Saturday, August 5, 2017

[Star Wars] Guardians of Peace, Episode 2: "From the Shadows"

Episode 2: From The Shadows

The galactic civil war is over. Despite continuing tensions, a tenuous peace exists between the EMPIRE and the NEW REPUBLIC.

The Jedi Knight Taanar Ryl and her team have gone to survey the lost planet of Ilum. Landing on its ravaged surface they discover that pirates had attacked a group of Imperial Knights. After finding a survivor, they infiltrated a derelict orbital station in hopes of rescuing more pirate captives…. 

Flashback: Taanar Ryl stood before Jedi Master Neranye Rep. Master Neri held something out to her, a small object that would fit in the palm of a hand. "Take this." 

Taanar reached for the object. As she did so she recognized that she had seen it before. It was a star-shaped pendant, which Neri had told her she had acquired at Point Nadir before the two of them met. It was a kind of Force talisman, but Neri had never discovered its true purpose. "I want you to have it. Perhaps you'll be able to discover what use it has," said Neri. Taanar folded her fingers around it. "I hope I'll be able to," she replied.

One month had passed since the Fortune of Greepo visited the former Jedi temple on Ilum. Their prisoner from the pirate group had been handed over to the New Republic authorities. He had claimed his name was Ferbarton Skywalker, though he denied any relationship to the Imperial family. He had been sentenced to hard labor in a Republic prison camp.

The Fortune of Greepo emerged from hyperspace at RESH-9376, otherwise known as Point Nadir. Initially the port authorities refused the ship permission to land, until her crew mentioned they had come to visit their friend Dexter Vex. 

After some initial friendly chat between Taanar and Dexter, she asked him about the Shadow Wing pirates. He couldn't offer much more information about the pirates than what they already knew: the Shadow Wing had been a relatively minor gang until recently, when they had suddenly acquired better ships and weapons. But Dexter's sources couldn't say who was supplying them. 

During their visit the Fortune's crew found that Slash Buzzburn was still drawing crowds to Point Nadir, which was a source of excitement for young Ren Secura. Taanar agreed to allow time for her young charges to enjoy a performance. While the quartet were on their way to the venue, they were accosted by two large blue aliens who threatened them on behalf of the Hutt crime syndicate. When the twins failed to be intimidated, one of the thugs shoved Den. Ren then slipped surreptitiously around behind the hired muscle. The brewing altercation was interrupted when their droid R2-FE contacted them to notify them they had received a transmission. Ren managed to trick the two thugs into thinking that one of them had provoked the other, and the Fortune team left them in the street shoving each other as they headed back to their ship.

The message proved to be from the New Republic Ministry of Justice, informing them of a pirate attack on the mining and agricultural world of Anobis. The attack had been so recent that the site was still in flames. The Fortune headed immediately for Anobis to investigate.

No sooner had the team begun to examine the remains of the attack than the twins spotted a human woman they had seen at the sites of two prior pirate raids. Ren stealthily followed her when she left, but lost the trail. Den then encountered the red-haired woman, who introduced herself as Magna Inscoe, an enforcement officer for the Imperial Ministry of Justice, a holdover from the earlier Republic that had maintained a good reputation despite the previous excesses of the Empire under Palpatine. 

Magna met with the rest of the Fortune team, and they discussed how the pirates never seemed to leave anyone behind in their attacks. They appeared to be adept at looking after the members of their gang, which led Magna to fear that they might try to break 'Ferb' out of prison. Taanar agreed to a cooperation and sharing of information with the Imperial officer and shared comms details with her so they could contact each other. She sensed that Magna was hiding something, but didn't press the officer about it.

After parting from Magna, the Fortune team sent a message to Ord Mantell to warn about the possibility of a prison break. Attempts to contact the prison received no response. The team members assumed the worst and headed for the Reclamation Center where Ferb was serving his sentence.

On their arrival, the prison commander was uncooperative and refused to allow them to see the prisoner. Ren tried to pressure him into relenting, but had no success. Taanar decided they should contact both the Republic Ministry of Justice and the Jedi Order to get official permission to see Ferb. While they awaited a reply, they kept an eye on the prison. 

Finally the necessary permission was granted, but when they asked to see Ferb they were told he had escaped on the same day they arrived. A prison transport had been attacked by two well-armed thugs, a Rodian and a Besalisk, whose identities were known. The Rodian was Sneef Grimm, and the Besalisk's name was Sazsno. After learning about these two the team spoke with local security representatives, who told them where to find people who might be able to help them locate Sneef and Sazsno.

At a location called Clem's they learned that the two often frequented a bar called Bucket of Blood. At Bucket of Blood they were met with lies, denying that the duo ever came there or had even been heard of by anyone present. But Nema spotted one of their targets ducking out - it was the Rodian, Sneef. On following him they found Sazsno there too, wielding four blasters in his four arms. He immediately fired on Ren. Taanar used the Force to deprive him of one blaster. He aimed a blaster bolt at her, which she was able to deflect but not back at him. Nema then disarmed another of his weapons. Sneef ran for a speeder parked at the other end of the street. To prevent him from escaping, Taanar lifted the speeder onto the roof of a nearby building and turned it upside-down. Ren charged the Besalisk, stabbing him with his vibroknife, while his brother fired his blaster at the four-armed creature. Sneef then bolted toward a bantha that was waiting not far from where the speeder had originally been parked. Taanar used her Force skill to stun him before he could commandeer the bantha as his escape method, and Nema secured him while Den and Ren finally took down Sazsno.

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