“Star Wars: Dark Times” Session 7 — “Banshee Weirdness”

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 7 of Jason’s space opera miniseries, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 9 December 2013:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — the Galactic Republic has been replaced by a ruthless empire, and the Jedi, once guardians of peace, are now hunted fugitives. In the Unknown Regions, at the edge of explored space, a few Jedi and their allies hope to survive and continue the fight for justice….

Player Character roster for JasonE.R.’sStar Wars: Dark Times,” usingSavageWorlds, autumn 2013:

  • Ekafti Acomar [Gene D.]-female Rhinnalian human Jedi consular, older diplomat with many contacts but few remaining friends
  • “Garolos Banku Nuruolos — Garos [Beruk A.]-male Chiss (blue-skinned humanoid) ex-Jedi, gambler and owner of the light freighter “Lucky Strike
  • Oong Bak [Brian W.]-male Duros (gray-skinned humanoid) honorable and talented mechanic
  • Ari Sundar [Sara F.]-female Ssi-ruu (raptor-like reptile) military medic, outcast from a species intruding upon the galaxy
  • Thayne Highlander [Bruce K.]-male human Jedi padawan close to knighthood, 19 years old; saw master killed by Order 66
  • Tark Agros [Brian S.]-male Bakuran human pilot and noble, mildly delusional hotshot
  • Tharg Thargsson [Rich C.G.]-male Gamorrean scoundrel and bounty hunter with connections to the Black Sun syndicate
  •  Max Power (MX-PR) [Rich C.G.]-male protocol droid with secret combat subroutine, ordered to protect Jedi (overrode Order 66); killed by Sith Bela Trepada on Bakura

“From the journals of Ekafti Acomar, 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin):” Strange times make for strange allies. On Bakura, we had rescued the leader of the Brotherhood, a mercenary organization composed of clone troopers of the old Republic and Mandalorians. Newcomer Tharg Thargsson had defeated Bela-Trepada, a “sister” clone of me turned to the Dark Side of the Force by the Galactic Empire.

We had no time to celebrate our victory, however, because Bal Grainer sent us a ransom demand for dancer Tootu Anga, the mother of mechanic Oong Bak. Grainer, the Rodian fixer associate of Garolos Banku Nuruolos, wanted 300,000 credits delivered to Nar Shaddaa, the Hutt homeworld’s largest moon.

Kass Tani, Tootu Anga’s betrothed, arrived from Duros via the fast ship “B6Z1.” Most blue-gray Durosians don’t name their vessels as other species do. I remembered Tani from our diplomatic service before Palpatine’s new order, and he was surprised to see me alive after Order 66, which had outlawed the Jedi.

Tani, who had invoked Biz Taar, brought a container of ancient soil from Duros. Oong prepared the oils and tubes for the Daar-Daar ritual, which needed to take place even in the absence of Tootu Anga. Oong also presented Tani with one of his tools as a token of welcoming him into his family.

The ritual took almost as long as Kass Tani’s trip to the Bakura system. Tani later told us that Bal Grainer had an estate in the Durosian sector on Nar Shaddaa and that, not surprisingly, he had a weakness for exotic women.

While our pilot Tark Agros was reluctant to leave the Lucky Strike, he was confident that he could pilot the swift B6Z1 through any threat posed by the Black Sun criminal syndicate.

Shortly thereafter, we arrived at Nar Shaddaa, the so-called Smuggler’s Moon. We went to the “Somewhere, Not Here” spacers’ bar. Tharg talked with two fellow Gamorreans, Baku and Shlarg, and learned about Soona the Hutt, a rival to Bal Grainer.

Smuggler's Moon
Courtyard in Hutt haven

Ostensibly looking for a paying gig, Oong chatted with other Durosians to get his bearings and learn if anyone had seen his mother. We learned that Nar Shaddaa was unscathed by the virus that had affected the rest of the galaxy’s computer networks, no doubt because it was the source. Scout Ari Sundar and Jedi Thayne Highlander posed as our guards.

Tark talked with two other human pilots, a Falleen and Cutter Torsin. He had met the latter previously at the Grand Pelgar hotel. Torsin said he was working for insectoid Verpines, protecting a shipment of droid parts from G’hro to Chandrila.

A friendly brawl broke out among Tharg, Baku, and Shlarg. Garos placed bets while the rest of us left. Thayne, Tark, and Garos later went to the “Banshee Weirdness,” a private club and neutral ground for various Hutt factions. They found out that the membership fee was many thousands of credits.

