so used to people chasing and shooting at him that he got upset when it WASN’T happening.
Jacob had completed twenty new saberships! He had his own little flotilla!
The republic military had – of course – wanted a lot more information and control over what this band of interdimensional oddities got up to, but – as usual – the group pretty much just thumbed their nose at them. It wasn’t like they could be easily followed when they jumped dimensions.
I got cleaned up and found some food after that. Droids had delivered the various souvenirs and goods I had bought planetside to my room and I began sorting and putting those away for the time being. I also found a care package from the “family” waiting for me as well. I made a mental note to be sure and come back to visit some time. This world wasn’t as pretentious as my homeworld was.
On the bridge, Ben and I proceeded to get into an argument over which of us had alternates that have caused more devastation to galactic civilization. The discussion really started getting ridiculous at times as we fired verbal shots at each other. It was at the point when I countered that I managed to kill the Ben that had destroyed the galactic infrastructure just by talking to him that I noticed the crew looking at us with horrified expressions. Well, at least the Republic techs were horrified. The Sith technicians and the ones from Alderaan that had been with us for quite some time thought it was funny. Oh well, with any luck, the Republic technicians will only be able to report to the Republic that a Kira Keldav was on board talking about superweapons.
Soon enough though it was time to begin preparations for departure to another universe. The others seemed to be bored and wanted to head to another universe to explore for a bit. I was fine wasting time here, but I was outvoted. The discussion turned to trying to visit some sort of semi-historical galaxy to learn what we could about how our own civilization came about. That only mildly interested me, but I had no better ideas. Alys coached me a bit on the details of galactic history to help me steer and then we started up the trans-temporal hyperdrive. We activated the hyperdrive and I steered the best I could to a destination we weren’t especially aiming for.
For once, it was mostly Ben pushing for such a destination. He was fairly sure that the Censor was cumulative – so if you found a universe that was very young, the Censor wouldn’t be forbidding much of anything yet – and who knew what exotic technologies could be developed or found!
Alys had no objections. She’d always been interested in history – and, of course, the further back you went, the more common elements there should be. OK, there might well be some reason why that was totally wrong – she was no theoretician – but a historical trip should be interesting in any case.
Lazlo had wanted to see a younger universe for reasons of his own – and Kira hadn’t really objected any. He had a few speculations about the censor and the dark side that he wanted to look into anyway.
We arrived in what looked to be a nebula. Further scans showed it to be a rapidly expanding nebula around the exploded remnants of a star. Especially disturbing was the fact that a good portion of that nebula was expanding at a significant fraction of lightspeed. There was also a lot of subspace and hyperspace chatter bouncing about. Then we saw a ship on scanners that looked vaguely like the Mrs Beasley approaching us. Then the ship hailed us.
I was surprised to see a Kreedath appear on the screen, and it looked to be surprised to see us as well. It started speaking to us in a language I didn’t understand, but Alys seemed to be able to. Alys translated for us as best she could for several minutes as I tried to get a handle on how the language worked. Apparently this was some sort of quarantine zone against the Yeveetha threat and the Infinite Empire Kreedath (Rakata in this time?) were busily using superweapons to blow up stars and exterminate the Yeveetha. How this managed to keep working despite the Censor was an open question to me.
I finally started to get a handle on the whole language structure right about the time it started insulting our lack of familiarity with it’s language. Then it proceeded to demand that we surrender and become slaves to the Infinite Empire or some such. Seriously, less than ten minutes after meeting us, it starts this nonsense.
(Kira) Bite me.
(Rakata) Excuse me?
What, was this creature asking to be eaten? Had someone, somewhere, actually entrusted a major vessel to a mentally damaged crew?
Alys was quite annoyed at that… They were an unidentified major ship in a war zone and the Rakata HADN’T started shooting! Their initial query had been reasonable enough, and their implicit assumption that everyone else was of a subordinate species was… pretty reasonable as well given the situation. After all, they currently ruled the galaxy, and had been doing so for a very long time; all the other species WERE subordinate. Thus the assumption that anyone else they met would have been required to learn their language in kindergarten!
