Flight Of A Star (by Wizzard)

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Flight Of A Star (by Wizzard)

Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:08 am

Chapter 1: Leaving Kwevron

My name is Dom Ramis. I’m a freelance starship pilot. I used to be a soldier, but I managed to break that habit. I take stuff from one place in the galaxy to another. It isn’t always legal, but it pays the bills, and it is good for a bit of fun. Still, it wasn’t until I joined the rebellion that my life really became interesting. That is, of course, assuming that you find constant danger interesting. I happen to. Anyway, this is how it started…

“It’s not my fault”, said R’all Tavers – that’s his favourite expression. We were standing there arguing on the street corner in Mal Ethon City on the planet of Kwevron shortly after he lost my starship in a game of Sabacc. He didn’t even know me before he bet it, which is why I was understandably upset to come back and find it missing, along with the batch of Bantha-hide jackets I was supposed to be delivering to my contact. Since R’all didn’t have the ready credits to pay me back, I figured I might as well hang around him and make sure that he didn’t disappear before he managed to get the money together. I’m not entirely sure how he managed to justify to himself the statement that it wasn’t his fault, but he genuinely seemed to believe it.

In case you don’t know Kwevron, it is a delightfully backward planet way out in the middle of nowhere. If you happen to be into lush green hills, and agricultural communities then that’s the place for you. Personally, I’m more of a city kind of guy, but a job is a job, and the bills need paying.

Back to what I was saying; we were standing on this street corner exchanging insults, almost totally oblivious to the two imperial stormtroopers with their officer a bit further down the street. I suppose there is no reason for us to have noticed them really; since neither of us was really scared of being caught for our crimes (I won’t try to kid you that we were both totally innocent). It really wasn’t until the Ithorian drove his cart past them and they opened fire that we really started to take notice. In case you don’t know, Ithorians are the non-humans with the brown skin, long necks and squashed looking faces with the eyes bulging out to the side. Now, I don’t know how much you know about the Empire, but they don’t tend to like non-humans. Personally, I find this to be one of their more objectionable attributes, but then they have so many objectionable attributes that you could easily argue about that. Suffice it to say that I didn’t really like to see them shooting at a poor, defenceless farmer just because he was an alien and he refused to stop for them. I found it even more objectionable when they killed him and the human who was one of the two people hidden under the load of agricultural goods on his cart. Apparently, R’all felt the same way, as we both found ourselves firing on the Imperials. It wasn’t long before we’d stunned the three of them, rescued the Duros and legged it with their weapons (always nice when you can turn a bit of a profit).

Duros are also non-human. They are pretty much humanoid, but with greyer skin and funny eyes. The one we rescued introduced himself as Nuuk Kuur. He led us to a nondescript little place where we met his contact. I’m honestly not certain whether I acted rude and stared when we met his contact, but all I can remember was being stunned at how beautiful she was. She was about one metre sixty five tall, with long brown hair in a plait that flowed down her back like a dark waterfall. I’m pretty sure I was unable to say anything for several seconds at least. The thought occurred to me that she could stun an entire room full of stormtroopers just by walking through the door. The problem is, I’m not so great at dealing with people. I can fly, I can shoot, I can fight, and I can think, but my history with women is a datacard best left uninserted. Frankly, it isn’t such a big datacard either, but after meeting Cala Worner (that was her name), I resolved to try to expand it.

I felt really bad about asking Cala for money to help her get her ship out from under the Imperials’ noses, but I’d just lost my ship, and frankly I was broke, and needed to take every opportunity to get ready cash that I could. She agreed to give us one thousand credits each and a flight off Kwevron if we sabotaged the tractor beam in the control tower at the spaceport for her. I think I went through the rest of the day in a slight daze, but we managed to knock out the two Imperial guards on the control tower, “borrow” their uniforms and guns (as R’all put it), knock out the guy in the control tower and disable the tractor beam controls (with some help from Nuuk).

We hot-footed it back to the ship, with a group of Imperials on our tails, but Cala managed to get us in the air with no noticeable damage. After we took off in her ship (the Midnight Star), somehow I managed to miss the two TIE fighters that attacked us, but they managed to hit us once before we made it into hyperspace.
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Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:09 am

Chapter 2: Duros

I don’t recall how long it was before we dropped out of hyperspace and landed on Duros, but I had plenty of time to get to know Cala better. Unfortunately, time wasn’t really enough for me. It is funny how I can face down a small squad of Imperial Stormtroopers in a firefight without worrying about it, but when I try to open a dialogue with an attractive member of the opposite sex my brain blanks out and my stomach feels like it is full of miniature TIE fighters attacking a transport ship. As a result, I’m pretty sure I didn’t say more than ten words to Cala during the entire trip, because of which I’m sure she probably thought I disliked her for some reason. The main positive aspect of the journey was noticing that R’all didn’t seem to have any intentions toward Cala himself, as he definitely has me beaten in the appearance and charm departments. His regard for other people’s property might often be in grey areas, but he’s definitely a likable guy with it.

We disembarked on Duro and met a nice middle-aged but fit guy named Thel Erelen. To my disappointment, Cala left on her own mission, leaving R’all and I to take Thel to a meeting on Duro Delta Twelve, a semi-abandoned shipyard in orbit around Duro. Apparently, Thel wanted us to tell some of the local shipbuilders about what we’d seen on Kwevron. I found this slightly odd, as I’m sure I’d come across worse behaviour from stormtroopers in the past, but we complied with his wishes and told our tale. The shipbuilders seemed more inclined to side with the Empire, however, as they thought that they’d be able to recover their lost contracts over time. I was trying to persuade them that the Empire would be far more likely to wipe them out if the rebellion failed, as they were a load of speciesist thugs. It was around that point that there was a bang, and we felt the shipyard shake.

