Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Star Wars - part 4: "Flight Test"

Episode 49: "Flight Test"

The information the team from the Sky River Venture had acquired from Melly Lemgoo covered Imperial shipping and naval movements for the next quarter. The accuracy of the information wouldn't last long, so the group decided to make several copies of it to get it to various audiences. They arranged to give one copy to the Rebel Alliance, which notified them that a courier would be sent to pick up the data card containing the intel. They planned to sell other copies of parts of the information to pirates and smugglers, to increase the amount of damage done to the Imperial forces while at the same time keeping attention away from the Alliance.

To get the information to their second audience, the team decided to visit their old friend Dexter Vex at Point Nadir on comet Resh. But as they set off for that destination, Neri received a coded message from Luke Skywalker: he had found former Jedi Kanan Jarrus on Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi'lek people. Luke's message also told Neri to come alone. Neri discussed this with her friends and was convinced by them that she should take her padawan Taanar with her. Taanar promised that if her master told her to stay on the ship, she would do so. Neri and Taanar departed for Ryloth aboard the Mithrim Montes, while the rest of the group took the Sky River Venture to Resh.

After Lowarra, ADX, and Dash arrived at Point Nadir, they were welcomed by Dex, who was delighted by the opportunity to get his hands on Melly Lemgoo's data. It turned out that he had actually been at the Wheel for the auction representing someone else, though he wouldn't say who. Inspired by a comment Taanar had made, Dash asked if Dex could get the intelligence to some people who would be willing to distribute their ill-gotten gains to planets or people being oppressed by the Empire. But Dex expressed doubt that he would be able to find any buyers with such altruistic motives.

When the discussion was over, Lowarra and Dash decided to go out for some Frangkth on a Stick, as Point Nadir didn't boast a Biscuit Baron franchise. When they returned to the docking bay where they had left the Sky River Venture, Lowarra and ADX noticed a Human and a Rodian lurking around the entrance, seemingly trying to stay out of sight. They approached the pair, and found that these were the couriers sent by the Alliance to pick up the data copy. The Human male's name was Glin Lokin, and his Rodian companion was Rydu. Lokin was disappointed to find that Neri wasn't present; he was excited to meet the group and especially eager to meet a real Jedi. Lokin also remarked that Dash bore a striking resemblance to his wife Jade, who was waiting at their ship, the Zephyr. He then invited the team to meet his wife, and they accepted. After the three companions met Jade Lokin, they agreed that she and Dasha Creel did look very alike. Further discussion with the Alliance couriers led the three Antarian Ranger commanders to encourage Glin, Jade, and Rydu to consider joining the Rangers. Lokin replied that he and his companions would discuss it. (Note: The players of ADX, Dash, and Lowarra had previously been involved in another Star Wars campaign with the same GM. Lowarra's player played Glin Lokin, Dash's player was Jade, and ADX's player ran Rydu.)

The Ranger leaders had also told Dexter Vex that they wanted to purchase some fighters for the Rangers. He told them that they should travel to Junkfort Station, a civil spaceport orbiting the planet Junkfort, to contact someone who might be able to provide what they sought. Once they arrived at the station they found themselves missing Neri's presence, as her ability to persuade others far exceeded any of theirs and they had a little trouble getting through customs. They were to seek someone named Doghrim out at Hangar 88 or the Retired Duduk Cantina.

Meanwhile, the Mithrim Montes arrived on Ryloth without incident and easily cleared customs. But after their arrival, when Neri prepared to contact Luke Skywalker, she realized she had left the code to use to make contact with him back on the New Hope. Feeling embarrassed by her mistake, she used the Force to reach out to him. In return she received the cryptic response, "24." At first she thought this might be a radio frequency. Frequency 24 proved to be playing jizz music on Empire Free Radio, so Neri decided to go out in search of a cantina featuring a jizz band, ordering Taanar to remain aboard the ship and warning her to keep her lightsaber out of sight. As Neri told her padawan, "I don't care what the old Jedi said, your blaster is your friend."

As Neri headed out to look for a cantina fitting her criteria, she realized she was passing by docking bay 24 and decided to look inside. There she spotted Luke's Firespray-31 class ship and his companion droid, ARD-101. ARD-101 informed her that Luke was awaiting her at the Lost Sloppet cantina.

