A'Tuin's Wild Ride

Intercepted transmission
from Fifties Imperial data hooks

Woman 1: these bounty hunters weren’t the best but they shouldn’t have been taken out so quick?

Woman 2: The droids insist that it was one man

Woman 1: and then this story of a force user. When was the last time that was reported? With Dorco and those iktotchi?

background noise of a holo display being turned on

Woman 2: no, clearly there was something done, I can see how the threat matrix went to that scale of force.

Man 1: with two force users like that it’s no wonder they went into survival mode.

Woman 2: exactly, the devices used, or the possibility of the force must be investigated.

Woman 1: I guess Agent Couplaw and I

Man 1: right you are Agent Brandall, I guess we’re on our way to Kartha Station

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Repairs and Reflections

‘Well, that could have gone better,’ Mek thought to himself as he settled in for what looked to be about 2 hours of repairs.

Admittedly, it was a bold maneuver he’d pulled off, going belly-to-belly with another Ghtroc leaving the station and then jamming the thrusters hard to confuse any scanners that happened to be sweeping their way. And it seems to have paid off, since the ship’s computer was reporting that it’s transponder code had been scrambled and reset. He’d no idea how that happened, but Mek always was more of a hardware guy than a software guy.

After realigning the harmonic dampeners in the maneuvering thruster cooling system, Mek wandered back up to the bridge. Someone had been flying all this time, probably O-In, and they’d need a break by now. As long as it wasn’t Fifties. Mek was sure the Bothan meant well, but he was just so… confused. And scared, and paranoid. He could almost hear some old Jedi from one of his childhood stories lecturing on the path to the Dark Side. Someone like Wen Yanbo.

Poor Wen Yanbo. How he had survived the rocket attack, Mek would never know, but he was grateful. He wouldn’t ever admit it out loud, or even to himself, but the old Kel Dor had started to become quite the father-figure. He seemed to embody everything the Jedi were supposed to be.

Taking over the ship’s controls, he sighed. Supposed to be, but weren’t, of course. Officially, the Jedi were traitors, and extinct, and besides, he’d never met a Jedi. Sure, everyone else here seemed to be force-sensitive, but that wasn’t the same thing at all. That was just the pile of parts out of which a ship was built.

There is no emotion; There is peace

Mek slowly recited the old Jedi code he’d read in an old book somewhere, trying to glean some hidden meaning from them. It helped cool his brain down when he got too excited. He cruised an oscillating search pattern in the direction of the coordinates they’d learned from Theapu, but he didn’t really know what he was looking for.

After a few hours of scanning out the cockpit, enjoying the sights as much as being on the lookout, a small pinging alarm on the console went off. They were nearing their destination. Looking around, everyone seemed to be occupied with useful activities, which meant only one thing. He hated to disturb Wen Yanbo, but now seemed to be the time. He punched the comms.

“Hey Wen Yanbo, we could use you up here on the scanners.”

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When Rok was found in a hard place.
Rok's wild adventure by himself

(Hard Stealth check, with upgrade and a setback. Result: 1 failure, 1 despair, 3 advantage.)

The smell of melted plastisteel quickly filled the small cantina. Moments before Rok had been getting pounded on by the Bith thugs. His ears ringing the crowd began hastily pushing towards the exits away from the man with a disruptor and his two droids at the cantina entrance.
Rok quickly melted into the crowd, surely his friends will forgive him for continuing to follow the Swoop gang. No one treats “Fifties” that way.
Pushing and pulling Rok finally made his way outside. Looking around trying to find one of the Bith. The crowd thinned further away from the cantina. Turning a corner a down a side alley was one of those bald headed Bith. Picking up speed Rok ran down the street. Rok skidded to a stop.
“Well look what we have here, boys. One of those hard headed uglies.” Half a dozen of the thugs stood waiting. Rok was grabbed by two of the thugs and thrown against the wall. The big Bith started pummeling him. Blow after blow landed. Unable to escape, unable to collapse to the ground, Rok’s mind started to swim, he coughed and wheezed and cried out.
A blow landed on his temple sending stars through his vision. Rok was let go and he fell to his knees.
“You boys have fun. Git goin’! Let skinny prune face be.” A huge figure towered over the Bith. He sounded so familiar.
“Yeah, we all just having some fun. We are going now.” The big Bith stuttered. He turned and encouraged his fellows to leave.
Rok looked up questioningly at the new figure. Outlined by a street lamp, he could tell his savior was a Basalisk.
“You mess… “ The huge figure bent low hovering over the Weequay. “ you ever learn count odds, you hard headed prune face, before you rush in trouble?”
The voice was familiar! “Buzzard?!, You know I can’t count that high.” Four huge hands reached out and helped Rok up. “Not you can’t, you don’t.” The Basilisk said folding his arms disapprovingly.
Rok grasped his nose, blood oozing down. Spitting blood onto the pavement, Rok smiled a crooked smile, proudly displaying a new chipped tooth. “Thanks, Buzzard. I did walk into that one. When did you get on station? I didn’t know you were in the area.”
The huge Basilisk kept staring disapprovingly with his arms crossed, “You didn’t or didn’t want to look like you know.” One hand pointed out an index finger poking Rok in the middle of his chest. ”You owe me. Now, you owe more.”
“Hey well, why didn’t you just let them kill me then?” The smile gone from Rok’s face.
“You not pay off debt if you be dead. You pick wrong fight you never pay what you owe. Plus, no fun let others kill too quick. When you pay?”
“Listen Buzzard, You know I’ll pay you. You are like family to me. Give me another couple of days. I should have a good payoff coming in soon. We got a good tip it will payoff well and you’ll have your money.”
A slow smile spread across Buzzards wide face. Many small sharp teeth which caused Rok to shiver slightly. “Rok.. Rok.. couple days? payoff? You sound broken recording. You tell me same story last time. You skip town and I no get paid, again. You tell me about new job. Maybe I believe.”
The comlink chirped, “Rok where have you been?! get to the ship now your late!”
Shrugging Rok started to move past the big Basalisk.”Gotta go big guy, I’ll pay you soon.”
“Not fast, little Rok.” Two massive crushing hands grasped him, “You pay me soon. Or beatin from Bith be like mother’s embrace. Don’t care how good you be. You dead beat, be beat dead.”
“Yeah, Buzzard, I know. You’ll get your credits soon.”

