Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
Jacen's First Story
One Night in Xebec’s Demise
I’d been on Denchar for about a year, and finally felt like I knew my way around Xebec’s Demise. If you don’t already know, Xebec’s Demise in the primary settlement on Denchar, and has been used as a penal colony for some time now by first the Romulans, and now the Federation. It’s where all of us dangerous dissidents are sent to. There’s a high concentration of ammonia in the atmosphere and hydrosphere, but the city has (had?) a filtration system to keep the populace safe. Unfortunately, lack of maintenance has led to some areas around the city to leak, so smart people travel with a breathing mask and goggles.
I was wandering around a section of the city one night, looking for a wookiee I’d heard about by the name of Dey’ron. Wookiees are never all that friendly, and this one had already earned a name for disposing of people that bothered him, but he was rumored to be a Jedi and that meant I wanted to find him. Unfortunately, that also meant that I was wandering in a section of the city under the control of the Gurlacs, a Klingon-only gang with a penchant for violence and chaos.
As I made my way through the maze of tight alleyways and bridges, my eyes kept sweeping the area around me. Too often in the past had foes struck from the shadows – I had no intention of being caught unawares here. Ahead, a shadow flitted across the street. My hand found my knife’s hilt as I strained to see where whatever it was had gone. I wasn’t too practiced in using the weapon yet, but with the loss of my connection to the Force – and my sabers – it was the best weapon I currently had.
As I neared the corner, a short but massive being stepped in front of me – a Trandoshan. He glared at me and snarled as I stepped aside. His eyes followed me, then he snorted. He said something in his native tongue to me, which I didn’t understand, but as he made no other threatening move I passed him and continued down the street. I was about 10 meters past him when I realized he’d been carrying a Stouker concussion rifle. Glancing back, I realized he was still watching me. I had a bad feeling all of a sudden – no one on this planet had anything more advanced than a slug gun, except for the Areinnye-Kaleh and a handful of independents. And none of them had such an esoteric weapon at all. I smelled bounty hunter, and I didn’t like it. I’d heard the Empire was hunting Jedi and other Force users, and I wouldn’t put it past the more capable or crazy hunters to slip past a blockade in order to collect.
I was close to a bar so I ducked in to get out of the Trandy’s sight – to my sorrow. I had ducked into the Grinning Vulcan, which meant I was one of a few – if not the only – Humans inside. If the hunter was here for me, I doubted I’d get any help here. An orange-skinned non-human female gave me a wink and a grin as I looked around, but I made my way to the bar instead – I figured if I needed to I could always jump over the bar for cover. I ordered a drink and glanced around, finding the other exits and checking the crowd for any more surprises – and I found one.
A female Mirialan was making her way across the room. She looked like she was trying to remain inconspicuous, but she must’ve been a new arrival – the fastest way to draw attention in the Zee was to try and avoid it. But that isn’t what really drew my attention. It was the saber hilt I could just make out at the edge of her cloak. As she left through the back door, I quickly scanned the room to see if she was being followed – seeing no one, I headed out the door myself. She was just crossing the street and entering an alley.
As I followed her I made certain to keep some distance – she had no way of knowing I meant her no threat, and I intended to stay out of her striking range with her saber until I could ensure her of such. Just as I was peering down the dark alley, I felt a blaster poke into my back, causing me to stop in my tracks.
“’Ello dere Jeedai. Ve haf a long way com for you,” said whoever it was behind me. A male, and he spoke with a heavy accent. I started to glance behind but he stopped me. “No need to be look around, Jeedai. Ve vould prefer to take alive you, but not needed for price on your head.”
I tensed and prepared to make my move, knowing it would probably be too late. I considered letting them take me prisoner – it would have gotten me off the planet if they succeeded, and I could always try to escape later, but any hunter capable of getting past the Federation blockade in orbit probably wouldn’t make any stupid mistakes. Fortunately for me, they’d already made one.
As I said, I was getting ready to make my move when I felt the man behind me slam into my back. At first thinking I’d been shot, I realized he was being attacked. As I turned to face him and his assailant, I heard a sharp crack and his howl of pain, then a barrage of blaster fire caused me to leap into the alley for cover. My assailant, a Devaronian with a freshly broken horn was firing at his attacker – the alien woman from the bar! She cartwheeled nimbly around his blaster fire, but didn’t see the Trandoshan appear down the street. He lifted his rifle as I moved. I tackled the woman as the concussive blast struck where she’d been a moment before.
