Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

Episode XVIII

The Crimson Specters

The Crawl

s the player party heroically made their way to the bridge of the ancient Asteroid Ship, they encountered a true evil force as old as time itself, the Navigator. Yet having stood their ground against his mind warping powers, the party not only triumphed against this fiend, but manged to escaped the falling ship with untold riches in their clutches.

Now as their new Wookie companions have pledged life debts to both Aidan and Kalko, the party must decide how best to deal with the now captured Imperial Dreadnaught. Though many paths lay open to the player party in the depths of the Unknown Regions, all agree that none wish to wait for the arrival of the mysterious and sinister Governor Tarkin, an individual sure to be livid upon discovering the destruction of the ancient Asteroid Ship…

At Fury’s Command

Following their time in the medbay’s bacta tanks, Aidan and Kalko joined their friends Nyla and Akira in Captain Granger’s ready room while the twins Eldewn and Elsae and the Wookies Baccitcuk and Quaggo familiarized themselves with the Ellison’s Fury and her systems.

The discussion though intense was brief, though all agreed that there was a danger that the remaining Stormtroopers aboard Big Berta could suddenly turn hostile, they knew that they couldn’t simply ignore them and the sixty plus refugees onboard the crippled and drifting starship. They would have to return to Big Berta and take their chances with the Stormtroopers.

Within the hour the party took the Fury to the other side of the remains of Bodir, pausing for a moment to take one final long look at the massive crater in the scarred planets surface that stood as all that remained from the ancient Asteroid Ship.

After arriving along side the crippled Big Berta and extending one of the Fury’s remaining docking collars, the Stormtroopers Kick, Mac, Titan and Darius immediatly boarded the Ellison’s Fury and demanded to know what had happened to Captain Flak. Though Aiden had a great many reservations about sharing what the party had learned, he knew that lying here would get them nowhere. Aiden told the entire story to the troopers leaving no detailed forgotten, the ten kilometer wide ship, the short race of humanoids who once crewed it 100,000 years ago, and the inconveivably long living so called“Navigator” who enslaved the Imperial crew of the Ellison’s Fury and eventually killed them all, including Captain Flak and the ships Captain Granger.

The troopers were overwhelmed by the fantastic story that Aiden told, and were hesitant to believe it, but accepted that it was the only explanation they had and that it was highly unlikely the party themselves had somehow taken the entire Dreadnaught over themselves. Mac and Kick then insisted that they be given full control of the Fury immediatly so that they could return to Muunilist for debriefing. Darius reminded the troopers that as he was their Seargent he was the only one who could order the party around, and asked for a moment to consult with Nyla first before making his decision.

It was when Darius went to speak with Nyla in private that he confessed that he personally wanted her nowhere near Muunilist, as being in Imperial stronghold and home to millions of Imperial personnel her and her friends were sure to get caught, something he would never want to happen. Nyla thanked Darius for still being such a good friend to her after more than a year, and thanked him again for saving her life at that crucial moment so long ago when he all Clone Troopers had been ordered to strike down any and all Jedi in their midst at the end of the Clone Wars. Nyla suggested that before Darius issues any orders to the troopers that they both consult with her friends about what to do next.

Meanwhile Akira, Aiden and Kalko along with the twins and the Wookies were helping to bring the refugees from Bodir on board the Fury. When Aiden found Bukah Hozard amongst the refugees he explained to their friend what they had learned about the strange and mysterious Governor Wilhuff Tarkin, and how at this moment he had an expedition heading to this sector to search for the Asteroid Ship and was likely to be very angry upon finding it was gone. They all explained to Bukah that they could leave no remains behind that could lead this Tarkin to Dantooine. Bukah agreed, knowing that the Big Berta could not be towed anywhere nearby for repairs, meaning it had to be destroyed before it was found by the Empire.

Nyla then brought Darius over to meet Akira, Kalko and Aiden, and explained to them that it was he could more than a year ago saved her life when the Jedi Order was decimated, and that they could trust him. Darius explained that they would be likely found out eventually if they traveled to Muunilist next, which the party agreed with. Akira then suggested that the Stormtroopers need not have to take command of the Ellison’s Fury at all, not if the troopers believed the party to in fact be Imperials themselves.

Akira explained that there were surely extra Imperial uniforms on board, and that if they could modify existing uniforms so that they would fit the party then the party themselves could masquerade as Imperials. Darius agreed, and suggested that they use the onboard uniforms of the Imperial Security Bureau, a secretive organization outside of the Imperial military that most troopers feared and obeyed without hesitation.