Of course, then Jacob (with a little help from Lazlo) had proclaimed himself to be an idiot that had been thrown out of his home universe for incompetence, and that the rest of them were the same, and that they possessed the ability to navigate the dimensions. At that point demanding that an unknown ship with a self-proclaimed crew of lunatics turn over drive control and get escorted out of the “containment zone” was… entirely rational. Jacob was GOOD at straining people’s patience, and the Rakata weren’t exactly known for that quality anyway…
Oh well. If she couldn’t talk them down, they’d just have to jump again. It wasn’t likely that the approaching Rakata ship had anything that would penetrate the Mrs Beasley’s shields faster than they could jump; those shields had stood up to a galactic fleet!
I felt Valerie’s head hit the console at that point. I apparently had not earned any points in her eyes for the moment, but I had bigger issues to deal with. Like the massive ship heading towards us while demanding that we slave our controls to it’s… I was about to give the order to engage the hyperdrive again when Jacob got a really stupid look on his face and seemed to get excited. At that point my precognition started blaring major warnings about an imminent catastrophe.
A number of us tried to rush Jacob at once, but sadly none of us made it in time as we could feel him reach out with the Force and push buttons. The bridge seemed to light up like a star had suddenly appeared on board as I felt the ship lurge hard to the side and I hit one of the walls. Klaxons were blaring about massive damage to the ship, everyone was swearing madly, and I suddenly felt really sick.
My entire body felt like it was sunburned, I also had a headache, nausea, dizziness, and I had a metallic taste in my mouth. That combined with the fact that I was still seeing tiny flashes of light even with my eyes closed was not a good sign by any means. I had been in enough disaster preparedness programs on Alderaan to know the signs of a massive radiation dose when I saw one. The fact that I was still alive was a good sign that we might recover given time, but the massive damage reports that were coming in weren’t encouraging regarding our survival for much longer.
I decided then and there that Jacob was going to die first. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be found. I was focusing too much of my concentration towards keeping functional to bother trying to find and hunt down the atavist. Ben started reporting that we had been hit with a massive blast from a lightsaber type weapon, probably similar in design to how we speculated the Death Star from the holos might operate – but scaled up into a Starbreaker. As interesting as that might have been, I was more concerned with the current state of the hyperdrive and the neutronium containment system, but Smoche kept ignoring our questions as he concentrated on the control panels feverishly. Then we received notice that Jacob had departed in one of his ridiculous lightsaber ships to do battle with the Rakata ship in a massive lightsaber duel.
You selfish son of a bitch!
He sees a giant lightsaber and so he immediately goes to do battle with it after activating it himself and very nearly killing us all? Several of the others reached similar conclusions and started swearing loudly. I watched as Jacob proceeded to get his ass handed to him in combat as Smoche tried to cycle the remains of the hyperdrive and get us into another trans-temporal jump to safety. Handell did some sort of weird spinning manuever right as we made the jump into hyperspace.
Jacob had realized his error when the Rakata ship’s main weapon – a Starbreaker beam – had grazed the Mrs Beasleys shields. The shields had shattered instantly, and the particle-storm had vaporized hundreds of cubic miles of the ship and irradiated the rest. Still, you could parry a lightsaber beam with another lightsaber beam! He’d gone for a sabership to try and hold off the Rakata… Unfortunately, most of their crystal shields had failed, and the resulting blasts had destroyed yet MORE of the ship – but he could pour enough power into the one he was attuned to to get it to function…
The Rakata were not happy to be dealing with a powerful Manipulator (and self-proclaimed lunatic). Manipulators caused too many malfunctions and made too much trouble, and it didn’t help that this one appeared to be at least partially in control of a major ship! Fortunately, from all appearances, the ship had taken massive damage when the idiot Manipulator had fired their main gun at his own vessel; it was unlikely that it was in any shape to do much of ANYTHING. Ergo, all they had to do was to stop the lunatic who was now challenging them in a fighter and they could take all the idiots into custody in short order.
