FATE OF THE JEDI

Episode: 05
IMPERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS

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JEDI KNIGHTS GISAKU SABEROTA, JADEN WINDU and the apprentice CORTREE TINCOVE finally made it to the auction following their ambush aboard the TRAM. They found Shogo The Hutt and his entourage had gotten there first.

“What the hell happened to you?” Kel Markatta, the Mandolorian Security Chief of The Wheel said, looking over their wounds.

“If you are here for the Auction, " Varn Talath The Administrator of The Wheel said, twirling a cred stick in his hand, “I am afraid you are too late. Bids were supposed to be in five minutes ago…however, since you are the only others to arrive I may be open to more offers.”

Varn Talath held up a datapad, “The auction is for the coordinates of the world with the ancient ship will be awarded to the highest bidder. Current bid is 10,000 Credits.”

Jaden Windu held up the Datapad they took from the Nikto Mercenaries, “We were attacked by Nikto Mercenaries hired by Shogo The Hutt!”

A GROWL came from next to the Mandolorian in the form of Mad Claw Mazak, Shogo’s Wookie enforcer.

The Beast looked at Gisaku Saberota and the sound made the old General hesitate once again. He had to fight the urge to LET THE WOOKIE WIN.

Kel sized up the Wookie and put his Helmet on with one hand, gripping a Blaster pistol in its holster in the other.

“Preposterous!” Shogo said in his deep basso, “We were attacked too. Look what they did to Mazzak!” The hutt pointed to makeshift bandages on the wookie and the rest of his goons.

“That’s a strong accusation. " Varn asked, “What is your evidence?”

Jaden handed the Mandolorian the datapad, “We took that from the mercenaries that attacked us and we already sent messages to your security forces.”

Kel Markatta looked over the datapad, “This contract appears legitimate….” The Mandolorian scrutinized the bandages, “And these bandages don’t have any blood on them.”

The Wookie growled under his breath.

Kel’s commlink beeped. He pressed a button on his armor and patched into a security frequency, “Security, report.”

“Sir, we got firefights all over the station!” The voice on the other end said, “A bunch of Nikto mercs started shooting and the Imperials led by Captain Gellor and Commander Gorlen’s ESPOs fought back. But, now the two groups are shooting at each other and converging on the Grand Casino in a big crossfire with heavy weapons. Sir. It’s…It’s chaos down here!”

“Send reinforcements and secure the area. Keep them away from the casino,” He switched off his comm and turned to Varn Talath a question in his eyes.

Varn Talath gulped some wine, “Shogo’s dishonorable actions disqualify his participation. Very well, since you are the only other group to come here in good faith, I’ll give you the information for your bid.”

“12,000 Credits.” Jaden stated. The Hutt cowered, the price too high even if he hadn’t been disqualified.

“Going once…. "Varn Talath said, looking around, “Unless there is anyone else…”

“15,000 Credits!”

The Jedi turned to see Selan Mela and her Assistant, both cloaked in black hoods walking towards them.

“And these are a group of impostors. They are Jedi Knights in disguise! Check the Cyborg for their lightsabers!” Selan said with disdain in her voice.

Varn Telath spit out his wine. "Jedi? "

The Jedi found themselves surrounded. Saberota shifted, trying to size up the battlefield.

“Our master Porbota the Hutt will not be pleased,” Saberota said, trying to maintain their cover, “Besides. So what if we were Jedi? We have the credits and are willing to pay for the coordinates of the crash site.”

Kel Markatta Put a hand on his blaster. “There are only two things I can’t tolerate on my station, Liars and Jedi. One or all of you is one of those two. And you are both of them. Take them…”

Before Kel could finish his orders, Mad Claw Mazzak roared and struck him with a vicious hay-maker that bounced him off the bulkhead and knocked him out cold, denting the metal wall.

“Kill them! Get the data!” Shogo shouted as his mercenaries jumped into action.

Varn Talath fell over and looked up in absolute terror as the wookie loomed over him his deadly intent apparent. Mad Claw GROWLED and moved in for the kill.

Before the wookie could get his claws on Talath, Saberota jumped into action. He retrieved Jaden’s Lightsaber from his hidden compartment and threw it to him. The old soldier, his body still damaged form the previous battle, then put himself between the enraged Wookie and Varn Talath. He ignited his Green Blade and stood down the monster with the calm resolution of Juyo. The sound of his respirator was measured and unchanging despite his fear of the wookie.

Jaden caught and ignited his purple-bladed lightsaber in a single motion and moved in to attack the rest of the Hutt mercenaries.

Cortree meanwhile began hacking the nearby consoles.

Mad Claw Mazak swiped at Saberota with his Metal CLAW. But the Jedi remained calm and let the Wookie’s anger guide him. Small movements made the CLAW barely miss its mark…

Then Selan Mera’s assistant FORCE LEAPED into the fray with a RED-BLADED LIGHTSABER. Saberota’s saber met her’s and he found himself faced with two enemies.

“It was you at the ship…” Saberota said, “A Sith…”

“It is here you will die!!!” The Sith shouted, driven by the Dark Side.

The Jedi General was impressed by her skill as her barrage of skillful cuts and thrusts came close to striking his damaged cybernetic body.

But Gisaku was an old soldier and his defensive parries strategically put the Wookie, Mazak between him and the Sith. The strokes and counterstrokes knocked the Wookie OFF-BALANCE. Then the General struck the Wookie with a staccato of motion, his lightsaber damaging Mazzak’s Cybernetic Claw and a punch to his solar plexus knocked the massive wookie back an step.

The beast GROWLED and both the Wookie and the Sith, strangely united by their hatred of the Jedi General, pressed their attacks further.

“A Little help!” The General shouted.

Cortree’s hacking paid off as the Console chimed, “Y’all like a good hoe-down?”… and created a series of STROBING LIGHTS and SIRENS into the environment.