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Easy Things Come Hard

It’s never easy, killing someone.
At least not emotionally – taking the life of some slob with a disruptor and an ego’s actually pretty straightforward.
But the impacts of it, those never get less. I can still feel that hunters emotions as he realizes he’s going to die. The little flicker of surprise, the wild surge of fear, the tidal wave of pain and then the silence.
Stars, it’s never easy, even when they probably deserved it.

Ever since I got that package, there’ve been so many dead. Friends, enemies, faceless drones hunting me for reasons I don’t understand and allies who’ve sacrificed everything to keep me alive.

It looks like Fifties has a few more secrets than I thought – probably at least as many as I do…unless they were after my gift to him?
Well, wouldn’t be the first time I’ve put someone in harms way, and I guess it won’t be the last.

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On Death's Bed

Wen Yanbo awoke, upright and already walking. The strange land he found himself in had a familiar feel. Dark. Dusty. And the air … It was then that he noticed he wasn’t wearing his breather, which had become an extension of himself after decades of not removing it.

He was on Dorin.

One realization led way to another: There were dozens of other Kel Dor, of all ages, walking in the same direction as him. He turned to the Kel Dor youngling walking to his right and, in his native Kel Dorian tongue, asked, “Child, to where is everyone walking?”
“To see the Masters, of course.”
“I apologize, it’s been so long since I’ve been home, the Masters?”
“What do you mean? You’ve always been here,” she said puzzled. “Come, the Master’s are expecting you.” She took his hand in hers and guided him forward as wind whipped through the clearing. In the distance he could see a rock formation around which everyone was gathering.

He felt a soft touch on his left shoulder. Walking beside him was male Kel Dor old enough to be his father, but probably much older. “Child,” the frail man said, addressing Wen Yanbo, “the Baran Do have been leaders, mentors, and practitioners on Dorin for thousands of generations. Now it is your turn.”
“But I don’t know how. Besides, I’ve sworn a …”
“You’ve spent long enough foraging in the Outer Rim, separating yourself from the toxicity of society, and finding your own connection to the living force. The Baran Do way is not much different, now learn to separate yourself from your own senses and truly see the world around—and ahead of you.”

With that he stopped. They had reached their destination.

There was a Kel Dor male guiding the congregation in meditation, teaching them to separate themselves from their senses, and open themselves to the world around them. Wen Yanbo joined in the mediation, which seemed to last hours on end. The past, present, and future were beginning to blend. Making the exact amount of time they had been meditating hard to discern.

When he opened his eyes Wen Yanbo noticed that there was a human man standing next to the Kel Dor sage. He immediately recognized the soft face of his Master. “Master! The atmosphere, it’s not safe for you here. You must return to safety.”
His master did not seem worried. “Wen Yanbo, it’s time to go. There is still work to be done.”
“I’m learning so much. The Kel Dor use the force to predict the timing and direction of violent storms. Please, let me stay awhile longer.”
His Master shared a friendly, familiar smile with the Kel Dor sage before saying, “It is not your path, not yet.” He pointed to the cave in the rock formation, from which a bright, orange light was emitting. “Quickly! You’re needed.” Wen Yanbo walked slowly toward the cave, as he turned around he could see the bodies of the Kel Dor that had gathered slowly fading away.

“Oh and Wen Yanbo,” his Master added, “do be safe.”

Wen Yanbo closed his eyes as he walked into the cave, and as he opened them he found himself in his cabin with the bright, orange light of the nebula flooding his room, his body still aching from the day’s unfortunate encounter with the wrong end of a missile tube, and the familiar beep of the ship’s intercom ringing in his ears.

It was Mek, “Hey Wen Yanbo, we could use you up here on the scanners.”

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Target Practice

The EVA suit was a problem. It’s bulk limited his speed, the magnetic boots altered his stance, and the helmet interfered with his peripheral vision. Still O-In drew smoothly, slowly at first, but faster and faster as he learned to compensate for the impacts of the suit, the effects of zero-gravity, and the odd motion the ship was making as it approached Nerin III. Hitting a switch on his suit, the swarm of micro-droids flattened the targets they had been holding aloft, and scuttled into the airlock ahead of him. Having Fifties make these little guys was a great idea, allowing him to practice in non-standard environments – basically anywhere the A’tuin found itself. He could even practice on the exterior of the ship…as long as he didn’t miss.

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The Birth of The A'Tuin

*click*

The last access panel cover slid effortlessly into place. Now, finally, she was done. Oh, sure, she’d been spaceworthy for a while now, and Mek had finished all the hyperdrive tests 2 weeks ago, but this was far more important.

He moved past the galley towards the cockpit, checking his work as he went. Reaching the main computer terminal, he pulled a datacard from his pocket and plugged it in. This was the final test. He momentarily held his breath, and then punched in a few quick commands.

On cue, the pulsing synth rhythms of Red Shift Limit’s new album Limited Warfare echoed throughout the ship. Taking a quick tour of the ship to verify that all the various speakers mounted throughout were working properly, Mek couldn’t help but grin. He’d be taking the A’Tuin on her official maiden voyage soon, and leaving Mon Cala for who knows how long.

At least his new home would sound right.

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