The wave of firepower directed at the fighter should be more than sufficient to take it out – and if the idiot died with it, it would be no more than he deserved. He’d refused to surrender after the first barrage crippled his fighter! He might live if he was smart enough to eject; no one would be targeting anything as small as an individual – and if he didn’t, it was a small loss!
Jacob was quite cross… He wasn’t even getting a chance to get near the enemy! They were firing from thousands of miles away! And they’d almost totally wrecked his ship already!
There wasn’t much time to control the jump or even much strength on my end to help direct the navigation any. Handell did some sort of microjump for some reason, then took the ship out of the dimension – frantically working with Smooche to try and overcome the massive damage, general systems failures, and horribly unbalanced configuration. He was, however, desperately wishing for a world of booze…
Unfortunately, with no time to really steer, the “wish-fulfillment” aspect of dimensional travel struck again. Handell wanted booze, Lazlo wanted less suicidal people to begin, Ben was worrying about where they could go that would have the industrial capacity to repair the Mrs Beasley, Kiraa wanted to see some sanity, Alys wanted somewhere with no Kreedath or Yeveetha, Jacob wanted to go somewhere he could find a ship like the Rakata’s, Smooche wanted to see the ultimate development of hyperspace technology, the Cook wanted every known delicacy catalogued and the recipes of universe available, and Valerie wanted to see the balance of the force and codex.
There was one place they knew of where all of that was available.
I do know that we dropped out of hyperspace fairly quickly and not in the immediate presence of any other massive ships. Everyone started working on arranging medical treatment for the crew or trying to salvage what was left of the hyperdrive and power systems. I checked to see that Valerie and the others were managing before being satisfied that no one was dead yet. We were probably going to die without medical treatment, but we had facilities and stasis belts. We just needed precious time.
A number of the Jacob-smacking droids appeared and began lamenting Jacob’s apparent death. Without a Jacob to beat, they had no purpose left in their system programming. I offered to make a series of clones that the droids could bludgeon to death repeatedly for as long as the genetic structure held out. This prompted the question from the droids as to whether or not this meant Jacob genes themselves were responsible for the blame as much as Jacob was. At this point, I figured it a fair assumption. I volunteered that there might even be premade clones of Jacob down in the medical bay deserving of severe punishment even now. I watched as the massive horde of droids began tripping over each other in their hurry to met out justice.
With a twinge of satisfaction I realized I could feel the atavist in the medical bay. I wasn’t sure how he got there, but I was glad he would soon meet the onrushing horde of droids eager to make his life hell. If there was some justice in the multiverse, then it was on it’s way towards Jacob now.
Handell had, whether brilliantly or stupidly, managed to engulf Jacob’s disintegrating sabership in the Mrs Beasley with the first microjump. If you had to have a power-up stutter, you might as well use it to rescue someone… even if it was only to kill them later.
Unfortunately, it looked like we had actually managed to get into even more serious trouble with that hyperspace jump. To all appearances, we had actually managed to end up in the Final Empire of all places. Luckily it looked like no one had spotted us yet, but the hyperdrive wasn’t going to be operational for some days. There wasn’t much to do except get the droids started on repairs, get the crew into stasis or medical, and stand watch in case of any trouble. I took Valerie down to medical for treatment first. We arrived to find a large horde of droids clustered around the door and surrounding hallways. Pushing our way through we saw that a large number of them were huddled around one of the medical beds beating it with non-lethal weapons.
WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM
(Medical Droid) No, no, stop that! That is not the proper way to be treating this patient! Give me that weapon! You’re supposed to do it like this, it hurts more!
WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM
(Kira) Valerie, do you want another medical bay? This one is going to be pretty noisy.