I checked the back door to the meeting room, and locked it. Once that was done, R’all, Thel and I cautiously headed out back towards the airlocks while the shipbuilders stayed behind cover at the back of the room. There was a team of mercenaries making their way out of two airlocks towards the meeting room. R’all took a near-fatal hit, and I had to drag him down the airlock corridor to try to stabilise him while picking off mercenaries at the same time. Luckily, Thel eventually managed to stabilise him, and we were able to repel the attack without too much more damage after that. They had made it quite clear that they were after Thel.

After the attack, the shipbuilders agreed to join the Alliance as they had apparently recognised some of the thugs as being Empire-sympathisers. I guess it really is true that actions speak louder than words. R’all spent some time recovering in a bacta tank while I waited for my wounds to heal and learnt how to use Thel’s force-pike (a very nice weapon for close-combat).
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Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:09 am

Chapter 3: Arriving on Tatooine

A few days later, with the assistance of the Midnight Star’s hyperdrive, R’all and I landed on Tatooine, based on the fact that the Imperials’ presence there was light, and they were still on the lookout for us after we interfered with their murderous activities on Kwevron. I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t see Cala again, as we seemed to have gone our separate ways. Still, there was always the possibility that we’d meet again on the rebel base after we’d met our contact on Tatooine. We’d been given a datacard and told to present it to a guy named Jun Seros in Mos Eisley.

I took the opportunity to pay a visit to the weapons shop, which was manned by a particularly stingy droid, who really ripped me off for the weapons I’d “borrowed” from the stormtroopers, but then the way I saw it, we never paid anything for them, so it was all profit. The Toydarian in the junk shop next door gave us a reasonable deal on a couple of com-links, and informed us that we could find Jun in the cantina across the street.

Unfortunately, one of a group of thieving Jawas decided to take a fancy to the contents of my pockets, and made off with my toolkit. After a certain amount of hassle, I managed to recover the toolkit (after shaking the Jawa out upside-down by his feet). We had a few more incidents with the Jawas that day, but I won’t bore you with all the details.

Once in the cantina, R’all enquired as to where he could practice his favourite pastime, or as he calls it, his “profession” of gambling, and I ordered a steak and some ale from our charismatic Whiphid bar-tender. I was pretty much glad that the bar tender was the kind of person who was generally in a good mood as Whiphids can get pretty violent. They tend to remind me of Wookies, only with claws and tusks, so they can be pretty nasty in a fight if they lose their temper. R’all went off to go and lose some more money (with a strict instruction from me not to bet the ship, as it wasn’t ours). After a little conversation, during which I established that our bar-tender didn’t like Imperials much more than we did, so I asked him did he know Jun Seros. To cut a long story short, it turns out that he was Jun, so I gave him the datacard. He took a look at it, told us that he’d been waiting for us and handed it back. Apparently, our contact would be arriving in the next few days, and we were welcome to meals on the house and he would set us up with somewhere to stay. A really nice guy, our Jun, and he makes a great bantha steak.
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Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:10 am

Chapter 4: Close Encounters of an Organised Kind

The cantina was a wreck when we arrived the next morning – tables and chairs everywhere. There was a low moaning from behind the bar, and R’all and I both rushed behind it to find our proprietor friend beaten, but not too badly injured. He informed us that he had been unable to pay his protection money to the local gangster chieftain by the name of Jabba the Hutt, as in the Hutts. Apparently, Jun owed Jabba two and a half thousand credits including interest. R’all headed off to attempt to raise the money by making use of his “profession”. I started quizzing our host about the “enforcers” that Jabba sent in, and decided that it would probably be unwise to attempt to take them on directly.

“Here’s the money – how fast can you repay me?” I ask Jun.
“It’ll take a few days”, he says. “Business is slow at the moment”
“Okay”, I say. “There’s only one condition.” He gave me a slightly worried look as I continued. “Don’t tell R’all. He’s a nice enough guy, but he’s got a bit of a funny attitude towards other people’s property. I trust him with my life, just not with my credit stick.”

Jun agreed to my only condition, and when R’all arrived we helped him put the cantina back in order. The customers started arriving and everything seemed to be back in order for the moment. I slept pretty well that night, and dreamt of Cala. The next day, Jun repaid half of what he owed me.
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Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:11 am

Chapter 5: The Cologne Wars

A few days later, R’all and I were back in Jun’s place, still awaiting our contact. Jun wasn’t in, but a member of his staff was serving, and he’d told them that our meals were on the house. Just as I was about to ask R’all how long he reckoned we should wait before we gave up on our contact arriving, a nondescript guy came up to us and slid into the booth next to ours.

“Sorry I’m late. Ran into trouble on the way here, but that’s the chance we take in our line of work, eh?” he said, glancing around nervously. “Anyway, everything’s been taken care of. You’re in docking bay fourteen, right?”
“Yes. You got some sort of ID?” I asked.
“Just the usual,” he said, looking a little worried, showing me something identifying himself as one Harbo Wiis. “I’ve put the merchandise in your cargo hold”
“Okay.” I said. “Where are we taking it?”

At that point, Harbo started panicking and shouting rather loudly. “This can’t be happening!” I was aware of everyone looking in our direction as he continued, totally oblivious to the surrounding stares. “I’ve already sent the container to your ship. I’ve got to stop it or I’m a dead man!” He bolted for the exit, and stopped in the doorway, looking back at us. “Your ship is in docking bay fourteen, right?”

