Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness
The Specter of Black
lazing their way through the hyperspace lanes and emerging in the heart of the galaxy, our heroes have won their greatest victory to date, defeating once and for all the sinister forces of OUTLANDER, and rescuing their captured friends in the process, bringing peace at last to their adopted homeworld of DANTOOINE.
Little do the heroes know however that as they celebrate their epic achievement, an unseen hand is still conspires to direct them in their travels and adventures, and unseen hand that now prepares to reveal itself and make itself known to all who’s fates it has touched.
With this unseen hand who our heroes have not met since the planet Ando nine months ago lurking closer than ever before, our friends may just soon find their celebrations endangered by a stark choice that could effect not only their own future, but the future of the entire galaxy…
And There are Many Roads Ahead
Precisely one standard month after the player party’s and the allied victory over the forces of Outlander at the Battle of Nal Cloonus, the settlement of Ecumenopolis was returning to life once again. The mines were a hub of activity, the starport a crowd of unending arrivals and departures, and the homes razed and burned in the many raids were very slowly being rebuilt.
The twin sisters Elsae and Eldewn Sarvool practiced day and night with their newly constructed lightsabers while meditating just as often, as Jedi in training should. Privately their respective masters Akira Ben-Toshi and Nyla Hawklight considered them strong enough to have easily passed the Jedi trials in the days of the Old Republic, and though they hadn’t said it yet, they considered the twins training to be complete. On more personal levels Akira was helping his fiancée Dyneh Lonin raise their now one-month old son, while Nyla and Darius became ever the more closer and friends and companions.
Baccitcuk, a newly minuted Mandalorian warrior continued to learn the ways of his newly adopted people under the direction of his master and celebrated war hero Aidan Dyre, while Quaggo honoured his late master Kalko the Colossal by delving into the world of smuggling, combining the efforts of the Danto-Xpress with his fellow Wookie smugglers and spacers and the Tapani based spynet of Uhnri. Aidan meanwhile continued to lead the effort to combine the military units of the Corellian Pirates, the Mandalorian mercenaries he had hired, the Mandalorians sworn to Dar’Manda Arpat who was now a friend an ally of his, the Aqualesh resistance fighters from Ando, the Wookie refugees from Nng-Muarga Kashyyyk, to the Howling 99, the renegade Clone Troopers who rejected the order to excecute their Jedi commanders and now fought as rebels against the tyrany of the Galactic Empire.
A great deal had transpired in only a month, and a great many possibilities lay open to the heroes as all pondered their next step, for there was no shortage of opinions and ideas of just what to do next.
The Corellian Pirates wanted to renegotiate the bonus situation before launching a raid on the shipyards of the planet Kuat to steal the prototype for a new cruiser coveted badly by their financier and backers Jakkar Qin and Garm Bel Iblis on Corellia.
The Wookies demanded that they immediatly launch a liberation operation on their native Kashyyyk, where Imperial backed slavers now continuously kidnapped thousands on a daily basis for use as slave labour across the galaxy.
Darius, speaking on behalf of the Howling 99 wanted to use the groups resources to investigate old style distress signals that had recently been detected that might be from a lost regiment of Clone Troopers, stranded on a distant planet since before the end of the Clone Wars.
Uhnri and Quaggo meanwhile suggested that the party pursue a former Imperial garbage scow commander named Rim Redhead Rockmer who had until recently secretly helped smuggle illicit funds on behalf of corrupt Imperial bureaucrats. Rockmer’s corrupt friends however had recently been caught up in one of many purges of corruption currently under way on Imperial Center, and with hundreds of his collaborators excecuted in the middle of the night, Rockmer fled to a shadowport in the Outer Rim Territories with four-and-a-half billion stolen Imperial credits for dear life, where he has been held up for weeks.
Uhnri added that this purge of corrupt officials is a quite large one, even by Imperial standards, and has in fact been lead by a mysterious figure in black armour who wields a red lightsaber. The party recognized this description as likely being that of Darth Vader, a dangerous Imperial official that they had been warned of.