Darius then warned the party that his fellow troopers knew about the operation on Dantooine, as the refugees they had been trapped with on Big Berta for weeks had told them all about it, including the settlement, The Tarisian and even the trouble with pirates which did peek the troopers interest. Aiden recalled that Jedi could manipulate the weak minded into “forgetting certain facts” and had seen his own Jedi General do it many times. Akira and Nyla weren’t completely comfortable with this idea, but agreed it had to be done to protect the settlement on Dantooine from Imperial eyes. Lastly Aiden said that the party should head to the planet Laponth on the galactic north’s edges of the Outer Rim Territories, as it was only one day further away from Muunilist, it had a fraction of the Imperial forces that Muunilist had but was still considered an Imperial world that the troopers would not find suspicious if they were ordered too for debriefing.

Kalko asked if Darius thought that Captain Thrawn and his task force would have any chance of finding them, as the Ellison’s Fury was originally a part of that task force. Darius said it was unlikely though, as the nature of their mission was that of long range exploration with few ships stretched over several sectors of the Unknown Region.

The party then agreed that the rest of the details could be straightened out over the next fifteen days as they traveled to Laponth. Once all the refugees were confirmed on board the Ellison’s Fury and all removable hardware taken off the Big Berta, the Fury’s docking collar disengaged. Akira put two kilometers between the Fury and the Big Berta before preparing to fire on the ship before Bukah raised his hand in objection, asking that it be he who fired the shot that destroyed his beloved vessel. Akira agreed, and Bukah calmly took to the ships firring controls launching two volleys in quick succession from their Quad laser cannons at Big Berta’s midsection, splitting the ship into two burning halfs that drifted down burning into Bodir’s atmosphere.

Without another word said Akira set the hyperspace coordinates for Laponth, and took the Ellison’s Fury to hyperspace, leaving behind the tragedy that was the ruined planet of Bodir.

A Ship Their Own

Darius wasted no time in telling the three surviving troopers under his command that the party were in fact agents of the Imperial Security Bureau, but that he himself knew no more as their mission was classified. Though the men were suspicious, their fear of the ISB from the stories they had heard kept them from questioning their sergeant.

As the party now had a two week journey ahead of them, they began exploring the Ellison’s Fury at great length to truly understand the scope of the warship they had seemingly inherited from the Galactic Empire. First and foremost the party established their ISB persona’s, and with the help of Beesix the party was able to successfully recreate ISB uniforms using some of the spare officer uniforms found on board. Aidan chose the rank of Captain, Nyla a Lieutenant, Akira a Commander and Kalko a private security specialist employed for this mission. The Wookies would be hired hands of Kalko’s, and the twins were to be Compnor cadets on loan from the Sub-Adult Group. With the proper Imperial codes Akira was able to forge the necessary data files to help convince the Stormtroopers.

First the party traveled to Captain Granger’s quarters, which proved to be quite well furnished for a warship. The interior was decorted with exquisite Alderaanian Kriin-wood, paintings of various historical naval leaders and explorers dotted the walls, and soon the party was approached by a magnificent chrome plated 3PO-series protocol droid. The droid identified itself as AC-3POR, Captain Granger’s personal butler droid. The droid asked if they knew where Captain Granger was, to which Aidan explained that he was dead and that he and his fellow ISB officers were now in command of the vessel. AC welcomed them, and gave them a tour of the quarters, and informed them on where the captains personal safe was located.

After Akira managed to slice into the safe they found a long series of logs which they viewed detailing the captains feelings about the need to explore the Unknown Regions and how best to handle the discovery of planets and systems hostile to Imperial intentions. Most interestingly they came across a log where the captain discussed his enthusiasm for the new experimental “shielding grenades”, and hoped that they could make unesessary the large, expensive and power draining personal shielding devices as well all their adverse health risks. The party was extremely interested to learn more about these shielding grenades, and vowed to find them to learn more.

After studying the logs the party relaxed with a glass of Corellian Lord Whiskey, an expensive Core World brand of whiskey whose bottles alone are worth more than what most working sentients earn in a year.

AC asked the party after their drinks if they were would enjoy a fresh Nefr steak for dinner, to which Akira joked that they surely couldn’t be fresh unless there was a Nerf herd on board. AC then gave the party a tour of their onboard Nerf herd below deck, explaining that the Nerf were an excellent source of fresh milk, and could easily be managed to provide nourishment for crew. AC further explained that in an emergency the entire herd could provide temporary food relief as operating deep in the Unknown Regions meant that they would always be weeks if not months away from a port to resupply at.