(Valerie) No, I like the entertainment in this one.
(Kira) Be sure to record it for me.
(Valerie) Will do.
I took first watch while the others went into treatment. Smoche was directing repairs from inside his bacta tube while Alys teleoperated security droids to help keep watch with me. I decided not to ask questions when the eight year old clone of Handell showed up and started drinking like a fish. It was probably one of those teleoperated clone things, but I had learned long ago not to question too deeply for the sake of my sanity.
Towards the end of the time I could just power through the damage using Force Endurance, we got indications of an intruder onboard the ship. Looked to be a number of tiny craft, almost like speeders in size. I figured it was a scouting party homing in on our hyperspace disturbance from when we arrived. Hopefully pleading injured status might buy us some time before a military force arrived to take us into custody.
Handell, Alys (via droid), and I intercepted the intruders near where they had boarded the ship. I was surprised to see a number of kids in their early teens wandering about. They didn’t feel alive per se though, and the fact that they showed no signs of any space gear despite having arrived on the equivalent of scooters was testament to something being out of the ordinary about these six.
Attempts to talk to them didn’t get very far. Attempts to ask them to leave us alone were ignored. Attempts to explain that we were injured and undergoing repairs and medical treatment got them excited about registering a claim over the ship and us. Explaining that the ship was ours, that we weren’t up for claim, and that we wouldn’t recognize their claim resulted in us being ignored. When they started talking about taking responsibility over us like pets, I started to get really irrate.
The kids were really rather excited… The ship was obviously both primitive (at least from a very superficial glance) and – even more obviously – a complete wreck. No one sensible could want to stay aboard this thing! They were using radiation-hardened remotes for their apprenticeships near the forge or they wouldn’t have dared to come aboard… There might be neat and salvageable stuff too! They could put in a salvage-claim!
Surprisingly enough, there were even a few surviving primitives aboard! They were obviously in pretty bad shape though… They called for medical assistance and filed a rescue-and-sponsorship claim on the primitives too! That would rescue them, and get them into the Empire where things were best, and the percentage on the taxes on their salaries would provide a few extra luxury credits later on
Then the one primitive got all hostile. Couldn’t he tell that he was dying on his feet? Even if he was (surprisingly!) a pretty powerful Shaper-Disruptor.
It didn’t help that half their notions about primitives were derived from holo-dramas, and they were half-wondering where the spears and horned helmets were.
On Kira’s end, the lack of all the usual social cues and telepathic impressions that he’d learned to rely on wasn’t helping either.
Damn it, I have been treated like an outcast and monster enough in my life! I am not going to be someone’s pet on top of it all! I don’t care if they are using remotely operated droid clone bodies, I will find whatever tank they are hiding in and make them suffer if they try to actually enforce such a claim! I am NOT going to lose what freedom I still have because Jacob wanted to prove he had the bigger lightsaber! I will show them that trying to make a pet out of a hybrid like myself is a very poor decision and damn the conseq-
That snapped me out of my state and back into rational thought. Thankfully I had stopped before I had taken any rash action. Using the Force right now was going to cost me dearly, so I could only rely on the Codex given my current mood. But using the Codex was going to prevent me from using the Force to maintain my stamina any more. Oh well, I suppose the worst that could happen is that I fall unconscious in Hypertime and the others have to unstasis me later.
I pulled out a spare stasis belt and wrapped it around the youngster currently “checked out” to make the claim. That nicely slowed him down to something Handell and Alys could manage readily.
(Another Teenager) Hey, that wasn’t very nice!
