Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

Episode XVII

Madness of Mind's Eye

The Crawl

hough our heroes have come to the rescue of the survivors of the devastation of the planet Bodir, and even reunited with the Imperial Stormtrooper who helped save Nyla Hawklight’s life so long ago, Akira, Aiden, Kalko and Nyla now stand face to face with an ancient force, an abomination from the depths of the Unknown Regions of space that threatens to devour them all in ways too impossible to imagine.

Our heroes may in fact be the last line of defense an unsuspecting galaxy has against the so called Navigator, a being of untold horros and unknown powers, the likes of which none have ever seen before, leaving our heroes to stop a monster that thousands of Imperials and legion of alien warriors could not before he is unleashed on the galaxy…

The Scream of the Navigator

The player party and Captain Flak recoiled on the ground in absolute agony as the sonic scream filled their minds. It was over in only a moment, but it had felt like an eternity for the party and had left them weakened, all but Captain Flak who was unconcious after the Navigator’s psionic attack.

Quickly rising to their feet Aidan and Kalko drew their blasters, while Akira and Nyla drew their respective lightsabers, as for the first time they were now free to wield their Jedi weapons. In an instant however the player party was distracted with a horrific sight, the floor around them as far as they could see was filled with spiked writhing tentacles that reached through the grated floor, reaching for the player party’s feet.

While Kalka fired his blaster at the Navigator Akira and Nyla powered down their lightsabers and drew their blasters instead, not wanting to cross the floor of writhing tentacles to engage their enemy. Aidan made the decision to use his jetpack to fly out of the reach of the tentacles, only to discover that after flying twenty or so meters into the air the sight of the tentacles disappeared entirely, confirming his worst fears that this Navigator was some sort of a vicious psion. Aidan was close enough however to lob one of his adhesive grenades at the Navigator, which detonated and bound the creature to the iron grated floor, as the creature gave Aidan a look of disgust in his white glossed over eyes.

Before Aidan could tell the others off the illusion the Navigator had moved through the illusionary tentacles and had grappled Kalko to the ground, then latching it’s own tentacles protruding form it’s mouth to Kalko’s head. Luckily Kalko was able to overpower the creature as Akira and Nyla both struck it with their blasters in it’s head. Turning it’s attention to Akira as Aidan landed nearby to fire his own weapons, the Navigator now grappled Akira to the ground and wrapped it’s tentacles around his head, covering Akira’s scalp with a strange syliva with it’s ghastly tongue.

Luckily once again the player party rose to their friends defense, with Nyla, Aidan and Kalko scoring impressive shots to the Navigator’s head, stunning the creature long enough for Akira to roll out of the way of the creature, rolling far away enough himself to realize that the writhing tentacles were nothing more than an illusion. Akira and Aidan’s warnings of the illusion did nothing to convince Nyla and Kalko that they were not there however, and the recent shots to the head and now the warning of the illusion drew the Navigator’s attention towards Aidan.

With a raise of the Navigator’s hand Aiden felt his will power collapse, and was overcome by an incredible desire to serve the Navigator’s will without question. Aidan then felt a voice inside his head compelling him to attack Akira, which he did, though Akira was able to dodge his friends attack. The Navigator however was not yet finished, and with a flick of his other hand he vanished before everyone’s eyes, only to somehow re-apear in front of Kalko who he tried but failed to grapple once again. Despite the awe and mystery surrounding this creature called the Navigator, the spectre of the writhing tentacles, the psionic blast, the apparent teleportation and now Aidan being enslaved to the Navigator’s will, the party never lossed focus for an instant on who the true enemy was, the Navigator, and so they still focused all their fire power onto him, and with every shot and ever wound he took he seemed just a little bit weaker than he had a moment earlier.

After three consecutive shots to the head by Akira, Nyla and Kalko the creature faultered for only a moment, but long enough for Aidan to break free of the Navigator’s enslavement and resume his own attack on the creature. The Navigator was enraged that Aidan had broken it’s hold on him, and now turned his attention to him, charging Aidan and tackling him to the ground, wrapping it’s tentacles around Aidan’s head, the third time it had done this.

Yet Aidan had a surprise up his armoured sleeve, and delivered an electrified shock to the Navigator that ran through his armour, seriously wounding the creature as it’s now burnt tentacles were nearly thrown off of Aidan’s helmet. It was a feature Aidan had purchased long ago when he had upgraded his armour on [[Nar Shaddaa but had recently feared he would never get to use, now he was the happiest he’d ever been that he’d made the upgrade.

With the creature momentarily stunned Akira lobbed his own adhesive grenade at the Navigator, bonding him once again to the floor. The party now focused every attack they had on the creature until he fell to his knee’s, wobbling and weak and on death’s door itself. The creature cursed the party, claiming that it couldn’t believe that this was now the end, after travelling and waiting for so long that it’s journey would end here to the likes of these weaklings.