AC also explained that the ships’s supply of fresh water was constantly refreshed by it’s three onboard Dianoga which fed off the ships waste water, excreting clean re-drinkable water afterwards for the crews consumption.

Elsewhere on the ship the party discovered that although the crew while under the control of The Navigator had taken most of the ships movable vehicles to the massive Asteroid Ship to be melted in it’s massive forges, several vehicles remained. These included two [Alpha-3 Nimbus-Class V-Wing Starfighters] in different states of repair, one partially disasembled BTL Y-Wing Starfighter and an also partially disasembled starfighter labeled as a X-Wing Prototype, a class of fighter none in the party had ever heard of. Other vehicles they found were fifteen BARC Speeder Bikes in addition to the ones they had used to navigate the Asteroid Ship, two LAAT’s, a TX-130 Saber-Class Fighter Tank and several AT-RT and AT-PT walkers. When combined with the tens of thousands of blaster weapons, explosives, thousands of uniforms of every conceivable officer and trooper five year food supply for eight thousand crew members and the nearly fifteen hundred still functioning droids of all shapes and sizes, the party began to truly realize the scale of their new acquisition.

Deep in the bowls of the Dreadnaught the party was lead to a massive orange vault who’s lock was isolated from the ships computers. Kalko and Akira were both able to slice into the vault using the codes they had acquired from Captain Granger’s quarters, and after the massive orange vault door opened the party beheld the most impressive find yet. In total more than five million credits in reserve currency was stashed here in the vault for emergency use, but most importantly there was a computer core that contained details of the Ellison’s Fury’s squadron, known as Blackeye Squadron and their orders and mission in the Unknown Regions relayed by the mysterious Captain Thrawn. In addition to those mission details the party found a list of non-Imperial ports and havens that were approved none the less on the borders of the Unknown Regions for emergency re-supply if needed.

The Quandary of Ill Gotten Gains

Over the next two weeks the player party debated endlessly what to do with the Ellison’s Fury upon their arrival at Laponth while doing the best they could to keep the vessel in repair and making sure the Stormtroopers on board did not get suspicious.

Aidan was determined to keep the vessel, insisting that it could be a base of operations that could easily dominate any conflict with non-Imperial vessels, and even many that included them. Akira however was convinced the vessel was more trouble than it was worth, noting how many major systems had already broken down while en route to Laponth with no way for them to fix it. Still the party agreed not to abandon the vessel just yet, as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that they couldn’t through away so easily.

The remainder of the voyage was uneventful as the party prepared to act the part of ISB officers on the Imperial allied world of Laponth.

An Empire Within

The party arrived in orbit of Laponth on schedule, and after receiving clearance to land from a massive planetary defence warship named the [[L.S.N. Marauder]] which was in essence an old Trade Federation Lucrehulk-Class Battleship painted bright red they landed in the planet’s capital of Xenix.

On Xenix the player party ordered the Stormtroopers to travel to the Imperial consulate for debriefing, only after Akira used the Jedi mindtrick to ensure the troopers, save for Darius had forgotten everything they’d heard of the settlement on Dantooine and the Tarisian. Darius quietly slipped Nyla a datapad instructing her on how she could communicate with him through discreet back channels, but warned her to wait at least a month before trying to do so just to be safe.

Nyla told Darius that she hoped he would leave the Empire one day, to which Darius replied he hoped he could too. They huged and then departed, though Darius was still front and center on Nyla’s mind.

The capital city of Xenix was a very modern planetary capital with mostly recently built buildings and high rises. Throughout the city statues of heroes of the planet’s pro-labour history towered above the mostly human and insectoid race population flying by on their air and landspeeders. Akira and Nyla each were able to secure the parts for the construction of their lightsabers while making sure their apprentices understood how to discretely purchase the needed parts separately as to not raise suspicions.

Aidan and Kalko along with the Wookies went to procure goods of their own, starships in their case. Kalko had been long interested in finding a ship of his own to take some of the pressure of the ever increasingly crowded Renegade. To his luck he found a dealer who had an only slightly used Ghtroc Industries Class 720 Freighter for only one hundred thousand credits, and Aidan found a slightly more heavily used but well maintained old Trade Federation Sheathipede-Class Transport Shuttle for only fourty-thousand credits. Both Aidan and Kalko slipped the starship dealer an extra ten thousand credits to doctor the documents, registrations and transponder codes for their new ships. Afterwards they surprised Bukah with a brand new GR-75 transport to replace Big Berta which had been lost back on Bodir.

