Well before dawn the heroes awake to meet their police escorts on a search of the Forge District. Everyone is surprised to see Atin embracing the Tapani style or at least a close proximity, wearing only his beskar chest plate. They are met by Estalle Island Police officers; Tobin, Vann, Sgt. Paddon, and Parks, who are anything be excited to be tasked with finding a needle in a haystack.
The forge district and is loud, hot, humid and soot covered, filled with vendors and species of every kind. Tala enthusiastically questions the first dozen people she meets. Officer Tobin makes it clear that he doesn’t believe in the children stories about magical Jedi Knights and not to bother with that nonsense on his account. They are simple men just making a living and don’t get mixed up in Noble politics.
Atin performs some questioning on his own, but finds it difficult having already been seen in the company of the Police. He does meet a shady human chrono vendor named Gullbrum who promises he has a cousin who sells 100% pure cortosis swords and they set a time to meet later in the day. It’s obvious to most of the heroes that they have more than one set of eyes on them. Corraun believes some are normal criminal lookouts paying attention to the police while others may be looking to see if they are worth robbing. Padawan Tala has a confrontation with a tight lipped male Aguish treating her like a child, she ignites her light saber and Corraun has to intervene. She is appalled that this place including the police have no respect for Jedi. Knight Jax sets a clear order to not brandish her lightsaber unless it’s in defense of her live or another’s. Capt. Nora asks Kal if this is her normal behavior and he replies she’s usually worse.
There is a total of six possible Piston Farms to check and when they see the first one the heroes understand the pessimism of their police escorts. Powerful gusts of wind are blown or drawn in from these farms allowing the byproduct and residue of the farms to spread out far, putting hundreds of shacks and buildings with in range and requiring to be checked. The floor to ceiling giant pistons cause a considerable amount of noise. They spend nearly six hours using the police to kick down doors in this section alone, but with no success. They break for a meal and search the next piston farm. This too bares no fruit and they decide to call it a day. Sgt. Paddon sends his men home and stays as an escort to the group who wants to stop by the great market place. Although it’s winding down Atin finds Gullbrum with three white bladed swords. Atin hoping to have the purity of the cortosis checked by a light saber invites Jax and Tala with him for the met. Gullbrum swears to the purity of the blades and uses his own test strips to prove it’s 100% pure. Atin is unable to convince Corraun to use his lightsaber to test it, after he told Tala not to draw her blade unless it’s life or death. Annoyed Atin threatens Gullbrum with the permits and cops, Gullbrum takes he merchandise and scrams.
Corraun later reveals to Tala that he is not keen on helping Kelborn get a cortosis blade since he’d likely use it against Leeloo one day. They all return tired to the Pelagia Palace and call it a night. The next day the police officers are perturbed to continue with this waste of time assignment, especially with the first day of the Tapani Day festivities starting. Two the officers would have been off today while the other two would have had nice crowd control duties at the parades.
Tala casually saddles up next to Atin and says she figures he wants a Cortosis blade to kill Redora, and she’ll help him get one and test it out. Kelborn accepts the aide. After five hours of searching another Piston Farm with no leads they break for lunch. Tala disappears for a bit and then returns with a whispers to Atin that she has a guy waiting nearby. Atin leaves first and Tala convinces the officers to make it a working lunch and talk to Corraun about the areas of the three remaining farms, maybe find ones better suited to be checked first. This distracts everyone enough for Tala to slip away.
In a nearby alley Atin meets a much less shady snivvian merchant named Chester Tinovosh selling Cortosis blades, one of which is 75.2% pure. When Atin asks for a 100% pure, Chester snickers saying no one sales 100% pure blades, they’re too brittle to be effective. Tala arrives and uses her light saber on the streaked white blade and to her surprise it temporary interrupts her lightsaber. Atin haggles the price down to 13,000 creds and makes the purchase including a non-descript case to carry it in.
Corraun, Nora and Kal all decided to skip the next closest Piston Farm for one with less population and with closer proximity to more district exits. Tala and Kelborn’s absence went unnoticed. While searching the next piston farm area Corraun and Tala sense the Darkside of the force and track it to a small factory with blacked out windows. Kal slices the security lock on one of the two doors and finds it’s wired to send an alert when being sliced, he can’t circumvent it from this side of the door and will give anyone inside a 15 second warning. Jax gives Kal a nod to go forward. Once open Corraun sets into total darkness, using the force he can sense six figures in hiding. He ignites his light saber and tells them to reveal themselves, Tala and Kal enter just before the hidden figures open fire with blaster pistols. Captain Altair enters using her headgear to see infra-red. Atin without his helmet and optics enters and turns on the lights. They see six men behind cover are wearing hoods over red helmets and protected by chest and shoulder plates.
Entering the room from a large side room are two force-sensitives in red hoods and capes. The one in the lead is wearing a half mask over his mouth and nose, black paint around his green eyes. In a rage filled voice he tells the Jedi that they should not have interfered. Jax calls the Mecrosa Order a disease and the Jedi will cure Tapani of it. The green eyed leader says the Mecrosa Order is a virus that can’t be killed, merely spread. They each draw a red light-foil.
