Tales of the Jedi

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]

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!

Episode 50 – 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’.

Episode 49 – The Real Me
The Real Me

We open with Rune and Wells taking a shared guard duty shift. She asks him how he feels about her and he says, “You’re not my student but there is much we can teach each other.” She also asks about Aleema and if he’s close to Zeeona to which he responds, “400,000km doesn’t feel so close to me” (looking up at Onderon). Rune goes on to say that he likes the freedom of this moon; the beasts are not beholden to anyone or anything, just their own needs and desires. Dxun has a refreshing rawness – he appreciates the law of “kill or be killed” here. Javan leans in and kisses Jenif, which is secretly observed by Dr. Slivko while at the same time he watches Myn walking away. When it is time for the second shift, Rune and Wells go looking for Myn (Arten & Slivko sleeping). They split up and Wells finds Myn but, like her, she is overcome by a group of Orbalisk. She lies down and they begin to crawl on top of her. Rune resists and in the process of the parasites trying to feed off of him, they draw off enough of the darkness that he is back to his normal self. Rune uses the Force to flick them off of Jenif before they can really attach themselves. Myn, on the other hand, has been a victim of these parasites for the last two hours and they cannot be easily removed (their carapace is immune to lightsabers). Rune, frustrated by Slivko and concerned for his padawan tell the doctor to “Help or shut up.” Slivko brings a lantern to dissect one of them. Rune has a plan and tells the others to be ready to act on his signal. He places his hands on Myn and uses the Force to become a more appetizing target. The orbalisk separate from Myn and move up Javan’s arms; once he is certain she is safe, he signals the others to get them all off her. Back at camp, Myn is terrified since she can’t feel the Force. The parasites do not kill their hosts and, in fact, excrete a chemical which heals them but the way they feed could have cost Myn her Force sensitivity. However, Rune feels that it’s still there and comforts her until she feels a tiny ember burning and returning. Once she’s back to sleep, Rune is hard on himself and tells Wells that he can’t believe that he would let Myn go off in the woods for hours. “I didn’t care where she was.” When Wells tries to make him feel better, Javan insists that no, she doesn’t understand, “I didn’t care.” Javan goes off on his own to meditate. Meanwhile, Slivko does the unthinkable and affixes one of the orbalisk to his chest in order to heal himself and actually seems to enjoy the pain the parasites causes when he pulls on it. Arten discovers this and rolls over to rest more (but making sure his sleeping bag is zipped up). Aleema meets Rune again in the jungle and explains that she’s not exactly sure what they are dealing with – that Rune must have done something when Ulic made her drink that Sith alchemy. Rune explains that he tried to cleanse it with the Force and take some down his own throat as they kissed. It now seems they share the darkness between the two of them since Aleema had to spend a whole day being “good”. It appears that only a kiss can transfer the darkness, not other contact. Rune agrees to take a bit more so they can both be a bit more balanced. Aleema also persuades Rune to let her stay for just one day and he agrees since her astral projection spell seems less troublesome relatively speaking after one has consumed Sith poison. Meanwhile, Slivko is fully healed and tries to cut the orbalisk off of himself but as a surgeon realizes he would have to cut too deep. So he instead chooses to terrify Myn so she uses a Force ability and the parasite moves to her. Later, when Rune discovers what Slivko did, he is upset that the doctor would endanger his padawan in that way.
Day three begins and on their way out of camp Slivko persuades and helps Arten affix an orbalisk to his back shoulder in order to heal as they journey through the jungle. Seeing evidence that the creatures of Dxun prey upon each other, they find a large Boma carcass – red torn flesh still clinging to the white bones of the rib cage. In the center of the body is a seething pit of white maggot-like larva picking at the remains. From the air, the group is attacked by deadly Drexl Beasts whose bite can puncture the hull of a starship. They are difficult to defeat as they swoop to defend their vicious offspring. After the battle, Arten feels he has had enough of the parasite on him and rips it off with his great strength – taking off a large chuck of his own flesh in the process. Moving through the jungle, the sunlight comes through the canopy in long shadows. Rune senses movement within these shadows and suddenly the group is set upon by terrible nighthunters known as Maalraas – feline-type creatures which can use the Force to cloak themselves in shadow and whose bones are resistant to lightsabers. There are too many of them and the group is forced to run away. Aleema buys Rune some time by creating an illusion of the flesh of her face tearing away and becoming snakes, which momentarily cows the cats (this was noticed by Wells). Running deeper into the jungle, the cats do not pursue once the team gets far enough out of the shadows. After resting, they encounter one of the things that may have made the shadow – a gigantic Zakkeg, the god-lizard. A huge head come down through the canopy and eats a maalraas but then takes notice of the group. This alpha predator is huge and built like a tank, with a hide so thick it is like durasteel plating. It is a hard fight with its tail whipping around and quickly knocking Myn against a rock but eventually it is defeated by Rune jumping on top of its head and driving his lightsaber into its brain. While higher up, Rune saw their destination – they are close. Arriving at the Tomb, they see that the beskar plate has been pulled away – bent but not pried open with any crowbar marks or evidence of other tools. Arten notices that even the creatures of this moon do not venture inside the tomb; there are tracks in the dirt – three men entered but only one left and it might have been days ago. Stepping inside, they find two dead bodies – rotting flesh hanging on the robed skeletal remains of two Naddist cultists. Rune and Slivko notice that there are lightsaber makes on the robes and Rune adds that they were clean kills from the front, not kneeling. “It’s a Jedi,” he says but has no idea who. Suddenly, the two ghoulish cultists come to un-life! Animated by the dark energies of this place, they grab and try to choke Myn and pummel Arten with their fists. After dispatching the monstrosities, Rune explains that the third man must have come for Freedon Nadd’s bones and they will not find them down there. It’s not easy to just destroy the bones and the spirit of Freedon Nadd is still very much “alive”. Resigned to their fate, the team begins their descent down into the Tomb.