Suddenly I am worth paying attention to. Well, it was time that these kids learn that life isn’t all about getting what they wanted when they wanted it. A smooth flick of the wrist flung a second stasis belt around another youngster and neatly stuck him in stasis too. The others then began to respond to my efforts, but it was a simple matter of stepping into Hypertime and quietly putting stasis belts around each of them in turn. It looked like remotely operating these bodies of theirs didn’t help them at all at anchoring a Codifier’s timerate. I could tell the lack of Force Endurance was quickly taking it’s toll on me as I hunted down the sixth and last kid…
With the last one in stasis, I dropped out of Hypertime. It was only a matter of time before word made it up the chain of command and someone with serious firepower came here. I told Handell to get to the bridge and to do what he could to get us out of here. He ran off towards the bridge. I asked Alys to dump the bodies and the speeders they arrived on out into hyperspace at the next opportunity. I know Ben wanted to study them, but I didn’t want to risk that the damned things could be tracked back to us. She agreed and began making preparations on that when I felt my nose beginning to run.
Wiping my face with my hand, I saw that my hand had come away bloody. Double-checking verified that I was bleeding out of my nose profusely. Then I began coughing and hacking up blood hard. My vision began to blur as black spots began to appear and I lost consciousness before hitting the floor.
I awoke an indeterminate amount of time later in a bacta tank. I saw Valerie standing outside the tank looking a bit pink in the skin, and having only a red stubble of hair on her head. I could tell she was upset just by looking at her face.
(Valerie) You came very close to having a Dark Side explosion. And you managed to wait until no one was around to support or restrain you to do it too. Can I even trust you not to go HoloSith when your outside my reach?
(Kira) That was unusual, I’ve never come that close to losing control before.
(Valerie) The Force is doing very unusual things around Alys since we arrived in this galaxy, and it’s also doing unusual things around you to a lesser extent. In fact, it’s affecting everyone here on some level.
(Kira) Well, I’ve been advocating leaving at the earliest opportunity. No playing around or exploring.
(Valerie) All fine and good except for the fact that the hyperdrive is shot. The only reason we are able to move at all is the massive power system we have onboard and those weird hyperfields boosting the output.
(Kira) So where are we?
(Valerie) Out past the edge of the galaxy and at the limit of the hyperfields to support us. We are currently still moving outwards on slow drive.
(Kira) How long to effect repairs?
(Valerie) Maybe never if we can’t get supplies. A good twenty five percent of the ship is now hot and unusable. We might be able to cobble something together for a single jump given time, but our ability to outrun pursuit is limited if they seriously come after us.
(Kira) Just great.
I got out of the tank, dried off and dressed in the clothes provided. My hair was a short stubble like Valerie’s and I felt more than a bit stiff. Luckily it didn’t look or feel like I had any cybernetics installed in place of flesh. I just really didn’t want to consider how much bacta I had just used and how close I might be to triggering a bacta allergy.
On the bridge the scene was a mess. Droids and technicians were busily repairing fried systems, there were displaying flashing alarms and warnings all over, and Smoche looked like he had been partaking of that coffee the Sith cook made a little too much. They had just patched into the local communications network and were browsing the news channels.
It looked like we hadn’t made the news yet. That was a good thing. Of course, it seemed like you could have stolen half the galaxy and not get covered as the locals appeared to be celebrating the ascension of a new Empress to the throne. Apparently went by the name Lysira. Why that name sounded familiar was hard to recognize, but I wasn’t alone in that sentiment as others felt it sounded familiar too. Shipwreck began scanning channels trying to find an image of the new Empress for identification purposes.
Why I was surprised that Alys’s face appeared on screen is beyond me. This one looked like an exaggerated pirate with the eyepatch, scars, and…. lightsaber. Now, I thought Alys wasn’t Force sensitive. It definitely looked like she had been Sith trained, although this was a rather unusual faction of Sith to say the least. This was also apparently the 70,571,429th “Alys” to take the role of Empress of the Final Empire. Well, I suppose that was one way to become an immortal ruler of everything. Just keep importing alternate versions of yourself to take the throne when you die.
Or, at least a way to provide an ongoing symbol of stability and order coupled with regular change. In this case, it also gave them someone well-suited to running their acquisition program – and a run on pirate costumes.
It was also the most unbelievably egotistical thing I think I have ever seen.
