With Alys on the way back from her (involuntary) meeting with the Hutts, Ben and a young Sith headed for the depths of the city in search of clues to superweapons, Lazlo and Vi just back (from a brawl which would be reported as the largest riot on Alderaan since the last time Kira had been home), and Shipwreck and Handell missing (and presumed dead drunk), Kira was sensing lots of blank spots in the force popping up…
I looked out to the sky towards the voids I knew were coming this way. Already some of them were landing across the city and deploying who knows what. Personally, I felt there were three different possibilities: soldiers, Force predators, and powerful explosives or possibly nukes. Given the general indifference of the RDF to collateral damage and casualties, it was only a matter of time before the body count started climbing. We needed to do something to limit the damage and fast. But my ability to do much of anything on this large a scale was limited at best.
Wait a minute….
I asked Lazlo if it was possible for him to use the pyramid technique to share another technique across a large group of people. He wanted clarification as to what I had in mind and I then suggested that he use the pyramid technique to pull on the Force potential of much of the planet, and then use that power to increase the durability of everyone in the city against damage. After all, Leucross had been able to do something like that… That took him aback for a moment, and Lazlo announced that he would have to meditate on that idea for a few moments.
Ben’s reploid announced at this point that another one of his reploids was descending down the side of the canyon wall with a young Sith while pretending to be hunting superweapons. Ben wanted us to use him and the Sith as decoys to distract the RDF for the purposes of determining what they were bringing to the battle and possibly for manuevering them into a situation beneficial to us. He did announce that the RDF was heavily armed but conspicuously lacking in terms of grenades. Apparently these guys had done their homework on my tactical habits. Then Ben said he was getting shot at and stopped talking to us.
His young holosith charge had swallowed the notion that they needed the computer systems to locate his superweapon, and had taken the power and communications systems going out as an attempt to stop him.
That made it pretty easy to persuade him to bypass all security by leaping into the crevasse and using the force to control their fall. After all, if anything went wrong the emergency safety systems would stop them…
While jumping into the chasm and using the force to descend safely had first attracted only annoyed disapproval (for depleting emergency power reserves which might really be needed later on) from the locals, down below – interestingly, at the cable-based communications-and-power hub built into foundations of the city – there were rather a lot of people already.
Really heavily armed people. With some sort of hunting beasts along. And with personal body armor. And a distinct shortage of grenades…
Oh dear. They were jumping straight into an RDF task force. Wearing Kira masks. It was a good time to stop a level early…
The kid tried to mind control the entire mob. He wasn’t bad for an untrained kid – but he’d have had to be a near-god to control a couple of hundred men and a dozen force predators…
On the other hand, he’d certainly gotten their attention – and did manage to parry an entire fullisade of blaster bolts. Either he was better than even he had known, or very lucky there…
Well, these force predators didn’t seem to be gargantuanly powerful – but they were tough, strong, and fast enough to make it up the slanting walls of the city… NOT what he needed at the moment! He had to keep these bodies alive until the police had time to rescue his real body and arrest the Sith aboard his ship!
He rather desperately phased the wall – and let it snap back as the predators fell into it.
That was rather messy – and the internal pressure-wave shattered a good chunk of the wall. Even stresscrete had it’s limitations.
At least it helped him persuade his young charge to fall back. The RDF thought he was Kira anyway…
The RDF gave pursuit.
Alys had ducked for cover when the assault started… OK… There were a LOT more RDF troops on Alderaan than they’d given them credit for. How on earth had they gotten all those weapons and creatures in?
Oh, never mind that. Given stasis and the Codex, she could think of a dozen ways.
Ah, there it was! A steady stream of encrypted traffic from all over the city. That would be the RDF… A good thing Kira had gotten that military-quality encryption droid brain installed on her datapad… With that to help and her own talents, it didn’t take long to crack the encryption.