Episode 48 – Demon Moon
Demon Moon

We first see Zeeona asking Tarrant for help. Then later in the hangar bay, Tarrant explains to Zukan that the Princess is upset and is already on board the ship, locked in her cabin. Zukan agrees it’s best to leave her alone when she gets like this. The Warlord brags about the new front-mounted guns which he installed on The Sunjammer. As the team is heading up the ramp to depart, a message comes in from Tarrant’s ship – it’s Zeeona saying she knows that she has always been a disappointment to her father and pleading for him to help Kirrek. The messages cuts off before he can respond and the ship jumps to lightspeed. Once embarked and launching out of the hangar, Zeeona reveals that she is on board the Sunjammer and it will take a long time for her father to realize that she isn’t on Coruscant (her sister, Zaya, remained on The Bellerophon). As Wells activates the photonic drive, there is an explosion! The engines fail but life support remains functioning. Rune senses danger and the Force guides him to seal the doors and deactivate the life support system. The team leans that the life support system has been tampered with – sabotage! With The Bellerophon looming above them, Zukan calls and tells them that he regrets killing them in this way – it is not an honorable warrior’s death – but that he called the Krath while they were on their mission (obtaining the vaccine to protect his men, not the radioactive airborne virus which he had previously stolen) and they assured him that he could rule Kirrek in the name of the Krath if he killed Rune and his companions. Rune reveals that Zeeona is on board but Zukan refuses to believe it – to the point of lying to himself. Even with the Princess begging, he insists that he heard he speak to him on board Tarrant’s ship and that this must be some Jedi mind trick as he warps away, leaving them to their doom. The team implements a plan to vent most of the ship to space to cleanse it but the door to the engine room fails to open. Without enough air to attempt it again, Wells dons a spacesuit (the others overrule Zeeona wanting to go herself since she felt responsible) and enters the engine room to vent it. With less time, it is not certain that all remnants of the virus are gone but everyone is relieved when Jenif removes her helmet and is fine.
They set course for Onderon and land in the great walled city of Iziz. The group is greeted by Minister Novar and Rune prevents him from taking Arten and Myn into custody. Appearing before Queen Galia, she welcomes them back to the city and apologizes that her husband, Oron, is off on a hunt. Slivko invokes caution from the palace guards as he approaches the throne. The Queen informs them that Master Sirta continues to root out any remaining Naddist cultist to prevent a second uprising. On the way to their rooms, they pass Atok Kira in the hall and he makes it clear that he is not in favor of his brother’s marriage but stops short of treason as Rune argues the Beast Rider into a corner. Later, Master Sirta tells Rune that she senses that the seal on Freedon Nadd’s tomb may have been breached and asks him to check on it since she needs to remain on Onderon. Leaving Zeeona behind because of the danger, the others travel to the moon of Dxun and land in a clearing three days walk away from the tomb. This distance is by design since the flora & fauna of the moon act as natural protectors. Dxun is a great focus of dark side power. It is covered by a thick jungle and constant rain. On the first day, the group is first attacked by a group of Cannoks and later by a flock of Skreevs. That night, Aleema visits Rune and they kiss. Unknown to them, this transfers some of the darkness from Aleema into Rune which causes her magick to fail and her astral form disappears. Under this influence, Rune makes Myn take an extra shift of guard duty, explaining to Arten that she is a Jedi can could stay awake for five days straight if needed. The next day, Rune makes Myn take point as they travel and she is snatched up by a carnivorous plant known as a Crasna. Arten and Slivko stuggle to rescue her while Rune and Wells seem less concerned. Later on day two, the group is attacked by Bomas. Rune bets Wells that she can’t hit a specific scale on one of the fierce lizards, but she does. After defeating the smaller ones, three larger adult Bomas appear! Rune seems very disappointed in Myn’s performance and is forced to take care of the one he had assigned to her. Arten nearly single-handedly defeated one of the great lizards but in order to save his life, Rune throws his lightsaber for the first time and guides it with telekinesis, killing the creature. At camp that night, Arten seems down on himself but it could just be his injuries. Rune scolds Myn again and tells her that not only will she likely not ever make Knight but that she doesn’t even belong in the Jedi Order. The last shot of the episode is a saddened Myn walking off into the rain.

