Tales of the Jedi

Episode 59 – Body Double
Body Double

[ Flashback: Rather than wait in the Sunjammer, we see Wells sneak aboard the shuttle and step out in the hangar of The Mad Plunderer. Taking advantage of the chaos, she is able to download some information onto a datastick before rejoining the team before they assault the bridge (having left Arten to disable the weapons).] In addition to the standard pirates and stick droids, there are two security droids and an Executioner Droid guarding the hallway to the bridge. Left alone to fight the executioner droid, Rune is injured while Slivko sneaks past and Wells, Mattox and Steiner shoot from around the corner. The doctor is able to occupy the attention of pirates long enough for Rune to recover and cut the limbs from the executioner droid, allowing the others to shoot what’s left of it. Mattox slices the security door and Rune tells Captain Key ‘Brass’ Erbello to surrender and he will be taken to a Republic prison. Erbello, his hand over a button which would send a pre-recorded message to Pirate space, says he is able to summon more ships from the Guild here to plunder Onderon – or – if they let them return to Guild space, he gives his word as a Captain that the planet will be safe from any more pirate attacks. Rune agrees to his terms, stating later to the team that Onderon has seen enough death and has earned its peace.
Meanwhile, back on the Sunjammer, the Snow Nexu Pho Dudoka tries to seduce Myn to let her out of the Zero Room cell but the young Padawan stays vigilant. Landing back on Onderon, the group meets up with Master Sirta who will be returning to Coruscant in her ship and the others in the Sunjammer. While in Hyperspace, both Wells and Zeeona separately seek aid from Dr. Slivko. The doctor continues to implant subliminal commands of loyalty into Jenif under the guise of helping her regain her memories. The Princess asks Slivko for something to help her sleep since she is plagued by terrible nightmares involving her cousin, Aleema Keto. Other discussions occur between Rune & Slivko, Rune & Mattox as well as Wells & Ruce.
Landing at the spaceport on Coruscant, the Jedi need to escort Sudoka to the Temple; Master Sirta invites the others to come along (but waiting outside the Council Chambers of course). Rune says that he is sure the team would rather enjoy some downtime and everyone takes the hint except Slivko, who has been on Coruscant before but never inside the temple. Rune shoots him a dirty look but doesn’t go against the Master’s invitation. Wells invites Zeeona to go shopping and attend an exhibition at the HyperDrive Museum and the Princess sounds honestly interested but mysteriously says she has another matter to attend to …
Inside the Temple, Master Sirta tells Myn and Slivko to wait outside the Council Chambers but leaves the door open with a wink so they can listen in. Shortly after, Knight Mortalyn Vaen comes by, noticing the door is ajar and shuts it. This prompts Slivko to ask Myn for a tour of the Temple. She is reluctant but agrees to only show him areas which she deems harmless such as the cafeteria (“On Thursdays we get three flavors.”) Inside the Chamber, Rune and Master Sirta give an update on Onderon (Sudoka is escorted away by padawans) and make their case for the Empress Teta system. Rune emphasizes how serious things have become with the Krath implementing gas chambers which use Sith alchemy. Master Saff-Tau-Melor (a Cerean) takes the floor and shares his analysis of the declaration of war holo sent by Ulic Qel-Droma. Since portions of it were looped and some footage of droid construction was even time-stamped prior to Deneba, it likely that there is no real threat here and it’s just saber-rattling. During his presentation, he fumbles with the recording and accidentally plays the torture of Knight Ro-Than Zem and his Padawan Jaalib Maris as they are dipped into hot carbonite twice. Knight Rune gets the final word as he accuses the Masters of not coming to the aid or dealing with the problem of a fallen Jedi and asks if they have changed so much since his grandfather! Without a good response, Vandar simply dismisses them as they are storming out. Outside the Chambers, Sirta is as upset as Rune and thinks that the Council is afraid of the Krath after the tragedy at Deneba and are looking for any excuse not to engage. It will be up to them. She instructs Rune to settle his affairs on Coruscant quickly and she will do the same. Together they will depart for Koros Major as soon as possible. At this point, Rune notices that Myn & Slivko are not waiting where they should be. He quickly catches up to them and chastises Myn for leaving her station and showing a criminal around the Temple and locks Slivko in his room.