Even with the threat of this Darth Vader looming over the operation to retrieve Captain Rockmer, the party eventually agreed that the billions of credits at stake were too much to ignore, as they could easily finance their small band of rebels for some time. When asked what else was known of Point Nadir, Quaggo explained that the shadowport was controlled by the Anjiliac Hutt clan.
Seeking out their friend Parias for information on the Anjiliac clan, as he was an expert on the Hutt cartels from his dealings with the Hunto Pawa, Parias explained that they were syndicate of spice merchants and smugglers, and ones who were quite protective of what they perceived as their territory, even by Hutt standards. After explaining this to his friends, Parias presented the party with a gift, a rare Sponge Tree sapling, which he explained is a symbol of friendship and bonds on the planet he calls home, and that this sapling in particular was grown from the seed of a tree that had once saved his life. The party thanked Parias, though Aidan thought the gesture to be an odd one.
The party then sought out the Corellian pirate captain Thrackan Drall, who gave them much needed advice on the inner workings of the wretched hive of scum and villainy. Namely he advised them that even if they were there to find a wayward fugitive Imperial captain, they had best have a better cover story as to not raise the suspicion of the port’s Hutt masters. Lastly the party turned to the databanks of the captured Imperial Dreadnaught, the Ellison’s Fury, which listed not only the co-ordinates of the shadowport, but an up to date code clearance that had been provided in case vessels under the command of Captain Thrawn needed to resupply and was too far from a trusted Imperial base.
With the shadowports entrance codes in hand, as well as the rest of the information that the party had gathered on Point Nadir, and thirty tons of ore from the settlement’s mines to help the party pose as ore traders, the heroes boarded the Renegade and set off for the shadowport of Point Nadir.
Shadows of Ando
Several days later the party arrived deep in the Outer Rim in the vicinity of Comet Resh 9376, the comet in which Point Nadir was located. After transmitting the entrance codes, the Renegade was given an approach vector, which they followed, leading them to what was known as the Jackrab Hole, a half-kilometer wide tunnel that snakes it’s way through the asteroid, leading to Fische’s Cove, the massive cavern in the heart of the asteroid where smugglers and traders from all corners of the galaxy moored their ships.
The player party split up, with Aidan and Nyla heading to Salovan’s Souk, the trade district of Point Nadir to find a buyer for their thirty tons of ore to help complete their cover story. There Aidan and Nyla found a casino like exchange where buyers and speculators bought and sold commodities at lightning fast speeds from other buyers and sellers across the galaxy, moving their holdings from one star system to another in minutes in the hopes of selling for a profit. After one unsuccessful try, Aidan and Nyla found a buyer who paid slightly more than the market rate for Dantooine’s rare property ore, netting them and the Tarisian a healthy profit.
Akira meanwhile explored the comet based settlement, and after making several inquiries into the matter found a large personal security detachment surrounding a small home built into the cavern wall of the Fissure District, the residential slums of Point Nadir. Using the Jedi mind trick, Akira was able to work his way through the security perimeter to find none other than Captain Rockmer. Akira explained that he and his friends were there to help, and Rockmer explained that in exchange for eighty percent of the four-and-a-half billion credits and safe haven and protection, he would go with Akira and his friends. Akira accepted the deal on behalf of the party, and after a quick conversation with Aidan and Nyla via comlink proceeded to head back to Rockmer’s barge to pick up the credits.
There onboard the barge Aidan, Nyla and Akira found the credit chips stored in massive storage containers, all of which scanned negative for tracking or homing devices. When Aidan asked Rockmer if his security detail would mind helping move the credits to the Renegade he happily agreed, and even introduced the party to his first mate who would help as well, a man the party instantly recognized from ten months earlier on the planet Ando.
The Spectre Returns
Akira, Nyla and Aidan instantly readied themselves for combat against the mysterious thief in black who had stolen the Regegade’s proton torpedo on Ando ten months earlier, the same one that was then used to assassinate Governor Craz Oduur and Colonel Taft Madine, the crimes that they were then blamed for.
The thief however told the party that he was there as a friend, and with a wave of a hand, suggesting he too was using the Jedi mind trick, dismissed Captain Rockmer and his security detail. The thief then removed his helmet, revealing himself to be none other than Jeyen, the strange man who had brought the party together on Ando in the first place, and had all but confessed to framing them for the Imperial assassinations.