I was quite aware of the stares which were now focused on myself and R’all. To the cantina at large I said “I think it was something he ate.” After a few seconds, people resumed what they were doing, and R’all and I made our way as fast as possible to the Midnight Star. However, as we were coming down the stairs to the docking bay, a group of four thugs were attempting to come up. They drew their pistols in surprise, and we entered a short gun battle, ending with them unconscious on the stairs without their weapons, and R’all and I heading down the stairs when there was an explosion from the docking bay.

I don’t know about R’all, but I wasn’t particularly happy to note that the airlock door had been blown open by an explosive charge. Of course, by that point we’d heard the speeder pull up outside and thugs started pouring in both exits. Taking our only possible way out, we hopped aboard what I was beginning to think of as our ship and we took off, amidst blaster fire from our enemies below.

Once we were in the air, R’all and I simultaneously spotted that our violent associates, who we had recently departed from, had obviously called for some aeronautic backup in the form of eight blips on our sensors. As we approached their formation, the computer informed us that they were Incom T-36 Skyfighters. My immediate reaction was that since they were heading straight at us, and we were heading straight at them, the last thing they would be expecting me to do was accelerate towards them, so I did. This might not sound like the most sensible form of tactics, but I had decided that if I took the time to turn around then they would get a nice clear shot at the back of the Midnight Star, which I didn’t really want to happen.

At the very last second, I pulled off a slip sideways and we just managed to fly straight down the middle of their formation. Unfortunately, R’all was unable to hit them on the way past, but it did take them a minute to turn around. I then found myself in the unenviable position of being outnumbered and outgunned by faster and more manoeuvrable ships. I generally find that there is only one possible course of action in these circumstances, which is that you get shot at. Whilst it isn’t really the kind of thing that I enjoy, this was my only option. After taking several hits, I noticed a natural phenomenon which I was able to make use of – a sandstorm. I don’t know if you’ve ever flown a ship with an increasing number of failing systems close to a sandstorm, but I recommend that if you get a lot of practice at flying beforehand.

After the sandstorm threw us around a bit, and the sensors eventually reported that our assailants had been blown apart by the near-tornado winds surrounding us, I finally managed to recover sufficient control in order to vacate the tsunami and its environs. R’all was busy making repairs whilst I was trying to hold the ship steady, but it wasn’t long before I realised that we weren’t going to be able to stay airborne much longer, so I decided to attempt an emergency landing. Unfortunately, the situation rapidly worsened after that and the emergency landing became a crash landing which very fast became just a crash. To cut a long story short, we ended up buried in a sand dune.

Since we were in the middle of the Dune Sea (a vast part of the desert that covers much of Tatooine), we decided to attempt to repair as much of the ship as we could from inside, before venturing out into the heat of the day. After some time spent repairing internal systems, R’all noticed a low rumbling noise from outside. Apparently we were about to have visitors.

We emerged from the top of our ship to find a Jawa sandcrawler had arrived. A group of Jawas emerged and began digging our ship out. One of them, clearly an elderly fellow who appeared to be the leader, approached us with a power droid. Apparently the power droid had some protocol droid circuitry fitted, as it began to translate for the Jawa. Since I have had some dealings with Jawas in the past, I was actually able to understand him myself, and I attempted to make this clear, but the droid continued to translate, which I guess saved me the trouble of explaining what was happening to R’all.

At first, I was having trouble stopping all the Jawas stealing various parts which were lying around. I was then disgusted to learn that the Jawa leader was attempting to sell us our own ship, which was theirs’ “by right of salvage”, according to him. I was quite firm with my negotiations with him, and we eventually agreed to exchange what scrap metal he had that we could use to repair our damaged hull for any parts that we were unable to salvage from our ship. When he attempted to charge us for the translation services of the protocol droid, the droid itself was so disgusted that it refused to cooperate any longer.

I guess I should have realised that we were due to be attacked again as it must have been a whole hour that went by since the last time we had clashed with a random foe who took a disliking to us. As it was, it wasn’t until we had effected basic repairs to the hull of the Midnight Star, using all the scrap that the Jawas had sold us that we became aware of the Tuskan Raiders. Many of the Jawas scattered, and the rest fled within their sandcrawler. R’all and I elected to join them and managed to enter before the hatches closed.

We were probably quite fortunate that our new enemies seemed rather badly injured already and we had the advantage of cover from the inside of the crawler. As it was, we were able to dispatch them without any major injury to ourselves, despite the frantic panicking which the Jawas within the sandcrawler were engaged in during the battle.

After we exited the sandcrawler, we spotted a Raider who was almost crippled from injuries attempting to make his way towards us in order to cripple us. After disarming him, we managed to get the power/protocol droid to open a dialogue with him for us. It appeared that many of his people were trapped under a crashed starship blocking a cave entrance. We agreed to assist him in exchange for taking whatever we could salvage from the ship to repair our own. The Jawas refused to allow us to borrow their droid, as they did not wish to have any association with the Sand People, so we had to manage with primitive sign language to communicate.

It took half a day’s ride by Bantha before our guide signalled us to dismount. We noticed some ropes trailing away from the ship into the ground. When we attempted to approach the ship, our guide pulled us away, making some sort of comment in his incomprehensible primitive language. As he did, a giant worm-like creature burst from the ground and consumed him whole.

After some cautious treading, R’all and I managed to take cover from the creature by making use of the safety of the rocks. We had deduced that the vibrations were attracting its attention. As we were sitting on the rocks, pondering the problem, a skiff approached. The people on the skiff were heavily armed, including a heavy deck-gun on board.