Jaden flipped in next to Saberota and a fast wipe of his blade knocked the lightsaber out of the Sith’s hand and away from them both. Jaden then slid into the Wookie and DISTRACTED the beast momentarily on his other flank.

Mazak, blinded by the STROBING LIGHTS and with his Cybernetic CLAW damaged didn’t notice Saberota’s next move until the Lightsaber blade stabbed him in the chest, forcing a GROWL in the face of the cyborg Jedi.

Cortree ran for the Sith’s fallen lightsaber and got there just before she jumped in. Thinking quickly, he took the Lightsaber apart and threw the pieces in opposite directions and pointed his MAKESHIFT BLASTER at the Sith. Then she raised her hand and Cortree started choking…and rising off the ground.

Cortree raised his blaster tried to fend the Sith off, but she just laughed at him in cruel ecstasy.

“Do you feel it? Do you feel the power of the dark side? The only real power! The only thing worth living for!”, she hissed, obviously delighted to inflict pain on an enemy.

Jaden came in with a sweep of his Lightsaber that forced her to lose her concentration and Cortree fell to the ground gasping. After a series of swipes at the Sith she realized that her only option was to retreat and she Force Leaped onto the 3rd story balcony before running deeper into the station.

Saberota and Mazak stared each other down. Mazak growled at him, trying to intimidate the Jedi as he wound up another haymaker…but Saberota maintained his calm in his Juyo stance and pushed past his terror of the Wookie.

The haymaker that took out the Mandolorian in one blow came and Saberota ducked under it and stepped in past with a deadly stroke of his lightsaber.

Kel Markatta came to just in time to see Mad Claw Mazak’s SEVERED RIGHT ARM fall to the ground next to him as the Wookie SCREAMED IN PAIN and ran off, his Hutt master close behind him on a HOVERSLED. Outside the casino a firefight erupted as the Wheel’s security forces and the Espos and Imperial Commandoes attacked each other in a chaotic three-way battle.

Kel witnessed the Jedi stand in front of Varn Talath, defending the man against the next wave of Hutt goons.

Blaster bolts took the remaining goons in the head faster than the Jedi could see.

The men fell and Kel’s TWIN BLASTER PISTOLS returned to their holsters as fast as they appeared. “Clear!”

The Jedi deactivated their lightsabers.

“Are you alright, Lord Talath?” Saberota asked as a datapad was thrown to him.

“Take it! For saving my life I am giving you the data, I don’t care. Just get off my station!” Varn said.

Saberota bowed slightly, “Thank you, sir. May The Force Be With Y…”

Just then the whole station rocked as turbolasers lashed it with withering fire. Van Talath screamed into his communicator for a report.

“Sir, the Imperial Star Destroyer, Inexorable has just dropped out of hyperspace and a Colonel Valarus has demanded we surrender,” said a nervous voice over the comlink.

“Surrender? To the Empire?!? Never!!!” Varn spit out with obvious hate. He turned to Markata.

“Sir, we can dispatch both of our picket cruisers along with all of our starfighters, including the reserves,” Markata replied. “But it won’t matter. We won’t last long against a capital ship’s firepower.”

“We won’t have to. Send a distress call to the Republic Fleet. We just have to hold out until reinforcements arrive. If they wanted to destroy the station we would already be dead. They must want the Wheel for themselves. Or something on it,” he glared at the Jedi. “You Jedi are a plague on the galaxy. But I owe you my life. Go. We will deal with the Empire.”

He wheeled away and started barking orders into his link, “Prepare the security teams for a boarding action. Lock down all the airlocks and secure the bulkheads. Move!”

“I am in your debt Jedi. I will not forget this.” Kel Markatta said.

The Jedi ran down the hallways as fast as their legs could carry them. They went up into the upper level scaffolding of the station and ran above the mayhem below. The ESPO SQUAD blasted the station with their RIOT GUNS and the Elite IMPERIAL STORMTROOPERS returned fire with HEAVY WEAPONS.

The Jedi made their way back to THE CRUCIBLE’s hanger just as the Imperials caught up to them.

They dove through the ship’s open starboard hatch, Blaster bolts following them.

Cortree’s Droids reactivated, taking their positions and his nimble fingers brushed the controls, bringing the ship to life.

“The ship’s already warmed up.” Cortree said surprised, “Wait, what about Maze? We can’t leave him behind.”

“There’s the Jedi! Blast ’em!” A Storm Commando said, aiming a ROCKET LAUNCHER at the ship.

But the group was stopped from behind by a FLURRY OF LIGHTSABER STRIKES as Mazer Val’Zian appeared out of nowhere.

Jaden reached out a hand to his comrade.

“Come on Maze, get on!”

Maze moved to the hatch and shook his head.

“I have to make sure Rilu is safe. I’ll return when I’m done.” he said as he hit the button and closed the hatch. He disappeared back into the chaos.

Saberota put a hand on Jaden’s shoulder, “He can take of himself. Get us out of here Cor!”

The ship lifted off and flew away from the station….

An alarm chimed from the sensors, Jaden ran to them. “We have…company.”

Four Tie Defender Starfighters pealed off from the heated battle surrounding the space station to pursue the Jedi Cruiser. Meanwhile, two small cruisers bravely faced off against the clearly superior star destroyer preventing it from coming after them directly.

“Starship Crucible this is Colonel Valarus of the Imperial Armada.” A voice from the comms came, “Surrender your vessel in the name of Emperor Fel.”

Ignoring the Imperial commander’s broadcast Cortree Tincove moved to his controls, “Hold ’em off while I get coordinates from the Navicomputer!”

Jaden moved to the Shields and started them up, “Shields up!”

General Saberota slid down the ladder into the Weapons Array chair. He looked at the unfamiliar controls with apprehension.

“Here they come!” Jaden said over the comms.