Episode 47 – Warlord

Jenif’s contact came through and a transport arrives to take as many people as he can out of the system. However there are mixed feelings from the refuges since they are leaving their home. Climbing on board the Sunjammer, Tarrant observes Zeeona thanking Rune – all of which is seen by Dr. Slivko. While en route to the neighboring Kuar system, there are several discussion among the crew while in flight. At one point, Myn asks Slivko why he is asking so many questions about the Necronomicon Exmortis; Slivko begins to make up some reason to which Arten says, “Don’t lie to the kid” then turning to Myn, “He wants to read it.” During the trip, Myn has a nightmare fueled by Freedon Nadd. She first asks Slivko about it since he had warned her that she was fighting the DarkSide but she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing her dreams with him and turns to Rune for help and advice. As soon as the exit hyperspace, there are universal galactic beacons warning ships that this is a warzone. Providing clearance codes, they dock with a capital ship, The Bellerophon, in orbit over the planet Betafarl. The Warlord Zukan and his right-hand man Finn meet the group as they disembark. Zukan is happier to see Tarrant than his own daughter. Later, once Tarrant is taken to the medical bay, Zukan meets with the group in a conference room. Zeeona begs him to help Kirrek. He refuses at first but agrees if the Jedi will complete a mission for him. He also agrees to add forward-mounted guns to the Sunjammer as a sign of good faith. Rune does his own research before agreeing to help in order to make sure that there have been no human rights violations. For the last six years there has been a war waging between East and West Betafarl. The East has the larger land mass, has most of the population and is represented by a Senator; the West seceded due to objections in excessive military spending (funds which they say should be used for education, health care and assisting the poor) as well as the plan to use the military for more than just defense (such as influencing disputes). Since they have a smaller population, the West’s army is almost exclusively droids. Zukan says that his engineers have discovered that there is a global override switch in every Western droid. If they could get their hands on the codes, they could bring a quick end to the conflict and save many lives on both sides. His spies have learned the location of the facility where the case containing the codes is kept. Sergeant Chrysor, the lead soldier of the team who had been training for this mission will go with them and they will be accompanied by other military support as well when the assault the mountain in which the base is built. The outside is protected by anti-aircraft turrets and their transport is shot down. The group has to fight tanks and an army of heavily armored droids – which Rune softens up by using one of the explosive anti-aircraft balloons to clever effect. Breaking into the complex, they must deal with additional droids and wall turrets (which gut-shot Chrysor). Deeper in the facility, they find a group of human soldiers wearing hazmat suits and are confronted by Experimenter Terina. She is responsible for protecting the base, but seeing a Jedi she orders her men to use non-lethal weapons only. The soldiers spray some of the group with a neuro-toxin which causes their muscles to begin to tighten up. Trying to bring the conflict to a quick end, Arten places a gun to Terina’s head and when she refuses to surrender he kills her. The remaining Eastern soldiers switch to lethal blaster rifles. Chrysor opens fire on another group of soldiers in an adjoining lab and it is quickly sealed as his shots tear their suits and break a container holding a radioactive airborne virus which completely atomizes the flesh of the men with ruptured suits in an electrical burst, leaving only bones inside. They get the case and fight their way out of the complex, meeting up with a new transport outside. Safely on their way back, Chrysor asks for some water but dies before he can take a drink. Returning to The Bellerophon, there is some ethical discussion over the death of Experimenter Terina. Zeeona tries to put a good face on the team’s success but Rune can sense something’s wrong. She reveals that in addition to the mission, her father – in an effort to keep her safe – insisted that she either remain with him on Betafarl or return to the university. Rune is willing to speak with Zukan on her behalf but also states that she could do a lot of good on Coruscant as well. Zeeona would rather stay with the group but is willing to consider all options. She gets Rune to agree that he will support her no matter what she decides to do.