Then we got a glimpse of the Empress’s consort Aralnith. It was Jacob.
The entire bridge busted out laughing at that image. I even saw Telera doubled over from laughter as we couldn’t contain ourselves. Handell was even rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. Jacob had a blank look on his face, and Alys had gone redder than a tomato.
(Alys) It’s not funny!
(Virstris) I guess she likes guys with massive Force auras.
(Ben) Nah, it’s the skill with wood that does it.
(Kira) Nah, she just likes guys with big lightsaber ships who push her buttons.
(Alys) IT’S NOT FUNNY!!!
That only encouraged us to laugh even harder. Then came in the news that Aralnith was a powerful Codex user of some sort. That got a collective “Huh” from everyone watching. Now, trying to explain how Alys could become a Sith was a difficult matter, but remotely conceivable. As far as we all knew though, it was fundamentally impossible for Jacob to be a Codex user. This suggested that either the two weren’t really the same person, or that something really fundamental was going on that we’ve missed.
(Valerie) So, if the Codifier version of an Atavist is someone that has dropped out of the universe due to too much Codex talent, would such a person try to counter that by being involved in as many social activities as possible?
She was obviously leading to some sort of punchline with this.
(Kira) Yeah, things like parties, family reunions, social events, and various group activities would conceivably work as evidenced by the Codifiers.
(Valerie) Then maybe he should be called an Activist?
That was a horrible pun. It also started another round of laughter as the image of Empress Pirate Alys and her social Activist tree-hugging Consort became even more ridiculous as we each added horrible puns, jokes, and images to the idea. Nimh started keeping a composite sketch of the image on one of the main viewscreens as we kept going. Alys was about to die of embarressment.
(Alys) DAMN IT, JUST WAIT UNTIL ONE OF YOUR ALTERNATES TURNS UP DOING SOMETHING INSANE!!!
She eventually stormed off as we kept going. We all finally had to quit as our sides became sore from all the laughing. It did a lot to lighten up the sour mood we all had from being shot at with a superweapon. The composite image Nimh created quickly started making the rounds with the crew and there was going to be much snickering and such behind closed doors for months if not years to come.
Eventually though it came time to try and make a decision about what to do next. Our ability to repair the hyperdrive given the resources we had was limited at best. We might be able to make a trans-temporal jump, but we might melt the coils or need to go through a lengthy cooldown after finishing the jump during which we would be stuck for an indeterminate amount of time. So we would want to try and steal some raw materials from the locals that we could effect enough repairs to leave. Of course, that might result in drawing the Final Empire down upon us.
I was all for leaving immediately and hoping for the best in my ability to overpower the influences from the others on the steering. With Valerie helping it might work. Sadly I got outvoted as the rest of them elected to go pirating for asteroids to haul back as raw materials. The more elaborate and ridiculous the pirate theme became, the less I wanted to have a part in it. I suspected the Final Empire was not going to be nearly as amused or forgiving as these people seemed to think to a theft of the scale they were planning. Eventually they refitted the Faded military ship and went off hunting.
Well, with them gone, it was time to start making contingency plans in case we needed to leave in a hurry. First off was a means of hiding this massive ship. An idea occurred to me and I made requests to manufacture a large second stage stasis system. It took some explaining to the engineers what I hoped to accomplish, but they got to work quickly enough. Valerie came in halfway through the process.
(Valerie) What good is a stasis generator going to do us?
(Kira) Shove enough power through it to push it into generating a second stage stasis effect large enough to hide the Mrs Beasley behind. Then place it between the Mrs Beasley and the Final Empire. Out here it will look as black and silent as the rest of the endless void.
(Valerie) Oh now that is clever.
(Kira) It’s not perfect and we are going to have to do some tricks with relays to keep picking up hyperspace broadcasts, but it should at the least buy us time.
