(January 21, 2017) Episode 53: "Many Bothans Have Died"
The Venture, Millenium Falcon, and Wamp Rat all rendezvoused with the Rebel fleet, where their crews were taken to a briefing room to meet with Mon Mothma and most of the Rebel high command. There, Mon Mothma told them about the second Death Star under construction near Endor’s forest moon. Suddenly Neri heard Luke whisper, “Leia’s on the forest moon.”
Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar went on to explain that they wanted the Jedi and Rangers to disable the shield generator on the forest moon, which would otherwise prevent any attack on the incomplete Death Star. Meanwhile a fleet of Rebel fighters would fly into the Death Star’s partially-open structure to destroy it. It was agreed that Dash and Chewbacca would join the fighters in the attack on the Death Star while the remainder of the companions would land on the forest moon to attack the shield generator, using a stolen Imperial shuttle disguised as a cargo ship to get past the Imperial defenses.
As the team headed for the forest moon prepared to board their shuttle, Neri was surprised when Princess Leia’s protocol droid C3PO suddenly approached her and asked to be allowed to join the mission. After a moment of consideration, Neri agreed, much to ADX’s annoyance, as C3PO had developed a strange attraction to the hardened battle droid. While this took place, Lowarra promised Chewbacca that she would look after Han Solo, who was going with the team to the moon. Han seemed especially concerned about Princess Leia's safety. It began to appear that Neri’s long struggle to follow Yoda’s direction and bring Han and Leia together was finally working.
Luke’s mood was subdued as the team gathered. He had told Neri and the others that Leia was probably with the Emperor himself, as Rebel intelligence indicated the Emperor was present at Endor. Neri then tried to use the Force to give some non-verbal encouragement. She noticed with surprise and amusement that C3PO had brought an overstuffed pack, including an assortment of thermal detonators, which delighted Lowarra. Neri then gave a short speech to the Rangers: “We did it before, we can do it again. May the Force be with you.”
As Dash and Chewie prepared to head off to the Sky River Venture, Dash gave Han a hug and told him, “I’ll buy you a drink when we get back.” Han replied, “If you blow up the Death Star I’ll buy you two drinks!” Lowarra gave Dash a big hug, and ADX exhorted her, “Maintain your biological integrity.”
As the strike team approached the unfinished Death Star, they observed the largest star destroyer they had ever seen in orbit nearby. Neri, Luke and Taanar all felt something trying to scan them through the Force, but it passed.
They made their way past the Imperial defenses without difficulty and landed on the forest moon of Endor. Shortly after they left their shuttle to head toward the shield generator they encountered a stormtrooper who took them by surprise. Lowarra dealt with him, but an instant later they discovered that he had a companion, who fled on a speeder bike. Neri and Lowarra jumped on the bike left by the trooper Lowarra had eliminated and set off on a high-speed pursuit to prevent the second trooper from giving their presence away. It didn’t take long for the two old friends to get rid of the second trooper, but more troopers arrived.
As the speeder bikes raced through the trees, Lowarra leaped from Neri’s bike to one of the other speeders and clung on. Neri caused one trooper’s blaster to fly out of his hands. A trooper tried to sideswipe Neri with his bike. Lowarra lost her grip on the speeder bike and fell off. Neri jumped off her bike and attacked the troopers with her lightsaber. One trooper dodged her, but she then shot him with her blaster and his bike crashed.
While Neri and Lowarra battled the stormtroopers in the forest, the rest of the strike team continued on toward the shield generator. Their journey was impeded when ADX was suddenly caught in a net trap. Another trap engulfed everyone else but Taanar. Taanar hid in the brush and watched as a group of small, furry beings wielding spears emerged from the forest to claim their prisoners. The indigenous natives seemed especially interested in C3PO and ADX, but failed to observe Taanar. A moment later she received a telepathic message from Neri: “I’m okay.” Taanar quickly sent back, “Everyone captured but me.”
Lowarra had been stunned by her fall from the bike, but she recovered and she and Neri began walking toward each other to meet. Lowarra was fired upon by a bow-wielding small furry being, which seemed not to care that the Wookiee looked like a larger version of itself. Neri was also accosted by one of the natives. She tried offering it some food, which it didn’t like, but despite that she was able to establish a somewhat friendly rapport with the creature.