Elsewhere, we see Zeeona traveling alone to The University of Coruscant wearing a hooded robe to hide herself. We see her knock on a dorm room door and call for her sister, Zaya. Going inside, she notices some green smoke and is shocked by what she finds! Later, Rune calls her to let her know that they will be leaving for Empress Teta soon. Not wanting to ruin the plans, she remains quiet but Rune senses something is troubling her. She explains that her sister has been kidnapped! When they all meet up, Deeta Tarrant says that they got the drop on him and gassed him again. He hands over the datapad with the note saying that he is really after the Princess and they will bring the real girl or the body double dies. The note is unsigned, but as soon as Rune reads it, he knows exactly who is behind this: Mon-Ko Jett. The bounty hunter is holding all the cards; they have no choice. As instructed, they take out an ad in the HoloNet under “Seeking Princess” and he responds with a location and a time: “Level 1313, Sector 159. One hour.” It will take 55 minutes to get there …
The group is forced to land the speeder and disembark since the shipping containers are stacked floor-to-ceiling in this loading area. Rune, Slivko, Wells, Mattox, Myn, Tarrant and Zeeona begin to move between the crates. Hacking the system, Mattox learns that Mon-Ko has left one camera working in this area and it’s pointed right at Zaya who is gagged and tied to a chair. Because Jett is known to use explosions, Rune tells everyone to split up. Slivko and Myn move off in one direction, she is tranq darted by a sniper rifile. Slivko moves to place her safely in a shipping container only to find that it has been trapped by high-G matting and he is pulled down. With insane strength, he is able to lift himself off the mat and tear open the lock of the container, placing Myn gently inside. Elsewhere, a miniature “mouse” droid traps homes in on Mattox and explodes sending his blasting into a container! Seeing what happened, Wells goes to check on him. With Jett dropping two people in as many seconds, Rune cuts a hole in the side of a shipping container and tells Zeeona to hide safely inside then leaps up onto a different container, making himself a target. Mon-Ko had selected a perfect sniper position – unseen even when firing, but the Force alerts Rune to the danger and – after rapidly firing off two bolts – Rune grabs the sniper rifle out of his arms. Using his jet pack, Mon-Ko drops down and a pitched battle begins. Jett keeps Rune on the ropes – constantly having to defend himself from the varied arsenal. This gives the others a chance to take shots and weaken his deflector shield. There is still the risks of traps with Slivko triggering two anti-personnel mines, Wells getting stuck in quick-drying glue and Rune being lured to step right next to Mon-Ko and getting a blast of stinging tear gas in his eyes. At one point, Zeeona is startled when Jett lands on top of her container but by this point, the team has had a chance to surround Jett and his deflector shield starts to falter and he is seriously injured. Not wanted to ruin his perfect record, but not wanting to die more – he activates his jet pack bursts into the air. Rune leaps up and tries to use the Force to grab him but he is weaving in and out between the containers and makes his escape, leaving behind a datapad. Rune brings it to him and it reveals the bounty hunter’s honor – Jett had called him out and the 3rd round goes to Rune; the Princess will no longer be hunted.
With everyone safe, on the ride back, Zaya holds Tarrant’s hand and the truth of their relationship is revealed (with Rune sharing a knowing look to Zeeona). Having not been taken dancing on their first night on Coruscant, Wells makes plans with Slivko who also tries to get Myn to go but she manages to resist his charms. Instead, Slivko persuades Zeeona to accompany them. The evening starts fine but because Zeeona had suggested a place she likes near the university, she notices her sister there with Deeta and then leaves the club. Slivko goes after her and finds some rude men from before trying to grab her. She pulls away and stumbles, hitting her head and falling unconscious. Perhaps recovering sooner than he expected, she is horrified to see the doctor cutting on the men in unspeakable ways! She rushes back into the club and is taken out the back by Tarrant, dropping the sister off at the dorm on the way back to the Sunjammer. Returning without a drop of blood on him, the doctor explains to Jenif that Zeeona was distraught because of the attempted sexual assault. Back at the Sunjammer, Zeeona tells Rune what happened but can’t get through the details of everything Slivko did to the men before falling back into shock. Tarrant takes her to her room while Rune waits for the others to arrive. Jenif goes to check on Zeeona and Rune confronts Dr. Slivko, asking him if it was worth it – what he did to those men – since it will now cost him his freedom. Rune, feeling responsible for the deaths of those men, locks Dr. Vasili Slivko in the Zero Room – the incessant humming of the energy field already grating on his musically-trained ears …