After talking with hit woman Shamarra Zanab, we pursued two leads to obtain an audience with Soona the Hutt. Tharg offered his services as a disgruntled Gamorrean guard, while Garos and I pointed out that Bal Grainer’s need for money could be exploited as a weakness.

Soona had other ideas. She revealed that she had captured the “Seven Deadly Shadows,” assassins working for Grainer. If we posed as them and killed the Rodian gangster, we would get the resources we needed. While I had no intention of committing murder for hire, we agreed to Soona’s proposition since it would get us closer to rescuing Tootu Anga.

That night, Thayne had another vision. Endolana, the daughter of Jedi Master Ataru 25,000 years ago, was sick. I knew from the holocron that each of the Jedi masters whose daughters had disappeared resigned, leading to our order’s vow of celibacy.

According to Marala, daughter of Acomar and likely origin of myself and several clones, some of the girl’s essence was affected when the light saber of Shin-Wu Sorotai (Thayne’s late master) was examined.

I still hoped to find Ramoca, a lost clone, who was allegedly being held by the “Prophet of the Living Force.” Unfortunately, we’ve had to deal with Bakuran conspiracies and Bal Grainer’s ransom demands first.

We went to the Durosian quarter on Nar Shaddaa with Soona’s feathered headdress as supposed proof that we had assassinated her on Grainer’s behalf. IG-86 sentinel droids stood guard, and Grainer was surprised to find that we were the “Seven Deadly Shadows.”

In return for Soona’s headdress, we demanded Tootu Anga. The exchange went as planned, but impatient Tharg charged at the Rodian. Alas, his axe passed through Grainer’s hologram, but the droids were all too real….

Thanks again, Jason, for your generous holiday gifts, and I look forward to wrapping up this scenario (for now) tonight! May the Force be with us — always….

“Star Wars: Dark Times” Session 6 — Mandalorians, Sith, and ransom

Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and my notes for Session 6 of his space opera miniseries, which Brian W. hosted at his home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 25 November 2013:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — the Galactic Republic has been replaced by a ruthless empire, and the Jedi, once guardians of peace, are now hunted fugitives. In the Unknown Regions, at the edge of explored space, a few Jedi and their allies hope to survive and continue the fight for justice….

Player Character roster for Jason E.R.’s Star Wars: Dark Times,” using Savage Worlds, autumn 2013:

  • Ekafti Acomar [Gene D.]-female Rhinnalian human Jedi consular, older diplomat with many contacts but few remaining friends
  • “Garolos Banku Nuruolos — Garos [Beruk A.]-male Chiss (blue-skinned humanoid) ex-Jedi, gambler and owner of the light freighter “Lucky Strike
  • Oong Bak [Brian W.]-male Duros (gray-skinned humanoid) honorable and talented mechanic
  • Ari Sundar [Sara F.]-female Ssi-ruu (raptor-like reptile) military medic, outcast from a species intruding upon the galaxy
  • Thayne Highlander [Bruce K.]-male human Jedi padawan close to knighthood, 19 years old; saw master killed by Order 66
  • Tark Agros [Brian S.]-male Bakuran human pilot and noble, mildly delusional hotshot
  • Tharg Thargsson [Rich C.G.]-male Gamorrean scoundrel and bounty hunter with connections to the Black Sun syndicate
  • Max Power (MX-PR) [Rich C.G.]-male protocol droid with secret combat subroutine, ordered to protect Jedi (overrode Order 66); killed by Sith Bela Trepada on Bakura

From the journals of Ekafti Acomar, 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin):” My friends and I had fought our way into Gesco City, the polar base of operations for the mercenary Brotherhood. After dispatching usurper Griz Starfire, we continued our search for Calo Zythor, the imprisoned leader of the remnants of Mandalorian and Clone Trooper units.

Garolos Banku Nuruolos provided cover as we advanced into a cell block. Oong Bak was among the injured, and Ari Sundar carried Foxdi Zess, a Mandalorian trooper serving fugitive Tolovo Nathu, a clever clone of me.

Although Starfire was dead, Thayne Highlander still sought the lightsaber of his late master, Shin-wu Sorotai, which was now held by Bela-Trepada, another clone of me and a Sith.

We relied on the local knowledge of Tark Agros while dealing with the cabals of Bakura. Despite his connections to the Black Sun crime syndicate, Tharg Thargsson had proved himself in battle alongside us, partly making up for the loss of droid MX-PR.