The TIE FIGHTERS closed in, maneuvering into position for an attack run on the old ship.

“They are right on top of us,” Jaden said helping Cor out in the cockpit, “Getting a lock on them. General, you okay with those controls?”

“Patience.” The General replied calmly through his vocabulator.

Saberota controlled his breathing. Slower. Steady. He struggled past his damaged flesh. Past his body of metal and plastic.

He struggled to feel the life around him. His friends. The Ship. The Tie Fighters. Their pilots.

For a moment, the Old Jedi became ONE WITH THE FORCE.

“Target locked!” Jaden said, “Let ’em have it!”

Saberota opened his optics, grabbed the controls and fired a barrage that dropped the shields of one of the Ties Defenders and damaged another.

“Good hit!” Jaden shouted, “Nice work General!”

“There’s still too many of them.” Saberota replied, continuing to fire.

The squadron of Tie Defenders closed in holding formation, shooting as they strafed the old Jedi Ship.

They seemed doomed as withering fire rained down on the ancient ship’s shields. But just then a MON CALAMARI HEAVY CRUISER dropped out of hyperspace in front of them and launched its fighters to engage the Imperial Destroyer.

“Not anotha’ capital ship! " Cortree shouted, punching the Navicomputer to compute faster.

“No, this one’s a Republic Ship.” Jaden said, looking over the markings. “But how could they have gotten here so fast?” he asked obviously puzzled.

“Jedi Cruiser Crucible this is Garek Malon aboard the Emancipator,” said a familiar voice, “Shut down your engines and prepare to be boarded in the name of the Jedi Council and the New Republic.”

“Well that explains that. Malon must have been tracking us. It is just a coincidence he arrived here at this time. But it looks like the Emancipator will have its hands full with that Destroyer which gives us a chance to finish our mission. If we survive these Ties that is,” said Jaden.

A lone RZ-7 A-wing Jedi Interceptor peeled off from the other Republic fighters that were engaged with the Imperial forces.

A transmission came in from the ship, “Crucible, this is Seeker One. Master Diath said you could use an assist.”

The A-Wing ran rings around the Tie Fighters that attacked the Crucible taking advantage of their formation flying destroying two of them with one pass.

Jaden looked at the screen in amazement, “That’s a Jedi Pilot…”

“I can handle this Crucible. I’m a Rogue. Impossible is our stock in trade, and success is what we deliver., " Amira Forge, the A-Wing’s pilot said, “Get yourself to a safe distance. May the Force be with you.”

The Navicomputer finally beeped.

“Coordinates locked in.” Cortree said.

“Punch it!” Saberota said as the ship went to Lightspeed.

End of Episode: 05

Continue to Episode: 06

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EPISODE: 04
NEGOTIATIONS TURN VIOLENT

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With the auction delayed until the next day, Cortree Tincove, Gisaku Saberota, Jaden Windu and Mazer Val’Zian set out to do some exploring of the station.

While Jaden and Gisaku sought fruitlessly to find other potential backers, Mazer seemed concerned with other matters and requested Cortree come with him. The pair ended up at the quarters of Commander Piter Gorlen and found Rilu Secura coming out of it. The pair tailed her into the Red Quarter, an area of the station for higher level socialites. Mazer in his DESIGNER THREADS blended right in with the crowd, practically disappearing next to his friend Cortree in his mechanic’s jumpsuit.

The Station’s security didn’t take kindly to Cortree or his ensemble and detained him in an effort to teach him how things worked around the station. Mazer on the other hand had simply vanished into thin air…

An hour later, Cortree was released and found his way back to the Crucible to meet up with the others. As Gisaku and Jaden returned to the ship, something felt…wrong. Jaden, who had been sensing a darkness in the Force shadowing him all night long felt that same presence in the landing bay. Being weaker in the Force, Gisaku made use of his CYBORG BODY’s Thermographic vision mode and found a shape concealed in the corner, hiding from them.

Gisaku motioned to the others and the trio surrounded the form, the Cyborg looming over it with Cortree holding a blaster pistol on it.

“You can’t hide from us., " The Jedi General said as he sized the form up, “Who are you?”

The form turned out to be a humanoid woman in a black hood. She reached out and FORCE PULLED the blaster from Cortree’s hand and FORCE LEAPED upwards. The General, having sized up the foe, drew his Lightsaber and just barely cut her cloak as she blurred past and landed up in the utility pipes above.

Cortree lamented as pieces of his blaster pistol fell from the ceiling onto floor. He then grabbed an ascension platform and the trio pursed the Hooded Woman.

Gisaku’s body gave him strength but not speed, making him unable to pursue the Woman as she moved effortlessly away. Jaden and Cortree decided that cleverness was needed.

Jaden used the Force to slow her as Cortree used his own Mechaderu ability to slice the maintenance computer to lower the BLAST DOORS. However, the Woman was too fast and she barely managed to make it through the blast doors and into the dark parts of the station just as the doors slammed shut. They were trapped in the landing bay by the doors and could not escape. They would have to wait for someone in maintenance to reopen the blast doors for them from the outside and that could take awhile. They were a bit surprised that Mazer reappeared then asking, “What’d I miss?”

Concerned about his infatuation with Rilu, the others asked him why he abandoned Cortree. The former scoundrel responded, “I needed a distraction so i could follow her. You did your job well and I found out where she is hold up.”

The Jedi followed Mazer to Rilu’s room on the station only to find it ransacked and Rilu grievously wounded. Mazer used his healing powers to stabilize Rilu as best he could and took her to people he knew who could help. Having been on the station before Maze realized that he couldn’t take the mortally wounded Twi’lek to the hospital. She would be an easy target there. Instead he led Gisaku to an underworld doctor he knew of on the station who would take care of her no questions asked. For a fee of course.