So the RDF was definitely tracking Kira – and the masks were giving them problems, although the force predators they had along made it easy to sort out the ones who were total pretenders…
Force predators? Oh dear. At least these seemed to be fairly minor creatures. Still, the whole operation seemed more to… chase Kira into a corner surrounded by predators than it was to kill him. Did they WANT him just jumping around the universe? Why? Kira always turned up with Valerie, and THAT wouldn’t help them… Wait; if an unbonded Hybrid jumped at random, where would… OH! So THAT was what they were up to! That made the plan of taking out the transport, power, and communications, and trying to “trap” Kira actually make some sense!
And to start… they’d overloaded the central power plant into shutdown, crashed a ship on the rim link to take it out, blown up the river link, and blasted the secondary power supplies. Still, even then a city on Alderaan had plenty of local backup power on the emergency systems. Almost nobody else in the galaxy – including quite a few places with hostile environments – provided protective backups like Alderaan…
Alys then came on the commlink and announced that she had broken the encryption algorithm on the RDF comm channel. How she managed to pull that off so quickly was an interesting question, but more relevant to the current moment was the fact that she was able to give us a good breakdown on the attackers and their plans. It looked like the basic plan the RDF was going for was to shutdown power, block off all transportation out of the city, and then trap me. Oddly the goal wasn’t to then unload massive amounts of firepower at that point, but to surround me with a number of Force predators and force me to drop out of the universe. Now why would they be trying that?
Wait, what if they think that I am teleporting around the same way a Codifier does? In which case such a plan would more than suffice to cause me to lose all connection to this Galaxy and drop out entirely even if I was using the Force to cheat a bit on the targeting. At which point I might well appear in the middle of space in some weird alternate timeline or something at least from their experience. Part of me still wasn’t sure that the idea of appearing in space as opposed to a planetary surface might be more mythical than real. At least it seemed to work that way in my experience. Still, that wasn’t how I was teleporting and the fact that the RDF hasn’t caught on to that fact was encouraging.
Still, why not go for the kill instead?
It looked like there were 3,224 attackers in the city now according to Alys. Most of them were divided up into teams either sweeping the city or going after critical pieces of infrastructure. The Force predators were apparently not on the same scale of the ones from Kharanoth I had fought, which was also a good thing. These were more on the scale of trained attack dogs with good speed, strength, and the ability to track Force sensitives. The attackers felt that any stray Force users killed accidently was too bad, any Jedi that got caught should have been trying to stop me, and good riddance to any Sith that got killed. That should at least keep the casualties the predators caused amongst the general populace down to a minimum, but meant we were going to have to hunt down and protect all the Force sensitives in the city. Oh crap, and that means that if Lazlo uses the pyramid technique to enhance everyone in the city, then we’ll only succeed at putting everybody on the menu.
At which point Lazlo came out of his meditation and announced that he thought is was more than possible, although he thought it much more benevolent to protect our attackers since they were the ones most likely to receive injury in the coming battle. As I caught his meaning, I couldn’t help but grin and nod my approval. Lazlo went back into his meditative trance and began to glow brightly as I could feel threads from across the planet converge on him before spreading out across the entire city. Then I felt several thousand Force potentials suddenly spring up wherever those threads attached to. Quickly the entire sky seemingly lit up with fireworks as chaos unfolded across the city and soldiers unloaded heavy weaponry wildly into the air.
Alys quickly confirmed that the Force predators the attackers had brought were rapidly turning on their handlers across the city. The fact that the handlers were all now far more durable than they had any right to be was only adding to the confusion and chaos breaking loose. We could hear from Alys’s relaying of the RDF communications traffic that there were many demands for explanations and requests for help among the soldiers. I couldn’t help but feel a bit mischievous again.
(Kira) Hey Alys?
(Kira) Can you insert a message stating that Kira has infiltrated the RDF strike teams? You can even include something about you can tell which one is him based on how invulnerable he is to injury.
(Alys) Oh I like it.
(Larson) Now that is just downright mean. I like it too.