Episode 46 – Bloodlines

The episode opens with Myn, Arten and Wells waiting outside the Council chambers while Rune is inside being chastised by the Masters. They play a holo recording which was sent by Ulic which includes Krath propaganda and shows soldiers marching, War Droids being constructed, and Knight Zem and padawan Maris being lowered into hot carbonite. Rune is defiant and tells the Council that they should have listened and sent him instead; the Krath is once again the greatest threat to the galaxy in 1,000 years. Vandar issues a veiled threat, “If start a war does, on the frontlines find yourself you will.” To which Rune responds, “I’ll already be there” and leaves the chamber. The group goes to a local tavern and is met there by Dr. Slivko who had hired a boy to keep tabs on the comings and goings at the spaceport. Rune receives an S.O.S. from Tarrant saying that Zeeona had been taken by Krath soldiers. They quickly take the Sunjammer back to the Empress Teta system and land outside her childhood home on Kirrek. There they find Krath soldiers looting some of the valuable works of art and planning on melting down the silverware to make more bullets for the war effort. Rune approaches the Krath and offers up his lightsaber; when asked who he is and where he got it, Javan simply replies, “I made it” then ignites it and proceeds to dispatch the enemy troops. There is no sign of the Princess but they find Tarrant gut-shot in the hall. Slivko plays music on a piano while Deeta receives medical attention and updates them on Kirrek. The Krath have been rounding up anyone who is even remotely related to the original Empress Teta bloodline. Wells borrows some of Zeeona’s clothes and Slivko disguises himself as one of the Krath soldiers (the Jedi and Arten stay behind since their force sensitivity and/or alien nature prevents them from blending in). The two head to the local train station where the citizens are being taken. On the way, they hear a preacher blaming all of Kirrek’s problems on the so-called “Jedi-kin”. On the train, Slivko goes to check on the car where the attractive girls are being kept and kills a soldier who was planning on assaulting Wells. However, other soldiers investigate and a battle ensues. At one point Slivko sees “red” and Wells ends up saving him by pretending to be a Jedi-kin gypsy who had controlled his mind. They are both rendered unconscious. Meanwhile, the Sunjammer follows the tracks to the end of the line and they observe the train at a concentration camp. With no word from Slivko, they use the Sunjammer to attack the camp, strafing the guards in multiple passes without harming the prisoners. My drops Rune and Arten off on the roof of the main building and they fight their way in, rescuing Wells and Slivko in the process. Entering the main central room, they are attacked by Viscount Pantrakahs and his hand-picked Mutoids. It is a difficult fight since the animated dead girls cannot feel pain and the Viscount uses magick to blink teleport. After the fight, a Krath soldier activates an oven; Rune uses the Force to immediately shut it off but some of the innocents standing near the flame jets are burned. Later they learn that this sacrifice would have been part of some larger ritual and there are ovens like this one in each of the camps. In the final room, they meet Commander Eiger and a doctor in the process of creating Mutoids – Princess Zeeona and her sister, Zaya, are also here. Eiger agrees to Rune’s terms of surrender and even shoots one of the Krath soldiers who objects. And it is Rune who must come to the aid of the Krath when Arten and Wells were about to allow the prisoners to burn the Krath in their own oven. Zeeona, grateful to be rescued, insists that she must now go see her father and ask for his help.