Jaden investigated the scene while Gisaku and Maze got her to the doctor. He made a couple of startling discoveries while looking over the ruins of Rilu’s apartment. First off the door, which at first glance looked like it had been shot open with a blaster, turned out to have been cut open with a intense plasma cutter. Or a lightsaber. The blasts to the lock appeared to have been an attempt to conceal the nature of the original entry. Second, the light blaster that they had found next to Rilu had been fired several times. Jaden was convinced that it had in fact been used to blast the door and to shoot the twi’lek to again cover for what he believed were lightsaber wounds. Given the mysterious Force using figure they had encountered in the docking bay earlier he was starting to wonder if they were dealing with Dark Jedi. Or even Sith.

With these dark thoughts Jaden, Gisaku and Cortree made their way to the auction. Maze had decided to remain behind and protect Rilu. On board a TRAM CAR that crossed the station, the Jedi were attacked by a large group of WEEQUAY and NIKTO MERCENARIES armed Stun Batons and Blasters. They tried to call for help, but found their communications jammed. With nowhere to run, and surrounded by enemies and innocent civilians, the Jedi had no choice but to fight.

Cortree held his ground with his new jury-rigged blaster as Jaden tried to fend them off with his own Jedi training. Neither he nor the General drew lightsabers because they were unwilling to give away that they were Jedi. This limited Jaden considerably. Jedi General Gisaku Saberota on the other hand fared much better in a fist fight and for once was glad to have a CYBORG BODY.

The Mercenaries tried to stun Saberota with their batons, but one sweep of his mighty arms relieved them of their weapons. The group tried to punch the General out, only for their hands to recoil in pain after punching ARMOR PLATING. Playing the part of a bodyguard, Saberota fought with brute force. He kicked one mercenary into the wall while grabbing, punching and elbowing others to the ground. Cortree blasted away with his pistol set to stun dropping several of the mercenaries.

When one brave mercenary from the group stood before Saberota, the General grabbed him by the head and THREW him down the tram, through a window into the next car.

Cortree then shot out the overhead light above the group before him and Gisaku into them as bodies flew out of the darkness. The trio finished the fight like master Jedi without a single unnecessary loss of life.

Jaden found among the mercenaries a datapad from Shogo The Hutt, ordering them to detain their group with killing them. Obviously a move to reduce the number of bidders for the auction. Similar attacks were ordered by the Hutt on the other bidders. Realizing that lives were at stake and concerned for Selan Mela, the professor from Coruscant University that they were pooling their bid with they attempted to contact security. But they couldn’t get through the jamming. Cortree got to a console and using incredible skill sliced through the jamming causing a feedback loop that caused the jamming device to explode.

When the Tram arrived at the station, the Jedi informed Kel Markatta and his security of the scheme, fearing the other bidders would be attacked too. Their instincts were rewarded when Cortree found reports of disturbances throughout the The Wheel.

There was a report of a brief firefight and of an airlock that had been opened illegally around the Imperial’s quarters. It seemed clear to Cortree that the Imperial Stormtroopers had made short work of the Hutt Thugs and then tossed their bodies out an airlock. The security force of Espos protecting Commander Piter Gorlen were far less efficient. There had been a terrible firefight around Gorlen’s quarters with many bystanders suffering injuries from the indiscriminate fire the Espos had used to defend themselves. There were also reports of a disturbance around Rhaan Cheska’s quarters and he had been hospitalized. He was no match for the mercenaries without his BG-173E Bodyguard Droid. Finally, it appeared that Shoto the Hutt had been attacked as well although the fight had not resulted in any casualties. Cor found no mention of Selan Mela or the other scholars.

End of Episode: 04

Continue to Episode: 05

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EPISODE: 03
ADVERSARIES AND ALLIES ARE INTRODUCED

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The Wheel is a Space Station on the edge of Hutt Space protected from the laws of the Republic by ancient deals. The station’s casinos and black marketplaces stand both as a Lap of Luxury and a wretched hive of Scum and Villainy…. the perfect place for a team of Jedi Knights to save The Galaxy.

Arriving at The Wheel, Jaden Windu, Gisaku Saberota, Cortree Tincove and Mazer Val’Zian took steps to make sure their presence went unnoticed.

Cortree modified the Crucible’s Transponder to make it appear as the Azure Akkadian to all relevant scans. Upon docking, Mazer used 1000 Credits of the funds they received from Galen Argyus to secure some HIGH-END THREADS to better disguise their Jedi natures and support their story of being in the employ of Porbota The Hutt. Mazer went in as Jarlezek Zemay, Saberota as the tall silent Bodyguard, Jaden as a visiting scholar and Cortree as their accompanying mechanic to check over the condition of the goods. In addition, General Saberota took advantage of his Cyborg Body‘s many hiding places to conceal the team’s Lightsabers.

While mingling around the marketplaces and cantinas of the station they learned as much as they could about the lay of the land. Eventually they made their way to the site of the auction, a ballroom of neon and lights in the famous Grand Casino. A playground of live bands and loud noises. Of luxury and sin.

When the Jedi cased out the station they discovered that the Station’s Security, commanded by the Mandolorian Kel Markatta was as solid as a ray shield. Markatta confirmed their identities, which were solid thanks to Galen, and then gave them a communicator for the auction. After that he dismissed them, warning against any interference with the auction or any conflict with their fellow bidders. The Jedi would not be able to get out if it came to firefight. But they were not forbidden from talking with their fellow bidders.

Five Others appeared interested in the Lost Ship.

When they had first arrived, the Jedi discovered a Sveldt-Class Imperial Shuttle (A craft built for stealth and perfect for special operations) registered to a Captain Gellor docked at the station. Jaden remembered that Gellor was one of the Empire’s, “Top Men” and had written a series of papers 20-30 years ago on the ancient history of the galaxy. He was considered an expert xenoarchaeologist.

However, the Captain they found on the Ballroom floor was far too young to be the Captain Gellor who had penned those papers. His entourage of Stormtroopers had the customized weapons and armor of an elite commando team and seemed far more professional than the average Imperial foot soldier.