We came upon B-1E4, the protocol droid serving Princess Tethys of Chandrila, yet another “sister” of mine. We had seen B-1E4 reporting to Trepada, and our fears were confirmed when we saw the traitorous droid about to push a button as Calo hung from restraints suspended in a magnetic containment field.

B-1E4 told us to wait for a moment while her true mistress, Trepada, was up to something. This was no time for negotiation — I told my companions to fire at B-1E4. Tark, Garos, and Tharg drew blasters.

Quick-thinking Oong realized that he still had Max Powerrestraining bolt manufactured by the H’Lokk Consortium. The Duros mechanic ran forward and slapped it onto B-1E4, deactivating her. We released the grateful Calo, and Chiss Garos recommended that Tharg carry the droid for later study.

Foxdi and Calo said there were three ways out of the Brotherhood complex: back the way we had come, from a maglev subtram; through the control room of the reactor cooling tower; and to the summit of the mountain, where a Firespray -class ship named the “Jai’galaar” (“Shriek Hawk”) waited.

Mandalorian vessel
The “Jai’galaar” (“Shriek Hawk”)

As sounds of battle between Brotherhood factions and Bakuran military police (in search of android Juris Keel) echoed through the facility, we started to head to the summit. I was glad that we had left clones Tethys and Tolovo back with the Lucky Strike in Salis D’aar.

We hadn’t gotten very far when lights flickered and alarms indicated a reactor overload. We could have simply left, but all exits were farther than the control room, and we couldn’t leave Bakura with more casualties and power outages.

We sent Foxdi and Calo to prepare the Jai’galaar and lowered ourselves on ropes past destroyed stairways. Thayne, Garos, and I sensed a presence, no doubt Bela-Trepada. I used Battle Mind to help Oong shut down the self-destruct sequence.

We saw Trepada descending with two red light sabers. I activated Force Cloak. Thayne and Tark shot at the Sith but missed. We ran back out to a courtyard, where an Imperial shuttle was parked. It had four guards wielding force pikes, but they were preferable to Trepada, who had destroyed Max and almost killed me.

Pilot Tark dropped one of the imperials, and lapsed Jedi Garos switched from blasters to a Mandalorian darksaber and a light dagger. Ssi-ruuk Ari and Gamorrean Tharg protected Oong. Tark slayed a second sentry, Garos slashed the third, and Thayne made quick work of the last one.

As we ascended, we saw Foxdi and Calo at the summit, surrounded by three mountain cratsch (beasts native to the northern continent of Prytis). The Firespray -class attack craft loomed, with Trepada at the controls. I jumped out of the shuttle, along with Thayne, Garos, and Tharg.

Tark, Oong, and Ari stayed on the shuttle to distract the Sith on the Mandalorian vessel. They made evasive maneuvers while we faced the large arctic creatures. I again activated Force Cloak and used Hear My Thoughts to call to Bela.

As Tark tried to dodge the Firespray’s guns, Ari found escape pods for herself and Oong. Tark had a jet pack. Garos used Surge to run and jump onto Bela’s ship. The brave scoundrel held onto a turret.

Fortunately for those of us still on the snowy ground, the three cratsch were tough but not very agile. Mighty Thark felled one with his vibroaxe and intimidated another into running away. Recent padawan Thayne slew the third.

Trepada shot at me with the Firespray’s cannons before Garos cut a hole in the turret and threw in a grenade. Tark rammed the imperial shuttle into the Mandalorian gunship, destroying both (and the remains of B-1E4).

Fortunately, Oong, Ari, and Tark were able to escape. Unfortunately, so did Bela-Trepada, who ignited her sabers. Tharg the merciless jogged up to my clone and cut her down in one blow. We were all surprised but glad that fight ended so quickly.

We crammed into the Jai’galaar and flew to Gesco City. We debated fixing up the Firespray vs. trading it and/or the Lucky Strike for a better ship.

Ari and Oong attended to the wounded, and Garos and Tharg traded weapons. Calo paid Tharg 100,000 credits for his newly-acquired darksaber said he owed him a favor.

We were interrupted by a holographic message from Bal Grainer, an associate of Garos and Tharg. Even though we had tracked down his onetime nurse Tolovo Nathu, the Rodian bookie still wanted recompense. Grainer said he had kidnapped Oong’s mother, the dancer Tootu Anga.