We were struggling to get up when another series of blaster fire forced the Devaronian to seek shelter. A rutian Twi’lek was double fisting a pair of blasters, covering our escape. The unknown woman I had tackled pulled me to my feet, yelling at me, “Get across the street, you imbecile! You wanna get killed or something?!”
I was about to say something smart-assed, but when I saw the drenn-eating grin on her face I realized she was yanking my chain. “Something like that!” I responded. “But I guess I oughta stick around so I can collect my reward for saving your tight ass!”
She laughed as she shoved me toward the Twi’lek, and turned to fire her own blaster at the retreating Devaronian hunter. Down the street, the Trandoshan was working his way through cover to get a better angle on us for his concussion rifle. The Twi’lek glanced at me, “You just gonna stand there or are you gonna help out?!” She tossed me one of her blasters, then sprinted across the street toward a discarded cargo crate. Without really thinking about it I laid down some cover fire for her, but something was nagging at me. Before I could figure it out, a chunk of wall near my exploded, peppering me with masonry.
Across the street, a massive war droid was taking another bead on me. I realized I had no where to go, so I just stood my ground and started firing my blaster at it as fast as I could pull the trigger, but its shields proved to be more than effective enough to withstand my barrage. As it opened fire, it was my turn to be tackled out of danger’s way. “Consider this your reward,” the orange woman screamed into my ear as she pressed me into the ground. The droid strafed its dual repeaters, the blaster bolts passing just over our bodies. It started to adjust its fire as we scrambled away on all-fours.
A familiar snap-hiss followed by a hum was our salvation. The Mirialan leapt from the rooftop above and landed atop the droid, plunging her saber into its head as she landed. The droid let out an erratic warble as its circuits melted; it collapsed into a ball as the Mirialan rolled into the middle of the street.
Meanwhile, the Twi’lek was exchanging fire with the two bounty hunters. She was pinned down, but at the sight of a Jedi with her lightsaber, the Devaronian yelled to his companion to retreat. He took off running down the street, firing his blaster at us as he ran. The Trandoshan hesitated long enough to fire his rifle at the Mirialan – unable to deflect it, she jumped aside as the concussive force shattered the street. He hissed his defiance at us and then turned and ran. The orange alien and I got to our feet as the Twi’lek continued to fire at the hunters. The Mirialan turned off her saber, calling out, “Mission, that’s enough! We’ll pick up their trail later.”
Mission! I looked at the Twi’lek – was it possible? She stood up and turned to us, and that’s when it struck me – it was Mission! She looked at me oddly – I must have been open-mouthed in amazement – and asked, “What in the nine hells has crawled down your… JACEN!” She surged forward, throwing her arms around me, laughing and crying at the same time. I mustv’e nearly crushed her in my own embrace, swinging her around. When we finished, she glanced at her companions, her skin turning a darker blue under their curious gazes.
“Guys, this is an old friend of mine, from back home on Taris. Jacen, this is Tanda…” she motioned to the Mirialan who watched me cooly “…and this is Sila…” she nodded to the other woman, who was grinning at our earlier display.
The two women said hello to me, and Mission continued, “Guys, this is Jacen. He’s a Jedi like you Tanda, and he can help us. He knew Big Z, they were close…”
Tanda interrupted, “Slow down, Mission. We have to get off of this street before curious eyes starts looking.” Tanda turned to me, “Is there someplace we can go that’ll have a little more privacy?”
“The only place I can think of would be my place. I can’t guarantee the landlord won’t try to listen, but there’ll be fewer people trying to be curious.”
An hour later, we were back at my room. I offered them a beer, to which Sela gave some remark about my wanting to get them all drunk. I laughed, and to be honest, decided I wouldn’t mind bedding any one of them, let alone all three of them.
Mission started, “They killed Zaalbar, Jace! That frellnik Trandoshan ambushed Big Z! Him and that frellwit Devo! They got us cornered on DS9 and shot him! When we catch up with them…!”
