Star Wars: The Sith Academy

Interlude 3.1

Because the game has been pushed to once per month, some of the roleplaying will take place over email. The metagaming that will inevitably occur will be stripped out, and established continuity will be recorded here.

The transition moves fairly quickly. Within a week Dask has established a permanent berth for The Light Side with adjoining suites explicitly for his personal and business use. Dask allows some of his more trustworthy slaves and retainers to move into some of these suites, but the majority remain aboard The Light Side. The group is free to move about Cloud Mine at their leisure, but there are few amenities; in fact, some of the miners request access to The Light Side’s forbidden pleasures, and soon a mini-Vegas has cropped up, greatly improving morale. The boost to morale actually manages to increase production, and after three weeks Bantar actually thanks Dask for taking over. Dask choses not to grant access to “addictive” drugs to ensure the miners keep working.

Dev rarely ventures out of The Light Side, but on the few occasions that he does he (eventually) notices that every time he has left the ship he’s encountered Minar’s protocol droid in some way, typically walking in his direction just as he rounded a corner. Although it doesn’t speak to him, he gets the feeling that it’s staring at him; every time he glanced that way, however, the droid was eyes-forward.

Guru was given a private suite with a “workout room” where he spent most of his free time practicing his use of the force. Frequently this involves meditation, but just as often it’s, shall we say… vigorous.

Things go smoothly for nearly a month. The group hear rumors that Darth Malak has been killed and the Sith Empire has begun to collapse.

One day nearly a month after the takover, Dask finds two text-only messages awaiting him on his personal datapad. Dask has a small reputation as a mean capable of handling “sticky” situations, frequently by assassination but just as often by more subtle means.

The two messages are heavily encrypted in the usual way. Dask has an intricate system for establishing contact with a potential client involving several go-betweens and the eventual exchange a very large public key (he never use the same key twice). The system has worked thus far and helps shield both him and his clients. The system is strictly text and typically involves heavy use of innuendo.

The first is from Govon Langley, the junior Senator for the Republic from Denon. He explains in a very detailed and lengthy e-mail with very little innuendo exactly how important it is that the senior Senator from Denon, Jord Cornish, be eliminated. The details are typical: nobody can know it came from him, be discrete, maybe make it look like an accident, yadda, yadda, yadda. Jord is known to be amazingly paranoid and keeps a large retinue of elite guards wherever he goes. A recent failed attempt on his life by Govon has resulted in his being assigned two Jedi Knights on a permanent basis to head his security detail.

The second message arrived anonymously, heavily encrypted. The encryption envelope indicates that it was encrypted with the public keys of all of the last ten messages Dask had negotiated with his system, including the one from Govon Langley. After quite a while decrypting, he managed to read the following:

We have received your attempts at communication and are now paying close attention to you. Your apparent skills could be useful, but we will reserve judgment for the time being. Acquit your self well, and we will contact you with further instructions. The Exchange.

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Session 3

Dev and Guru returned to Dask aboard The Light Side to report the destruction of the Sith Academy.

Their report was mostly accurate.

Dask was understandably disappointed, but had other worries: recent socio-political events on Kuat had made his use of Kuat as a base of operations no longer feasible. Lacking the resources to maintain a hold in Kuat, Dask had decided instead to abandon his refuge there and take to the stars. Unfortunately, Dask now had no means of laundering his illicit gains—a new base of operations was sorely needed.

After several hours of deliberation, Guru put forth a plan to which Dask agreed. There was a small Tibanna gas mine named Cloud Mine floating in the upper atmosphere of Bespin that had managed to avoid entanglement with major galactic entities, operating with a surprising amount of independence. Guru refused to explain how he knew this.

The plan was to trick the miners into thinking that a new form of power generation based entirely upon Tibanna gas would allow them to expand into untapped markets. Under the guise of constructing a prototype generator, the group would instead construct an elaborate bomb near the floating mine’s generator that was capable of destroying the entire mine. What the plan lacked in elegance was compensated by… er… dunno.

The crew found difficulty immediately upon arrival. They dealt with Cloud Mine’s PR officer, Minar Slorna, who was at first unwilling to let them dock. The fact that Guru refused to explain his “plan” via communication channels or to anyone other than the mine’s owner had much to do with her reluctance.