The nasty Rodian threatened to send the “Seven Deadly Shadows” after us and demanded that we bring 350,000 credits to Nar Shaddaa, the “Smuggler’s Moon”, the largest moon of the Hutt homeworld Nal Hutta, which was about four standard days away.

Oong explained to us that the “Daar-Daar” ritual with Tootu’s betrothed, Kass Tani, now needed to be conducted within six days on the soil of his homeworld of Duros. The Biz-Taar was also part of this ritual that was as important as rescuing his mother.

Exhausted after our raid on the Brotherhood’s headquarters, we slept fitfully back at the freighter Lucky Strike. As has happened all too often lately, Thayne had another vision.

The young Jedi again saw a tower near a beach of white sand and a black sea. Endolana, the daughter of a Jedi master who had lived 25,000 years ago, waved at him. Thayne ascended and saw an unconscious woman named Marala who looked like me and the clones.

Endolana thanked Thayne for saving her and said that so much of “Marala has disappeared.” We later understood this to mean that the other children of Jedi — from when our order had families vulnerable to kidnappers — represented Tolovo and Tethys. One was still missing.

When we awakened, Thayne shared his latest dream, and we questioned Tolovo. Millennia ago, King Acomar of Chandrila gave up his title to become grand master of the Jedi council.

According to hidden Holocron archives, Acomar invented the legendary Form Zero, in which a light saber wasn’t even drawn. His daughter was Marala, one of the children whose disappearance caused the Jedi to take vows of celibacy.

Tolovo also said that B-1E4 was the source of both the computer virus that had disrupted the galaxy’s networks and the opposition to the serum she was transporting to extend clones’ lifespans. I was surprised to learn of Tolovo’s fondness for both the Kaminoans and the Brotherhood.

Ssi-ruuk Ari smelled an unidentified human scent on Shin-Wu’s light saber, which Thayne had retrieved from Bela-Trepada. Tark arranged for genetic analysis, which confirmed that the lightsaber was indeed ancient.

Tolovo Nathu explained that four clones had been created on Kamino. She was bred to be the smartest and ended up with the Brotherhood, and Bela-Trepada was given to the Empire for Sith training. Princess Tethys seems to have memories of 25,000 years ago, and a lost clone Ramoca Alara. I was apparently the “least altered”, but was not one of the four created on Kamino.

I suppose I should be upset at learning my true origins, but neither they nor my experiences, real or synthetic, alter who I am and my dedication to the Jedi path. I still hope to protect the innocent, serve justice, and work for freedom in the galaxy.

Tethys noted that the caterpillar/centipide and butterfly were the marks of Acomar’s house. She recognized Shin-wu’s light saber as Endolana’s tower, clarifying some dream symbolism for us. Tethys said it stood in opposition to Khatyen’s tower, which referred to Trepada or another enemy.

According to Tolovo, the last clone, Ramoca Alara, was captured by the “Prophet of the Living Force,” not to be mistaken for the Krevaaki zealots we had encountered at Cattamascar.

Oong asked me to contact Bal Grainer to verify that his mother was still alive. With Tharg and Garos’ help, we talked to Tootu, who told Oong that the Daar-Daar ritual was of utmost importance. Fortunately, Kass Tani was on his way to Bakura, so we wouldn’t have spend time traveling.

As we waited for the Duros groom, we began planning to find and rescue Tootu and Ramoca. May the Force be with us….

“Star Wars: Dark Times” Session 4 — Cabals of Bakura

Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and my notes for Session 4 of his space opera miniseries, which Rich C.G. hosted on Monday, 28 October 2013, in Waltham, Mass.

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — the Galactic Republic has been replaced by a ruthless empire, and the Jedi, once guardians of peace, are now hunted fugitives. In the Unknown Regions, at the edge of explored space, a few Jedi and their allies hope to survive and continue the fight for justice….

Player Character roster for Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times,” using Savage Worlds, autumn 2013:

  • Ekafti Acomar [Gene D.]-female human Jedi consular, older diplomat with many contacts but few remaining friends
  • “Garolos Banku Nuruolos — Garos [Beruk A.]-male Chiss (blue-skinned humanoid) ex-Jedi, gambler and owner of the light freighter “Lucky Strike
  • Oong Bak [Brian W.]-male Duros (gray-skinned humanoid) honorable and talented mechanic
  • Ari Sundar [Sara F.]-female Ssi-ruu (raptor-like reptile) military medic, outcast from a species intruding upon the galaxy
  • Thayne Highlander [Bruce K.]-male human Jedi padawan close to knighthood, 19 years old; saw master killed by Order 66
  • Max Power (MX-PR) [Rich C.G.]-male protocol droid with secret combat subroutine, ordered to protect Jedi (overrode Order 66)
  • Tark Agros [Brian S.]-male Bakuran human pilot and noble, mildly delusional hotshot

“From the journals of Ekafti Acomar, 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin):” After exploring two disabled Imperial cruisers near Cattamascar, the light freighter Lucky Strike followed the Shirotoku Way to Bakura. We had taken on a few passengers, including Zeltron scavenger Adaha Tila, protocol droid B-1E4, and Princess Tethys of Chandrila — an unauthorized clone of me.