The second bidder was more like what they had expected. Selan Mela, a history professor at the prestigious University of Coruscant, seemed out of place on the Wheel wearing nice clothes she could barely afford. Professor Mela was a scholar for an Elite Coruscant Educational Society so prestigious that even the scholarly Jaden had been denied entry. She was accompanied by a pair of assistants one of whom seemed unusually quick-witted and strong willed. Upon speaking with Mela, Jaden and the others convinced her to help them by revealing that they were Jedi. They asked her to combine her credits with the Jedi since she clearly couldn’t afford to get the Ship on her own. They promised to turn over any archaeological objects to her for the museums on Coruscant after their mission. As long as the items weren’t tainted by the Dark Side of the Force. She agreed. Albeit reluctantly. She apparently did not hold a very high opinion of the Jedi in general.

The Third Bidder immediately caught Gisaku Saberota’s attention. Rhaan Cheska, the Vice-Prex of Research of the CSA was something of a boy genius who built a little corporate empire of new droids that had taken the Galaxy by storm. Saberota asked Selan Mela if he was any relation to the infamous Thelsamar Cheska, a man who he knew during the Clone Wars… but the scholar admitted that no one had ever considered that possibility. Given his ancestor’s role in the destruction of Cassandra’s Hope during the Clone Wars it would be embarrassing if anyone made that connection. Mela then recognized Saberota for who he was and asked if he would come to Coruscant for an interview about the Clone Wars. Saberota said he would love to as long as she helped them.

Cheska himself seemed like a simple business man and the tech tycoon and was by far one of the wealthiest bidders of the lot. Cortree seemed to get along with him talking about technical issues and droid designs. Accompanying Cheska was his assistant and a BG-173E Bodyguard Droid. The Droid seemed to Cortree like a top of the line model but it had a critical design flaw. It was so aggressive that Saberota’s very appearance as a bodyguard created a strong reaction and Cheska had to use a hand-held communicator of his own to restrain the Droid with voice command codes.

What the Vice-Prex didn’t realize is that Saberota’s Cybernetic Sensors managed to pick up and record those codes.

The fourth Bidder was an ESPO Commander named Piter Gorlan. Word had it that he and his band of corporate thugs were agents of Gul Shyssa, another Vice-Prex of the CSA. A man whose wealth even outstripped Rhaan Cheska’s.

The Fifth Bidder turned out to be a decently-sized Hutt, Shogo. A Hutt who knew how to get things and a collector of rare antiquities. Jaden had heard of him acquiring a Holocron that had been put up for auction several years before on The Wheel. He was well known as a fence but was far from the wealthiest or most powerful Hutt.

Along with Shogo was his enforcer, the fearsome Wookie, Mad-Claw Mazak. When Mazzak spotted the cyborg General he growled in challenge. For Saberota it brought back memories of a campaign on Kashyyyk during the Clone Wars. Memories of War Droids being ripped apart…by Wookiee hands…and this Wookie had a claw made of metal . Saberota’s feelings told him that the Wookiee was a threat and that letting it win was the wise option.

After all the Bidders appeared the entertainment began. The Twi’lek Singer and Dancer called Leela Chab’unu put on a big show for the Auction’s bidders. Her beauty, charisma and grace drew the entire crowd’s attention and even stirred up feelings in the disciplined Jedi Knights…all except for Mazer. He recognized Leela as Rilu Secura, an old flame of his from before he joined the Jedi. Maze had been Rilu’s partner, lover and victim during his old life as a scoundrel. Needless to say their relationship was…complicated.

When Rilu introduced herself to Maze, the pair of them made small-talk with their voices but spoke in secret with their Leku head-tails. Rilu as it turned out was there for her own scam. She had to pay off an obligation to a mysterious patron it seemed. She demanded Maze pay her 10,000 credits or she would out them as Jedi. The Twi’lek Jedi proposed that she would get a better pay day if she helped them get the ship instead. Specifically he asked if she would distract Piter Gorlan and get him out of the running for the auction. He convinced her with the promise of more credits after the job was done. Rilu went to work and proved to be a very very good distraction for Commander Gorlan…

Having met all of the bidders now, the Stations Owner Varn Talath brought out holograms of the Ship and samples of its contents to prove it’s authenticity. Their worst fears were confirmed by the taint of the Dark Side Maze sensed on the artifacts. The Jedi realized that by sheer arithmetic that were unlikely to to be top bidders with what few credits and allies they had.

Force Adept and master Mechanic Cortree Tincove had an idea that might disqualify one of the bidders though…

Cortree reprogrammed his hand communicator, took the recordings of Rhann Cheska’s Droid Security Codes from General Gisaku and exploited its major design flaw by commanding Cheska’s BG-173E Bodyguard Droid to attack Mad Claw Mazak. The Droid reacted with inhuman speed and precision but its blasters didn’t do more than anger the Wookie who tried to rip the Droid limb from useless limb.

The Wookie was only stopped when Kel Markatta and his security team downed the Droid in seconds with one of the greatest displays of precision shooting any of the Jedi had ever seen. Markatta was propelled through the air by his Mandalorian Armor’s rocket pack and he landed between the enraged wookiee and Cheska with his blaster drawn intent on stopping the fight before the wookiee’s rage escalated it out of control. Mad Claw was only barely able to restrain himself, staring down the Mandolorian even with a Heavy Blaster pointed at his head. It wasn’t until the Security Chief primed his wrist mounted flame thrower that the wookie was able to calm himself and back down. The behemoth’s glare promised a reckoning at some future date. The Chief removed his helmet and seemed unfazed by the wookiee’s murderous snarl.