After several tense minutes of careful negotiations, Minar allowed them dock and present their proposal. They would have to meet Minar, however, as the owner Bantar Sandhawk was a recluse that refused to meet anyone other than his most trusted companions and advisers.

When the presentation began in a small conference room, the group was surprised to note that Minar refused to appear in person, instead appearing as a hologram projection projected by a golden protocol droid. After some initial confusion, Guru eventually agreed to present his plan, and began his presentation. He was frequently interrupted by Dev attempting to flirt with Minar, who soon became equally distracted. Although the presentation was amazingly sparse on details, Minar agreed to the terms, allowing the group to build their prototype in an abandoned hangar and, if it proved viable, to build a full-scale generator near the mine’s power generator.

While Dask and Guru set about organizing a false prototype that utilized several portable power cells inside a large shell with feeds and tanks for the input Tibanna gas, Dev – the ladies man – began a whirlwind romance with Minar.

Although Dev requested a physical presence with Minar frequently, Minar refused to appear to him as anything but a hologram. There followed numerous virtual encounters involving Minar’s protocol droid projecting a hologram of Minar: virtual walks through The Light Side’s small garden, virtual candle-lit dinners, virtual dancing, even virtual games of holochess. Throughout all of it Dev pressed Minar for a more physical encounter, but was blocked by Minar, who explained that although she was beginning to trust Dev, there were certain aspects about her that would make such a dalliance impossible.

During this time the prototype was finished and accepted and the bomb began construction. The bomb was permanently wired to the station power generator such that any tampering would cause a significant explosion. When it was complete, but before the “unveiling ceremony”, Dev gave Minar one last chance to “do the Dev dance” or he was gone forever. He added that she would regret a “no”. The offer was rejected through virtual tears.

Mere moments later Dev, Guru, Dask, and Minar (virtually) were gathered in the conference room as Guru made their demands: the generator was, in fact, a bomb, and Guru demanded to see the owner of the station. Minar glanced at Dev with tears in her eyes, mouthed “how could you?” and left. That is, her droid left. Moments later, Bantar strode in and sat down to listen to the terms:

Dask was now the junior partner in Cloud Mine to the tune of 45% of all revenue. Additionally, internal accounting would include records for gas that was never actually extracted and refined and records for shipments that never occurred. Payments for these shipments would account for a roughly 40% increase in revenues, which, after Dask took his cut, amounted to a 5% cost to Bantar. Guru explained this low cost as being due to Dask’s exceedingly generous nature.

After some fruitless haggling on Bantar’s part the terms were agreed and Dask began to settle in to his new base of operations.

That night Dev, drunk and enraged at his rejection by Minar, had a particularly energetic dalliance with Toma and recorded the event as a highly-detailed hologram. He sent the recording to Minar via the Holonet under the subject “This could have been you”.

Here endeth Session 3.

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Session 2

After a short but fruitless search of the room with the holo projector, Dev and Guru decided to head back to the Academy.

The scene of the Academy was one of carnage. Room after room told the same tale: a small group of Jedi had recently been through and had left behind a trail of destruction. In the entrance hall they found a Sith that had only died moments before and they hurried out toward Dreshdae.

Roughly halfway through the desert canyon that was the road from the Academy to Dreshdae, Guru spotted Arnad and her two slaves several dozen meters away in an apparent standoff with three armed men. The two groups were speaking, but what was said could not be discerned.

The two men decided to approach cautiously, but had barely gone a few steps before hostilities broke out between the two groups. They chose to watch from a safe distance rather than join in. Two of the armed men were quickly dispatched but the third, proved more difficult. Obviously the leader, he was rather short in stature, with a long blue overcoat, a white desert hat and gogggles. After his thugs were dispatched, he chose to holster his blasters and engage Arnad in melee with his vibroblade. After only a few moments it was obvious he was outmatched, and soon he pulled a thermal detonator, threw it in the air, and ran for it.

Using The Force Arnad threw the detonator against a canyon wall several dozen meters to the side, but apparently chose to let him go. Apparently unaware of Dev and Guru watching behind a large boulder several meters away, Arnad and her slaves began walking back to Dreshdae.