MX-PR and I had visited Bakura during previous diplomatic missions, and the protocol droid recalled that the planet had about 68 million inhabitants, making it one of the more civilized systems in the sector. Bakura was colonized by core worlders from Hemei IV more than a century ago (in galactic standard time) and was known for its repulsorlift and biomedical technology.

I reminded “Max” to watch out for intolerance, since the colonists had put down a droid uprising about 70 years ago. As during the Clone Wars, when Gen. Grievous killed several planetary leaders, I still hoped to keep Bakura free from Palpatine’s new order.

Tark Agros took us into Salis D’aar, the quartz capital. It was a reluctant homecoming for our pilot, who was related to Bakura’s ruling clan. We left Oong Bak to continue repairs on the ship and Garolos Banku Nuruolos to communicate with Rodian bookie Bal Grainer.

At the landing pad, a customs agent insisted on putting restraining bolts on Max and B-1E4. Recent padawan Thayne Highlander and I were ready to use the Jedi Mind Trick to talk our way past, but a cloaked figure in a hologram did it for us. I talked with the agent later, and he didn’t recall much, but he did give us a contact number.

We bid Adaha farewell. Ari Sundar needed medical attention, so the Ssi-ruu and Thayne went to the residential and commercial “B” ring of the circular city to ask about shady clinics. Dilettante Tark went to talk to his racing buddies Roviden Belden and Rennt Govia, other members of Bakura’s long-lived aristocracy.

Tark learned that Sen. Orn Belden, representing the Bakur RepulsorCorp (BRC), was planning an exclusive party around a local holiday. It would be on Braad, a continent mostly inhabited by the primitive Kurtzen. Braad was also the source of the holo to the customs agent, but our trace of the signal was blocked by military police.

We regrouped at a clinic that Tark’s friends had suggested, hoping to avoid official scrutiny of Ari, whose reptilian people were new to the Unexplored Territories. Garos and I also hoped to find a link to the clones of me and Ssi-ruuk we had encountered.

We noticed that the receptionist was an android designed to closely resemble a human, which was a surprise on droid-hating Bakura. Tark was forced to clean out his bank accounts to pay for Ari’s surgery and medical supplies.

I asked Max to keep watch on Ari and gather information as he went with her into the operating theater. Thayne, Tark, and I walked around the building and found no doors or windows. Tark used his jetpack to confirm that there was a landing pad and door on the roof, as well as a security scanner.

Rather than risk Ari while she was under laser scalpels, we planned to return at dusk. Max confirmed that the entire facility was run by droids, although I sensed a single human presence deep within. Ari, Max, and I headed back to the Lucky Strike to drop off the supplies and pick up weapons, while Thayne and Tark were supposed to watch and wait.

Their stakeout was interrupted as an unmarked airspeeder landed, disgorging special operations troops. Thayne and Tark rashly decided to take advantage of the raid to infiltrate further. The duo flew and climbed to the roof, then took an elevator. They incapacitated two sentries and hid in bacta tanks as Capt. Harris ordered the building searched.

Ari, Max, and I disembarked from a hover train, and I politely asked an officer what was going on. He claimed it was a gas leak, but a Mind Read indicated that the police had found whatever or whoever they were looking for, and an air strike had been called. We went around the corner and warned our friends to get out fast.

Thayne found an exterior wall and cut a hole with his light saber. The building exploded. Tark broke the young Jedi’s fall, thanks to his jet pack, but we were forced to lie low at the Belden estate for the night. At least Ari’s scar from Ssi-ruuk younglings was removed, and we had found where different factions were covertly fighting.

That night, Thayne had another dream of a tower and Endolana, the kidnapped daughter of Jedi masters from 25,000 years ago. He saw Marala, a young woman who looked like another of my clones, lying washed ashore. Endolana shouted from the tower for Thayne to leave her alone.