After some discussion with the newcomers, we discovered that they believed that we had stolen the merchandise, and that they want it. As far as I was concerned, at this point, they could have it. However, there were two major problems bothering me. One was that I believed they would kill us once they had it. The second was how we were to repair our ship, since we still had the problem with the mole worm. The leader of the skiff presented us with a solution to both problems, although not in the way which he intended to. He showed us a dart gun, which he claimed contained the only poison which could despatch our subterranean foe. He said that if we could make it to the gun, and successfully fire it at the mole worm, we could go free after giving him the cologne (apparently our mysterious cargo was a rather expensive cologne).

Somehow, R’all and I managed to reach the skiff without attracting the attention of the worm. R’all took the dart gun, while I busied myself beneath the field of view of the people on board the skiff. The pilot of the skiff began to rev his engines in order to attract the attention of the worm, oblivious to me attaching my grappling spike launcher’s cord to the skiff. After that, everything happened rather fast.

The worm appeared; I fired the spike at it, and missed. R’all attempted to fire the dart gun, which split in half and played a message. At this point, I was certain our life expectancies had dropped to considerably less than a minute. As it was, the skiff-people thought this was very amusing, apart from their leader who was not amused to hear a message indicating that he had been double-crossed by someone. Unfortunately I was unable to take in the message, as I was largely concerned with my own continuing survival at this point. The worm raised itself into a position to strike us, and I reeled in the spike. This would be our final chance, and I was certain that the odds were stacked heavily against me. I summoned every gram of ability I had, and then some more, silently prayed on the off-chance that there was anyone or anything to listen and loosed the spike towards the rapidly descending worm. It was rather hard to track the events after that, but R’all and I managed to dive to the sides of the skiff as the worm attempted to drag it into the ground. There was a loud bang and the skiff crashed into the worm, despatching both parties with an explosion. The stench of burnt flesh drifted over us, and I think we sat there for several minutes recovering.

We managed to free the trapped Tuskans, and recover sufficient parts to become airborne and return to Mos Eisley. Once we had docked, we arranged for the full repairs of our ship, and returned to our accommodation, for a much needed rest.
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Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:12 am

Chapter 6: The Droid Hunt

When we awoke the next morning, Mos Eisley was crawling with stormtroopers. Upon enquiry at the cantina, we were informed that there had been some action in space, above Tatooine, and that the stormtroopers appeared to be looking for some droids. They actually entered the cantina, at which point R’all and I tensed, and I instinctively reached for my blaster. I did not draw it, however, as that probably would have been suicidal against six of them. Four of them took up positions to cover the cantina while the other two examined an R2 unit. Once they were done with the R2, they proceeded to argue with an old spacer who was refusing to turn over his R5 to them. R’all attempted to reason with one of the four troopers, while I tried to calm down the conversation the other two were having with the spacer. In typical imperial fashion, they ordered us back to our seats. With so many guns covering us, there was nothing we could do to save him once he opened fire on them. They slaughtered him, and left with his R5 unit. I had to restrain myself from not responding with my weapon, but I do not believe in senseless loss of life, especially my own.

Across the street from the cantina, I purchased a worn out shell of a power droid, which could just about still walk. That was pretty much all it could do, and it had a disturbing tendency to walk off in random directions until it hit an obstacle. After concealing a transmitting communicator on it, I released it in the general direction of a group of stormtroopers. Apparently, they were not interested in it, as they took one look at it and let it go. I was slightly disappointed at being unable to perform some espionage, but not really surprised. I had initially considered attempting to rig up some sort of timer on the thermal detonator, and concealing that on the droid, in the hope that it would do the stormtroopers some damage in retaliation for them killing the spacer in the cantina, but that would not have worked either. I retrieved the com link from the droid, turned it off and scrapped it.

It was at this point that we were approached by a red protocol droid from the shadows, who told us that our contact was aboard our ship, ready to meet us. Our immediate concern was of concealing the droid from the stormtroopers, as it headed straight back in the direction of the ship. Luckily, all that was necessary was a small amount of acting, in order to pretend I was drunk enough to fall into the one stormtrooper who had spotted the droid. This provided enough of a distraction for it to make it outside the area.

R’all and I caught up with the droid in time to ask it some questions. First of all, I wanted to know how our contact made it on board the ship without our permission. The answer corroborated my hopeful suspicions as to who our contact was – “Your contact is adept at a wide range of socially unacceptable activities.” As we climbed the ramp, my hopes became reality as I saw who it was, and shouted “Cala! So good to see you again!” Suddenly, everything seemed like it would be alright again. Proximity to Cala seemed to boost my confidence and optimism.
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Postby Spirit » June 26th, 2005, 8:12 am

Chapter 7: Leaving Tatooine

Leaving Tatooine was a relatively simple affair. Since we were aware of the heavy Imperial presence in orbit, we knew we would need some way of getting past without attracting attention. The droid obtusely suggested that R’all and I locate a lightly defended Imperial transport, and simply take their transponder or copy the transponder codes. After a little wandering around, we managed the first part of this, but luck was not with us that day, as the stormtroopers refused to stay stunned, so after a few cycles of shooting them all and them waking up before we could tie them up, R’all broke into the ship to “borrow” the transponder while I kept them busy.

We managed to make it back to the Midnight Star only slightly scathed, and fitted the transponder successfully. Once we escaped the gravity well, we waved to the two Imperial Star Destroyers who we knew were totally oblivious to the fact that we were not an Imperial ship. After a minute, the hyperdrive came online, and we spent some more time on the way to the rebel base on the third moon of Aargonar. Yet again, I managed to waste a perfect opportunity to spend time with Cala.