Quickly enough the shooting and fireworks display intensified as the soldiers started using their own heavy weapons against the Force predators and each other. I was busily chuckling to myself over my own cleverness when the ground abruptly shook and I nearly fell to my knees. A quick look around quickly confirmed that whatever caused that had shaken most of the city. That was not good at all. Alys quickly located the epicenter of the blast to a warehouse near the power plant. Details were scarce to say the least, but all indications were that the warehouse had been thoroughly vaporized in that explosion. Was that a partial containment leak of the power plant vaporizing a nearby building? That wasn’t good to say the least. A reactor containment loss of that scale could put a significant hole in the city. And if the reactor has been damaged badly enough to begin losing containment….
Vi then announced he was going to the reactor to see what was going on. I told him it was too far to get to quickly even with Hypertime, but he waved it off and said he was going to teleport there instead. He can’t be serious, even with my skill with both the Force and the Codex, I don’t dare try to teleport using the Codifier technique. I tried to warn him of the dangers when Vi abruptly vanished in a puff of displaced air. Well, he either made it or not. I suppose we will find out soon enough.
Vi in fact was trying a variant on Ben’s “Ultimate Dodge” – essentially attempting to use the Force and Codex to control a microjump though hyperspace. He almost managed it too – winding up only a few hundred feet short.
That wasn’t as good as appearing out of nowhere to surprise everyone, but it did let him get a look at what was up.
There were a bunch of real techs under a couple of RDF guards off to one side – it looked like the RDF had arrived in a batch of heavily armored vans disguised as service techs, shut down the plant, and then captured the real tech’s who’d promptly been dispatched to fix it.
With hypertime and his various other abilities to draw on, defeating two normal guards was no real problem – and the techs could give him a rough count… It sounded like a couple of higher-ups, two heavily-armed Kreedath, and a few techs and soldiers.
He went in through the service corridors. That was easy enough. The repair techs had a bunch of droids with all the passcodes for the plant along.
Ah. There they were. Two command-types giving orders over the comms, the fellow faking the “temporary disruption, no reason for alarm” reports, and two… Kreedath?
No. Not Kreedath. Two fully-armed and equipped Infinite Empire Rakata Troopers. That explained where that massive blast had come from – and it was BAD. That pair outgunned every security officer put together in the city all by themselves.
He got into position and tried to take one out with a hyper-accelerated drug dart. That way it would punch through his body armor. It did – but the military automatic medical pack countered his drug. Fortunately, they hadn’t spotted his position – and his use of hypertime was letting him fire and shift before any normal human could react. Eventually the creatures would have to go down! He had more sedatives than a medical pack could possibly counter!
Unfortunately, he popped up to find that someone – possibly the Commander or Lieutenant, who were using hypertime themselves – had managed to get the direction of his next attack right. He managed to dodge most of the shot – but not even hypertime would let him fully avoid the corona-effects of a Rakata Blaster.
It blew a gasping hole in the wall and flung him hundreds of feet into the air above the river. He could use hypertime to generate enough thrust to direct and cushion the fall – but realized mere moments later that it would also make him a glowing, fabulously conspicuous, and unprotected target for every RDF fighter in the city.
He teleported again just ahead of the incoming shots – jumping aboard the incoming (thanks to Alys) Republic Command Ship.
Fortunately he had the JLA credentials to start giving some directions, even if they were mostly to contain the situation with a double-sided shield-englobement, to attempt stun-strafing of the “rioters”, and to beware of some REALLY high-powered weaponry that was in use.
Lazlo, meanwhile, was switching out the powers he was bestowing every time the RDF forces started to get used enough to them to use them effectively. Incredible toughness gave way to enhanced dodging, and then to jumping… It was very entertaining in a keystone cops kind of way!
Alys was busy getting into the communications channels – and countering the line that “no help was needed” that the RDF communications specialist was putting out. Fortunately, she was far more persuasive than the RDF comm officer.
In the meantime I figured someone had to be directing all of these soldiers. And that meant there was someone in charge somewhere and they probably were Codex users. If we could decapitate this operation and get the power back on, then we might be able to rout this ambush completely. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of Force noise and chaos around us was making it incredibly difficult to tell much of anything going on right now.