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Episode 58 – Crash Course
Crash Course

The Iziz city watch take Fein Gallasin away as Dr. Slivko comes down the ramp of the Sunjammer; his music listening disturbed by the sounds of the recent fight with the pirates. Wells returns with Ruce Steiner who agrees to take the rest of the team up to the pirate ship in exchange for a shorter sentence on Coruscant (instead of Onderon) while she remains in the Sunjammer in case they need a quick rescue. Rune tells Myn to keep an eye on Pho Sudoka as Slivko sees to her wounds on the Sunjammer. The doctor persuades her to remain just outside the door by telling Myn that while the naked form does not bother a Twi’lek, it may in fact disturb Sudoka to be seen that way. Since Rune and Arten still need medical attention, Dr. Slivko accompanies them on the shuttle (leaving Myn to guard the Snow Nexu since Rune doesn’t trust her alone with Wells). There is a tense moment as Steiner gets nervous when speaking to the individual in traffic control and is forced to use the lewd passphrase but it works. Meanwhile, inside the pirate transport, a group of three motley crew members is leading a handsome roguish individual to the hangar in a space version of “walk the plank” (a fate which doesn’t seem to concern him). The scoundrel, who we learn is called A’ato Mattox (“Crash” to his friends), is accused of cheating the captain in a game of holo-chess. The three shove Mattox in an airlock and are so busy teasing him that they don’t initially notice Rune behind until he asks for directions to the engine room in order to disable it! Shocked, they of course refuse and a short fight ensues during which Mattox manages to move his cuffed wrists to the front and slice the door, dramatically exiting as the last pirate is killed with three-tenths of one second to spare! Even Crash is a bit startled by the amount remaining since he had wasted quite a bit of time peering through the window during the fight to tell the pirates that he had his eye on them and was counting the shots used with his gun. He explains that he’s no friend of the pirates and, realizing that he doesn’t have a ship of his own, would be more than happy to show them the way to the engine room. Mattox tries but is unable to fully disable the alarm system by hacking into a basic terminal but he does manage to downgrade any alerts to amber. Due to an earlier mutiny, the crew has been supplemented with stick droids. The group manages to make it down several corridors stealthily killing any crew they encounter until Dr. Slivko decides to torment a downed pirate rather than quickly take out the last one who activates the klaxons. At one point, a pirate is terrified when the Jedi Knight orders Slivko to “just kill him” rather than doing something worse (such as slicing off his skin). The fights get harder as the crew is able to form temporary barricades in the hallways. The team makes it to the engine room and Mattox assists Arten in disabling the engines to a point in which it would take the pirates hours to repair it (but not needing the transport to be towed to a dock). The group manages to take a short rest before heading to the weapons room so Arten can disable it as well while Rune, Slivko and Crash will make their way to the bridge to confront the Captain.
[NOTE: The title of this episode is a double entendre in reference to both Mattox’s nickname and the new path he is now taking as well as it being the player’s first session using HERO System]

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Episode 57 – Lost & Found
Lost & Found

Establishing shot of repair work beginning on the Palace. Slivko attends to Arten’s injuries and questions why he risks himself for the cause of the Jedi. Meanwhile, we see Wells meeting with Fein Gallasin, the Mon Calamari smuggler, at the landing area. He explains that his primary buyer, Boras Nek, didn’t show up for the meet and he needs her help to enter the Royal Palace so he can make contact with his backup name – Atok Kira. Wells is initially reluctant but Gallasin sweetens the deal with a bottle of rare Corellian wine. Wells quickly finds out that Boras is in prison and Atok is dead. Fein is very worried and gets a holo call from an attractive human female saying she is coming to collect. In the Palace, Rune teaches Myn that it is fine to assist the repairmen but she can do so without abusing The Force. Later, he goes to the library to retrieve the records of Naddist history which Myn left for him on a table at the back. Aleema suddenly appears before Rune and says she knows it’s risky for her to visit like this but she felt she had to; she warns that Ulic continues to make plans – he’s been ramping up production of War Droids and training more men to become soldiers. She has seen him planning with a holo projection but he will minimize it before she can see the specific worlds. Rune warns her to be careful and says he will convince the High Council and come rescue her soon. She then slips off her silk garment and offers herself to him. Later, Master Sirta returns and finds Knight Rune burning the Naddist books in his room. As they make plans to return to Coruscant, some Palace guards inform them that there is trouble at the spaceport. Myn had gone to retrieve Arten as soon as the Master arrived. Ready to go, they meet Rune at the Palace gate. The team rushes to the spaceport to see a group of pirates has killed some of the city watch who are completely outclassed since they only have spears. In addition to the dozen Pirate Guild members, they are accompanied by Pho Sudoka, a Snow Nexu (a female force-trained assassin like Vox); Gnomub, a Herglic (killer whale) with a light repeater; Nava Jas, a human male specializing in knives; and Ruce Steiner – a handsome human male and Wells’ old navigator! Rune gives the group a chance to surrender but Sudoka has been trained to defeat Jedi and the battle ensues. Wells pairs off with Nava Jas and has a difficult time with the blade master. Once the pirates catch sight of Arten, they try to kill him as payback for Blue Monday. Rune mostly keeps Sudoka on the defense but she manages to get in a few cuts with her Verpine vibroblade. At the start of the fight, Ruce takes a few weak shots at the Jedi but then only pretends to try and hit him. Towards the end, he tries to redeem himself by attacking Nava Jas. All the pirates are killed (including one by Arten who was trying to surrender), leaving only Steiner and Sudoka alive. The Snow Nexu immediately regrets surrendering and not dying in the fight when Knight Rune calmly says that information from her will be very useful in bringing down the Daughters of the Phade. She then reveals that she didn’t come alone – there is a Pirate freighter in orbit and they will open fire on anyone trying to leave the planet! And even if the team could escape in their faster craft, there would be no one to stop the pirate ship from strafing and raiding the city. Wells visits her old crew member, Ruce, in an Iziz cell. He tells her that Che-Li, Nolie and himself all went their separate ways when the Hutt took The Crimson Hawk away from Jenif. To avoid a dangerous space battle, Wells asks him if he would be able to take the shuttle back on board the pirate ship without any questions. He says he can.