With what may have been the last ounce of strength in it’s body, it claimed that it would please him to know that the party would die with him, raising it’s hands to the sky, and then falling dead over on the ground. Though the writhing tentacles that had still been harassing Kalko now vanished, the party soon realized that all the zombified Imperials manning the archaic control panels and machines on the bridge suddenly slumped over dead themselves. Nyla rushed to deliver aid to as many as she could, but all she determined were too far gone to save.

Even worse however, Akira realized that the planet Bodir which the Asteroid Ship orbited now seemed to be getting closer to them. The ships orbit was now collapsing without the enslaved Imperials working the ships controls, and the party knew their only hope was to escape before the ship crashed into Bodir’s ruined surface.

Escape the Madness

Akira radioed Baccitcuk back on “the Renegade” and asked them if they could tell how much time they had life, after a quick discussion with Quaggo and Beesix it was agreed that they had just under an hour left before orbit completely collapse. Akira told them to first guide the Renegade into the Ellison’s Fury‘s open hanger bay and park it there, and to then join the twins on the Dreadnaught’s bridge and to prepare it for immediate departure. Baccitcuk agreed, though the party then realized that the route they had taken to get to the bridge of the Asteroid ship themselves had taken much more than an hour.

After thinking hard for a solution, where even a spacewalk was considered Kalko noticed a large map of the Asteroid ship on the bridge, one that highlighted a series of routes that linked all the massive chambers in the ship. It seemed to be a sort of inter-ship transport system, and the map lead them from the bridge to a terminal. Once arriving at the terminal adjacent to the bridge the party was left in awe of the black iron train that stood before them, handing from a massive rail line above the train.

After finding their way inside of the train with their speeder bikes from earlier, Akira took a moment to learn the controls of the train, and after determining it was in reasonable working condition and still had power he had it moving within minutes, guiding it out of the terminal.

Soon the train found it’s way into the massive treasure room of the Asteroid Ship on their way to where the Ellison’s Fury was docked. All on board knew this would be their last chance to take any of the ships incredible treasure. Although they all knew they couldn’t possibly save all the gargantuan wealth, each member of the party took as much in a single armful as they could, with Kalko by far carrying the most back onto the train as the Asteroid Ship came closer and closer to the planet below.

With only ten minutes left the party reached the docking collars that lead to the Ellison’s Fury, where the twins were awaiting them on the other side. After travelling to the bridge in the ships turbolifts they realized they had only minutes now to steer the ship to safety, a ship that was famous throughout the galaxy for it’s difficulty to pilot with even a large crew.

Never the less Akira took the main controls himself with all seven others helping as well. He ordered the twins to disengage the ships docking collars, but only one fully retracted, while the other jammed and remained attached to the Asteroid Ship. Aidan tried to help the twins unjam the last docking collar but it was to no avail, and as the flames of the atmosphere re-entry began to bathe the bridge of the Dreadnaught in fire, Akira told the party he would fire the thrusters at full regardless.

With the sound of durasteel tearing like paper the Ellison’s Fury tore away from the Asteroid Ship and fired it’s sublight engines with only moments to spear, bringing it out of Bodir’s atmosphere and escaping the deadly shock wave as the Asteroid Ship hit the planet with nuclear force, devastating the already ruined world below.

A Collective Sigh

Together the player party took a collective sigh of relief as they watched the shock wave spread on the planet below, knowing that the Navigator was as sure as dead now. It was then that the party truly began to feel the pain of the many wounds the Navigator had inflicted upon them, in particular Akira. Once they were sure the Ellison’s Fury was in stable orbit over Bodir, Aidan told the Wookies and the twins to look after the bridge while they went down to the ships medbay.

Once in the medbay Kalko and Aidan immediately took to the ships bacta tanks for some much needed healing, while Nyla tended to Akira’s wounds, in particular his head which he claimed felt very numb. After a few minutes of analyzing Akira’s head wounds Nyla speculated that the Navigator had secreted some sort of a chemical agent that sterilized Akira’s scalp, leading both she and Akira to wonder if the creature had planned to eat into Akira’s head the way the Navigator was described as doing so in the ancient scrolls aboard the Asteroid Ship. Tucked beneath his hair however Nyla made a truly shocking discovery, a small jagged triangle shaped tooth embedded in Akira’s scalp, a tooth the Navigator had left.

Akira was visibly shaken at the tooth’s discovery, and spent a few minutes just holding it in his hand, thinking about the Navigator and what it had wanted to do to him. At that moment they were all joined in the medbay by Beesix, who came to tell Akira that he had finished analyzing the data that had been rescued from the Raalbar Bora settlement, the Big Berta’s computers as well as the data collected while on board the Asteroid Ship, and had determined where the Asteroid Ship had likely originated… Companion Grek.

The Last Songs of Grek

Akira was silent for a moment as he contemplated what he’d just heard, asking Beesix to confirm that he meant the satellite galaxy Companion Grek, which he had indeed meant. Beesix told the party in the medbay that according to all known records he had access too, Companion Grek, the seventh and furthest of the satellite galexies was entirely unexplored by either sentient or long range probes, only having been observed by long range telescopes. By comparison, the closest of the satellite galexies, Companion Aurek was only barely explored and settled, and the second closest Companion Besh had only been explored by probebots. Grek laid more than three hundred thousand light years away, and many speculated was simply too far away to explore.

