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Episode 7-Secret of the Lair
Adventure 14-S3 Cluade, Rogan, Ar'Ryn and Grem-Ancient Answers
Part One-Escaping Varonat
The heroes aboard the Trask-1 quickly checked with the rest of their party and found out that everyone had safely made it to separate ships. They agreed to split up in order to help throw off their pursuers. Immediately after the communication they were swarmed by TIE fighters intent on bringing them down.
As Cluade put the petal to the metal and blasted away from the pack of TIEs, an Imperial Star Destroyer began to cut it's way toward the planet in an attempt to cut off or capture one or more of the fleeing vessels. Grem and Rogan manned the guns and began shooting at their pursers as Ar'Ryn worked on the Nav computer to plot a jump that would hopefully throw the Empire and bounty hunters off their trail.
In order to keep ahead of the TIEs, Cluade had to constantly push the engines on the Trask-1 as he hoped that it wouldn't cause a massive burnout and leave them sitting Womprats. Fortunately, the ship's repairs were properly done and they kept the small transport one step ahead of those giving chase. He kept an eye on the approaching Star Destroyer and made sure that his slight accent vector didn't bring them into the field of the capital ship's tractor beam.
Using the missiles onboard, Grem was able to dispatch a pair of TIEs while Rogan used the lasers to take out another. After several tense minutes, Ar'Ryn programmed in the co-ordinates as he also kept the shield on their ship functioning. As soon as the Trask-1 cleared the atmosphere, Cluade kicked in the hyperdrive and made good their escape from Varonat.
As they came out of their jump they were headed toward a massive Quasar. The electromagnetic discharge completely cloaked their sublight signature making any attempt to follow them impossible. Ar'Ryn then told the rest of their smaller group about the encrypted information on Dr. Sladder's data pad that he couldn't access. After trying to use the holo-net feed to reach some old contacts, and realizing that the Empire had limited the access to only in-system communication and a few galaxy wide feeds, Ar'Ryn was able to reach his old school mate, and fellow Bothan, Hooss K'llyn. Explaining to the other the xenophobia of his species, Ar'Ryn tells of his plan to use the Bothan Spy Net to decrypt the data pad.
Using the gravity of the quasar, they traveled around the far side of it before making a second jump. They were instructed to jump to a region of space near Bothawui but not to approach the planet. As they came out of the second jump they found three space craft waiting for them at the designated location.
Part Two-Deciphering the Datapad
The heroes recieved instructions from Hooss to attach and board his craft, the Nova 6, to discuss a deal. His dealings with the group started off coldly as they relize that the last time they saw the Bothan information broker they had shot up the meeting he attended. When asked about the data pad he offers to have it decrypted for 160000 credits. Knowing that was too much, Ar'Ryn started to haggle with him over the price and he drops it down to 80,000 or for free if they are willing to help.
Somehow Hooss knews that they were involved with the destruction of The Abyss and offered to decrypt the information for free if they were to share the details of that escapade. Grem and the rest became concerned with how the Bothan knew about that exploit. Ar'Ryn asked who the informer was Hooss refuses to reveal the identity of the source citing the need for confindentialy of their sources in their business. Finally the group agrees to the terms and handed over the data pad.
It took three days for the Bothan hackers to get the hidden information and in the meantime the party related to Hooss their experience with the TIE proto-type factory and enjoyed several meals aboard his ship. Having the extra time, the parts, the tools and assistance from the Bothans, Grem is able to repair RX. Hooss filled Ar'Ryn in on the current happenings with his family. They were not, however, allowed aboard the other two ships or able to see how the Bothan Kaa'ska Gl'aan decrytped the mad doctor's data pad.
Hooss presented them with the data pad aboard his ship and told them what his crew were able to obtain from it. Unfortunately, there was very little information to retrieve and it only contained a pair of coordinates. Hooss offered to follow the heroes to a region just outside of the coordinates and then for them all to travel aboard his ship to final location. The Bothans were interested in finding out what was there, since it was so well hidden on the data pad, with the understanding that the heroes had claim to whatever was found at the coordinates. It is offered that any information gathered would be co-owed by the party and the Bothans.
The Bothan offered to take his ship so they can use the information gathering scanners to gain intel and not collect information on the Trask-1 at the same time. After a short debate, the party decided that the offer was a solid one and jumped to just outside the newly discovered location in the region of space near Clak'dor VII, the Bith home world.