Though Aidan demanded to know why they shouldn’t kill Jeyen where he stood, Jeyen explained that he was of no harm to them, and instead offered a chance to fulfil their very destinies. Though the party was untrusting, they were never the less curious about what Jeyen was exactly offering. They decided that they would first take Rockmer and his money to Dantooine, and told Jeyen they would meet him afterwards on the planet Tatooine, an Outer Rim desert world Aidan and Akira had been to before on business.
After several days the party had returned to Dantooine with their new friend and financier Captain Rockmer, but just as soon as they arrived they departed again, telling no one of where they were going or when they might be back.
After several more days of travel the party reached Tatooine, and after landing in the planet’s largest starport of Mos Eisley, they ventured into a dangerous cantina that Aidan and Akira had frequented before, warning Nyla to watch herself, as this place could get a little rough.
Inside the cantina they spotted a cloaked man, which Akira and Nyla sensed a strong Force connection from. Thinking it was Jeyen they all approached the man, only to discover that it was someone entirely different, a Jedi master in fact who was in hiding on this remote desert world, a Jedi master Akira and Nyla recognized as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a hero of the Republic and of the Jedi Order. The three talked for some time about where they have been in what had been almost two years since the end of the Clone Wars, where other Jedi were and how the Empire had changed the galaxy for the worst. After some time had passed Obi-Wan told the three that he had to be on his way, but that if they ever needed him again, they now knew where they could find him, trusting them to keep his location here secret, as he would keep theirs on Dantooine. After wishing them that the Force would be with them, Obi-Wan slipped out of the cantina, leaving Akira, Nyla and Aidan happy to know that there were still members of the Jedi High Council alive in defiance of the Empire.
The party was then joined by Jeyen, who seemingly appeared out of the shadows to be sitting right next to the party, something Aidan warned him never to do again if he wished to continue living. Jeyen explained that with the party’s permission, he would take them to a planet where everything would be explained. Though still suspicious of his motives, the party agreed, and set off for this unnamed world with Jeyen on board the Renegade.
The Paths Offered
More than two weeks later the party emerged from hyperspace on the edge of a great nebula on the edges of Wild Space. There they set their course for a rogue planet drifting between the stars on the nebulas outer edge, a planet Jeyen explained was named Ayi. The planet exhibited unusual features, including a breathable atmosphere and a near tropical environment. All of this seemed to be made possible by a strange and very feint energy field surrounding the planet.
The party landed the Renegade in a jungle near a great river basin’s edge, near the ruins of a massive temple of durasteel and concrete that rose nearly a kilometre high and stretched wide for several more, but one long since covered in so much foliage it looked more a jungle mountain.
In the river were the heads of massive statues who’s bodies were long since submerged, statues of strange humanoids with narrow eyes and pointed ears.
Inside the temple Jeyen took the party to what seemed to be a massive throne room that overlooked an open balcony that rose over the jungle below, standing on the balcony was a figure dressed in black. Jeyen introduced the party to the figure, whom he called the Matron. The Matron then spoke, revealing herself to be a woman, an older one by the sound of her voice, yet still her face remained hidden as she approached the party.
She asked where Thrax was, and seemed disappointed to hear that he had returned to see his master, saying to Jeyen that as the Force had brought a stronger hero to them in place of the fallen Kalko, he must be a part of their plan. When the party demanded to know what was going on, the Matron explained that it was she and Jeyen who had been manipulating events surrounding the player party for the past ten months, events which had in turned helped them grow from relatively weak and stunted persons into heroes that could change the fate of millions with their actions.
The party now understood the strange events that surrounded them for months on end, from the framing for the deaths of the Imperial officials on Ando, to the Corpse Droid aligning himself with Dar’Manda Arpat and Outlander when they had never met or done business before, to countless others. Still the party demanded to know why this was done, and the Matron explained that they were all destined for greatness before the rise of the Empire, but events outside anyone’s control had unfairly stopped them cold in their paths of growth.
