The Sidori Gambit

Session 4: Escaping Erawlon
In which our heroes flee for their lives from the doomed planet.

by The_Flax

For a moment there is only silence and the acrid smell of burnt flesh and fur in the control room of the tower, then begins anew the uncontrollable sobbing and whimpering of the sole surviving personnel of the tower.

Zeva snuffs out her lightsaber and returns it to the hidden rig under her jacket while Kay is still staring in shock at the last dead pirate she just shot through the head.

Zeva moves past Kes and places a hand on the Zabrak’s shoulder, easing the pain of her wounds.

Kes stares at Zeva. “That’s not normal.”

Kaylani blinks back to herself a bit and whispers to Kes in Zabrak: “You expect normal from a Jedi? She had a lightsaber!”

Without stopping, Zeva moves toward the surviving hostage and asks her, “Are you all right?”

She shuffles backwards on the ground in fear. “Leave me alone!”

“It’s all right,” Zeva says, trying to sound soothing even though her voice still quavers. “We won’t hurt you.”

Kes heaves herself up and walks to Kay, placing a hand on your shoulder, she replies in Zabrak. “Yeah. She did. That’s… How long has she been in that carbonite?”

“Um. Nine years?” Kay says to her captain. She smiles at Kes and jerks her head at Zeva before continuing, still in Zabrak: “Think we should help with the scared lady, huh?”

Kes nods and steps towards the woman.

Kaylani steps forward to the lady. “How about we get out of this nasty place and get you a nice place to recover? Some clean clothes?”

“You… you killed them!” The woman says in shock.

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Session 3: Taking Back the Tower
In which our heroes retake the control tower of the Ur-Talok spaceport

by The_Flax

Kaylani, Kes, Caster and Zeva meet up at the base of the control tower, while Kobor and Kai stay with the Vainglory to help the spaceport mechanics with repairs, the ship being more finiky than the easily repairable Silent Destiny. The control tower is four stories high and is blocky. The entrance is unguarded and empty.

“I think I’m ready to try standing on my own.” Zeva says to the others

“Are you sure? Don’t you need to rest? Eat maybe?” Kay looks around for any rations or something similar.

Zeva shakes her head. “No. Thank you. I can rest when we’re done.”

Kes glances at Kaylani and raises an eyebrow.

Kay speaks up to her captain in Zabrak. “Sorry, must feed sick people. Uncle trained me too well.” She rolls her eyes at herself.

“No, but…she’s a little weird. ‘Rest when we’re done’?” Kes replies also in Zabrak.

Zeva’s legs wobble, but she seems all right. “I’ll follow your voices.”

“That might get tricky, you know, when people start shooting at us.” Caster tells Zeva.

“Really, businessman’s got a point. I mean, really. It’s good to see the blaster shots.” Kaylani adds. “So you can, you know, duck?” She glances at Kes with a grin. “Or not.”

Zeva tilts her head toward Caster. “Who’s that?”

“That’s Crapper. Er. Copper… What’s your name again?” Kes asks while Kaylani tries desperately not to laugh.

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Session 2: Erawlon Under Attack
In which our heroes fight off pirates in Erawlon's spaceport.

by The_Flax

Near the barricade, Zeva suddenly sucks in a ragged breath and starts coughing violently. “Captain? Captain Fann! The power’s out – I can’t see a thing!” She exclaims in a thready voice.

She trembles and curls up on herself as she picks up on the arid climate, the dust particles clinging to her, and the breeze of a hot wind. It is nothing like the sterile cool feel of a starship.

“I… what happened?” She blinks her eyes in wild frustration. “Captain Fann! Pearl? Salley?!” Her voice gaining strength. She tries to stand up and regrets it at once.

“Miss? Miss… calm down. You’re safe for now.” A throaty voice attempts to reassure her.

“I – I can’t see. Who’s there?”

“I am Argonal, I work here. What’s wrong, I can’t see where you’ve been wounded.”

“I’m not hurt… I think I’m sick. Where am I? Did we make it to Velcor’s Cross?” Zeva asked him.

“You’re not at Velcor’s Cross miss, you’re on Erawlon.”

She winces as another seizure passes. “We m-must have turned back. Have you seen Captain Fann?”