The party departed Bodir that very same day to avoid raising too much suspicion from the local Imperial authorities, and considered themselves lucky that given how badly things went on Bodir things had gone much better on Laponth.

The Hearts of the Jedi

While en route back to Dantooine Akira and Nyla both undertook one of the most important steps a Force user could take in their path to Jedi Knighthood, the construction of their own lightsabers. Using the components they purchased on Laponth, combined with the unique crystals they had found in the treasure room of the Asteroid Ship, they began their process with great care and attention to detail.

Nyla used two crystals she found to create a dual-phased lightsaber, a lightsaber with two crystals that offered different advantages which she could switch between with ease depending on the situation she found herself in. One of the two crystals, an indigo coloured one Nyla discovered allowed her to better focus her Force powers for healing purposes when energized and activated, a remarkable non-combat related ability of the crystal that astonished Nyla greatly.

Akira chose to fashion himself a double bladed lightsaber, one using a white crystal that he sensed could increase the shock felt by an opponent when struck, and an orange crystal he sensed could replicate the properties of fire when ignited, thus dealing damage as fire would.

Both completed their blades, Nyla on the first day and Akira on the second, both together taking another step towards their long fought goals.

The Heroes Welcomed Home

Three days after the party departed Laponth they arrived back on Dantooine, giving the Ecumenopolis traffic control quite a scare when an Imperial warship appeared suddenly in orbit. Aidan quickly calmed the controllers fears telling them it was only them, and that the Dreadnaught was now their property.

The refugees from the Bodir settlement transfered to the GR-75, now named Bigger Berta and landed at the Ecumenopolis starport, while the rest of the party took Aidan’s new shuttle which the Imperial maintenance droids had painted Imperial grey as per his orders. The Wookie and mixed alien and human population of the settlement rejoiced together as their friends and families had come home, though many more mourned the loss of their loved ones who perished in the disaster at Bodir. The scene of their arrival was one of emotional extremes to be sure, but all thanked the player party for doing what they could to save their friends and loved ones.

Without hesitation however Aidan and Kalko went to speak with the Tarisian, while Nyla and Akira stayed behind with the twins to help them with an important Force exercise.

The exercise in question was the First Cadence of famed Jedi Master Vo’ren Faalo. The exercise consisted of placing nineteen candles at exactly ten degrees apart using the Force, and then placing a ball bearing atop each candle, again with the Force. Each twin was required to strike at each ball bearing, destroying it, while not burning the candle underneath. Both twins were successful in doing this in less than an hour each, an impressive feat for students as new to formal training as they were.

After the twins left to discuss their success, Nyla and Akira both acknowledged to each other that they themselves had never attempted this cadence. Both then promptly attempted and succeeded themselves, but promised each other to only instruct the twins in the future on tests that they themselves had mastered.

Aidan and Kalko meanwhile made their way to see the Tarisian in his offices at the Upper City Gem. Miss M’Row, who profesionally hid her delight at seeing Kalko again escorted them once inside the building to the Tarisian’s office, where she asked them to wait until he was finished with a meeting. Moments later an individual, a Rodian in full helmet and body armour left the office, nodding politely to Aidan and Kalko as he passed as the Tarisian asked them both to enter.

The Tarisian apologized for not being able to see them right away, explaining that the Rodian they had just passed was a mercenary of some sorts named Parias and had tried to convince the Tarisian of a grave threat, though the Tarisian was unconcerned and was more interested in learning what happened on Bodir.

Aidan and Kalko left no detail out for the Tarisian as they repeated the tail of the tragedy of Bodir, begining with the runinging of the planet’s surface, the few survivors, the massive spectacle of the Asteroid Ship, the abandoned Imperial Dreadnaught, it’s zombified crew and lastly, the horrors of the Navigator and it’s evil hand in all the events.

The Tarisian was left ahgast at the tale, but was calm and cold in his composure as ever. He thanked Aidan and Kalko for their help, and told them that he would need their services now more than ever going further if he was to recoup the losses from Bodir. He told them he was ready to present to the party the investment options that were available for investment, as per the party’s offer more than a month ago when they agreed to work with the Tarisian as business partners in his enterprise.

Before getting down to business Kalko asked the Tarisian what was the threat the Rodian mercenary Parias was trying to warn him about. The Tarisian said it was a bizzare sentient that seemed more like a morbid fairy tale than anything else, a creature known as the Corpse Droid.

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Dyluth

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