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Episode 56 – The Digging Leviathan
The Digging Leviathan

On their way into the Palace, the group passes Captain Wells and Fein Gallasin, the Mon Calamari on their way out to “do some business”. Once inside, Dr. Slivko takes Horath for some much needed medical care and Sarna goes with her pair-bonded. Palace guards assist by carrying the wrapped body of Atok Kira. Once in the Throne Room, King Oron rises and moves towards them, sensing that his brother has been slain. Minister of State Novar tries to accuse them of murder but Rune calmly explains what happened and the King takes him at his word that the battle was honorable; it is the way of the Beast Lords. Knight Rune continues with the rest of the bad news – that the Royal Palace is about to be attacked. When the shaking starts, the King goes to mobilize the guards and asks Rune & Arten to protect Queen Galia (who is resting in her quarters, having been given a tonic by her handmaiden on Novar’s instructions). The Jedi Knight and the mercenary rush down the halls of the palace as the structure begins to shake itself apart! The Force protects Rune from the worst of it – he’s only hit with a few falling rocks and momentarily trapped on the hall below or behind a ruptured wall. However, Arten takes the brunt of the destruction – from a rack of falling spears and two stone blocks sliding across each other with him between to having to dive for cover away from the Groundborer’s drill itself as it slices through stone! Rune makes it to the Queen’s quarters first and sees that Princess Zeeona and Galia’s handmaiden have remained by her side to protect her. Javan has the girls hide the Queen under the bed for protection as the Akin-Dower machine bursts through the floor, cutting the room in half! At least the shaking finally stops, and Arten is able to take a moment to recover as the two make-shift turrets bolted to the outside of the drilling machine open fire on Rune and to provide cover for the opening ramp. Arten rushes into the room and Rune uses telekinesis to keep the ramp/door shut long enough to buy them time to destroy the turrets. Once it starts opening again, Rune surprises the cultists inside by leaping through the gap, cutting down Naddists as he lands. They open fire with their poorly-constructed energy rifles at the behest of the street preacher, Boras Nek. With the ramp down, Arten is able to fire inside and Rune takes the fight deeper into the machine so there is no change for a stray shot to hit the women. That is, until he senses The Dark Side coming from the depths of the digging leviathan! Boras Nek has no actual power, so this was something else … Rune pulls back into the room and together with Arten, they face down a dozen more cultists as well as the towering form of a resurrected Warb Null! Shas Dovos speaks as if his throat has been slashed (in fact, Rune decapitated him on their last meeting). His Sith magick full plate has been sloppily re-welded around the neck but he still wields his light-claymore – a longer and wider lightsaber blade with a two-handed hilt. The fight is long and brutal with the Naddists bring Arten close to death with their “high technologies” and wickedly carved daggers. During the conflict, Rune learns that the re-animated corpse of Warb Null has been possessed by the Dark spirit of Freedon Nadd. At one point, he stuns Rune with a mental trap in which he reveals what will happen should the Jedi fail: Galia will suffer a fate worse that death; She will be taken from this place and injected with Sith poisons to turn her to the DarkSide at which point she will be trained so she can serve him as her mother and father did! Rune now knows he must not lose or Queen Galia – and ultimately Onderon – will be lost as well. The rotting body inside the armor begins to fail to respond to Nadd’s command as Rune continues to hack away at the left arm, making it hang uselessly to the side. Nek jams his dagger into Arten’s side one last time before the Freeorin knocks him out. Knight Jedi tells Arten to get the women to safetly (and not wanting a casual swing from Null to end him). There, in the opulent royal chambers, the two Force users lock lightsabers time and again until Rune finally cuts him down as Nadd swears that he will haunt him forever! The body of Shas Dovos falls away as the spirt of Nadd disperses.
The scene changes to the throne room again, this time with Queen Galia holding court with her husband. Rune accuses Novar of betraying the Queen. When Novar protests that he is loyal to the throne, Rune says he means the previous rulers – King Ommin and Queen Amanoa. Novar says he should have come forward sooner but that he has evidence that it was the King’s brother who committed treason, not him. Rune refuses his claims with counter evidence. King Oron wants to execute him now and put his head on a spike for what he has done but Galia says that they will conduct a proper trial. Knight Rune compliments Oron for having such a wise and good wife. Queen Galia specifically recognizes Arten’s bravery and grants him one of her precious earrings which originally belonged to her grandmother. There is a gasp at first from the courtiers that the Queen would recognize an alien in such a way, but once she performs this noble act, there is a change in the room and the entire crowd begins to cheer their two saviors! [ homage to the Star Wars – A New Hope ending ]

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Episode 55 – A Brother's Betrayal
A Brother's Betrayal