The incident proved for the Jedi who was professional and who wasn’t. The Imperial Stormtroopers that had accompanied “Captain Gellor” were as fast on the draw as the Station’s Mandalorian security, while the ESPOs dragged their commander and Rilu out of there very quickly but in a very disorganized manner. Clearly the ESPOs were little more than thugs in uniforms while the Stormtroopers were elite operators.

With the situation diffused and violence contained Cheska agreed to repay Porbota The Hutt for his droid’s malfunction with 5 units of the same model droid when the kinks are worked out and the droid it put into mass-production.

Varn Talath, disgusted by the unfortunate incident decided to post pone the auction until the next day when cooler heads would hopefully prevail…

End of Episode: 03

Continue to Episode: 04

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EPISODE: 02
THE JEDI COUNCIL IS DEFIED

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Having arrived on Kashyyyk with the newly freed wookiee slaves Mazer Val’Zian was worried about his friend Galen Argyus. Galen was in surgery and it was touch and go. His survival was far from assured but the bacta tanks at the medical facility were his best bet. Before going into surgery Galen had made sure to give Maze a pad with information on it.

The pad held detailed documents and well forged identity papers on a Twi’lek named Jarlezek Zemay who worked for a Hutt named Porbota. It also had some general information on Porbota. It seems that the Hutt was well known for his mercurial personality and his zealous pursuit of sensual pleasure. Apparently he rarely, if ever, left his pleasure barge on Nal Hutta and was famous for his wild parties and the blood sports he hosted that led to the deaths of many sentients. Maze consulted his allies, Jaden Windu, Cortree Tincove and Gisaku Saberota to see if they had any additional information on the Hutt. They had little to add but Jaden assured them that the Hutt was not known for ever leaving Nal Hutta nor had he ever shown any particular interest in artifacts like the ones offered in the auction on The Wheel. Which meant there was almost no chance that any agents of Porbota would show up and interfere with the bidding for the ancient ship. It was certain that Galen intended for Maze to assume the identity of Jarlezek Zemay and act in the guise of an agent for the Hutt to acquire the ship.

Cortree left the hospital to repair the General’s cybernetic systems that had been damaged by the Trandoshan slavers. The wookiees of the Kashyyyk Liberation Front offered him access to a fully equipped workshop and he was able to make repairs in record time with the advanced facilities. Jaden had retired to the Crucible to consult the ship’s extensive archives about the mysterious Infinite Empire and it’s ties to the Ancient War Droid that had been unleashed on the galaxy. He was unable to learn much. He eliminated several lines of inquiry but found no new data that was related. Solving this mystery would take a great deal of time and effort on his part. He eagerly continued his research on the ship.

Meanwhile, Maze, with the newly repaired General and his apprentice Cor were discussing their plans when Maze got a call on his comlink. It was his former teacher, Master Tosh Diath. The Jedi Master informed Maze that Garek Malon had been dispatched to Kashyyyk by Grand Master Veshraan to ensure that they returned to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. He informed his apprentice that they should stay exactly where they were so the Jedi could collect them and that in fact he would be there any moment. Maze thanked his old master for giving him the warnin…er, the information and ended the connection.

They hastily made their way to the docking platform where the Crucible was parked and Maze tried to raise Jaden on his comlink. But all he got was static. Could they be jamming his transmissions?

Perhaps Maze and Gisaku spotted them first because they had been alerted by Master Diath. Or maybe it was because the cloaked and hooded Jedi Knight striding purposefully right toward them on the docking platform was arguing with a Republic Army Lieutenant who was leading a fully armed squad and was distracted. How else could a 7 foot tall cyborg be able to go unnoticed? The General was standing almost in plain sight next to a large stack of crates his bulk barely concealed by them. Meanwhile Maze vanished in the blink of the eye scampering up on a crane to perch like some stealthy bird of prey at its apex.

The Jedi was ordering the female officer to shoot to kill if there was any resistance. They were dealing with dangerous criminals and if they refused to cooperate her duty was to remove them as a threat to the Republic. The young officer was having nothing of it though. She argued back that she damn well knew what her duty was or wasn’t and that the Jedi had no authority over her. She had been sent with Garek as a courtesy and would use her own discretion on shooting to kill. That was when Cortree accidently knocked over a crate with his elbow sending ball bearings crashing to the deck and all over the platform. For several long moments Garek Malon and the soldiers stood staring in surprise, shock apparent on their faces, while Cor sheepishly raised his hands in surrender.

The General stepped out from his concealment announcing his name with his hands not quite raised. Garek Malon, known for his arrogance, demanded that Master Saberota and his allies surrender immediately or he would be forced to destroy him. Tensions mounted as the Jedi General bristled at his abrasive manner.

Lt. Mira Torwyn announced herself telling her men to hold their fire as the two Jedi faced off. She was very upset that Malon had apparently deceived her telling her that he was hunting criminals. She wasn’t going to involve her soldiers in an internal Jedi matter. Tensions spiraled out of control as the two Jedi argued and finally unable to tolerate being treated with so little respect any longer Saberota slammed a massive kick into a tower of crates. As the crates fell they knocked over another stack which in turn knocked over still more crates. The chaos of noise and debris caused the soldiers to scramble back. The Lieutenant ordered her men to hold their fire in a commanding voice.

Garek Malon, a master of Juyo and widely regarded as Grand Master Veshraan’s right hand man, used the Force to easily flip over the cascading boxes as they fell to the ground landing behind the Jedi General igniting his lightsaber and swinging it at his unprotected back. But Gisaku was a warrior of the Clone Wars and a Jedi Master. His body may have been slowed by the cybernetic systems that kept him alive and his connection to the force was minimal yet he was a veteran of many battles. Without even looking in Malon’s direction he skillfully parried the flurry of blows that rained down upon him from behind.

Before anyone else could get hurt Maze chose that moment to make his presence known. Dropping from his perch like a wraith, his cloak flapping quietly, he landed behind Garek Malon and launched his own attack with surprise almost total. However, Garek was able to dodge and parry the flurry of jabs from Maze’s short lightsaber blades in his own display of martial prowess. Just as Maze had anticipated.