(Kira) Alys, someone has to be directing this operation. Any idea where they are?
(Alys) Been working on compiling a list. Looks like eight command staff and two special advisors.
(Kira) Special advisors?
(Alys) Difficult to determine who they are. They aren’t RDF though and they are making the general soldiers nervous. Despite being allies, the general sentiment seems to be that the advisors blew up several of the soldiers when they couldn’t get their pet under control in a timely fashion. That apparently was the warehouse.
(Kira) You can’t be serious.
(Alys) Afraid so. Looks we have one officer providing technical assistance for the operation. Two directing the Force predator teams. Another two responsible for the secondary power links to the rest of Alderaan. Then we have an Overall Commanding Officer down at the power plant along with a second lieutenant of some sort. Both of the special advisors are down by the power plant too.
At that point another explosion rocked the city as a blast struck the opposing canyon wall. That easily looked like a capital ship level blast that came from within the city itself. So unless someone was hiding a Star Destroyer in the city, someone was using Rakata weaponry inside the city. That was not good.
(Alys) That came from the power plant.
(Kira) I’m enroute now. Get the military down here NOW!
(Larson) What are you doing?
(Kira) I’m going to stop the idiots from using those weapons inside the city.
Alys, from her booth two levels up, broke into the republic military communications as well (which they found annoying), and was busily relaying information and calculating… Full-power Rakata rifles fired blasts on the level of star destroyer primaries! They’d presumably fired at low power, but they were still incredibly lucky that all that had blown up was a warehouse…
Wait. Maybe it wasn’t just luck. Safety Fields… A safety field was simply a low-powered shield generator. She’d assumed that the way everything was over-engineered on Alderaan was just their usual “absolute safety” idea in action – but the power supplies were over-engineered as well, and every system had a built-in power reserve, and the multitude of projectors which made it possible to shape and control the fields on the fly could be stacked instead of being used for finely-controlled shaped fields…
And the cities hypermatter reactor was absurdly over-engineered as well.
If Crevasse City had an instants warning, and some presets on the system controls… It might be able to survive the planet blowing up. “Blending into the environment” and “unobtrusive” could just as easily be read as “camouflaged” and “buried in the planetary crust”. No wonder the damage was so… contained.
Their planetary shields were among the best in the galaxy too. Any weapon which could threaten Alderaan would make short work of almost any other planet in the galaxy. Massive defenses hidden in plain sight…
Ben, meanwhile, had been steering his charge towards the power plant (on the premise that restoring power would allow the research to begin) while body-jumping to pass on requests to the planetary security forces that they board and recapture his ship.
Unfortunately, he’d recognized a blast from a Rakata weapon easily – and he definitely didn’t need that going off in any city he was in! Even remotely!
Still, if he could restore power, the security systems should swing the edge back to the local cops… He couldn’t bring in a ship though, and – as amusing as the idea was – he couldn’t run an extension cord to the Mrs Beasley even with a hypertunnel.
Wait a moment. What about with a codex gate or overlay? Not to the Mrs Beasley – but to another Alderaan… Crevasse City had many times the power it actually needed available; all he had to do was reach a major power-cable nexus and set up a gate to borrow some of it from an alternate version!
Besides, it was something to do besides frantically dodge badly-distracted RDF troopers and their frothing little force-predator pets… That had to be Lazlo. Only he would find a way to empower thousands of people, use it to grant marvelous bonuses to his enemies, and then sit back and drink tea and innocently watch as all those benefits and enhancements somehow added up to total catastrophe.
A major power nexus wasn’t hard. . They’d been fairly near the power plant anyway.
Ben focused on creating a gateway-overlay to another, very similar, Alderaan – thus linking their two power systems together – as “Darth Kiddeous” looked on and speculated about ways to turn the gate-effect into a superweapon.