The team splits up with Rune & Arten investigating the reports of Naddist activity in the city and Slivko & Horth going to the aid of Drokko the Elder (with Wells remaining in the Royal Palace). Atok insists on accompanying the team going to aid the Elder and Sarna comes along as well. Although the Royal speeder was offered, the group all ride Drexl beasts (with Slivko flying together with Horath). They fly over the lush wilds and make it to the Beast Lord’s cave without incident. Modon Kira himself greets them and Atok takes the opportunity to voice his dislike of the marriage between Queen Galia and his brother, Oron. Atok says that it was Modon who united the disparate tribes and it should be he who rules Onderon, not some orphaned girl with Dark Side blood corrupting her veins who tricked Oron into marriage to make her reign over both the city of Iziz and the Beast-Lord armies appear more legitimate. But Modon will not hear it or risk ending the peace after a thousand years of war. He has a Beastgirl escort them to where Drokko is resting. Dr. Slivko examines him and find two things of note: 1) an unhealing wound he received long ago, when he was cast out of Iziz and 2) he is suffering from dehydration and a raging fever. His diagnosis is Affliceria – a relatively common disease and easily treated with the medicine in his doctor’s bag (although it can be fatal if left untreated). In a rare lucid moment, Drokko – who has only spoken twice in many years – confuses Slivko for someone else and tries to hoarsely whisper a secret warning to him. This exchange goes unnoticed by anyone else and Slivko does not speak of it. During the return flight, Horath’s mount suddenly dives down into the trees! The Drexl beast seems feral and Horath is forced to put down his own mount. The others land and Atok states that he suspects foul play and forces Sarna to turn out her satchel. In the contents is a small high-pitched whistle used to train the beasts and is all the proof Atok needs to issue an execution order for Sarna for having attempted to kill her pair-bond. Sarna seems shocked and confused but, by their customs, cannot speak against the word of a Beast-Lord. Nonetheless, Horath steps in to defend her and begins a deadly battle with Atok! Atok is a skilled Beast-Lord and better trained with primitive weapons. Horath fights well but suffers many injuries and it appears that he will lose this fight-to-the-death. Then, in a moment of enlightenment, he accepts the fact that he is a Jedi and will soon leave this world behind. He draws Myn’s lightsaber, ignites it and strikes down Atok! Badly wounded but alive Horath, along with Slivko and Sarna head back to the city with the wrapped body of the King’s brother.
While all this was happening, Rune & Arten are following up on the leads left by Master Sirta. Their initial investigation begins in the Royal Palace itself where they learn from the old male librarian, Rayf Kellarov, that the Minister of State Novar had checked out a copy of the book in which they record the architectural changes to the city. They also learn from a pair of guards that the body of a “John Doe” had gone missing a few days prior. While traveling the streets, they come upon Boras Nek, a street preacher, speaking to a large gathering of citizens. He is preaching the virtues of a Naddist-led government. He does not seem very popular with the crowd and eventually the City watch disperses the event before it turns violent. Rune & Arten shadow Nek back to his home and stake out the residence so he can’t sneak away during the night. The next day, they follow him to an abandoned warehouse district where he slips inside one of the buildings. Sneaking in, they overhear multiple voices planning and making preparations of some kind. Confronting the cultists, the two quickly dispatch the group but during the fight there was a loud rumbling and the whole building shook with an apparent earthquake! After the fight, they rush into the next larger room only to see a huge gaping hole in the ground. Schematics on the wall tell the story – there was apparently one Akin-Dower Groundborer remaining. Other flimsy on the walls show a cross-section of the Royal Palace with Queen Galia’s room circled in red. Where did they get such accurate plans? There are also bunks for many more men than they fought – presumably this large force is onboard the Groundborer and on its way to the Palace at this very moment! Rune also notices other signs of candles and ritualistic drawings around the pit but does not sense the Dark Side. The ‘Borer digs slowly so they have time to rush back to the Royal Palace where they meet up with Horath & Slivko who explain what happened to them. Rune sums up the situation best when he says that he’s not sure what they should tell the King first – that his Palace is about to be attacked or that his brother is dead …

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Episode 54 – Garnok The Barbarian
Garnok The Barbarian

The Sunjammer flies over the wild forests of Onderon and approaches the great walled city of Iziz, landing at its only spaceport. A male Mon Calamari named Fein Gallasin approaches Wells and asks if she can help a fellow smuggler sell a shipment of arms (giving her a replacement energy pack). Heading to the Royal Palace, they are met by Master Jaca-Ther Sirta who sensed their return. She states that the Naddist cult is still active but will have to trust the safety of Onderon to Knight Rune for a few days in order to return to the Dxun moon to re-seal the tomb. Both agree that Aleema must be rescued. In the throne room, King Oron has returned from one of his Hunts and is bored by the proceedings where various citizens request an audience to settle their grievances. The team witnesses one such exchange between a merchant of exotic birds and an ex-employee. Also there is the King’s entourage which includes a Beast-girl, Sarna Juna and her pair-bond, “Garnok” – Oron’s best warrior – which is really Horath in a fugue state! The sight of his former master quickly restores Horath’s memory. Other events happen in various palace rooms during the remainder of the day. Slivko sees Atok speaking with Novar and approaches Atok after where each makes clear his feelings for the Jedi. Later, Slivko is waiting in Wells’ room after her bath and places her into a trance to gain insights into her current mental block. We see Horath sparring with Sarna and he tries to let her down easy when he explains that he has prior commitments. Rune & Horath have an extended reunion where they discuss that the Counsel doesn’t see the larger threat. The viewer sees a flashback where we learn how Horath ended up being left behind by Vaen & Kerr because of his inuries and then being “accidentally” transferred out of the city by Novar (who kept his lightsaber) in a prisoner exchange after Unification. Rune tells Myn that she’s doing a fine job but insists that she give her lightsaber to Horath, which she does. Sarna watches Horath practice with Myn’s lightsaber with mixed emotions. Finally, we have a scene with Wells & Arten in which they share a drink and she gives him the extra energy clip she got at the start.