Sela interjected, “We’re gonna get payback, big time, Mission. Don’t fret yourself over that. Tanda got rid of their droideka tonight – that puts a big hurt on their operation. Plus I kept a souveneir for you…” she tossed something to Mission “…I picked that up before we left.”
Mission stared at the single Devaronian horn in her hands, then grinned as evilly as I’d ever seen her in the past. She gripped it tightly, and nodded her thanks to Sela.
I asked, “Wait a minute, what are you doing here? What the frak were THEY doing here? And what in all the HELLS is going on?!”
“We were following those two that jumped you,” responded Tanda. “The Trandoshan’s name is Sadeet. He’s the muscle of the group, with over a dozen kills to his reputation, almost all of them up close and personal. The brains is Jojo Nor, the Devaronian. Jojo’s got a wicked sense of hunting – seems to be able to predict where his prey will go next. I’d think he was using the Force if I didn’t know any better.”
She sighed, “We don’t know what they were doing here. Maybe picking up some new crew, maybe tracking a bounty…”
“They thought I was a Jedi,” I interjected. “My guess is they were here looking for one.”
Mission looked up, “Thought you were a Jedi? You ARE a Jedi!”
“Not any more, Mission,” I explained. “When the Federation put me here, they did something, cut me off from the Force. Sometimes I think I can sense it still, out on my periphery, but it doesn’t respond to my call anymore.”
“Huh!” Sela grunted. “I guess that means you’re no use,” she said with a glint in her eye.
Tanda cut off Mission before an argument could get started, “Well, regardless, we have to find them before they get too far. My guess is they’re headed off-planet now – we hit them pretty good, and I’m betting that they didn’t expect us to be so close on their tails.”
Mission spoke up, “Yeah! And I bet that means they’ll want to regroup! Only two places near here that’ll be open to them for that – Citadel or Rigel. We gotta 50-50 chance! I’m bettin’ on Citadel – didn’t they have some connection to Nuvari?”
Nuvari – though I didn’t know the name, a chill ran down my spine as it was spoken. Tanda must have noticed my reaction – she looked at me curiously. I glanced at her, “Like I said, sometimes I have feelings. When Mission said ‘Nuvari’, my hackles rose. If I were a betting man, I’d check his areas and contacts out.”
Sela nodded, “Right! Then lets hit the black – we’ve gota faster boat, so if we guess right, we may even be able to beat them there.” She walked over and patted me on the face, “Sorry about your mojo, Jacen. If you want to tag along, we could always use the mascot.” She grinned again – it was infectious, and I found myself smiling back.
“Yeah, I’d love to hang with you ladies. But I’m afraid I’ve got a few more things to work out here.” My thoughts returned to Dey’ron – I had to at least try to find him before leaving. Sela nodded and turned to leave, but not before giving my rear a swat.
“Stay in touch, Jacen. You get off this rock, look us up. Any friend of Mission’s is a friend of mine,” she said as she headed out to the street. “I’ll be waiting outside, girls.”
Tanda got up, looked at me, “The Force is still strong in you, Jacen. We’ll see what we can discover about treating this thing that was done to you. Unless the Federation has the power of the Council, I doubt it’s something that’s permanent.”
Tanda turned to Mission, “Don’t take too long, Mission. We have to be gone before the daystar rises over the horizon.” She gave me a wave and followed Sela outside.
Mission stood looking at me wide-eyed. “You really got zapped by the Feds, huh? Well, I don’t care what anyone else says, you ain’t no bakebrain to me.” She grinned, “Get offa this dirtpile soon, okay. I’d like to hang out with someone from the old neighborhood again…” her smile faltered as memories assailed her “…besides, I need someone I can cause static with.”
She hugged me tightly, until I forced her to let go. “Don’t worry about me, Mission. I won’t be far behind you – I gotta get some payback from those two fekkiks myself. No way I’m gonna miss out on that. Zaalbar saved my ass too many times to go unavenged.”
She coughed and nodded, then turned quickly and left. I was left alone in my room, breathing in air softly perfumed by the three women who’d just left. Tanda’s words gave me some comfort – she was right, without Force users, they couldn’t have cut me off from the Force, not completely! I finished my beer and stood up. All the perfume wafting about had made me horny, and that Twi’lek at the Grinning Vulcan reminded me a little of Mission.
I grabbed my cloak, secured my room, and headed out again.