With that I ignored his protests as I ran off down the street towards the power plant. There was no way I was going to be able to make it to the power plant in a timely fashion and in condition to fight even using Hypertime to speed things up. Running simply wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to move faster than that and the bike was still back at the spaceport. No choice then, I’ve always wondered why Jedi and Sith never tried this despite what seemed to me like a natural enough thing to try. So I leapt into the air, grasped myself telekinetically and pushed forward. That worked to some extent, although gravity reasserted itself quickly enough. A few more leaps and pushes quickly worked out that I needed to push upwards at an angle to keep my flight level. With that worked out, I quickly mastered steering and speed as I flew along the streets at higher and higher speeds.
Judicious use of wraithing enabled me to fly downwards at an angle to take me to the power plant, and soon I was on the right level but still several kilometers away horizontal. Then another bright flash from another weapons blast blinded me for a moment. Not wanting to delay my progress any, I kept going at full speed above the street. Besides, the streets were clear of vehicles because of the festival, and the people had largely retreated indoors. It wasn’t like there were going to be any….
I struck something hard, then went rolling through the street. By the time I finally stopped, I was face first in the pavement with my legs dangling over my head and my ears were ringing.
Son of a bitch.
Luckily it looks like my durability enhancement kicked in just in time to prevent serious injury. I was busily righting myself when I heard a female voice.
(Voice) Are you alright? Did you get thrown from a crash or something?
(Kira) I’m fine, just a little dazed for the moment. That bright flash of light caught me off guard.
(Voice) It almost looked like you went through that tree there! I don’t see any other cars though! You shouldn’t be driving during the festival anyway! And don’t you know you should be indoors right now?! You should go see a doctor! By the way, that is a really expensive looking Kira costume you have there!
Something about this chatterbox sounded familiar. Finally getting into a sitting position, I looked up at who was speaking to me.
(Kira) Ashley Tremsel?
In what was probably a historic moment for Alderaan, Ashley actually was at a loss for something to say. As proud as I might have been under other circumstances, I had other priorities that actually mattered right now. Getting up and brushing myself off, I waved as I floated up into the air and continued my flight towards the power plant.
I was able to close that last distance quickly. It looked like whatever was going on in the canyon was doing nicely at distracting everyone from the flying blur zooming over the streets. Getting a view of the power plant, I saw Ben and what looked to be some kid dressed as a HoloSith standing over a power conduit. From what I could see, Ben seemed to be struggling with some sort of portal. Landing next to him, I was quickly able to gather that he was trying to open one instead of close one and so I thrust my hand at the gateway as I threw my power into assisting Ben with the effort. That caused the rippling gateway to smooth and stabilize. Oddly enough there didn’t seem to be any difference looking through the portal as opposed to around it. I was about to ask Ben what he was trying to do when the kid shoved a lightsaber into the portal.
A lightsaber was a spacefield effect, drawing most of it’s power from dark energy – and leaking a portion of that energy across the interface that defined the “volume” of the blade. Shoved into a transdimensional portal, a nearly two dimensional cross section of the blade existed in each universe transversed – and the rate of radiant energy leakage was inversely proportional to the distance over which the potential dropped off.
Nearly two-dimensional “slices” of the blade meant that that distance approached zero – and the rate of energy loss approached infinity, multiplied by countless trillions of universes.
With virtually no dark energy left in the volume of the blade, the expansive force of the cosmological constant became an implosive force – and the flood of radiant energy from nowhere that was causing power blowouts across countless Alderaans cut off as the lighsaber, and the hand holding it, were crushed into neutronium and beyond. The “implosion” shockwave in the structure of space was detectable light-hours away.
That caused some sort of weird IMPLOSION that yanked me off my feet but left me unharmed. Getting back to my feet AGAIN, I saw that there was now a crater in the ground under the portal. The kid was standing there looking dumbfounded at the severed stump of his arm. Ben and the kid started arguing about the prudence of shoving fields inside each other when I noticed the power start coming back on around the city. Ben seemed insufferably pleased with himself at that, but I was more concerned with whoever was using Rakata weapons nearby and how that explosion was likely to bring attention to this location.