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Episode 53 – The Long Walk Back
The Long Walk Back

After returning from Astral Space, the team finds themselves back on the moon of Dxun in the Tomb of Freedon Nadd. The group moves to the top of the stairs and looks out into the jungle. Aleema and Rune share concerns over Satal’s return from the True Death. Rune asks her to hold out a bit longer with Ulic and he will come rescue her soon. Rune still feels the phantom pain of the katana strike in Astral Space as Aleema departs (saying her smaller ship was able to get through the canopy of trees and is parked close by). Myn borrows a datapad from Arten since she wants to record the symbols she memorized which were on the scrolls hidden in the sarcophagus (the real ones are missing, along with Freedon Nadd’s bones). Myn wants to do at least one more good thing before being forced out of the Order. While heading back to the ship, Myn stops to look at a cute frog-like creature; Slivko is fascinated by a beautiful flying insect which is suddenly eaten by the frog. To Myn’s shock, Slivko insanely slices open the frog in order to see it again but the beauty has been ruined. As they walk, they are attacked by a swarm of Kreevls – small, vicious fliers with two large human-sized clawed arms. After killing them all, the team realizes that they need to move quickly because the smell of blood will bring other predators and it does: a large group of Cannoks surround them – aggressive creatures with eyes on stalks and needle-like teeth. This fight is harder and during the fight, Myn lets her guard down to try and kill one quickly and falls – Rune having to levitate her up in order to save her. After the battle, Rune scolds her for forgetting her training. During the three-day hike back, other encounters with various jungle creatures are avoided – including when they stumble upon a Drexl next. These large flying bat-like creatures with spider heads are able to tear apart spaceships. The adults fly down in a protective line to defend their young – maggots feeding on the carcass of a large Boma beast. With Jedi training and Slivko’s ability to stare down an animal, the group is able to slowly back away without a fight. At some point it is revealed that Wells is experiencing lost time (most likely a defense against the mental assault she experienced in Carcosa) – she thought that she still had her ship, The Crimson Hawk, and crew and was on her way to Coruscant in order to take a Jedi to Shulimik. The they finally reach the clearing, she is initially disappointed with the plain look of the Sunjammer and is confused by the strange device which has replaced the standard sub-light engines but is shocked at the speed when taking the ship into orbit, commenting that she will have to meet the inventor …

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Episode 52 – 52 Pick-Up
52 Pick-Up

[NOTE: This episode takes place before the events of TotJ #1] We open with Vox Lanna in a no limit, heads-up game of Pazzak playing against a very confident looking Cathar. Flashback 2 weeks earlier, we zoom in on a cold planet where the Daughters of the Phade are conducting a religious sermon. After receiving the sacrament, Soolin Voss pulls Vox aside and tells her of her plan to enter and win the Galaxy Series of Pazaak so they can give the winnings to The First. Switching to Nar Shadda, we see Jo and Rand Torent discussing a recent cut on her face. They are interrupted by The Adversary and two Pirate Guild members arriving; he tells Jo that he would ensure that her wound would not heal properly so she could stay beautiful like this forever. He hires them to kill Rorbirr Nhan, the Pirate King and tells them that two girls will be contacting him with another contract which will allow them to get close to their target. After the deal is made, The Adversary kills the two pirates so no one can connect him with the operation. At The Gold Bar Bar, we see Soolin and Vox check their weapons and walk past Arten on the way to meet Rand and Jo. Soolin may be a skilled assassin, but during the discussion the more experienced Outriders can tell that she is new to both missions such as the one for which she is hiring them (her intel is a year old) and they easily trick her into paying everything up front since that’s “standard”. A bunch of gangers called The Ion Burners burst into the bar to celebrate one of them getting out of prison. Arten gets pulled into a barroom brawl and is dog-piled; Vox had snuck into a restroom to assemble the parts of a pistol and manages to scare off the gangers. She hires Arten for a percentage of the back-end take. First they steal a pair of hi-tech contact lenses from Czerka Corp. which will broadcast whatever the viewer sees to a remote computer (also allowing for typed words to appear in a heads-up display for the wearer). The facility was not fully automated as it was when Soolin obtained security badges to let the team pass so it’s a fight to get the lenses. Later they meet at port 84 and take The Nomad to Coruscant. In lower city, they negotiate with “Crazy” Detdy to forge passes to the Galaxy Series of Pazaak; no one would cross Bogga in Hutt space so the Toydarian is the only one who can do it but he asks the group to first collect the credits owed to him by a swoop gang known as The Slithers. They find the gang hanging up digital posters promoting Supreme Chancellor Didrona Diath and Senator Bendak Crazell. No one dies, but the gang is easily intimidated after a few broken bones. Detdy tries to go back on the deal by calling the cops to which Rand states, “you call the police and we’ll call the morgue – we’ll see who gets here first.” During the trip back to Hutt space, Arten coaches Vox on how to look more natural playing when it’s time for Soolin to tell her which cards to play. Dressed to the nines, the group enters the Casino where a Dug named Sebakus announces Bogga, The Great and Well-Proportioned. The Pirate King gives Bogga a gift of Carnovian eel-pups, a delicacy. Vox plays and, with Soolin’s help, advances to the final round. Unable to use the eye drops, the lenses dry out and she’s forced to pay the last hand on her own – and wins! However, as she’s gathering up the chips, one of the lenses pops out and the Pirate King demands the Right of Vengeance from the Hutt. Bogga The Merciful One grants it, knowing Vox will be tortured for 4 days before being killed. [Rand’s plan to get in front of Rorbirr later is to turn Soolin over (willing or otherwise) as the other cheater]