When Neri arrived at the cantina, she was almost immediately accosted by a Devaronian and his Herglic companion, who demanded to know what a Human was doing there. Neri had spotted Luke sitting in a far corner of the cantina, but he was the only Human present other than herself. Neri demanded, "What makes you think I'm Human?" and Force shoved the huge Herglic, disguising the shove as a martial arts maneuver. The Devaronian then drew a blaster. Neri negated the blaster energy, asking, "Do you still think I'm Human?" Then a familiar voice suggested, "You should be somewhere else," and Neri's harrassers both repeated, "We should be somewhere else" and left the cantina.

Luke explained that he had negotiated transport for them to a distant Twi'lek village that had been destroyed by Darth Vader several years earlier. That was where he believed Kanan Jarrus to be hiding. He had hired a Twi'lek guide to take them there. After Neri told him that she had brought Taanar along in the hope that her presence would help to convince Jarrus to join the New Jedi Order, the two of them went back to the Mithrim Montes to fetch her and their gear.

Their transport proved to be a dilapidated speeder, but their guide assured them it was reliable. The journey to the village took three days by speeder. The village was located in a densely forested area, and they had to leave the speeder and make the final portion of their journey on foot. Neri had already begun to sense the Dark Side resonance that Vader's presence had left on the area well before they left the speeder. They began to hear an eerie humming sound, which their guide explained came from charms set out to deter predators. Suddenly, a huge insectoid creature burst out of the forest onto the trail ahead.

At Junkfort Station, Dash, ADX, and Lowarra met with a shady Bith dealer in used spacecraft. The Bith at first tried to sell them some very old ships, until they finally convinced him they were serious about buying some genuine, effective fighters. Then he showed them some Y-wing fighters that appeared to be in good condition. They gave him a 20% deposit on the price of the Y-wings and took three ships out for a test flight.

Shortly after they left the station, they spotted six other ships approaching, including one YT-class vessel. It quickly became apparent that these were ship-jackers out to steal the fighters, as they realized that their communications were being jammed and they had only ship-to-ship contact. Each of the three Rangers took on two of the 'jackers ships in a dogfight. It was a fierce fight, but a quick one, as the Antarian Rangers outmatched their attackers. ADX was even provoked to anger, shouting, "You don't mess with the Antarian Rangers!" into his coms. In short order four of the 'jackers' ships had been destroyed, and the remaining two had fled. The Rangers returned to the station and were able to negotiate a deal to buy a full squadron of Y-wing fighters at a 6% discount.

Before their guide even had time to tell Neri, Luke, and Taanar that the insect-like monster was a lylek, the creature grabbed him with the pair of tentacles on its thorax and ripped him in half. It then emitted a roar so intimidating that Taanar fled in panic. She collided with her master as she ran, but that didn't distract Neri from using the Force to pick up a nearby huge boulder and hurl it at the lylek. Luke drew his lightsaber. The lylek snagged Luke with one tentacle and began to crush him. Neri pulled him free using the Force and drew him to her, and Luke righted himself to land on his feet.

Taanar overcame her terror and raced back to where her master and Luke Skywalker were fighting the lylek. As she arrived, Luke Force slammed the creature, knocking it over, but it immediately leaped back up onto its many legs and moved forward. Neri drew her lightsaber. Taanar mimicked what she had seen her master do and used the Force to hurl a heavy log at it, but its carapace was very tough and it took less harm from the blow than she had hoped. Then Luke Skywalker lunged forward and his lightsaber sliced off the beast’s head.

Taanar stepped up beside her master. “Master, I’m sorry. When it roared, I couldn’t do anything but run,” she said, head hanging low. From behind them a gruff, unfamiliar voice said, “When a lylek charges, you that’s the smart thing to do.” The three Jedi turned to see a bearded Human man standing there. By the scarring around his eyes it was apparent he was blind, but he seemed to have no difficulty identifying where they were. “Are you Kanan Jarrus?” Neri asked. “I’ve been called by that name,” the man replied.

Neri introduced herself, Luke, and Taanar, then explained that they had reformed the Jedi Order and wanted to talk to Jarrus about joining them. “Come to my camp,” he said. As they followed him to the Twi’lek village, observing that he seemed to have no difficulty navigating the forest, Neri asked how he could stand the oppressive aura of Dark Side energy that surrounded the place. “A few hours of meditation a day takes care of it,” Jarrus responded. “I suppose Yoda sent you.” Neri’s expression grew sad. “Master Yoda is dead. I was with him when he passed,” she told him.

Next session scheduled for August 13, 2016

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