Part Three-Aboard the Twin Ships
They boarded the Nova 6 and made the short jump to the hidden coordinates and were surprised by what they found. An Old Republic sleeper ship, The Grand Empress, is floating in the empty region and next to it is a second ship that is nearly identical except it is reversed in design and bears some subtle traits of a modern Republic ship. Flying over the two ships they saw that they were connected in the middle and that the primary power seems to have gone out on both ships.
The scanners were able to make out rough layout of both ships, but counter-scanning equipment prevented a detailed layout. Sensors indicated that there was a breathable atmosphere inside the ship. The Nova 6 was able to attach to the original ship and the party, along with Hooss, prepared to board the four thousand old ship. They found themselves in an old cargo hold with a computer. The power to the ship was out but there appeared to be some back-up power; however the lights flickered and the over all feeling was that of an abandoned ship.
Even though the room they were in was ancient, the computer terminal was modern and they were able to hack into it. Using the codes provided by the datapad they were able to access the ship's logs. It turned out that The Grand Empress flew from Corescant during the the final years of the second Sith War. Even though hyperdrive was available, it was used only by the military and government, so many ships used for exploration were still outfitted with stasis systems where passengers would sleep during the long voyages. These trips took centuries and the stasis put the passengers into a suspended animation to prevent aging.
Investigating further the party discovered that something went wrong and the ship got off course and kept the passengers in suspended animation for thousands of years.
It was found by the Republic at the opening of the Clone Wars and kept secret. It was decided by the Supreme Chancellor that a scientific ship would be built based on The Grand Empress's design but with modern technology. As it was being built along side the ancient ship they also updated the systems within the old ship and include a modern hyperdrive.
The research ship, named Illuminator and renamed after the rise of the Empire to The Grand Emperor, was used to study the passengers found in stasis as well as conduct research on new projects. There was mention of the research station on Anoth and it seems that this project was overseen by Tarkin and Wullf Yarlen under direct review by the Supreme Chancellor (now Emperor).
The group was able to pull up a rough schematic of the ships and locate the bridges, research bay and other key parts of the ships. It was at this time that a small holo projector on terminal kicked on and the image of Dr. Sladder appeared. A taped message played and the Doctor spoke, "To who ever has entered my ship please note that the automatic systems I put in place have been triggered. You will not be able to leave the ship. I also, at the cost of several trooper's lives, have left you a little present from the past."
They quickly checked the doors leading back to the Nova 6 and they found them sealed tight. After hacking further into the computer they found that they needed to use the bridge computers to override the lockdown.
The party cautiously made their way through the ship in an attempt to reach the bridge and escape. While passing through a hall Grem spotted a containment case that matched the one in which Ar'Ryn had found him in. He got the strange sense that he had not only been on the ship before but that he had explored the vents in his first escape.
Rogan discovered the grisly remains of a Stormtrooper that appeared to have been killed by something large with huge teeth and claws. He noticed that there are several impromptu barricades assembled in the attempts to keep the beast or beasts out.
Rogan and Grem took the lead and entered into the next section of the ship while the other brought up the rear. Cluade noticed that there were several uniforms of the Doctors Beyond Frontiers but doesn't recognize the names on them. On closer inspection he realized that they are fake and it seems that the Republic/Empire is currently using the group as a front to collect species and disease samples for their research. By pretending to be a charitable group it would allow them access to areas easier and make hiding smuggled samples a breeze.
Reaching out with the Force Grem and Rogan could sense the creatures closing in on their position. The group quickly found the best point to fend off an attack and after several tense moments they wait for the fighting to start but the creatures sense their intentions and retreated further into the ship. Rogan spotted the armor of a second Stormtrooper and what appeared to be fragments of skin. Cluade inspected it closer and realized that it is only the skin of the Trooper and there were no interior parts to the body to be found.
Working their way towards the front of the ship, towards the bridge to unlock the doors, they entered the control room for the stasis chambers. They were able to see that two of the chambers were still intact, one holding a smaller creature with long ears and a second one that was human shaped. However the glass and fluids made seeing the figures clearly impossible. There was a third container, but it seemed to have been destroyed.