The next morning, we caught a lift with Tark’s friends to Telaan Valley in Braad. Buildings had been built into the valley’s walls, and lovely terraced gardens masked the sinister conspiracies we planned to uncover. We carried concealed sidearms but nothing more, and we were not frisked.

I talked with President Grina Arden, the Bakuran head of state, who was surprised to see me alive after Order 66. She explained that Bakura sought to keep its independence by trading with the empire and other parties. I wondered if she knew of the warrior clones sought by the empire and Ssi-ruuk.

Princess Tethys was happy to be in a high-class setting. She may be my clone, but she’s happily oblivious. B-1E4 went missing, so I sent Max to find the suspiciously acting droid.

Ari caught scent of Tolovo Nathu, Bel Grainer’s runaway nurse and another of my clones. Thayne tried to make conversation with officers Capt. Blaine Harris, Anya Foravis, and Dana Galveson, who complained about having to attend such formal events.

Tark talked with Juris Keel, a weapons designer, and Jarik Tai, a recruiter for the mercenary Brotherhood, both of whom he had met at the Terminus restaurant in the Grand Pelgar hotel. They said that business was good.

My hopes for keeping Bakura out of imperial entanglements were fading, and Ari spotted Tolovo moving some equipment with long-necked Kaminoans, members of the same species that produced the republic’s clone troopers.

Ari radioed the rest of us via comm link, but she stepped on a trumpet flower, alerting Tolovo that she was being watched. Meanwhile, Max saw a cloaked figure removing a data storage unit from B-1E4. They were flanked by two men with Force pikes. As Jedi knights, Thayne and I knew we had to confront them.

Tolovo drew a pistol on Ari. Tark pretended to be tipsy and hopped in a speeder. He ran down Tolovo and her hover cart, but the Kaminoans got to their cloaked ship. Ari and Tolovo carefully righted the vials, which Tolovo claimed were full of medicine urgently needed by the Brotherhood.

Thayne and I joined Max in the Cloud Berry Garden, where we used Sense Force and Sense Life to track down the three robed figures. Bela Trepada, yet another young clone of me — does it ever end? — ignited two red light sabers, reminding me of Asajj Ventress.

Komari Vosa
Bela Trepada, yet another clone of Ekafti

I asked the young woman to stand down, but she was mute, well-trained, and aggressive. Fortunately, I was able to dodge or deflect her first few blows. Max was not so lucky. Thayne and I eventually defeated the two Force pike wielders and rushed to Max’s aid.

Bela wounded me, and Max picked up a pike and shoved me back, saying I should run. However, I couldn’t leave him and Thayne to face my doppelganger, so I stayed. Despite my Battle Mind, the would-be Sith destroyed the valiant droid and stabbed me in the abdomen, knocking me unconscious.

Thayne grabbed me and parts of Max as Bela disappeared into the vegetation. Ari and Tark agreed to let Tolovo go, on the condition that she get back in touch with us to answer some questions.

Ari attended to Thayne’s and my injuries, while Tark took us back to Garos and Oong on the Lucky Strike….

“Star Wars: Dark Times” Session 3 — Dead in space

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 3 of Jason E.R.’s face-to-face “Star Wars” game, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 7 October 2013:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — the Galactic Republic has been replaced by a ruthless empire, and the Jedi, once guardians of peace, are now hunted fugitives. In the Unknown Regions, at the edge of explored space, a few Jedi and their allies hope to survive and continue the fight for justice….

>>Player Character roster for Jason E.R.’s Star Wars: Dark Times” space opera miniseries, using Savage Worlds, autumn 2013:

  • Ekafti Acomar [Gene D.]-female human Jedi consular, older diplomat with many contacts but few remaining friends 
  • “Garolos Banku Nuruolos — Garos [Beruk A.]-male Chiss (blue-skinned humanoid) ex-Jedi, gambler and owner of the light freighter “Lucky Strike” 
  • Oong Bak [Brian W.]-male Duros (gray-skinned humanoid) honorable and talented mechanic
  • Ari Sundar [Sara F.]-female Ssi-ruu (raptor-like reptile) military medic, outcast from a species intruding upon the galaxy
  • Thayne Highlander [Bruce K.]-male human Jedi padawan close to knighthood, 19 years old; saw master killed by Order 66
  • Max Power (MX-PR) [Rich C.G.]-male protocol droid with secret combat subroutine, ordered to protect Jedi (overrode Order 66)
  • Tark Agros [Brian S.]-male Bakuran human pilot and noble, mildly delusional hotshot

“From the journals of Ekafti Acomar, 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin):” We seem to be more adept at getting into and out of trouble than agreeing on or getting to a destination. After encountering clones of me in the Grand Pelgar Hotel, we had gone to the Zanazi religious retreat on Cattamascar.