The Twi’lek had cunningly maneuvered the Jedi Sword Master into position for a swift kick to the stomach to knock him into the path of the tumbling crates. Garek was an exceptional warrior and would likely have been able to escape the attack despite being totally surprised but for the small toolbox that hit him in the head giving him a mild concussion. Stunned he was unable to escape the large crate that fell onto his legs. They all heard the snap of bone as his leg was crushed under the heavy carton.

Maze ran to the fallen Jedi immediately to make sure he wasn’t too badly wounded. Garek tried to push him away but was too weak to do so and the Twi’lek was able to stabilize him through the Force ensuring that he wouldn’t be crippled.

The soldiers converged on the three Jedi nervously until Lt. Torwyn commanded them to halt. Her men paused and followed her gaze into the surrounding branches of the tree that the landing pad was in. Twenty or more wookiees of the KLF surrounded them weapons not quite aimed at the Republic soldiers. She stood down her troops and allowed the Jedi access to the Crucible’s docking platform.

The Lieutenant turned to the former Jedi General and explained that her grandfather had fought alongside him at the Battle of Telos during the Clone Wars. He had always spoken of the General with a great deal of respect and she was honored to have met him. She stood at attention and saluted. Jedi Master Gisaku Saberota gravely returned her salute.

One of the KLF approached them and assured the Jedi that Galen Argyus would be treated fairly. They could not prevent the Jedi Knight from arresting Galen but they could lobby on his behalf with the Senate.

With that the Crucible took off from Kashyyyk and Cortree plotted a course for The Wheel.

End of Episode: 02

Continue to Episode: 03

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EPISODE: 01
GALEN ARGYUS IS RESCUED

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Galen Argyus had contacted his fellow Jedi aboard The Crucible, an ancient Jedi Training Cruiser, and told them that he needed to meet with them on Kashyyyk in a few days. He had stumbled on something important that he believed Jaden Windu, Cortree Tincove and Gisaku Saberota needed to see. But there was something he had to do first. That had been 4 days ago.

When the Jedi had investigated his disappearance they were contacted by a group of wookies from the Kashyyyk Liberation Front. The wookiees explained that he been captured by Trandoshan Slavers while trying to defend their people from a raid. The slavers had taken Galen along with a dozen captured wookiee villagers back to Trandosha for the Hutt slave markets. The KLF had contacted the The New Republic authorities but their hands were tied. Trashosha was in Hutt Space and they had no authority there. They had been told in no uncertain terms to stay out of Hutt Space lest they cause an intergalactic incident. The KLF hoped the companions would be able to act and save their people. But the Jedi were ordered to stand down by the The Jedi Order. It was bad enough that Galen Argyus was involved given his turbulent history with the Hutts and the Republic and the Council didn’t want to incite the situation further.

Sadly, the Crucible experienced “technical difficulties” causing the transmission to be badly garbled and they didn’t copy that last order. Cortree was going to “do his best” to restore communications as soon as possible but he was dealing with a ship that was over a millennium old after all. Realizing they were on their own the group set a course for Trandosha. Luckily, the KLF had given them coordinates for the staging area for recent raids and they knew exactly where to look for their comrade.

After avoiding detection and weaving their way through Tradoshan planetary pickets the Jedi landed the Crucible on the planet quite a few miles away from the slaver camp. Mazer Val’Zian was sent ahead to scout the camp. The young Twi’lek Jedi was able to avoid detection with ease and spotted Galen and the wookiee captives. Galen had been shot multiple times and Maze could sense through the Force that his connection to life was tenuous at best. They had to move fast if they were going to save their friend.

Maze reported back to his allies that the prisoners were being held in a canyon with at least 20 or more Trandoshan Slavers patrolling the area. There was only one entrance into the cul–de–sac and steep 80 meter walls rose up on either side in the narrow canyon. The prisoners themselves were interred in 3 holes that had been dug into the dusty earth with massive durasteel doors blocking escape. Three Trandoshan Hunter Pods with deadly rotary laser canons were parked in the canyon. As the warmth of the day receded the reptilian slavers would become less active and to combat that heating elements and lights were placed at strategic areas around the camp. In fact because of the canyon walls the heaters were already seeing use as the camp lay in the shadows as Trandosha’s sun set. After some discussion the group moved into position and prepared their assault on the slavers.

Mazer infiltrated the camp easily evading the guards and sabotaged the rotary canons on the pods before moving to the generator that powered the lights and heating units and using his lightsabers destroyed it. The lights going down was the signal to begin the attack and Cortree drove the Crucible’s hovertruck up to the edge of the cliff and prepared to disembark the squad of B-1 Battle Droids he had salvaged on Raxus Prime. Unfortunately he had swung the truck around a little too hard and the droids ended up in a tangle of limbs in the cargo bay giving the Slavers enough time to recover their wits and attack.

At that same moment Jaden Windu who had sensed a weakness or Shatterpoint in the canyon walls used the Force to try and cause an avalanche. He intended to create a step ladder of stone that would allow them to move down to the canyon floor and back out again. It took more time than he wanted to move the massive bolder with the Force but he was finally able to do it. He then made his way down to the fight next to the pits.

Calling out orders in the harsh language of Dosh the Trandoshan Alpha led a squad of murderous thugs to secure the slave pits. They arrived just in time to see the impressive sight of the massive cyborg Saberota Gisaku leap from the top off the cliff trailing a grappling line fired from his cybernetic arm. The guards near the pits saw him coming and sent up a hail of deadly blaster fire which he blocked with his flashing lightsaber before slamming into the ground making an impressive impact crater. The deadly Alpha charged with his massive blaster rifle but the Jedi General was a veteran of the Clone Wars and he easily evaded his fire and knocked the heavy rifle from his hands with a deft kick while cutting down 2 other slavers.