Beesix then told Akira that he’d calculated the Asteroid Ship to have averaged a speed of approximately one third the speed of light, which caused Akira to shout that that journey would have then had to have taken one hundred thousand years or more to complete. Silence filled the room as the party now truly contemplated the scope of what had been lost. A lost civilization that pre-dated the Galactic Republic by millennia, an archeological treasure proving that life had evolved in a place none had ever seen before, and a living specimen that evolved in an yet unknown world. Akira asked in desperation if there was any chance they could survey the wreck of the Asteroid Ship for the Navigator’s remains, only to be told by Beesix that all that remained was a crater on Bodir, and no trace of the ship.

Akira held the tooth in his hand, wondering about what the ship could have been had it been saved. He imagined an entire school of archeology being devoted to that ship and that ship alone for decades if not centuries to come. He wondered what if anything could be done with this tooth, and if it could somehow unlock the secrets in itself that Companion Grek still held.

The Life Pledges

Later that day after tending to her friends, Nyla came to find Eldewn on the ships bridge. Nyla first apologized to Eldewn, telling her that she should have asked her to stay on the Fury while they explored the Asteroid Ship, and that from now on she would always bring Eldewn with her on missions and adventures, so long as Eldewn wanted to. Eldewn understood why Nyla had asked her and her sister to stay behind, but thanked her for her new promise. Nyla promised again that she wouldn’t let any harm come to her, and that she would always be safe with her. In return Eldewn asked Nyla to simply never leave her alone, which Nyla promised she would not. Eldewn hugged Nyla, and both believed that they had now taken their first steps together into a larger world.

Back in Akira’s bunk Elsae came to see him. Akira welcomed her and told her that he could help show her a proper Jedi meditating technique which he was using to help heal himself. As they were meditating Elsae apologized for scaring Akira when they were en route to Bodir with her night terror. She explained that sometimes at night she sees things that she and her sister will soon come across, but that almost always it’s only the bad things she sees, dark visions of ominous events to come. She told Akira she had seen the Navigator at night, and what was worse, he may have seen her back.

This revelation surprised Akira, as it seemed to be a powerful manifestation of what the Jedi called Farseeing, a skill it took masters a lifetime to wield, yet here Elsae used it almost sub consciously, albeit without proper control. Elsae also told Akira that she too had heard the whispers on the Renegade when she was unconscious after her rescue on Aunap, the voices she knew Akira had heard as well. Akira knew the whispers she was reffering too, they were the whispers that seemed to have come from the mysterious artifact Kalko had been holding, but the whispers had stopped after Kalko sold the book to Ingle Mothheim on Dantooine. Akira told Elsae not to worry about the whispers as they wouldn’t bother them again, to which Elsae told Akira she already knew, she knew this because when last she heard the whispering they were talking to the unborn child Dyneh Lonin was carrying, Akira’s child.

This news trouble Akira greatly.

Meanwhile as Kalko and Aidan still rested in the ships bacta tanks, the Wookies came to visit them, both kept their words short at Aidan and Kalko both needed rest. Both Wookies expressed their undying gratitude to the player party for helping save as many Wookies as they could from Bodir, something few others were willing to do, and for that they pleged their lives to the service of Aidan and Kalko. Both Aidan and Kalko were greatful for this honor, and told them that they would now be welcome members on board their starship. Both men knew that with two Wookie Berserkers in their ranks that they now had a stronger chance of fending off whatever the galaxy could throw at them.

Which Paths To Come

After Akira and Nyla had worked with their Padawans and after Kalko and Aidan had fully healed up several hours later the party met in the Dreadnaught’s hanger bay to discuss their next move. They had to rescue the refugees still stranded in Big Berta on the other side of Bodir, but what to do with the Stormtroopers on board Big Berta? They knew Nyla trusted the trooper Darius, but they couldn’t trust the others. They also agreed that they should leave the system before the Imperial task force lead by the mysterious Tarkin could arrive looking for the Asteroid Ship.

Where they would go was a mystery, the closest major port was Muunilist at fourteen days away, after that was Laponth at fifteen days away, where as their own base of Dantooine was still seventeen days away. Though Aidan wanted to keep the Dreadnaught for future use somehow, Akira was quick to point out that the ship needed a crew of at least eight thousand, and that since they’d started this very conversation at least a dozen comments had broken down somewhere on the capital ship that needed fixing, adding that they had no hope of finding the manpower to crew the ship.

As for the treasure that was salvaged from the Asteroid Ship which Kalko was counting, he estimated that in terms of raw gold and metals their haul was worth more than thirty million credits, but that with it’s age and historical value it could easily be worth a hundred million credits or more. The party now had more wealth at their hands than they each could have ever imagined, but were unsure of where to go or what to do next.

A great many paths lay open to them, but danger still lurked in every shadow and recess of the galaxy. All they knew for certain was that whatever it was they were to do, they would have to do it very very soon.



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