The rebel base was quite literally a hole in the ground. Of course, that’s hardly surprising when the inhabitants are members of an underground movement. Still, for subterranean accommodation, it wasn’t too bad, if a little spartan. Besides – the way I saw it, we weren’t going to be spending that much time there, since we would be out on missions for the rebellion. My heart dropped slightly as I realised that Cala would be returning to her duties as a recruiting officer, and would not be accompanying us for our future missions, but I wasn’t really surprised at that. She had no reason to want to hang around with us especially.

R’all went to pay a visit to the weapon shop to restock a few of our supplies, while I paid a visit to the base doctor. I entered the doctor’s office to find a man seated at a table looking through a microscope at something or other. I explained my injuries were as a result of an argument with some Imperial troops, and he seemed quite understanding as he cleared some space on the table for me to sit on so he could examine me.

He pulled out a subdermal injector, and said “this is going to hurt. A lot”, and without waiting, fired the stuff into my bloodstream. He held my arm for a moment, and then suddenly I was feeling a lot better. Actually, I was feeling totally better. I thought it rather strange, actually, as he seemed to have been able to totally cure me in the space of a few seconds. In my personal experience, medicine tends to take longer than that to take effect, but since I wasn’t really in any position to interrogate him, I decided to let it go, and just keep an eye on that doctor if our paths crossed again.

I left the room, to find R’all waiting outside for me. For some strange reason, he said that he wanted to say hello to the doctor. Unfortunately, when we re-entered the room, the man was gone, and we were met by a droid which said that it was the doctor. I could see that R’all was about to strike up a conversation with it, and I decided to correct him by telling him “it’s not the droid you are looking for”.
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Postby wizzard » August 7th, 2005, 12:14 am

Chapter 8: Freighter Frights

We reported for duty, catching only a glimpse of Cala, who was being given a separate set of orders. Apparently, we were supposed to take a team to an abandoned freighter in order to attempt to salvage what we could, up to and including the entire freighter, if that was possible.

It was rather embarrassing that the Midnight Star decided that it didn’t want to leave Aargonar, as the hyperdrive kept repeatedly failing. Possibly our ship had more insight than us. If that is the case, I can’t really fault it, as the freighter was to present us with an unpleasant surprise. In any case, I eventually managed to fix the hyperdrive, by repeated application of my fist, and we were on our way. It would have been nice if we had been on our way to the correct location, but I guess sometimes you just have to settle for second time lucky. As it was, we were slightly worried that the freighter would no longer be present when we arrived at its former location, but when we eventually dropped out of hyperspace for a second time, we discovered, to our relief, that our trip was not wasted.

After scanning the locality for enemy vessels, we docked in the landing bay of the freighter, and disembarked. R’all headed off to try to find the engine room, to try to start the hyperdrive, while I headed for the control room to attempt to start the systems from there. The Mon Calamari Officer Panin stayed with the ship, while the other two rebels (Dak and Ben) headed off to perform their own tasks.

Once I attempted to find my way around in the dark, I discovered that my glow sticks had disappeared. With a muttered insult to Jawas everywhere, I headed back to Panin to borrow one of his. In the meantime, R’all had found the control room, which I made my way towards.

After a few minutes of comm-chatter, we became aware that Dak was no longer talking. He did not respond to several attempts to hail him on his com-link either. I attempted to report this to Panin, only to find that he was not responding either, and was no longer by our ship. This did not bode well as far as I was concerned. R’all and I teamed up to find Ben in order to make a search of the freighter to find him. Unfortunately, Ben did not seem to understand the meaning of “stay where you are”, as we spent some time chasing his shadow around the darkness. He made it as far as the security room before he, too disappeared. At this point, I was beginning to get a little worried. I decided to voice my concerns to R’all, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”.

R’all and I decided that if we were to hold hands then we wouldn’t get separated, which seemed like an excellent idea in principle, at least until I felt him being dragged away from me, unconscious. Perhaps you are unlucky enough that you have never been stuck on a powered down, heavily damaged freighter in the dark with all your team-mates having been disabled by some unknown foe. Let me tell you, it isn’t the most pleasant experience that you can have. At times like that, all sorts of stories of space monsters and other mythical beasts roam through your head as you make your way around the dark corridors, trying to find your friends.

I checked the cell block, only to find that it was empty. Somehow, I managed to make my way back as far as the hyperdrive room, in order to attempt to turn the power back on in order to restore the lighting. As I was standing outside the door to the hyperdrive room, about to enter, something hit me and I lost consciousness.

I came around to find that I was being dragged across the freighter by an Imperial Storm Commando, dressed all in black gear, with night vision equipment. To cut a long story short, we all spent some time repeatedly escaping the bonds which he tied us up in and being recaptured before we eventually managed to get the lights on. After this, he lost a lot of his advantages, but we still ended up playing cat and mouse for a while as he had hidden our weapons. Eventually, we managed to gain the upper hand, and locked him in one of the cells next to the one which I had so recently managed to escape from, after he imprisoned me.

The systems came online in just enough time to run away from the Star Destroyer which was heading in our direction, and make the jump into hyperspace back to Aargonar without coming under any enemy guns. The rebel commander was quite pleased with the results of our mission, and we were paid well for our achievements. This brought to the surface of my mind something that had been bothering me for a while. I still felt quite bad about asking Cala for money when we had originally helped her escape Kwevron.

Cala seemed slightly surprised when I explained how badly I felt about taking her money and gave her back her credits. She responded with a short “thank you”, and walked away. I wasn’t sure whether this was a good sign or not, but I was kind of under the impression that she wasn’t a particularly verbose person, which I personally tend to think is better than the alternative.
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Postby wizzard » August 7th, 2005, 12:15 am

Chapter 9: A Knight in the Asteroids

I was absorbed in my own thoughts during the next mission briefing, and was only partially aware of being given a mission to rescue another rebel transport, so it wasn’t until we dropped out of hyperspace just outside an asteroid field that I actually began to recall what our mission briefing had been.