“You must be from one of the ships then?” The man mutters to himself. “Yes, that’s probably right, you’re too pretty to be from around here.” He then speaks up, his voice still throaty. “The whole spaceport’s been badly hit, if your captain isn’t here, he’s probably dead.”

“Oh, no,” she groans, missing the compliment. “I should get back to the cantina. I’ve got to… got to hire another ship.” She starts trying to pull herself together.

“Whoa there. This is no time to be walking about, especially not if you can’t see. Best to wait until the Imps resolve this.”

“Imps?”

“Imperials. As in, the Galactic Empire. You don’t get out much, do ya?”

“I…” She’s in no condition to figure out what he’s talking about. Must be one of those Separatist factions, she thinks to herself. “No, I don’t. T-tell me, Argonal, where am I exactly?”

“Ur-Talok Spaceport, on Erawlon.” He seems weirded out a bit.

“All right, then. You’re right. I’ll wait to see what the ‘Imps’ can do.” She makes the word sound perfectly unnatural.

The man tries to be comforting. “Don’t you worry, these Stormtroopers don’t have much manners, but they’re very good soldiers… or so I hear.”

“I hope you’re right.”

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Session 1: Arrival
In which our heroes seek parts for their ships and have a bit of bad luck

by The_Flax

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The Sidori Gambit

The Silent Destiny and the Vainglory were both grounded in the meagre spaceport of the city of Ur-Talok on Erawlon, the only city with a spaceport. The Silent Destiny requiring a new power capacitor for its hyperdrive, while the Vainglory needed a replacement power coupling for its engines. Luckily for the captains of the two ships, the docking fees were a pittance, but the downside was that finding any sorts of parts here would not be exactly easy. Erawlon was an out of the way planet and if it didn’t offer an alternate entry point to the Sidori Cluster, thus avoiding the exorbitant tariffs at Gastogne, it wouldn’t be frequented very much.

Caster Novastar emerged from underneath his ship, the Vainglory, and muttered to himself.

“Coupling went. Damn.”

Immediately the young captain went searching for someone who could help him and approached a member of the local work crew with a winning smile.

“Hello, sir, can you point me toward where I might buy new parts for my ship?”

“New huh? Does anything here look “new”?" The maintenance crewman shrugged. “Whatever you want, your best bet is going to the Office of Procurations, you can’t miss it.”

Kes, the other captain, stepped off her ship, the Silent Destiny, peering at the area. She puffed her cheeks and exhaled slowly.

“Well. This looks like a big old dump. Think we’ll actually find anything?”

“Well, we can try and be all official at whatever passes for a main office here. Can’t hurt.” Her pilot, Kaylani, shrugged. “If that doesn’t work, we’ll just have to be a bit… imaginative”

“I know you’re eager to get to the imaginative bits, but official first. Just to be safe.” Kes made a small bow and gestured for her pilot to go ahead of her.

The Office of Procurements was right next to the blocky Control Tower. Already the heat and high gravity of the planet was starting to wear down the crew of both ships, the only saving grace was the absence of humidity in the air. In front of the Control Tower and the Office of Procurement there were a few Imperial Stormtroopers maintaining a lazy vigil. Even armed, the three of them passed without difficulty and found themselves facing a stocky man in an unbuttoned uniform, of the local brand, reclining on his chair behind his desk.

Caster approached the man with a wide smile. “This is the Office of Procurements? I need a power coupling, would you happen to have one for sale?”

Right behind Caster, Kes and Kaylani assumed a guarded stance while waiting to see what happened with the young captain’s request.

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Sable Fire

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

Twenty-one years before the Battle of Yavin

Zeva’s attempt to sleep ended as the ship shuddered. A dreadful grinding noise came from somewhere aft, and Captain Fann’s distant swearing confirmed her suspicion: they had not arrived yet.

She donned the uncomfortable spacer’s clothes. The ship was too warm for the jacket, but she pulled it on all the same. The scars on her right arm had brought enough embarrassing questions at the Jedi Temple; why risk further humiliation here? She tucked her lightsaber inside the jacket – Not that I’ll need it, she thought, I just don’t want to leave it lying around – and paused to examine herself in the mirror.

Without her Jedi robes, without her blond hair or her Padawan braid, Zeva scarcely recognized herself. In truth, she looked more like the form Kira IV’s dark side spirit had taken. She pushed that thought aside and left the passenger cabin to see what was going on.