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Episode 51 – The Rebirth of Evil
The Rebirth of Evil

Slivko collapses from the strain of controlling all the swarms and they begin to attack the others. Once the stinger moths are defeated, the south doors open allowing Aleema into the room. She notices the carnage – the piles of dead bodies as well as the three cursed Krath War Droids. The team leaves through the north door and begins to appear one-at-a-time back in the Dxun tomb. Wells is first and sees that Master Sirta is there along with Myn. The Master explains that they have been gone for 16 days and decided to check on them. She is studying a pair of scrolls she found in a hidden compartment of Freedon Nadd’s sarcophagus and Myn is looking over her shoulder. The others arrive shortly one-by-one and then the spirit of Freedon Nadd manifests itself! It mentally attacks the Master to keep her at bay while possessing Myn, using her body to throw telekinetic bolts rather than her lightsaber. After the fight, Master Sirta says that Padawan Kovani must be put to death in order to end the threat of Freedon Nadd. By analyzing her Force signature, Rune figures out that this isn’t really Jaca-Ther Sirta. While not real, the copy has all the abilities of a Jedi Master and a terrible fight ensues. At one point the Master asks how long they think they can hold out and echoes the phrase, “The shadows of men’s thoughts lengthen in the afternoon,” revealing that they are still in Carcosa. Rune is able to analyze the style of the Master continually block her while he and the others eventually overcome her. During the battle, Aleema creates a portal through which everyone can escape. They find themselves back in The Black City but this time, going through the northern door leads them to a hexagonal chamber. Five robes figures appear, one in each corner (which one missing). The tattered robes melt away to reveal Doppelgängers of Rune, Arten, Wells, Slivko and Myn. The copies seem to have the goal of killing their real counterparts so that they can mentally take their place in the real world. At one point during the fight, Aleema dives in front of a shot intended for Rune and after the evil twins are defeated, Rune tells her not to risk herself like that again for him. Beyond the six-sided room, the come to a wrought iron door with the words “WAY OUT” on it. There are alcoves with candles here and the corridor is poorly lit. Three Shadow Constructs attack the group and instill fear in some of the party members. It requires more than just weapons but also a strong will to defeat the shadows. Through the portal, they exit the city and are in The Fade with its floating islands of rock. In the distance is a larger island where some ritual is being performed by four figures cloaked in a violet veil. Leaping from rock to rock, the group is set upon by Phantoms which can kill just by looking at you. Reaching the larger island, they see currents of green energy flowing in and large Dark Anchor chains going up and down into infinity. The four figures are revealed being the purple curtain – Freedon Nadd, King Ommin, Queen Amanoa and Doppelgänger Aleema! Nadd continues the casting while the other three spell-casters fight the group. The Queen is taken down first, followed by the King. The false Aleema’s dark shield breaks, leaving just the girl and she’s knocked back. Rune demands to know what they are trying to accomplish and she tells him that she will whisper it in his ear. Stealing a kiss first, she laughs and says that they are bringing her dear cousin back! Back from the True Death where no one should ever return. The real Aleema is horrified but states that charging the chains is also their way home – the only way to stop them is to allow themselves to be trapped here. With little choice other than having to defeat him on the other side, Aleema incants and the groups begins to float upwards. Looking down, Javan sees drops of blood floating up and forming a pool below them. Rising up from this pool is the body of a man without skin but the crazed eyes are unmistakably those of Satal Keto!