Cluade, with help from Ar'Ryn, hacked into the Imperial computer attached to the stasis chambers. Researching the files he discovered that the destination was Iego, which although real, was thought to be only a legend during the Old Republic and was a destination of many warriors after the Great Sith Wars when they wished to rest from battle. It seems that half the passengers, from Coresant, were headed there to rest after the long Sith Wars and others, from Tardis, were being taken there because they had some sort of infection. The infection wasn't curable and it was hoped that they would be cured on the mythical planet or at least have their conditioned stop based on the belief that time didn't affect Iago.
Cluade quickly checked the computer and found that that the broken container held a specimen that had a diseased human from the planet Tardis, whom the Old Republic had no remedy for. It appeared that the Empire was trying to weaponize the disease, but when Dr. Sladder reached the ships in his escape from Anoth, he had released the diseased human to infect the Stormtroopers still stationed there.
Then, out of nowhere the Rakghouls attacked. They busted up from the floors and dropped down from the ceiling, completely surrounding the party. The infected human was a Rakghoul victim and after being let loose aboard the ships had infected every Stormtrooper aboard.
Rogan wasted no time and slipped into the shadows of the the stasis chambers to avoid detection. The rest of the party fell back towards the bridge and Ar'Ryn had RZ work on hacking open the doors to the bridge. Grem quickly closed in on the closest Rackghoul and Tozvos took a second one head on. As the beast rushed in, Rogan took shots from his spot. Being hit, one charged forward smashing into the computer panel to the stasis chambers.
As the fight went on the heroes tried to avoid the bites of the creatures but both Ar'Ryn and Tozvos were not so lucky. Even though they were completely surrounded and outnumbered the party fought on and soon the last of the monsters had been destroyed. Calling on his expertise, Cluade realized that it would be only a matter of minutes before those infected would become mindless killing beast. Using the damaged terminal and the supplies he always carried, Cluade quickly came up with a test for infection as well as cure.
Although Ar'Ryn had recieved a bite he did not get infected but Tozvos was not so lucky. As the disease began the first stages of transformation, Cluade injected the silent warrior reversing the effect and curing the disease. Having saved his life, Tozvos pledge a life debt to the medic.
Having gained access to the bridge, the party surrounded the bridge computer to begin the splicing needed to override the doors to provide their escape. Using the codes from data pad of Dr. Sladder they were able to access his personal files. They found a reference to project under direct authority of Palpatine concerning crystal research but there was something odd about it. It mentioned that there are three locations but that the info on those locations was available only at the stronghold of the Separatist leader General Grievous. With further investigation it was discovered that the evil Doctor had a hand in the creation of the cyborg with direction to do so from Palpatine. It seemed that Palpatine and the doctor were working with both side of the Clone Wars.
All of a sudden a lightsaber kicked on behind Ar'Ryn and a Jedi Squib stood behind him demanding to know what they were doing aboard his ship. Next to the small Jedi stood a second Zabrak Jedi with his functioning saber as well.
The heroes quickly explain who they are and what they were doing and the two Jedi sensing the truth with the Force disengaged their weapons. They had been awaken from stasis but not allowed out of the containment when the Republic first found the ship. They spent the past years recovering from stasis sickness and the Republic scientist had monitored their recovery until they were fully physical healthy again. The Rakghould smashing into the control panel during the fight had released the locks on their containers and they were able to walk freely for the first time in thousands of years.
The Jedi are Balthazor and Zin, heroes of the Old Republic. Before further introduction are made, RZ alerted the party that the second part of Dr. Sladder's security fail safe had kicked in--the two ship's hyperdrives were starting up and had two different courses plotted. If they were to both jump while being connected it would tear the ships apart and kill everyone aboard.
As Cluade, Tozvos, RX and Ar'Ryan worked on the bridge computer terminal on the The Grand Empress, Grem, Rogan, Zin and Balth headed to the hold connecting them to The Grand Emperor to attempt to disconnect the newer ship.
At that time a new ship jumped to their location bearing the mark of the Flaming Claw, a known symbol for pirates.
There was several loud sounds as the pirates boarding pods landed on top of the ships and began to cut into the hulls. Ar'Ryn and Cluade were able to shut down the hyperdrive on their ship but having only reached the connection between the two ships the second party had to enter The Grand Emperor to access the controls to the connection.
Hearing the hyperdrive kicking in, Balth was left with no choice but to close the doors and disengage the newer ship right before it streaked away on it's preprogrammed jump. On board the bridge of The Grand Empress Cluade and Ar'Ryn saw their friends disappear and hear the sounds of the approaching pirates......
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