Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

Episode X

The Fires Over Dantooine

The Crawl

triving to safeguard several kidnapped hostages, our heroes have been forced to watch helplessly as the dreaded pirate fiends have stolen hundreds of tons of ore and countless starships from their Dantooine settlement. Yet during the battle, our heroes valiantly faced off against and defeated the notorious CAPTAIN GURK, the Dug pirate captain responsible for the raids to date.

With a tracking beacon on a stolen starship in place and Gurk as their captive, our heroes now plot their next move as the situation grows darker every day for the people of Eucumenopolis as forces from across the stars seem to conspire to hamper our heroes even in the furthest reaches of the Outer Rim…

Where We Stand

The sun had only just begun to break over the fog draped horizon the morning after the terrible pirate raid when “Miss M’Row”’s beeping datapad woke her. Though Kalko, sleeping next to his companion he’d comforted the night before managed to ignore the alarm he was fully awakened when Miss M’Row screamed in surprise that an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee had been announced, and that she had to rush to attend.

Kalko confidently explained he had no need to worry as he wasn’t on that or any committee, a fact Miss M’Row while getting dressed quickly corrected when she told him being on the committee was a part of the contract he and his friends had signed. With a heavy sigh Kalko awoke, and signaled his friends Akira, Nyla and Aiden, Aiden being the only one who was already awake, having jogged two laps around Ecumenopolis and worked on his plans for enhancing the settlement’s defenses.

Only fifteen minutes after their early morning waking, the party had assembled on the casino floor of the Upper City Gem, where the normally lively and raucous laughter and energy had been replaced with a sense of grim despair and uncertainly. The party took their seats at a large table that boasted an ever larger holo-projector, normally reserved for sultry images of scantily clad dancers. Around the table were some faces our heroes recognized, Orn the head of security and the local police force and Traz, the master shipwright and head of the starport. Some of the faces the party had seen around the settlement, but some the party had never met at all before.

The Tarisian thanks the members of the Executive Committee for convening on such short notice for this emergency session.

The Tarisian thanked everyone for coming, and explained that he had called for the meeting due to the fact that the constant raids and recent thelf of the settlement’s ore required new ideas and new plans for defending Ecumenopolis. He introduced the party to the gathered group, and then in turn introduced them to Bukah Hozard, the Duros spacer and head of the Danto-Xpress, the Tarisian’s private merchant fleet in charge of all the goods coming in and out of the settlement. Next was Cade Starbreaker, the head of the local Rabid Rancors, the settlement’s very own swoop gang and private army for hire. Following Cade was Granzawaroo, the Wookie Chieftan of the nearby Wookie settlement. After the large Wookie Chieftain was Rarmn Marnogryph, the Snivian holo-theatre owner and head of the local merchants assembly. Next was Morux, the burly four armed Besalisk owner of the settlement’s factory and assembly plant. Following Morux was Krassk and Tal-Got, the Trandoshan speeder and swoop dealers the party already knew, Miss M’Row, the Tarisian’s secretary and lastly the mysterious IG-24-C, the Lancer Droid turned arms and armour dealer on the settlement.

With all the parties introduced the Tarisian broke down what the party had learned thus far, that freighters stolen from the Danto-Xpress were used to transport the stolen ore to the planet of Ordisan, a mysterious world on the northern edge of Mandalorian space, and the stolen frighters being the Karfuhr’s Fury, the Baron Ni, White Planet, the Jonalla, the Nerf Herder and of course the Big Berta. Aiden, though being a Mandalorian knew little of the planet itself, except that the region of space Ordisan was in had been contested by several of the Mandalorian’s neighbours in the years prior to the Clone Wars, but that as far as he knew there was no presence in that sector of Mandalorian space.

With the tracking beacon Nyla had placed on Big Berta confirming the stolen ships were on Ordisan, the committee agreed to send the player party out to Ordisan on a scouting mission with the help of the captains who’s ships were stolen. In addition Chieftain Granzawaroo, volunteered to go himself, along with his best warriors to aid in the party’s scouting.