She emerged into the Sable Fire’s common room, just as Captain Fann entered from the door that led to the cockpit. “Nothin’ to worry about, Miss Bel,” he said, though he was clearly worried. “Just a little problem with the hyperdrive. Pearl’s already workin’ on it.”

Zeva reminded herself (again) that she was using an alias on this mission. “Then we’re still in the Erawlon system?” she asked.

“Not for long.”

“I really can’t afford any delays,” she announced.

“Then you might’ve told me that up front.” The captain, a dark-skinned human, flashed his winning smile. “Now don’t get me wrong,” Fann continued. “Usually, when someone pays me twice the goin’ rate to get somewhere, I take ‘em as fast as I can. It’s professional, and it keeps the trouble they’re fleein’ off my back.”

“I’m not in any trouble,” Zeva said, glad that it was true. “I just have urgent business on Velcor’s Cross.”

“Sure, sure. What I can’t figure is why you didn’t just take a nice commercial liner, get yourself there in style, with cash like you were throwin’ around.”

“It’s like you said. Sable Fire is faster than one of those tubs.”

“Yeah.” Captain Fann was easily distracted by talking about his Barloz-class freighter – especially when the subject was her speed – but this time, his distraction passed quickly. “You ain’t my first charter lookin’ to avoid attention, mind you. But I never had a charter carryin’ one’a them Jedi laser swords before.”

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Trial of the Spirit

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

Twenty-one years before the Battle of Yavin

Zeva found the underwater tunnel, and surfaced for one last deep breath before following it. The passage led deep beneath the lake, suddenly turning back up before it opened into a larger pool. Unable to hold her breath any longer, Zeva swam upwards, breaking the surface and sucking in great lungfuls of muggy air.

She found herself in a pool within a cave, its vastness suggested by patches of glowing fungi clinging to the walls. Once her breathing returned to normal, Zeva made for the shore, so grateful to get the bottom beneath her feet that she ignored the unpleasant mud between her toes. Strange, she thought. I never thought I’d miss boring diplomatic negotiations…

She left the pool and reached out into the Force for a better sense of her surroundings, but pulled back at once when she sensed something unlike anything she had ever encountered before. As curiosity overtook fear, she walked deeper into the cave, not noticing the bones buried in the muck, drawing closer to a stalagmite as high as her waist. As Zeva approached, a ruddy, unearthly light appeared at the top of the formation. She closed to within three meters, and the light became too bright to look at. It seemed to radiate from some sort of crystal…

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” someone said. Zeva looked over her shoulder to see a human woman clad in a robe, cloak, and hood of black… a woman with Zeva’s own face. No stranger than anything else I’ve seen lately. Still, where’d she come from?

“Yes,” was all Zeva could think to say. The waterproof case seemed very heavy in her hand.

“I’ve been waiting for you, Zeva,” the woman in black said, coming a little closer with precise, graceful movements. “I’ve been waiting for so long.”

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The Hero With No Fear

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

Twenty-one years before the Battle of Yavin

Her war on the poison took Zeva beyond all knowledge of space or time. Her world became a kaleidoscope of nightmares; the only mercy was that she had no time to comprehend each horror before a new one took its place.

She finally reached some sort of lucidity behind a control panel in the Argo Ecliptic’s cargo hold, where she heard something scraping inside a cargo container. She went to look, and saw the same bomb she’d seen before – but this time, Master Tulu was arming it.

“Master?” Zeva said. “What are you doing?”

“Avenging Gaeriel.”

And the bomb went off.

- – - – -

Zeva’s eyes snapped open to the sight of the lake. “I’m alive,” she said – or tried to, her voice cracking on the words. She was parched – and starving. How long had she been out of it?

She pulled her right arm out of the bedroll. It looked worse than it felt – scabby, and bruised almost black, with darkened veins spread nearly to her elbow. Shifting around reminded her of half a dozen other cuts and scratches, only barely mended.

But I feel rested, she thought. Not great – not even good – but still, much better than before. And I can feel my fingers again, even if they are still shaking.

She ate her last food pack, but it wasn’t enough to curb her hunger. She would have to take what she needed from the jungle.

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Trial of Skill

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

Twenty-one years before the Battle of Yavin

Zeva woke up to find herself in a tiny bed. Where am I? she thought. How did I get here?