Because the Midnight Star was currently undergoing maintenance and repairs, I was temporarily piloting the Knight Errant, which was another Correlian transport. It was a slightly different model, with fewer modifications and less weaponry, but we weren’t supposed to be attracting any attention from the Empire. The ship that we were supposed to be rescuing was named the ??? Damsel. Since we knew that there was an Imperial presence in the area, we had synchronised our journey with a group of alliance fighters, who were staging an attack on the local Imperial element in order to cause a distraction. Once the attack began, I started scanning the area for energy signals. The Knight picked up a faint reading from an asteroid.

Upon closer inspection, the inside of the asteroid appeared to be hollow, with a hole in the side large enough to fly our ship into. I did so, and we spotted the Damsel inside. After landing carefully, as close as I could get to the Damsel, R’all and I suited up and left the Knight, in order to attempt to make contact with the Damsel in person. They had not been responding to short range comms signals.

The inside of the asteroid was a vast chasm, which was crawling with mynocks. In case you aren’t familiar with them, mynocks are a silicon based lifeform that love to chew their way through the side of starships and feed off the energy in the cabling. R’all and I spent a few minutes clearing our ship of them, as they had started attaching themselves to it as we landed.

I don’t think R’all wanted to risk using his blaster pistol too much, as there was a danger of hitting the ship, and the asteroid did not seem very geologically stable, so energy bolts firing off into the chasm also did not seem very sensible. We actually had to avoid falling rock several times. In any case, I was doing most of the clearing with my Force Pike, although at one point one mynock flew into another, dislodging both of them. If I hadn’t known better, I would have said that some sort of invisible force had picked it up and thrown it into the other one, but that kind of thing just isn’t possible. It was very strange, anyway, so I looked around at R’all to express my puzzlement. As I did, his hands dropped back to his sides, as if he had just finished waving them about. I thought that maybe he had cramp or something.

R’all repaired the damage that the mynocks had done, while I went to knock on at the Damsel. The ship was a total wreck and would never fly again. I knocked on the airlock, and after a few seconds was admitted into the ship. During re-pressurisation, I recalled that our primary objective was to rescue a data card with some vital information on it. The highest ranking crew member (???) informed me that the captain was dead, as were several other members of the crew. He gave me the data card, and we determined that it would be necessary to make two trips to the Knight, as there were only enough spacesuits for half the crew. I would return with the spacesuits for the second trip.

We made the first trip, and R’all began tending to the first half of the crew aboard the Knight, while I returned for the second trip. Once aboard the Damsel again, there was a loud clunk from the outside of the ship. I recognised the sound as that of magnetic boots, of the type worn by Imperial Space Troopers. I asked ??? to get the second half of the crew ready, including himself, and be ready to make the second trip fast, upon my signal.

When I exited the airlock, I spotted two Imperial Space Troops on each ship. My immediate reaction was to fire my grappling spike launcher at the hull behind the two on the Damsel and reel myself in, kicking them on my way past. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see their expressions due to the reflection on the masks of their space-suits, but I imagine that they weren’t very happy about being literally kicked off a ship and ending up flying across a vast cavern.

In the meantime, R’all and his set of stormtroopers seemed to have been dislodged and were drifting towards the Damsel. I signalled the remaining crew aboard the Damsel to begin the second trip, and positioned myself to catch R’all. Thanks to the low gravity, I was able to fire the spike into the ground and swing upside down with R’all across towards the Knight. This helped us catch up with the crew of the Damsel, and we all made it aboard the Knight as the asteroid started shaking and rumbling ominously.

I took off as fast as I could, not a second too soon, as the asteroid shook itself to pieces behind us as we exited. Unfortunately, there was a group of TIE fighters waiting for us, but I managed to flip the ship around and dodge and weave between the asteroids without them being able to get a clear shot in. As soon as we exited the asteroid field, I powered up the hyperdrive and we jumped back to Aargonar.
Last edited by wizzard on August 7th, 2005, 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby wizzard » August 7th, 2005, 12:15 am

Chapter 10: Senatus Consultum Ultimum

R’all and I were on Daroon, a slightly backwater planet. We had the Midnight Star back, we had just finished collecting some ammunition for the alliance and were taking a break in a local cantina before heading back to the base. The bar tender offered us a drink on the house, as we’d need it after the news. After a brief enquiry as to what he was referring to, he explained that “the Emperor has disbanded the senate”. R’all and I exchanged glances, and I downed my drink in a single gulp. I was just turning to R’all to suggest that we make our way back to the base as fast as possible, when a large squad of stormtroopers decided to interrupt the peaceful atmosphere. At the head of the formation was the Imperial officer who had seen us escape Kwevron. Unfortunately, he would spot us any moment, and he knew what our faces looked like.

I didn’t see what R’all did, but I turned my face away and began scratching the back of my head as if I had developed a really bad itch. Despite not being able to see what was going on, as I was facing the other way, I was standing right next to the officer, and therefore was quite aware of him being rather rough in his questioning of the bar tender. Eventually, after some threatening, the bar tender gave in, and agreed to give them the address of who they were looking for. A man named Alku Vordu.