The Matron approached Nyla, telling her that she was meant to be a great Jedi healer, but that after the demise of the order she was left to be isolated and lost in hiding on Naboo, her studies left unfinished. Akira she said was meant to bring justice to those who exploited the innocent, but that the slow rise of the Empire complicated his path, and allowed a talented Jedi pupil to be lost and forgotten by those who needed him most. Aidan, the Matron explained was a warrior meant to lead his people, yet as a fugitive was left running bounty jobs in the Outer Rim, hopping form starport to starport, never coming close to meeting his true potential.
Angrily Akira asked what of Kalko, their late friend. The Matron expressed great regret for Kalko’s death, as he too had greatness in his future, but added that it was the will of the Force itself that brought an even greater and more powerful member of their party to them, Thrax. When Nyla asked why it was them who she chose to help strengthen through her hidden hand and actions, Jeyen replied they had scoured the galaxy for more than a year to find a team of pupils, strong in heart and in conviction, who could lead the Galaxy in it’s hour of need. He explained that though many warriors such as Aidan were considered, it was considered to be a sign of the Force’s will when it was found that a former Jedi, Akira was working as Aidan’s co-pilot.
Aidan asked just what the great task was that she needed to strengthen the party for, and the Matron revealed a horrible truth so shocking that the party didn’t know just what to make of it. The Matron claimed that the Emperor of the Galactic Empire, the former Chancellor was in fact a Sith Lord. All were stunned, as the party all believed what the rest of the galaxy had been told, that the Sith had been extinct for a thousand years. The Matron told the party that this was not quite the case, as a thousand years ago a single Sith Lord had survived his people’s extinction, and had formed an order of two, one master, and one apprentice, one to have power, and one to covet it, and that this order of two had survived for a thousand years, with every dark student growing stronger than his master, until finally a student was powerful enough to take control of the entire Galaxy without anyone, including those around him, or even the Jedi Order noticing.
Since then he has taken on a new apprentice, the one they call Darth Vader, an apprentice who’s origins she was regrettably unclear on. With the help of the Galaxy-spanning military of the Empire, organizations such as Imperial Intelligence and COMPNOR, as well as thousands of arms of the Galactic and system governments that his agents have infiltrated and now control, he rules the Galaxy supreme in a way that the dreaded Sith Lords of the past could only have imagined in their warped and depraved minds.
The party was left speechless by this accusation, the mere thought that the man trusted by hundreds of trillions was in fact a Dark Lord of the Sith, hellbent on establishing an Empire in the fashion of the Sith Empires of ancient times was almost too much to believe. Aidan asked if she was so determined to stop him why she didn’t attack him herself. She replied that she had, and it nearly cost her her life some time ago, and left her too weak to attempt it again. The heroes she explained would be the ones who finished what she could not.
After a great deal of more discussion the party agreed to listen to what the Matron was proposing, and to consider the possibility of helping her destroy this Sith Lord, if Palpatine was indeed one as she said.
The Matron explained that through discovering Akira and his past and how he came to be separated from the Jedi Order, both she and Jeyen had learned a great deal about how to develop large quantities of Trex, using it to great success with the sharks of Ando. Nyla found the idea of mind control of the masses offensive however, and asked that the idea not be considered.
The Matron then suggested one of the Contingency Orders be considered. When the party asked just what those contingency orders were, she explained that it was one such order that lead to the Clone Troopers turning on the Jedi and their allies, Order 66. That order was a specific order given to Clones and their commanders before hand to prepare for in case of the event that the order pertained to came to pass. The Matron explained that Order 66 was in place to be used if the Jedi Order attempted to seize control of the Republic, something which the Matron knew to be a lie, but an order that was followed to it’s completion never the less.
The Matron explained that there were more than a hundred of these orders, each one explaining how the soldiers of the Republic, now the Empire were to react to an event that threatened the stability of the Empire. There was another order that could be used to their advantage the Matron explained, Order 73, which was meant to deal with an attempted coup launched by then Republic Intelligence, which is now Imperial Intelligence. The existence of these orders intrigued the party, in particular Aidan, who as they listened came to wonder just if, with the proper amount of planning, and with the right allies at their side, if they could in fact overthrow the Empire and save the Galaxy from it’s dark fate.
It would be an operation with no room for error, and one with the stakes as high as they had ever been for them and everyone they cared about. Even still, at that moment, it did seem to be just possible.