At this point Guru chose to announce himself and attempted to engage Arnad in conversation. Pausing briefly, Arnad conferred with her slaves in a language neither Dev nor Guru understood. They both ran off in the direction of Dreshdae while Arnad continued at a slow walk, ignoring Guru’s offers to join him.

Dev and Guru both attempted to step in front of Arnad as she walked back to Dreshdae, but she ignored their attempts, simply walking around. After several ignored questions about the nature of the Force and the Dark Side, Arnad eventually told Guru bluntly that the Dark Side wasn’t more powerful.

At this point Dev asked if Arnad was Jedi, which she acknowledged. Overcome with rage, Dev lit his lightsaber and attacked. The battle was short and ultimately ended with Arnad running away after receiving covering fire from her slaves from the top of the canyon wall.

Unable to pursue, Dev and Guru returned to the Academy for a more thorough search. There were no apparent survivors with one exception: Yuthura Ban had apparently packed her goods and left rather hurriedly. In Uthar’s study they found a Sith Holocron which they have not yet attempted to use. Sweeping the area, they took every lightsaber they could find, along with the two utility droids that had been hauling goods to the Academy.

Heading to Dreshdae, Guru decided to order water again and was quite pleased that the bartender had apparently already learned of the slaughter at the Academy, as the water was now free. Guru ordered several glasses and left without drinking them, a sly smile on his face.

The two then left the planet to attend some unfinished business—a revenge killing of some Mandalorians on Kashyyk. After a job well done, they left Kashyyk and headed back to their Boss’ hidout.

Here endeth Session 2.

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Session 1
Entrance

Because one player (Dask) couldn’t make the opening session, some background was changed. Rather than the three of them enrolling to be Sith, Dask has decided to send his two best retainers to learn the ways of power from the Sith.

The session opened to find Dev and Guru landing their small transport on the outskirts of Dreshdae close to local dawn, a few hours before they needed to report to the Academy for their first day of training. It took all of five minutes of wandering the small town for them to become bored.

Dev quickly found The Drunk Side and entered. Finding a mostly deserted bar this early (a female Twi’lek at the bar, two men at one table, a Rodian and two Trandoshans at another), Dev sauntered up and ordered the first of many Hairy Hut Nipples.

Guru, disdaining alcohol, decided to exercise his Force ability outside of town on the road to the Academy. There he found a small utility droid attempting to drag a large cargo canister through the dirt road to a loading dock at the Academy. Being of a mischievous mind, Guru decided to add several large rocks on top of the canister—not enough to actual stop the poor droid, but enough to seriously hamper its movement. He then went about a series of exercises of his abilities over the next hour and a half.

Returning to The Drunk Side, Guru found Dev now quite within his cups. Thirsty after his workout, Guru decided to order water from the bar, but was somewhat taken aback at being charged 25 credits for it. Outraged, Guru attempted to intimidate the barman for a free drink by implying he was Sith, flashing his Academy badge at him. The barman was not cowed, and rather than press the matter Guru decided to do without water.

Soon after this four shots rang out and the smoldering corpse of the Rodian was left by the Trandoshans that sauntered out shortly thereafter. Realizing they were almost late for their meeting at the Academy, Dev and Guru followed, only to be nearly run down by a human woman flanked by a young female Twi’lek and female Cathar, who quickly pushed past and joined the Twi’lek at the bar. Guru left with a shrug, but Dev decided to turn around and with a wink and pointing csk-csk bought a round for the ladies before heading out.

Outside town, Dev and Guru passed the now smoking and thoroughly miserable droid, struggling to get its cargo to the Academy. Outside the door of the Academy, they noticed a Sith tormenting several wanna-be recruits, but with little more than a snide remark ignored them and swept inside.

Once inside, Dev and Guru were escorted to a large room. Several other students were already there, but the opening ceremony had clearly not yet begun. After several minutes, headmaster Uthar Wynn strode into the room, eliciting an attentive stance from all of the students. He had barely begun deriding the students for their weakness when his apprentice Yuthura Ban arrived with another student – the very woman Dev had bought a drink for half an hour ago! Clearly annoyed at the interruption, Uthar, after conferring shortly with Yuthura, admitted the woman and proceded to question her. She identified herself as Arnad Darkist and her two companions as slaves – Guru’s heightened perceptions caught the young Twi’lek reacting (but quickly recovering) with surprise at this declaration. Eventually satisfied, Uthar proceded to deride the students as weak while dangling the opportunity for them to find strength through the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force. He claimed that few would actually be granted the right to train as a Sith Apprentice—and that the remainder would be dead. The means by which students could prove themselves worthy would be by learning the Sith Code, performing great deeds that were in line with the Sith Code, and by exploring, conquering, and finding artifacts of value in the tombs within the Valley of the Dark Lords.