Episode 45 – Declaration of War
Declaration of War

Disregarding Rune’s advice on a more stealthy approach, Jedi Knight RoTahn Zem along with his padawan Jaalib Maris plus Arten and Wells fly to the Empress Teta system and quickly find themselves in battle with a squadron of Chaos ships. Flashing back, we see that the Force has given Rune a vision of Aleema needing help. Going against the Jedi Council’s wishes, he is determined to fly to Koros Major immediately. Not wanting to get his padawan in trouble, he instructs her to remain on Coruscant. Returning to the space battle, Arten’s ship is about to be destroyed when the Sunjammer swoops in to save the day! The turbulence knocks Myn out of her hiding place and it’s revealed that she had stowed away on board without Rune’s knowledge. Time for reprimands later, she takes over the flight controls while Rune mans the turret. The battle won, the ships drop down to the planet’s surface – Zem and Jaalib lead any pursuing ships away while the others land and approach Cinnagar on foot. They have to take care to not be spotted by the Holy Crusaders. Approaching the Iron Citadel, they see signs that the two Star Sabers were shot down by the defense turrets and crashed but it appears that Zem and Jaalib were taken out of the wreckage alive. The team sneaks into the Citadel; Rune first goes to Aleema’s room but one of her handmaidens informs him that she has been taken to the dungeons. Once there, Rune finds Aleema chained to a post with a torture droid at the ready – offering her refreshments if only she agrees to be injected with a syringe full of Sith poison. Aleema is a mess with matted hair but – having not used any magicks in some time and having refrained from consuming the quills of her pet – she is more free of the Dark Side than she has been since she first read the Necronomicon Exmortis. She tries to tell Rune that she’s not a good person – that it’s true what people have said about her; that she and her cousin were just spoiled rich kids and that she’s hurt so many people. She also admits to using an illusion to make it appear that the Naturon Demonto was destroyed. Rune reminds her that it was Satal who forced her to do those horrible things and it was she who tried to warn the Jedi of the impending attack on Deneba. Aleema explains that she had been able to control Ulic for a time until The Man in The Hood came. He first tried to kill Ulic and her – she couldn’t stop him since her magick was weak and she was quickly knocked out. When she awoke, Ulic had somehow allied himself with the mysterious stranger. They both turned on her and locked her away until she agreed to accept the syringe. After her confession, multiple Krath Assassins reveal themselves from their hiding places and attack (they had been secretly listening to test her loyalty). The team kills them and begins to make their escape when the way out is blocked by Ulic Qel-Droma and an unbeatable group of Krath soldiers and War Droids. Ulic says that he will let them go free in order to deliver a warning to the Jedi Council that the Krath have declared war on the Republic if Aleema willingly drinks a goblet full of a Sith alchemy potion. Rune is against it but with limited options, Aleema whispers to him to please save her and bring her back as she takes a drink. Rune kisses her and his lips and teeth come away blackened. It’s not clear what state Aleema is in as she starts down the corridor and turns to look over her shoulder, smiling …