Moving along to the business of the settlement, Aiden presented his plans for improving the settlement’s defenses, which included everything from turning large speeder trucks into mobile anti-ship turbo-laser batteries to using the crashed pirate freighter’s shields to defend key points in Ecumenopolis. Although Cade volunteered the use of the Rabid Rancors in manning the mobile turbo-laser batteries, Aiden advised the Tarisian that a volunteer army of sorts should be created to handle and deal with defence. Before Aiden could finish speaking Rarmn, the Snivian merchant stood up and expressed the frustration shared by Ecumenopolis’s merchants, that without the ore from the mine’s being sold, the miners would have no money. If the miners had no money to spend, then the miners couldn’t make purchases. If the miners can’t make purchases then the entire settlement would be nothing more than a refugee colony. The Tarisian told Rarmn he understood their concern, and that the party would see that the ore was returned and that Aiden’s new defensive plans would prevent a large scale theft of the ore from ever happening again.

The Ones Left Behind

After the meeting was dismissed the party returned to their bunks to prepare for their voyage, with Akira saying good-bye to Dyneh and Nyla going to say good-bye to Umdat. Though Umdat was sorry to see Nyla go, he explained to her that he was happy that he’d talked to the teacher of the local schoolhouse who told him he could start attending school that week so long as she had the permission of Umdat’s parent. Nyla, understood that as Umdat was an orphan, she would need to speak with the teacher herself as she was the closest think Umdat had to a parent. The teacher, a young green skinned Twi’lek named Kwyn was very understanding of Umdat’s situation, and after talking to Nyla for only a few minutes said that Umdat could start right away. Umdat was extatic to hear the news, and Nyla was happy to see that Umdat may finally be adjusting to a new life far away from the streets of Quantill City.

Nyla was about to leave the schoolhouse with Umdat when she spotted a picture hanging on a wall of a woman with the schoolchildren who looked just like Orn, but with a smiley and happy persona. Nyla asked if it was Orn, to which Kwyn explained it was Orn’s younger sister, who had come to Ecumenopolis with Orn and Gard but had been killed in a pirate raid two months prior. Kwyn explained that the loss had been especially painful for Orn as her and her sister had been close, and that she surely must be even sadder now with Gard’s murder just the day before. Nyla told herself that she should try to talk to Orn about her recent losses to see if she could help in any way at all.

Where Spacers Dare

Once the Renegade was fully loaded with supplies for the crew and it’s guests it set off for Ordian at high nooon (12:30 hours on Dantooine time). After Bukah Hozard introduced the party to their guests, two human captains, a Mon Calamari captain and Chieftan Granzawaroo along with his two finest Wookie warriors, the Duros spacer explained to everyone that it would be a day and a half’s journey to the edge of Mandalorian Space and that currently Nyla’s tracking beacon was still holding strong in signal. With that in mind Akira took the Renegade into hyperspace, destined for Mandalorian Space.

The next day and a half were cramped on the Renegade to say the least, as the enforcement ship seldom saw 11 crew and passengers, let alone three tall Wookies. Dinner for the first night was a pleasant surprise, one of Granzawaroo’s Wookie warriors programmed the ships auto-chef to prepare a delicious Brith stew that was loved by all. After dinner when Aiden and Akira were both on the Renegade’s bridge, Bukah brought up Mirna, a very petite and young looking woman who was one of two human captains to meet Aiden and Akira and tell them what she knew of Ordisan. Mirna explained that her father had been a smuggler who moved illegal spice throughout this region of space years ago and had told her stories of Ordisan. She explained further that it was a terrestrian world, though mostly desert and was also deserted with the exception of a few pirate and smuggler camps which evidently the Mandalorian Protectors had no knowledge of what so ever. Aiden thanked her and Bukah for the intel, but asked them to leave the bridge as the already small bridge was even smaller when four tried to squeeze into it.

Just before the party and their guests turned in for the night, Beesix reported to Akira that he was detecting a strange radio signal in their hyperspace corridor. Akira knew this should be impossible, as ships cannot receive hyperspace transmissions while in hyperspace themselves. After further analysis Beesix determined the signal itself seemed to be emanating from hyperspace, and thus it’s origin could not be pin-pointed. Akira found this mysterious signal troubling, but as it posed no danger to the Renegade, he simply recorded what he and Beesix learned and turned in for the night.