(Valerie) Well it looks like we have enough materials to repair the various ships with us. There should be plenty of space to carry everyone aboard them, and worst case the Ratsoogomoz has a powerful enough hyperdrive to haul most of the ships with it. We could get everyone out of here and take everything but the Mrs Beasley with us if we had to. We could then let the main power core of the Mrs Beasley lose confinement and destroy it so there is nothing they can use to try and track us.
(Kira) Getting Ben and Smoche to go along with that is going to be nearly impossible though.
(Valerie) Ben isn’t here, and may not even return alive. Smoche is just one artificer.
(Kira) Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that, but let’s make preparations to go that route. That way if we need it, it’s ready.
We both started submitted manufacturing orders and directing droids and technicians to those ends. The repairs to the fleet were going slowly, but we were nearly finished with the construction of the stasis field when the ship returned with it’s cargo in tow. I was actually beginning to think we might be able to make this work as they came in well above lightspeed despite not using hyperdrive.
Then I saw that they had grabbed an asteroid full of alcohol, women, and food instead of anything we might actually need.
For the trip into the Final Empire the others decided to go with the “Pirate” meme, in hopes that they could blend into the celebrations. With the hyperfield boosts and a “primitive” engine they could easily move an asteroid…
The disguises got quite elaborate – and they headed for an industrial center.
That was… frightening. The Final Empire was taking the cores of burned out suns and using a colossal “lightsaber” system to step up the dark energy field and… evaporate them. The ion-streams pouring off the surface were used to generate power and magnetically separated into raw elements. They were… processing a burned-out star in something like weeks. They were building transdimensional hyperportals big enough to move stars and planets. It looked like they were planning to start some more selective raiding…
Handell, meanwhile, was heading for the booze. It looked like one of the local asteroids was a… living and recreational area, and that was what he needed!
Oddly enough, the others seemed to be caught up in the “pirate party” fervor that was gripping the Final Empire at the moment, and failed to stop him… Of course, once they were entangled in traffic control it was a bit late for a stealthy raid anyway. Rather than absconding with one or more of the asteroid-sized chunks of purified raw materials, they wound up with the recreational and living quarters asteroid instead – as well as the local police using remote-operated bodies to try and arrest them.
As they dragged the asteroid out of the galaxy, there was much complaining. The local police assumed that the bunch of them had overridden the safeties on one of the full-sensory simulations and thus had driven themselves crazy.
That seemed to be a common problem. Of course, they were also calling for help… Fortunately, Handell pulled off an insane maneuver around a black hole and got their basic velocity well above lightspeed – while Lazlo threw a few remote-operated bodies into the thing. That complicated their rendevous with the Mrs Beasley – but Handell managed to pull of that suicidal piloting stunt too.
I was not happy to say the least. Luckily I was able to maintain better control of myself this time as opposed to last time with those teenagers. I went on a tirade, and my demand to know whose brilliant idea this was resulted in much fingerpointing and denials of guilt. Then someone from that asteroid tried to hail the Mrs Beasley. That got routed to my commlink.
(Asteroid) I demand you let us go, you barbarians!
(Kira) I don’t think you are in any position to be making demands at the moment.
(Asteroid) You are in a lot of trouble, mister!
(Kira) Naw, you think?
He started to rattle off some legal nonsense about how much trouble I was in. Oddly enough, it sounded like any other local cop trying to overawe people with his extremely limited authority… I ignored him and looked to one of the spare stasis generators sitting in the docking bay. Picking it up telekinetically, I flung it out the shuttle bay and at the asteroid. After it made contact with the surface, I flipped the switch to activate it as the asteroid was enveloped in a black globe. That neatly silenced that annoyance for the time being.
(Kira) Kira to helm.
(Augusta) This is Augusta, go ahead.
(Kira) Get us behind that stasis field. Once Jacob finishes anchoring it to the Mrs Beasley, try to lose any possible pursuit.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 62b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Special Investigator Nimh Tahl’s Field Report – Session 62a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 61a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 60a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 57 from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 53 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)