She recognized her dimly-lit surroundings as the sleeping quarters of the Katarn clan, where she had lived before becoming Master Tulu’s Padawan. Just how had she made it back here? And who had dressed her in her sleepwear, anyway?

She swung her legs out from under the covers, found the floor cold beneath her bare feet. She moved to the center of the room, then quietly said “Where is everybody?”

“We’re here,” a familiar voice said.

Zeva turned to see a human youngling, a female. As the child stepped forward, Zeva realized she was looking at her own face. But this young Zeva had white hair, not blond.

“Master Tulu is gone,” the youngling said. “Teach us.”

Zeva brushed her bangs away from her eyes. “I’m not sure that the Council would – “

“Teach us,” said another youngling, her face also revealed to be Zeva’s as she stepped into the light.

“You know the rules. I can only take one.”

“Teach us!” said a third little Zeva, who’d appeared at her side, tugging on Zeva’s arm.

Zeva counted twelve – no, twenty – younglings crowding around her, little hands reaching out for her. “Back off!” she shouted, gathering the Force around her… too late, she fell to the floor, lost in a sea of younglings….

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Deception Point
In which Caster gets off-world

By Relimited

At a first glance, the spaceport clerk didn’t like him. It wasn’t something she could easily name; after all he seemed simple enough with his sandy blond hair, olive completion, and average build. She could have sworn she knew the face from somewhere, but couldn’t seem to place it. No, it was his eyes that set her at unease. They seemed to glare at the world, like someone angrily surprised it could hurt him. She looked away for a moment, and when she looked back, he had noticed her and started walking toward the counter.

Actually, she thought it was a totally different person. There was a huge smile on his face, and he waved as he walked up. His eyes seemed to shine with mirth. “Hello!” He called as he walked up. She smiled.

“Hi, young man, what can I do for you today?” she responded, put at ease by his demeanor. “Ma’m, you have really pretty eyes.” He looked down quickly, like he had said something wrong. “Oops. Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. Pretty girl like you probably has a very important and nice partner.” He bit his lip. “Sorry, ma’m. I’m not trying to flirt with you, promise.”

The compliments made the clerk almost glow with pleasure. No one had ever paid that much attention to her before. She batted her eyes, replying “Why thank you, dear. Now how can I help you today?”

“Well, you see, I kinda need a favor…” his face fell, he seemed very embarrassed. “You see, I need to take off on a ship I have docked here, but I kinda forgot the paper work. And I was staying in a place far away, and I can’t really afford to wait, because I need to make sure everything’s in working order, and I need to get off world and out to the Sidori sector to make it to my mother’s house in time for her birthday…”

“What’s a handsome young man like you doing on a planet so far away anyway from your mother?” She replied.

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Trial of the Flesh

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

Twenty-one years before the Battle of Yavin

After weeks of being stuck on the Argo Ecliptic with Master Tulu and all the clone troopers, Zeva was bored to tears. Not that she wanted to be on the front lines – nearly a year to the day since the Battle of Geonosis, the war was getting worse all the time – but Master Tulu’s negotiations always went smoothly, from one planet to the next, meaning that they spent most of their time on this accursed ship.

She chided herself for wallowing in her own misery. Tulu was a negotiator, doing what she did best, for the good of the Republic. Zeva’s role was to support her master, and learn what she could in the process. Do what has to be done, even if it’s boring.

She would never get used to the company of clones, though. Their sameness bothered her… disgusted her, even. Zeva knew that they had individual characteristics, and that they were here to protect the Jedi… but she didn’t have to like them.

The deck plates juddered beneath her. The Argo was dropping out of lightspeed, which meant they must be arriving in the Kira system. This wasn’t another diplomatic mission, though – they had orders to investigate reports of unidentified ships in the area. Since the Argo was a CR70 corvette, they had a better chance of going unmolested than the ships more commonly associated with the Grand Army of the Republic.

Master would be looking for her. Zeva got to her feet, emerging from behind the control panel – and saw an ASP-series droid closing a cargo container. What’s he doing? she thought, and shouted “Hey!” before she could stop herself.

The droid looked over his shoulder at her, turning his head farther than any human could – and with his photoreceptors still locked on her, he ran.

“Hey! Stop!” she shouted, but the droid kept running.

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