The following morning the crew and guests awoke only three hours out of Ordisan’s orbit. Dowan, the other of the two human ship captains had woken up early and had used the Renegade’s computer to plot their approach to Ordisan using what little information they already had. Aiden was highly offended at this, that a fellow captain would use another captain’s computer without his permission first. Aiden vowed to increase the Renegade’s onboard computer security in the future.

Arriving out of hyperspace the Renegade slipped into the orbit of a mostly white sand covered world, with unusually reflective, clear and colourful oceans their sensors insisted was normal water. Homing in on Nyla’s beacon, Akira was able to detect where Big Berta was, along with the other stolen ships as well as a terrifying Hardcell Class Interstellar Transport, a vessel used by the CIS during the Clone Wars. Sensing that the stolen ships and the Hardcell were located at the edge of a long elevated and smooth peninsula overlooking the ocean, Akira put the Renegade down three kilometers away in a more rocky area by the waters edge.

The Infinite Bounty

Immediately after landing in the rocky outcropping the party and their guests began packing up gear, water and weapons for a close range scouting mission when Beesix suddenly alerted the party to a large creature approaching from the water. The creature appeared to be nothing more than a herbivorous aquatic reptile, but a large one at that which was nearly the size of the Renegade.

After realizing the gentile beast posed no danger to the party, Nyla suggested that she use her Jedi affect mind trick to manipulate the creature into heading towards the pirate ships while providing them with cover, all without their guests knowing of course. Nyla’s affect mind was successful, and the beast lead the party the waters edge, a wide channel of water which soon to the sloped edge of the massive plateau leaving the droids and a single Wookie warrior behind to guard the Renegade. Above the sloped edge stood the Hardcell-class capital ship and the freighters stolen from Ecumenopolis. Though the party had waited until nightfall to venture out to the pirate base, four bright full moons in the sky negated almost all the advantage of the cover of dark. Though while following the beast by the waters edge Nyla could see the most wondrous sights under the surface of the shallow water. Whole forests, exploding colours of coral and planetlife, tall waving grass swaying back and forth with the shifting currents, all visible through water so clear it was nearly transparent. Nyla remarked to Akira that she could also sense a great deal of life from the sea, and Akira whom was equally impressed took several samples of the soil, flora and water in case they might prove valuable.

Nyla uses her Affect Mind Force power on the large aquatic beast.

After silently scaling the sloped edge, the party bore witness to a fantastic sight, dozens upon dozens of tents with hundreds of individuals, Klatooinians, B1-Battld Droids, mixed races of Rodians, Nikto and Humans alike were hurrying about moving large crates by hand and by speeder-truck. In the center of the arrangement of tents stood the massive 220 meter high Hardcell-Class warship, and scattered around the arrangement of the tents were the stolen freighters, the Karfuhr’s Fury, the Baron Ni, White Planet, the Jonalla, the Nerf Herderand of course the Big Berta. The party also soon realized that the activity in the pirate camp seemed to be directed around the Hardcell, with people moving goods and personnel onto it and seemingly abandoning the tents behind.

Realizing the the pirates were likely to take off in the Hardcell (a ship designed for quick and fast lift off) and destroy the camp and stolen ships afterwards, and that on top of that the stolen ore was likely on board the Hardcell now itself with the pirates wanting to make a quick get away, the party and their guests began earnestly concocting plans to get their ships back and fast. Aiden suggested charging in with blasters blazing and steal the ships before the pirates could react. Akira suggested somehow triggering an eruption in a massive volcano from across the channel they followed to the peninsula. Nyla wondered about using the Force to affect and confuse as many pirates as she could to help, while Kalko suggested they simply wait for the Hardcell to leave and take the ships afterwards.

The party debates several different options to retrieve their stolen frieghters.