True to my predictions, I saw what looked like two Rakata or Kreedath stumbling through a hole in the reactor building. I figured that they were going to start shooting at us, but I was amazed when the two of them began to run for the river. I gave chase, but the first one pulled out a Rakata rifle, pointed it at the river and fired. That threw large amounts of steam, rubble, and water into the air and forced me to stop and block the blast wave.
The first Rakata then leapt into the maelstorm that was formerly the river as the second one hobbled along to follow. Moving in Hypertime to get behind him, he reacted to my presence as he whirled around to point the rifle at me. I easily grabbed the rifle and tore it out of his hands. As he reared back to punch me, I pulled out the subspace lance and jammed it into his ribs. That immediately froze him in place and he began to topple over backwards. Using telekinesis to cushion his fall, I then went to the edge of the river to see what happened to the other one.
At first I had thought he had blown a hole in the bottom of the river to reach some hidden underground facility or something, but then I had seen that instead he had just leapt into the hole and was laying still as the water and rubble filled in the void he had blasted into the river bottom. Probing harder with the Force, I could tell that what limited signature I could sense from a Rakata had vanished entirely. What was going on? Something just seemed off about the scenario somehow. I found it hard to believe that the Rakata could actually use the reploid technology that Ben had been using.
Not wanting to approach the Rakata for fear of a trap, I pulled out a knife and threw it at him. It sunk into his shoulder and stuck as the Rakata failed to take any notice of the injury. Almost like he had died or something.
Wait a minute
I slapped my forehead for being so stupid. The Rakata were relying on stasis fields and probably some sort of a short range transmitter system to hide and await rescue from the rest of their people. Well, I wasn’t going to give him the chance to be rescued. Reaching out the Force, I started telekinetically pulling rubble and such out of the way as I then extracted the Rakata out of the river. Setting him down on the ground next to me, I then put one of our stasis belts on him, and removed his own for the time being. Retrieving the two Rakata weapons, I removed the power cells and made sure the damned things were thoroughly discharged.
The two RDF Codex users that were supposedly were in the area were conspicuously absent though. Two Codex users powerful enough to be in command and two Rakata armed with Infinite Empire weaponry could readily threaten to do enough damage to kill me even with Ben and Vi’s support. The worst they could do from their perspective is force me to drop out of the universe to dodge the attacks. Wait, was that what the Force predators were for? To sever enough of my links to this Galaxy so that I would be unable to find my way back? That would certainly work for most anyone to prevent them from ever returning. That also had ominous implications for my friends, family, and Valerie. At least as long as the RDF is unaware of the Bond, Valerie should be relatively safe as only a tangential concern in the RDF’s mind. Still, this just reinforced the fact that I had to track my friends and family down now and not get too distracted with side issues.
This still left the damned issue of not knowing where to look. For all of our spectacular success at turning this ambush into a rout on our attackers, we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Recognizing that my frustrations were getting the better of me, I shifted to the Codex side and ran some of the meditations. After that I called Alys.
(Kira) Alys, I am going to need pickup on two captured Rakata down here. One in stasis, another frozen via subspace. Any word on where the RDF commanders have run off to?
(Alys) Looks like they’ve gone to ground. We’ve been busily rounding up the soldiers and Force predators. Since the power came back on the shields and other protection systems throughout the city have been deploying and restraining the soldiers so that the police can pick them up with ease. It’s an impressive system.
That system was also one I have found deeply disturbing on a number of levels for years now. The fact that the system has only been used for benign purposes thus far did little to quell the fact that the authorities could readily stamp out dissent at a moments notice. Given how ubiquitous the system was, there was little that could be done about it without heavy firepower, unusual abilities, or leaving the planet. The first was banned on the planet, the second was rare, and the third option was more or less what was left to those uncomfortable with the system. Increasingly these days I was beginning to think that this planet wasn’t what I wanted to consider home.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 76 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 72b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 73a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 71c from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 67b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 73b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 72a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 68b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)