Two imperial cruisers that had been pursuing the clones floated in orbit, unresponsive. Adaha Tila made claims for the right to salvage, but the Zeltron woman got no response from the cruisers or Bakuran authorities, as far as we could tell.

Star Wars: Dark Times imperial cruiser
An early Imperial cruiser

At my recommendation, Garolos Banku Naruolos hailed Tila’s ship, which was docked with one of the disabled warships. Tark Agros piloted the Lucky Strike close enough to the Folly so that we could scan the sleek Hwk 290-class freighter for life signs.

Meanwhile, Oong Bak continued to make repairs on the Lucky Strike, and Thayne Highlander and MX-PR prepared to join Garos and me in going aboard the cruiser. Ari Sundar received a royal signal from her people, the reptilian Ssi-ruuk.

After some negotiation, Tila granted us permission to come aboard after an hour, during which she was apparently looking for something of value. I resisted recommendations that we shoot at the Folly before then, in the hope we could avoid a fight.

Garos contacted Jarik Tai, a Bakuran recruiter for “The Brotherhood” he had met at the Terminus restaurant, to see if he knew anything about Tila. Unfortunately, Tai had little useful to say about the attractive Zeltron.

We detected small-arms fire at the Folly, so Thayne, Garos, and I donned vacc suits and jumped to the cruiser. Droid “Max” easily followed. Oong, Ari, and Tark stayed with the Lucky Strike.

We interrupted a three-way shootout, with Adaha Tila drawing her blaster pistol on two groups. One included four tentacle-faced Krevaaki, similar to sage Moross Sapan, whom we had met at the retreat. They yelled something about “heretics.”

The last party to the standoff was a yellow Ssi-ruu guarding several blue-scaled younglings. Ari later explained that her red hide denotes the warrior caste, with the yellow representing scientists and blue the aristocracy. I told Ari what we found via comlink, and she rushed to join us.

I asked Tila how she was doing, and onetime Jedi Garos asked everyone to hold their fire. Ari and I wanted to protect the innocent younglings, so Max fired a grenade at the Krevaaki. One of the zealots managed to catch the explosive and throw it back at us!

I narrowly escaped serious injury, and recent padawan Thayne ignited his light saber and attacked the Krevaaki. Garos and Max shot them, and Ssi-ruuk Ari and Idiian wanted to get the royal younglings to safety.

Meanwhile, Oong and Tark were amused by our attempts to figure out what to do. They were forced to make evasive maneuvers as another Krevaaki ship fired on the Lucky Strike.

Tila slipped away, and Thayne and I headed to the main bridge, passing numerous stormtrooper corpses on the way. This could have been the work of my clones.

We found Tila blocked by a hazy green force field that blocked only organic matter. Over the comlink, I called for Max to join us, even as we glimpsed a dim shape moving on the bridge.

Adaha admitted that she was looking for confirmation of the Sanctuary Route, a rumored hyperspace lane. Garos seemed to recognize it. As the Krevaaki riddled the Folly with holes, I called for Ari and the other Ssi-ruuk to join us, away from the docking bay.

Max entered the cruiser’s bridge and saw an anomalous life form that he described as a mass of muscle and sinew, similar to Durge, the Gen’Dai bounty hunter. It had ripped the command crew to bloody shreds, and we decided to leave the force field containing it alone. With Krevaaki still around, we decided to leave via Idiian’s ship.

The Ssi-ruu scientist said (although not in so many words) that his people had made a deal with the Galactic Empire for clones in exchange for technology that converted vitality into energy usable by starships.

As Ari translated, I discovered through Mind Read that Idiian planned to take us all back to his homeworld, where we would be strapped to gurneys and tortured for our life force. I used the Jedi Mind Trick to get him to drop out of hyperspace near Gymelo, and I granted Max permission to take him down.

The belligerent droid immediately resorted to lethal force, which I should have predicted. Garos and Ari were confused, and worse still, Max wasn’t able to immediately incapacitate the pilot. To add to our difficulties, the younglings reacted by trying to protect their fellow Ssi-ruu.