Eventually the party settled on a combination of Kalko and Aiden’s plans, a plan where they would split up, board the abandoned stolen ships, and take off just as the Hardcell launches for orbit so that it would be unable to truly pursue them as her design does not allow for great maneuverability when lifting off. Not a moment after the plan was decided upon steam began venting from the Hardcell’s engines, and Aiden knew that meant it was readying for take off. Immediately the party split up and all tried to sneak aboard the stolen ships with the ships captains taking to their ships respectively. Kalko was spotted by a pirate, but the pirate ignored Kalko as he pretended to be angry and in a hurry and thought him to be one of them. A similar sighting happened with Akira, only to have the spotting pirate also mistake Akira for one of them, yelling him to get on board the Hardcell fast. Tragically the Mon Calamari captain, Jesmin was shot by a Nikto when she attempted to board her ship, but her shooter was killed by Chieftain Granzawaroo, thus preventing word from spreading to other pirates that their camp had been infiltrated.

Falling Giants

With the party and their guests safety and secretly aboard their now the ships abandoned by the pirates, they quietly prepared for take off themselves as the Hardcell’s engines roared to life.

Within seconds colums of pure flame spewed from the Hardcell’s engines and the massive vessel was propelled up into the moonlit sky. Moments later it’s many laser-canon batteries opened fire on the stolen ships below, but to the Hardcell’s surprise the party sprung into action, with all their ships coming to life at just the right moment and evading the blasts from above.

Using knowledge of the Hardcell-Class from the Clone Wars, Aiden directed the party and their guests to fire at the ships vulnerable engines and fuel cells, with Akira and Kalko scoring direct hits that caused massive explosions around the vessels burning engines. Only moments later the Hardcell, once traveling straight up into the atmosphere now lurched heavily at an angle, shaking violently as shards of hull began peeling off from the inconstant g-force. Many escape pods shot out in earnest, but soon later the massive vessel was sheered in two by the force of it’s awkward ascent. It’s lower engine half spun wildly into the sky, while the upper nose half plummeted down towards the ocean.

Nyla reached out in the Force desperately to stop the falling top half of the Hardcell, but could not draw enough strength soon enough as the ship spashed down into the shallow ocean, sinking and coming to rest on the bottom only a dozen meters below the waters surface.

Realizing that none still on-board could have survived such a violent impact, the crew and their guests in their respective 6 freighters, focused their attention on the escape pods crashing to the ground nearby on the very same peninsula the pirates had only minutes before taken off from.

In the Name of Outlander

Moments after the escape pods landed several pirates tried to make a run for their former encampment, only to be intimidated by Aiden into stopping and staying where they were over his ships loudspeaker and the threat of their shipboard weapons.

With the pirate captives gathered into one group surrounded by the now landed and newly reclaimed freighters, Aiden once again spoke over the loud speaker, this time ordering all the battle droids to de-activate, and all weapons and communicators to be shut off and thrown on the ground. After a great deal of rumbling from the 50 or so captives, Aiden’s orders were obeyed. Aiden asked for a representative to be picked so that he could “discuss” what the pirates interest with Dantooine and stolen ore was. A tall Neimodian volunteered, and was brought onboard the Karfuhr’s Fury to be interrogated. Immediately the Neimodian annoyed Aiden with his arrogance and contempt for Aiden and the others. Though Aiden found it strange that a Neimodian wasn’t begging for his life and offering to sell out everyone he knew to save his own skin as they often did. This Neimodian on the other hand refused to even give his own name, and was quite smug and even refused to answer questions under the threat of violence.

Meanwhile, outside several battle droids attempted to flee the group of captives on foot. However Akira was able to shoot them all in the backs as they fled, thus ending their escape attempt. Strangely, one of the fleeing droids he hit had a polished chrome surface rather than the beige of most B1-Battle Droids, and this one though only sustaining light damage exploded seconds after falling. Akira attributed this to a self-destruct feature, but wondered why a simple battle droid would feel the need to self destruct in order to avoid capture. Stranger yet, both Akira and Nyla sensed a feint dissipating Force presence shortly there after, though they could not place it’s source. When examining the droids remains, Akira sensed Nyla’s discomfort at the strange lingering Force presense. Akira asked Nyla why she seemed cold when the droids remains were burning not. Nyla did not answer, though found herself wondering again if Akira was Force sensitive if he could sense the “cold” Force presense.