Finally getting themselves untangled and at the barked orders of Cortree the Battle Droids entered the fray. Because of their elevated position and the sheer volume of fire and excellent direction from their master the droids took a heavy toll on the slavers cutting them down in swaths. The Trandoshans tried to get the Hunter Pods off the ground and were surprised to find Maze damaging one of them with his lightsabers. The Twi’lek Jedi moved away from the pods toward the trapped wookiees intending on liberating them from the cages. As the pods tried to take off withering fire from the B-1 droids cut them to pieces. Only one of them made it off the ground at all as another one rose up out of control and slammed into a second pod before exploding. The second pod fared little better. It was blasted and crashed loudly to the hard canyon floor going up in flames.

The final pod hovered over the Battle Droids at the lip of the canyon and took up position to blast the droids with its rotary canon. But Maze’s sabotage prevented it from firing and the gunner desperately tried to clear the debris from the blaster. By the time he had done so the droids turned on the pod and blaster it from the sky.

Maze had moved to the pits by then and was using his lightsaber to cut the locks while Saberota, eventually joined by Jaden, fought the slavers. The Alpha lost his left arm to the general’s slashing blade but before his blaster pistol tumbled to the ground he head-butted his opponent knocking him back. He deftly caught the pistol still clutched in his chopped off limb and blasted Saberota damaging his cybernetics which sparked and smoked.

Meanwhile, Jaden leaped into the fray using his superior positioning to maximize his efforts cutting down the slavers with judicious blows from his glowing purple blade. After freeing the wookiees Mazer joined in the battle taking care to disable his foes without killing them. Realizing that he had no chance to stop the formidable team of Jedi the Trandoshan Alpha snarled something in his guttural tongue before retreating from the battle. The powerful Trandoshan moved toward the generator where the comm gear was kept but was dismayed to see that Cortree’s droids had blasted it beyond repair. The Jedi swiftly loaded the hovertruck up with the liberated wookiees while the battle droids clung to the outside with their clamp like hands.

They were able to make it to the Crucible with the wookiees and Maze tried to stabilize Galen’s wounds with the Force. Unfortunately, his injuries were too extensive and Maze realized that if Galen were to survive he would have to be placed in a Bacta tank. The nearest available one would be on Kashyyyk.

But Galen had something very important to share with the group. He had learned of an auction for the location of an ancient shipwreck being held on The Wheel by Varn Talath. The auction was only a day away so they had to act fast. What had caught his attention was an old stone amulet that had been taken from the ship along with several scrolls and other artifacts. It bore the exact same symbol that was found on the Ancient War Droid that Cortree had found on the Crucible. SWFotJ_InfiniteEmpireLogo_Stone.png

Cortree had repaired that droid and it had gone on a rampage killing many people. Including Saberota’s aged Padawan who had survived the Clone Wars and the ravages of time only to die in his arms as he woke from his sleep. She had sacrificed herself to stop the droid from killing General while he was still recovering. The droid had managed to escape and had vanished. The crashed ship also had an old war droid aboard. Could it be the same type as the one that attacked Gisaku? If so what was the connection between the two of them? And how had that droid ended up on the Crucible in the first place? Why was it after the General?

Jaden, who had been studying the symbols intently as the discussion raged on realized that he vaguely recognized it. He remembered reading of something called the INFINITE EMPIRE in some ancient texts. He had a feeling the symbol was related to that somehow. He didn’t know much about the topic though. If he recalled correctly The Infinite Empire was over 30,000 years old! SWFotJ_InfiniteEmpireLogo.png

Maze had been staring intently at the symbol as well. But instead of any insight into what it might stand for he only got a sense of danger and unease from it. Clearly they had to make their way to auction. At the very least they had to prevent another deadly war droid from being released on the galaxy. The Twi’lek also felt that they needed to find out what the connection was between the crashed ship and the mysterious droid.

Galen explained that he had secured Maze a false identity and got him a place at the auction. He also had 20,000 credits he had taken from vanquished Trandoshan Slavers for them to use as seed money. He asked them to make their way to the space station and try to win the bidding. The disscussion on if 20,000 credits was enough and whether they should use the Force to ensure that they win the auction was interrupted by an incoming call from Coruscant.

Grand Master Veshraan’s hologram appeared and he demanded that Master Gisaku tell him exactly what the Crucible’s location was. He was clearly displeased when he was informed that they were breaking orbit from Trandosha and he ordered the General to return to the Jedi Temple on Yavin IV immediately. He promised that all aboard the Crucible would face a Jedi Tribunal for going against the Council’s orders. Maze was able to get him to relent somewhat by explaining that there were wounded wookiees that needed medical attention and that they had to go to Kashyyyk or they would lose them. Also, Galen’s life was in the balance.

The Grandmaster was extremely agitated by the mention of Galen Argyus whose reputation as a trouble maker had been well established during the infamous Battle of Soccorro. In his mind Galen had defied orders, endangering the soldiers of the Republic, all for his own personal vendetta against slavery. He saw Galen as a loose canon and it seems that he had now infected other Jedi with his insolence. Veshraan would not stand for that. He told the crew of the Crucible that they could drop off the injured but there should be no delays after that. Maze tried to explain what the situation was with the auction but the Grandmaster would have none of it. He ordered them home despite the Twi’lek Jedi’s plea.

Saberota contacted K’Kruhk who had trained him long ago and explained what was going on. The old Jedi Master, who like Saberota had survived the Clone Wars, told the group that they should make their way to Kashyyyk for now and he would see if he could change the Grandmaster’s decision. Master Tosh Diath was also there and he promised to try and influence the Council on their behalf. For now they must do their best to win the auction and protect the galaxy from whatever might be on the shipwreck.

End of Episode: 01

Continue to Episode: 02

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