The small but vicious raptors scarred Ari, tore circuits from Max, and attacked Thayne and me as we tried to gain control of the ship. Adaha cowered in terror. Fortunately, Thayne was able to land the ship, and I depressurized the cabin on the way to knock out everyone not in space suits.

We sent a signal to the Lucky Strike, which soon joined us in Gymelo’s jungles. Oong attended to the injured, and Thayne tied up Idiian and helped me move the insensate younglings to a locked compartment.

Oong found that the Ssi-ruuk ship was powered by P’w’eck, a reptilian subject race, wired into its systems. We released the weak slaves, who staggered off into the forest. Garos was disappointed that we couldn’t obtain any data or useful salvage.

Tark, Garos, and Max wanted to kill the younglings, but I knew that unconscious Ari wouldn’t. Even though they were bred or cloned to be killing machines, I couldn’t take their lives in good conscience, even if they had tried to kill us.

After another heated debate, I told Idiian that we would leave him and the younglings on Gymelo and that they should remember our mercy. As we left, the Lucky Strike got a Clone Wars-era distress signal, CC-648.

We followed the signal to a small clearing, where clone Cmdr. “Thorn” and the remains of his platoon greeted us. Over Garos’ objections, I revealed my identity as a Jedi. He greeted us as officers, but I had to explain how the old Republic had fallen to Palpatine’s schemes.

Naturally, “Thorn” had difficulty understanding why the Republic would have fallen from within rather than as a result of Separatist or Ssi-ruuvi attacks. Somehow, his group hadn’t heard about Order 66, which outlawed all Jedi, so Thayne and I were safe for the moment.

We shared what supplies we could, and I promised the loyal troopers that I would try to return. Thayne and I viewed these men as potential assets and their base, far from imperial orders, as a rare safe landing site. Garos and Tark would have preferred to kill them in cold blood.

Tark detected the source of the signal jamming these clones’ transmissions, which we traced to a Separatist emplacement. We left the clone troopers behind, as well as recuperating Ari. She agreed to watch the Lucky Strike and reluctant passengers Adaha, Princess Tethys (one of my clones), and suspicious protocol droid B-1E4.

We found nine commando droids circling the clone trooper camp, plus lumbering Viper droids with transmitters. We decided to leave them alone and head back into space, since destroying them might expose the troopers to Order 66.

Since Cattamascar was on the Shirotoku Way between Gymelo and Bakura, where I still hoped to thwart the empire, we stopped back at that desert world. Tark and Garos wanted to examine the second disabled cruiser.

On the way, Thayne had another dream of a dark tower and a banner with a centipede symbol. He again saw Endolana, the young daughter of Ataru, a Jedi master who lived 25,000 years ago. This time, Endolana was joined by friends including mute Aliza, Dal-Vha, Khatyen, Tomi and the adolescent Miru.

From the holocron of Sai Agorn, I recognized these girls as the daughters of masters Djem So, Makashi, Shien, Shii-cho, and Soresu, respectively. All had light saber forms named after them, and the children’s kidnapping was a major cause of the Jedi vow of celibacy.

The girls sung a morbid nursery rhyme, according to Thayne’s later recollection. Endolana told Thayne that he was close to reaching them in “sanctuary,” possibly a reference to Adaha’s hyperspace route.

We arrived at Cattamascar to find more Krevaaki ships attached to the hull of the second imperial cruiser. As Tark flew us by the bridge, its window blew out, and the Krevaaki blasted another fleshy anomaly into space and restored power. An emergency force field replaced the window.

Oong found a way to get a landing bay to open, and we hurried to the bridge, stepping over yet more slain stormtroopers. Tark put on his jet pack and flew ahead, despite my warning. Garos ran after him. Both were shot and wounded by fanatical Krevaaki.

Thayne, Max, and I then rushed in, followed by Garos and Tark. Oong worked to regain attitude control, since the cruiser had been set on a collision course with the Zanazi retreat. This was the third time in as many days that I was on a falling vehicle — first the Grand Pelgar out of control through Cattamascar’s heart, then the Ssi-ruuk vessel, and now the cruiser.

At least we’ve been able to limp away from those events so far. Oong managed to get us back into orbit, but the Black Sun virus re-emerged, threatening to take us to Nar Shaddaa, the Hutt homeworld. We had to leave.

Thayne and I grabbed a few medkits, and Garos hoped to get more useful data. Max and the others grabbed more blasters — we’ll have to see if that protocol droid can be reprogrammed. The Lucky Strike again set forth for Bakura, which we still hoped to defend from imperial grasp….