Jax squares off against the Leader while Tala engages the other darksider. Kal, Kelborn and Nora engage the six Mecrosa foot soldiers who prove to be highly trained and armed with pistols and fencing blades. Atin duels with one of them and tricks him into revealing he is from the Freeworlds. Nora learns quickly how deadly these opponents are and receives a powerful shot to the chest and is thrown into a wall knocked unconscious.
Jax and the Leader are battling across the factory floor to a standstill, when the Leader leaps up onto a machine giving him the higher ground. Corraun thinks about engaging, but seeing Nora down instead uses the force to throw one of the foot-soldiers across the room rendering him unconscious. The four police officers guarding the exit rushes in, Parks and Tobin are badly wounded almost immediately.
Corraun detects bouts of the darkside used by the leader to grant him a swiftness of movement that he has never faced before. This gets the better of Jax and he is knocked to the ground. Tala tries to help, but her loss of focus gets her knocked to the ground as well. Atin comes to Corraun’s aide distracting the leader just enough to allow Jax to get back to his feet, followed shortly by Tala. Kal continues to slowly reduce their numbers, but Paddon and Vann suffer mortal wounds. Both Jax and Atin land solid blows to the darkside user, but he almost unnaturally presses on using pain and hate as fuel to keep fighting. Both sides suffer grievous wounds causing the leader calls for a retreat. He leaps several stories up in a single bound and through a window. The other darksider follows, although not a quick. A heavily wounded Corraun takes a moment to catch his breath, but Atin gives Tala hand to leap out the same window. Corraun vexed has to now go after his Padawan. They see the leader running into the highly dangerous Piston Fields, the other makes a run for it as well. Corraun tells Tala to stand down, the Mecrosa know the lay of the land and it could be trap, they must let them go. Tala seeing her master injured and fatigued from his long battle says she’ll go after them, but as she tries to run past her master Jax grabs her arm and tells her no. Frustrated that the precious few moments they had left to catch them was now gone. They walk back to the factory in silence.
Kal gives the last standing foot solider a chance to surrender, but he refuses. They both fire at the same time, both shots are a hit, but Kal survived and the assassin did not. Once back inside Jax still senses the darkside of the force and follows it into a room with more secure windows. He finds a carved stone alter and tells Tala to stand back as it could be dangerous. She does not. Jax turns on the lights and see a symbol drawn atop the alter in blood.
It is of an image he has never seen before. Jax notices Tala in the room and reminds her he said to stay back. She retorts that she’ll not let anymore darkside get away today. Jax breaks eye contact with her, but does not speak. Kal and Atin search the room. They find evidence of maps and data slates hastily destroyed. One map of the island with different colored routes is found. Kal also finds a luxury skiff brochure fallen between boxes. A model noted as being the same as the emperors’ is circled.
Atin knowing the Police will arrive in only a few minutes doesn’t have the time for a more formal interrogation so he begins to torture the solo living foot-solider. The man has a high pain tolerance, but after two fingers smashed to bits Kelborn is just getting started. Jax pulls Atin aside and tells him no more, only the threat of it. Atin nods and they return to the mangled prisoner. Atin threatens to break his knee next, the man refuses to speak. Atin smashes his pistol hilt down shattering the man’s knee. Jax uses the force to slam Atin against the wall. The prisoner is yelping in pain nearly pasted out. Even with Jax baring down on him, Atin still questions the prisoner. He finally breaks and says they are planning an assassination at a Tapani Day Parade. The foot-soldier begins to convulse. Black webs radiate around his eyes and mouth under the skin. His eyes begin to bleed and he dies horrible in seconds. It was like Master Shi-Leer described.
Police reinforcements arrive in great numbers and with Master Shi-Leer. Jax updates the master and asks if he knows anything about the strange symbol. The darkside from the alter is all but gone, it faded like heat from a coal, slowly, but completely. Shi-Leer says he has never seen that symbol before, and the blood element is perplexing. Police Captain Hardwick asks about the maps and skiff brochure and notes that one of the routes on the map is for the final parade of Tapani day which includes the Boy-Emperor Lucius Kappela-Shey in the parade. Jax and Kal insist that the emperor be warned and the parade canceled. Nora suggests an alternative, that it could be just the right bait. Neither Capt. Hardwick or Master Shi-Leer likes the idea. But even Master Shi-Leer can’t just demand an audience with the emperor, they have to return to the Pelagia Palace and get Hi-Lord Praxum’s help if he is back from the summit, or that of Lord Turnell’s help.
On the air-car ride back Tala refuses to sit anywhere near Corraun. Atin speaks to Tala and asks why she is upset, it’s not Jax’s fault the assassins got away. Without specifically saying it, Atin reads from her body language that may not have been the whole story. Atin asks if she’ll help him spar with is new blade and she knowing Jax would not approve, she quickly agrees.
Kal speaks to Nora and warns her that this group encounters strange and deadly forces often and he is concerned about her. She assures him that although she has been sidelined for some time she’ll brush off the rust and be fine.
End of session.
Important Introductions & Firsts:
Estalle Island Police officers; Tobin, Vann (deceased), Sgt. Paddon(deceased), Parks & Captain Lewin Hardwick. Gullbrum, Chester Tinovosh, Mecrosa Order Foot soldiers, Two unidentified Mecrosa Force-sensitive Assassins. Cinematic Melee Combat rules v1 are introduced.