Akira demanded to know from the group of prisoners what information the self-destructing droid had. At first none spoke, but after several minutes one Klatooinian spoke up, shouting that the droid was part of Outlander, that this was all a part of Outlander and that Outlander was not worth him dying for. Yet before the man could finish talking, another Klatooinian attacked him from behind, slitting his throat and killing him almost instantly so as he could not speak any more.

Akira approached the murderous Klatooinian, and demanded to know why he’d just killed his fellow prisoner. The answer was simply that death was a better fate for anyone speaking of Outlander. Akira delivered word of these developments to Aiden, who after cuffing the Neimodian now demanded to know what exactly Outlander was. The Neimodian was indignant to Aiden, calling him an irrelevant simpleton lost in matters far beyond his understanding. Frustrated by a lack of information, Aiden invited Kalko to help in the interrogation.

Kalko, after arriving repeated Aiden’s questions, and was only insulted by the Neimodian. Kalko became violent, striking the Neimodian and demanding an answer, again though the Neimodian mocked Kalko. Kalko beat the Neimodian even further, and finally cut off his thumbs to make him speak, yet through clenched teeth the Neimodian simply wondered aloud if Kalko could ever hope to know who he was messing with. The Neimodian then big down on a poison tooth, spilling cyanide into his body. Nyla rushed to the scene, and only in the nick of time was able to save the Neimodian’s life, though leaving him comatose from the cyanide.

This development confused and concered the party, as they still had no idea what Outlander was or why some were willing to die and kill to protect it. Akira asked the group of prisoners outside what Outlander was, and told them that the Neimodian had just tried to kill himself, hoping that without a leader to fear the pirate prisoners would finally talk. Instead Nyla and Akira sensed great fear, guilt, and self-hatred in most of the pirate prisoners, including the one who had just killed the Klatooinian who spoke.

Dozens of the prisoners then pulled daggers from their belts, and committed suicide in front of a party that was helpless to stop. With most of their prisoners now dead by their own hand Akira and Nyla began begging them to stop, telling them they could protect them. Those who hadn’t taken their lives begged to know how they could possibly be protected, to which Aiden offered them a new life as Mandalorians. Aiden explained that Mandalorian society always welcomes in scum and villainy, so long as they renounce their devious ways and pledge their lives to the Mandalorian way of growth through conflict.

The remaining dozen or so pirates who still had not taken their own lives accepted Aiden’s offer, and told what little they knew of Outlander. It was as they explained it a secretive project known only in great detail by the Neimodian and their pirate captain Gurk, though Gurk neglected to share most of what he knew with them, and they themselves didn’t even know where the Hardcell-Class ship was heading when they were shot out of the sky. They also explained that the Neimodian had hired Gurk and his band of pirates, and that most of his band had grown distrustful of the nameless Neimodian.

The party was again frustrated that they didn’t know anything more about Outlander, other than it was deemed too important for the Neimodian to share with any of his employees other than Gurk, who was still in a coma back on Dantooine. Still Aiden thanked them for their information, and vowed to uphold his end of the bargin.

Into the Shadows

Soon after the prisoners were put onboard the freighters, and the party rejoined the Renegade and set out to sea to the wreckage of the Hardcell-Class freighter in the hopes of finding where it was headed from it’s navig-computer.

Upon arriving at the sight of the wreck the party was able to clearly see the top half of the ship and where it rested on it’s side below the surface. Nyla donned her aquata-breather and joined Aiden in his air-tight armour and dove into the water, swimming down to the wreck.

Once again drawing on his knowledge of the class, Aiden was able to locate the nearest airlock to the ships bridge, though upon closer inspection much of the ship already seemed to be covered with a type of leafy coral. Once inside Nyla and Aiden found the interior severely damaged from the crash, but still holding. After making their way to the bridge they found many dead pirates who died in the violent crash, but the ships computers seemed to still be functioning for the moment.