R’all and I reasoned that anyone that the Empire was after would probably be useful to the Alliance, and therefore decided to follow the stormtroopers down the street. We snuck in behind them, and managed to take them by surprise and disable all six of them and their commanding officer with the aid of a stun grenade and some fast shooting. I’m fairly certain that when the stormtroopers came around, they probably wouldn’t have been very happy to find themselves tied up in their underwear with no weapons, but they would have killed us given the opportunity, so I didn’t have any problems with leaving them like that. Besides, the sale of their weapons was a nice supplement to the funds being paid to us for our services by the Alliance.

Once aboard the Midnight Star, Vordu informed us that he was the Senator of Daroon, and the stormtroopers had been after him because of the dissolution of the senate. As we exited the gravity well of the planet, he explained that he must get to Alderan as fast as possible in order to speak with Beil Organa, a noted ex-senator who was leading the political movement against the Emperor. Whilst I have never had too much interest in politics, there was not such an urgency to return our cargo to the base, so R’all and I agreed to drop the senator off on Alderan.
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Postby wizzard » August 7th, 2005, 12:17 am

Chapter 11: That’s no Moon!

We dropped out of hyperspace and the proximity alarms started blaring. It has always struck me as odd that whenever something seriously endangers a ship, the ship’s response is to activate sirens that are so loud that you can barely hear yourself think, let alone what the person sitting next to you is saying. I generally don’t find it conducive to resolving the situation, which is possibly why I was stupid enough to make the following comment: “There shouldn’t be a moon there”, to which the senator replied “that’s no moon”.

In actual fact, he was right, but the sheer scale of it was what had made me assume that it was a natural object, when, on closer inspection, it should have been obvious that it was manufactured. You may have noticed that I have been putting off describing it. In all honesty, I can’t really remember exactly what it looked like, beyond it being big and round, partly because of how fast things happened, and partly because the main image that stays in my head whenever I think of it is what it did.

A bright green beam of light erupted from some orifice on the side of the space-station facing Alderan. I don’t think the full horror of that moment struck me straight away, as I honestly couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. In the instant before the shockwave hit us, we saw Alderan explode into a billion fragments. Millions of lives wiped out in an instant. It was like nothing I had ever heard of before, let alone anything I had seen. I mean, I was a soldier, and in the course of my duty, I saw some pretty gruesome scenes, but nothing compares with seeing an entire planet wiped out of existence in an instant. For an instant, I was shocked that even the Empire could bring themselves to do such a thing, and then I remembered what the Empire were like.

In theory, there is no shockwave from an explosion in space, because there is no medium for the shockwave to pass through. Of course, this is in normal circumstances. When you are in range of a planet being vaporised, you get to experience the rather unique set of circumstances of a rapidly expanding cloud of debris, comprised of matter in all states, which acts as the medium and the shockwave at the same time. The moon-sized craft which had fired the genocidal beam was large enough that it wasn’t affected by the shockwave. The Midnight Star, however, was considerably smaller, and therefore we were thrown away from where Alderan had formerly been, and I was unable to stop the ship from hurtling out of control in a spin.

As we began repairs, we became aware of another ship approaching our position. We were unable to defend ourselves in any way, due to the damage we had taken, so I was initially glad that they decided not to attack us on sight. Of course, this feeling was very short lived, as we rushed to the airlock when we heard them docking. No doubt this was an imperial ship of some sort.

Luckily, the first few Imperial troops who attempted to board were either not very competent or relatively untrained, as we managed to trap them all half way down the airlock ladder and they were not really in any position to shoot back accurately. I felt a bit bad about doing that, as it seemed a little unfair, but when I remembered what they had just perpetrated, my resolve returned, and I redoubled my efforts to ensure that none of them boarded our ship in any fit state to cause us any damage.
We moved the incapacitated stormtroopers, and secured them. I was reluctant to board the docked vessel, as I was unsure whether there were any more of them still on board. My suspicions were confirmed when a grenade dropped through the airlock, so as we dived clear I was mentally patting myself on the back for making the correct decision.

I then discovered that it is considerably harder to throw a grenade up an airlock than I had realised, thus resulting in us having to dodge my own grenade. There was then a few moments of waiting, as the party or parties in the docked Imperial ship were obviously unsure how to proceed, as were we. In the end, I decided to attempt to break the stand-off by pretending to climb the ladder. As I did, I was exceedingly glad that I didn’t really climb the ladder, as the docked ship disengaged, leaving the airlock open.

Not everyone is aware of the fact that the human body can in fact survive in space for a small number of seconds with minimal oxygen. This was a rather fortunate fact for me, as I found myself unable to grab the ladder as I was being vacuumed out of the ship with a portion of our air supply. In the few seconds available to me, I managed to successfully fire my grappling spike launcher back into the ship from the outside, and reel myself in. I quickly closed the airlock, and let out a gasp of relief and surprise at still being alive.

After giving myself the luxury of a rest for a whole four seconds, I headed off to power up what few weapons we could use while R’all finished making repairs to the sub-light engines. The Imperial shuttle and I exchanged fire a few times before R’all managed to get the engines online. Fortunately, we didn’t take too much damage before we managed to make a run for it.

I powered up the hyperdrive, and entered the coordinates for Aargonar. We dropped into hyperspace and I breathed a sigh of relief, which was extremely short lived, as we dropped straight back out of hyperspace in an unknown region, hurtling directly towards an equally unknown planet. At this point, I experienced what was now the familiar sensation of knowing that we were about to crash. As I always tell people – crashing a starship is like riding a speeder-bike – if you’ve done it once, you never forget how. I was pondering whether I should count myself as lucky or unlucky because of having experienced this multiple times when the planet came up to meet us, and all I was able to do was hold it steady enough for us to survive the crash. The one thing about the area that we crashed in that I was able to take in was that there seemed to be a lot of trees.
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Postby wizzard » August 7th, 2005, 12:18 am

Chapter 12: Kilia

After realising that we were going to need several replacement parts to repair the Midnight Star, we decided that we had better explore our surroundings to see if we could acquire them. The senator seemed rather unhappy once I explained that it was entirely possible that we could be stuck on this planet indefinitely.