After being dismissed and led to their quarters, Dev and Guru decided to jump right in the fray and kill two birds with one stone (quite literally) by finding one of the other students, teaming up with them, then betraying them deep within one of the tombs. Apparently the other students were just as eager to start, as none were to be found. The only exception was Arnad, who was found conferring with Yuthura. The four women clammed up as soon as they noticed the approaching men, but Guru’s heightened senses determined that they were discussing some nefarious plan against the headmaster Uthar. After attempting to engage the ladies in conversation and being snubbed, Dev and Guru decided to head out into the Valley proper.

They were met outside by a protocol droid who explained that there were several tombs available for exploration and many more that had been already been quite cleared out by previous students, but that the tomb of Naga Sadow was strictly off limits, as the headmaster preferred to administer final testing of prospective students there. Wandering further in, they found a student apparently indecisive as to which tomb to explore and convinced her to join their stalwart band. Choosing a tomb at random, they entered. In the entryway, they found three doors and, opening the center, proceeded down the long corridor, which sloped slightly down. After several minutes descent, they noticed that the corridor was much longer than they originally guessed, but having discovered no traps they decided to explore it all the way down.

After several hours of carefully creeping down the corridor wary of traps the entire way, they discovered that the corridor was more than a kilometer long, and that it simply ended without fuss or ceremony. Stretching out with his feelings, Guru could discern only solid rock (with the occasional small imperfections and micro-caves, as this was apparently a sedimentary rock). At the farthest edge of his perception, he could notice what he thought might be another room roughly ten meters above.

In an attempt to circumvent a long walk back up and another long walk back to this room, Guru reached out with the Force and began to pull at the imperfections and micro-caves above, clearly hoping to create some cave-stairs up to the room.

This plan backfired badly. After pulling for a few moments, he was rewarded with a low rumbling, and before long the ceiling was beginning to crash inward. The trio found it necessary to run the entire length of the corridor with the walls and ceiling crashing down at their heels. They barely made it out alive.

Outside was hardly safe, and the earthquake continued for several tense minutes. When it had finally settled and the dust had cleared, nearly every one of the tombs in the Valley of the Dark Lords had collapsed in upon itself. Of the ones that could be used as proving grounds, none remained. On that side of the Valey, only the tomb of Naga Sadow appeared unharmed.

Angered at her chances lost, the student turned upon Guru, but quickly found herself mid-air and choking to death. In a last-ditch effort to save her skin, she cast lightning at Guru, but he managed not only to absorb but to redirect the lightning back at her, sealing her fate.

Leaving her still twitching corpse, Guru and Dev, fearing to report the destruction of so many valuable Sith artifacts to Uthar, decided to enter the tomb of Naga Sadow. On the way there, they encountered the dead body of one of the other students. A quick inspection determined that he had been attacked by at least two separate lightsabers, and had suffered blaster fire to boot. Barely ten meters further turned up a second such corpse, this a Sith that neither of them recognized.

When they finally reached the tomb, they found the capstone thrown aside like a toy. Apprehensive, they entered, searching room after room, only to find the decimated remains of dozens upon dozens of deadly looking attack droids. The only room of interest was a small one that was almost entirely empty. It contained a small, ancient computer console that had been chopped – practically diced – by a lightsaber, a large, equally ancient device set into the floor of room whose purpose was not immediately clear, and the corpse of the headmaster, Uthar Wynn. An inspection of the corpse indicated that Uthar had been struck down by a single lightsaber, apparently in a duel. The large device set into the floor, on further inspection, appeared to be an ancient hologram projector. What it was supposed to display could only be guessed at, as the destroyed console was likely its controller.

At this point the session ended. Session two coming up in two weeks!

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