Aiden attempted to log into the ships navig-computer, but was rejected at first. Using some slicing skills Aiden learned in the Clone Wars, he was able to get access a second time and began downloading the navig-computer’s data to his own datapad. However the download was irregular, and when Aiden mentioned the irregular download to Akira via comlink, Akira theorized that Aiden’s datapad was being fed a dangerous viral program of sorts as a result of the computer being hostile to Aiden’s attempts to gain access. Immediately following the download Aiden shut off the datapad and removed it’s batteries. Aiden assured Akira this would be enough for now until he could get the datapad and it’s data examined, though Akira still feared what the now infected datapad might do. Nyla then warned Aiden they should start moving fast, as the hull of the ship could collapse from the water pressure at any moment.

Nyla and Aiden made their way back to the airlock, but Aiden found the door now would not open. A quick Force push from Nyla was able to force the door open, revealing that the flowery coral had spread and covered the bridge airlock in the half an hour Nyla and Aiden were inside. Both were impressed with this feat, but had other higher priorities at the moment.

Soon after Nyla and Aiden had boarded the Renegade again and had left for Mandalorian Space along with the freighters as per Aiden’s deal with their pirate prisoners. Once in Mandalorian Space they traveled to the Brokar System, to the volcanic moon of Hettir’Motir where Aiden knew Mandalorian Protectors trained new recruits in extremely harsh conditions. The Renegade landed nearby a camp, where a Protector Alor’ad hailed the Renegade and demanded to know why it landed. Aiden explained that he had brought a dozen new volunteers ready to take up the Mandalorian cause and reject their lives of wickedness, which the Alor’ad understood as a standard action, even calling it a “Code e’tad”. Though many of the prisoners resented now being offered no choice but to serve as Mandalorian Protectors, most still thanked Aiden for offering them some protection against the Neimodian and his friends.

Aiden arranges for their pirate captives to start their lives anew with the Mandalorians.

An Old Acquaintance

A day later the Renegade arrived back on Dantooine with the rescued freighters to much fan fare and celebration. The party immediately met with the Tarisian to explain the situation, after which the Tarisian insisted on seeing the Neimodian.

In the Renegade’s brig the Tarisian laid eyes on the comatose prisoner, and Aiden could tell instantly he recognized him. The Tarisian explained the Neimodian was named Frohm Gin’Dahl, and had been an old business partner a long time ago. Akira told the Tarisian what little they knew of something called Outlander, which only made the Tarisian stare blankly and coldly ahead. All the party suspected the Tarisian recognized the name, even if he said nothing of the sort.

Soon after the Tarisian broke his silence, and explained that even if the stolen ore was ready to be salvaged on Ordisan as the party said that the settlement itself was in deep financial strain, and that he was forced to accelerate several projects to generate much needed income. Back in his office the Tarisian produced a jar of clear fluid, and asked the party what sort of healing agent they imagined was in the jar. Immediately Akira said bacta, though Aiden thought he recognized the substance and mumbled to himself that it surely wasn’t kolto. The Tarisian told both men they were wrong, and that it was in fact Kolto. He further explained that as of late the Empire had monopolized the production of bacta, making it almost impossible for independent producers to break into the market. Instead of bacta, the Tarisian explained Kolto, though much older, slower to produce and less effective still enjoyed a large market of those looking for a much cheaper alternative to bacta.

The Tarisian then asked the party if they had ever been to the planet Manaan…

Comments

Another exciting chapter you guys! I love the web of mysteries that is being woven here. What is Outlander? What is the Tarsian’s connection to it and why won’t he speak up about it? What do these new developments have to do with the other lose plot threads from previous chapters? Good stuff!

Episode X
 

Ah yes… Outlander. Only time will tell what the whole story behind Outlander is. Could it be the beginning to what will ultimately be the revelation of the campaign’s grand meta-plot? Or will it be just one Death Star sized Red Herring?

Bwa ha ha ha!! Time will tell friends, time will tell.

Episode X
 

I agree with Arsheesh on this one. So many mysteries I’ve lost count! It’s going to be very interesting to see how some of this comes together. :)

Episode X
Dyluth

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