Episode 44 – The Return of Dr. Dorlec
The Return of Dr. Dorlec

Detectives Juzo Megure and Ridan Shey discover that Hiruta Krin, the assassin at the Sports Area, was part of some hobbyist group which also included Rast Chinzano (the bagman). They find out that a scientist named “Mr. Reldoc” recently joined who, according to interviews with some of the other hobbyists, was working on some sort of microwave cooking device. Due to parts shipments, they find an address in some run-down, graffiti covered mid-city industrial park. Rune, Arten and Wells fight their way through multiple levels of various droids, including a death-trap with two executioner droids armed with prototype microwave beams that can fire through a plexi-glass barrier. The final room contains the first non-droid opponents – human security forces hired to act as bodyguards who try to cover the scientist’s escape. Before he can get away in a waiting speeder, Myn covers him with her lightsaber. He turns out to be none other than Dr. Dorlec – the out-of-shape inventor of the Retaliators (a.k.a. “Zip-Zap” guns). His lawyer on Coruscant successfully argued that he had to be tried in a military court since he was apprehended at the Troida Military Workshop A6. And since Balmorra has yet to extradite him, he had remained free on Coruscant because of a technicality / loophole. But no longer. Back at the temple, the Jedi Council is upset that Rune went against their wishes by not remaining in the temple but, of course, the result was positive. With less time now available for the knowledge transfer, it’s up to the discretion of Jedi Knight RoTahn Zem whether or not to take Rune along with him to retrieve Ulic Qel-Droma from the Empress Teta system.

Episode 43 – Sidrona is Dead, Long Live Sidrona!
Sidrona is Dead, Long Live Sidrona!

Quia Meday reveals that her boyfriend, Ruhk Grissom, is the true leader of the gang but is lying low until the big day. Since the new Supreme Chancellor is going to be sworn in at the CoCo Town Sports Arena instead of the Senate, the plan was simply to have the swoops fly over the stadium seating and attack; with so many gangers they would overwhelm the Senate Guard. Rune finds Grissom at the apartment location provided by Quia. Ruhk is well educated for a ganger and feels that they should retire the office of Supreme Chancellor after the death of Sidrona Diath. Grissom recognized Rune from the funeral procession which he feels was disrespectful. The Jedi Knight quickly dispatches his lieutenants and takes Ruhk into custody. Myn has been covering for Rune at the temple but Master Sirta takes her to the Sports Area to meet up with Rune. One of the senators is taken out by EMC’s – apparently dead from a heart attack but closer examination reveals some drying out of the clothes over his chest. An extortionist calls Kaneko, the director of the broadcast network televising the historic event. HoloNet News is to pay 50 million credits in low denomination cred sticks and drop it off in the unused locker rooms. Rune forms a plan to apprehend the bag-man, Rast Chinzano, who was armed with a self-made resin gun. After the interference, the extortionist calls and demand one billion credits – a ridiculous amount and sems to indicate that he planned to kill someone all along. While Rune scans the catwalks for the assassin, Myn is in the holonet trailer reviewing old footage. She finds Chinzano in the crowd and different cameras pick him up. But it’s what she doesn’t see which is interesting … All cameras sweeping the crowd but camera #4 made a point of never showing Rast on film (or quickly panning away each time). Rune confronts the assassin who has hidden a new kind of microwave gun inside the camera. They fight while all attention is on the podium. The powerful nature of the weapons makes the fight difficult but Rune is victorious. The new Supreme Chancellor is then announced – he is an alien and is also named Sidrona. During his swearing-in speech he states that “good fences make good neighbors” and that having both the Jedi Order and Senate run by the same man – no matter how great he was – was ultimately at the end of the day, a conflict of interest. If the Jedi Order ever needs the help of the Senate, they will have it of course (and vice-versa) but he will begin to take steps to move the two bodies into a more healthy, mutual beneficial but increasingly separate working relationship.


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