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Episode 50 – Carcosa
Carcosa

Descending the stairs, they lead down much farther than Master Sirta would have excavated and the passage begins to turn on itself and narrow like a conch shell. Emerging from a cave, their minds are blasted by the vision of an insane landscape – a reversed sky of dull pale white with a multitude of black stars, twin black setting sun and multiple moons rising, a black blasted landscape and winds coming off a still lake with swirling clouds above it. Rune’s Jedi training protects his mind and he coached Myn before she panics. Dr. Slivko is drawn to this place – before, Reality only made sense if he changed it – either with music or a scalpel – but here he feels like he truly belongs. Aleema recognizes it as the deepest part of The Fade and summons a being to guide them; the figure in tattered robes becomes a mental impression of Padawan Kerr. Thoughts and memories made flesh. With Kerr leading them, Arten notices a path running around the lake. Walking on it, Jenif looks down and sees that the cobblestones are octagons and each fit together perfectly without the help of squares! In addition, they shift and wet wings come out and she realizes that they are walking on the backs of beetles. While walking, the land on the right of the path falls away and it is the lake on both sides. Climbing up onto the path are monstrous Deep Ones – fish/frog mean with large unblinking white eyes and webbed claws. They try to take the three females below for breeding but are defeated. After the fight, Rune is able to use the Force to heal his wound since these avatars are just mental constructs. Slivko shows interest in leaning Sith magick from Aleema who says she might be willing; one day she will ask a favor of him and he must comply (but Javan must not be harmed). Continuing on the path, they see The Black City off in the distance, the moons appearing as if they are in front of the towers and the buildings change as one looks from side to side; the fourth singularity is that its name is known the moment one looks upon it – Carcosa. Approaching the city, they find the gates open but upon entering they immediately feel alone and unwelcome. Arten passes a crumbling archway and hears Vox’s voice; he enters to pursue and the team goes after him, not wanting to lose sight of him or he will be lost. The Whisper Labyrinth is filled with various bottles with names on them. Incredibly, Dr. Slivko finds his own bottle and later, Myn does too. Wells unluckily gets lost and witnesses a horrific sight, Rune having to go back for her to find her and pull her away. Myn secretly uncaps her bottle and it whispers a poem to her, ending with a single word “Lenore”. Next, Kerr takes them through The Gallery of Shades. It is an art museum containing many works – none of them grotesque but each disturbing and insidious in its own way. Dr. Slivko does not want to leave and ducks around acorn only to be taken away by mysterious robed figures. The team searches and finds him in a workshop at the end of a hall filled with statues; the robed figures and smearing a rancid mix of Sulphur, clay and baby fat over him so he can remain here forever. Rune drives them off and Slivko attacks before intellectually realizing that they others could force him to leave (Kerr also cautions that if they leave Slivko here, he will become part of the City and influence things). Slivko agrees to leave the Gallery but feels that Rune has robbed him of his one chance at true happiness. He tells Rune that he has made it so he’s the only one who can help him find The Adversary – that he will continue to kill every pirate or contact so Rune will never find his enemy without Slivko’s aid. Next, the group comes upon The Playhouse and mystically become part of the play. They are forced to act out events in Aleema’s life (who remains in the audience). Act 1 begins with the theft of the Necronomicon and ends with the death of the younglings on Deneba. The group is able to speak freely during the Intermission then Act 2 resumes with Ulic infiltrating the Krath. Act 2, scene 2 is more surreal as we see Satal smirking at the center of swirling events. As the play continues it become more strange and ends suddenly and unsatisfactorily before the climax with the dialog becoming distorted and lost. Afterwords, Aleema encourages them all to unmask, to which Satal (thought to have been played by Slivko) states, “I wear no mask.” Aleema is horrified. With the play ended, they can leave the theatre and make their way to The Palace. A group of Byakhee swoop down and try to drink their blood but are easily dispatched. A masked figured at the door askes for the password to the house and Myn is able to answer, having learned it from her bottle (but is scolded by Rune for being so reckless). Inside, they each don masks of their own choosing and encounter The Guests – partygoers who stand around morose and uncertain. As Kerr explains, here it is always “the moment just after the music ends”. Heading down to The Cellars, the basement makes them feel as if the entire universe was long since extinct. Slivko listens to his bottle at this point and only he hears what it says but it is known the message is neither inconsequential or insignificant. They find a door with an inscription above it which Aleema is able to translate, “Only one who can see clearly may open the portal” and Slivko unceremoniously pushes past the others and opens it to reveal a room with doors on opposite ends and three doors on either side. Another inscription states that, “The shadows of men’s thoughts lengthen in the afternoon.” Emerging from the doors every six seconds are enemies from the past [the first 6 episodes of TotJ]. A run of bad luck sends multiple cursed Krath War Droids against the team. Kerr breaks down Saymon’s mental barrier and defeat the 6-minds in the one body floating in the jar. Before Slivko kills Soolin, she tells him that she still loves Vox but that she can never forgive her for what she did; Slivko promises to kill Vox for her as he slits her throat. Later, not Force sensitive but in tune with this place, Dr. Slivko gains a DarkSide point and conducts the multiple swarms of singer moths like an orchestra. He uses them to defeat the remaining Decimas and the Space Rats that emerge when the team realizes that they can open the doors in advance to speed the process. The last door opens to reveal the very first battle of the series – thugs dressed up as fake Coruscant police. Nothing special but one of them gets a lucky shot and mortally wounds Kerr. Dying in a pool of water instead of blood, Rune tells Kerr that he shouldn’t have written him off and that they always made a good team. This impression of Kerr says that he hopes they find his real self someday an in his dying breath honors Rune by calling him ‘Master’.

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