We made our way out of the forest to find a primitive agricultural settlement. There were some people who appeared to be human performing some sort of agricultural task in a field. Unfortunately, we seemed to scare them, and they ran off, telling us to leave, and calling us “renegades”.

I decided that it might be more sensible if I approached one of them individually, without any of my obvious weaponry showing. We managed to find a small village by following the retreating field-workers. When I knocked on the door, I received similar treatment, and the inhabitant refused to accept that I wasn’t a renegade, whatever that was.

Apparently, the village-folk were unhappy with these renegades for some reason, as we soon found ourselves surrounded by an angry mob armed with various sharp agricultural tools. I had a feeling that my gun would require reloading before they ran out of people, so I decided that stunning them would probably be a bad course of action, especially as I couldn’t remember whether my tetanus vaccine was up to date, and some of those scythes looked decidedly unhygienic.

I attempted to explain to the villagers that we weren’t renegades – we were from off-planet, but they didn’t seem aware of the existence of space-flight, and called us blasphemers. I decided that in such a technologically primitive state, I should easily be able to prove to them that we were not locals, so I removed my hold-out blaster, explaining that it was an energy weapon. They replied that it couldn’t be an energy weapon, as only the “rangers” had energy weapons. I was about to ask to speak to one of these rangers, as the word had a decidedly authoritarian ring to it, and I thought that we might get further with them. However, as I was about to, a man rode up on horseback. He had a look in his eye that I recognised as being that of someone in authority, probably in law-enforcement. He introduced himself as a ranger, and we explained our predicament.

It appears that the world we had crashed on was named Kilia. It had been cut off from the old galactic Republic many years earlier, and they had fallen back into a less technological state. The ranger was not even aware of the existence of the Empire. I was determined that if at all possible, this state should continue, as I was reasonably sure that the locals would not wish to partake of the “benefits” that the Empire could offer them. The ranger explained that the local aristocracy were the only people who were in possession of any significant technological artefacts. The aristocracy were divided into different houses, each one a different family.

The ranger persuaded the locals to move our ship into the village, where we were able to perform some basic repairs. While they were engaged in that, we were bartering with two of the houses, who seemed to have some sort of feud going on. Each side attempted to involve us with the feud, but we explained that we had promised the rangers that we would not become involved. I made various suggestions to cover our involvement up, but the heads of both houses were very sure that the rangers would know about it immediately. I assumed that the rangers had some sort of technological espionage system in place to be able to find these things out, but the houses were very insistent that it was the “force”. I was a little surprised to find that on a primitive planet in the middle of nowhere which had been cut-off from civilisation they still believed in the same hokey old religions that were around in the rest of the galaxy. I reflected that no-one in the rebellion actually really believed in anything anymore when they said “may the force be with you” – it was said more because the Empire tried to quash all talk of the force than anything else. As I brought myself back to the topic in hand, I began wondering where the rangers had planted their bugs, and whether they had a listening station close-by. To cut a long story short, we eventually managed to agree to a trade for all the parts we required except one, which were not available. We made the additional repairs that we were able to, and began to wonder where we were going to get the last part from.
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Postby wizzard » August 7th, 2005, 12:18 am

Chapter 13: Saving Tionc’s Heir

We were working on the ship when I became aware of a vehicle approaching. From the moment I heard it, I had a strange sense that something was wrong. Once the horse-drawn wagon pulled into view, the state of it and the driver corroborated my initial suspicions. The driver appeared to be badly injured, but was far more expressive of the concern of his mistress. Apparently, they had been attacked by renegades, and Lord Tionc’s daughter had been captured. When we realised that our friend the ranger was about to go and rescue her by himself, R’all and I volunteered to assist, partly out of the hope that Tionc would be able to return the favour by acquiring the remaining part for us to be able to make our repairs. The ranger seemed perfectly happy with us accompanying him.

We were passing through a small ravine, engrossed in conversation, and I was idly thinking that this would be an excellent place for an ambush when a group of renegades decided to prove me correct. Fortunately, we outnumbered them three to ten. Well, I suppose that technically, they outnumbered us, but their fighting skills were nothing to speak of, and we were able to dispatch them without any serious injuries to ourselves. Fortunately, chance had left us with one of them to interrogate. Personally, I prefer not to take prisoners in battle, as someone else’s life is a responsibility not to be taken lightly, so I tend to prefer my enemies incapacitated, running away or dead, but this one was necessary for questioning, so we merely secured him for interrogation.

R’all decided to start the interrogation with “tell us where Lord Tionc’s daughter is being held”, which I thought was not very tactically sound, as I wasn’t entirely certain that the renegades knew who they had captured, but I let it slide. Our prisoner responded with a not-so-curteous “no”. R’all and I attempted various forms of “persuasion”, some involving physical threat, although R’all seemed inclined merely to keep asking for a while, which at one point did get a raised eyebrow from the ranger. Personally, I thought rolling eyes would have been a more pertinent expression, but I decided that it wasn’t the time to ask him.

He responded several times to us with comments like “you can’t do anything to me as bad as what he can”, to which I replied “yes, but the difference is that we are here, and he isn’t.” Eventually, for no apparent reason, he broke and told us “the dark ranger has her captive in a cave”, and went on to describe the location.

As we approached the cave, the ranger explained to us that this “dark ranger” would be a very dangerous individual
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