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The few days after our return seemed pleasantly mundane to me. As a Knight there are additional protocols I needed to be aware of, and I was given larger quarters. The change was so swift that I still found myself wondering back to my old chamber from time to time.
As a knight you get to choose your missions, but there was only one I really cared about. Redora. Since the return Kip had been in isolation and questioned by Master Doe-nar and Leeloo. I had made it a point to connect with her and get whatever updates I could on Kip’s progress. After all we had been through I had hoped he would have a full recovery and be reinstated. The initial reports from Leeloo however seemed to indicate that would not be the case. That Kip would most likely be stripped of his title and exiled or worse for his crimes.
In truth this was a popular opinion. A number of Jedi felt that council should have done just that already. A bit dishearten that even Leeloo felt this way I asked her to wish Kip well for me. To let him know he has a supporter. I was stunned when she said no. She told me that Kip’s progress was a delicate thing and no outside could be introduced. Although a bit skeptical I deferred to her judgement on the matter.
Next few days I became lost in re-familiarizing myself with the Order’s histories as well as doing some research on a side project. As such when next Leeloo and I spoke she had quite a bit to share. Kip had recalled the destination of Redora and better still, there now absolute proof Kips fall was due to some dark force entity inhabiting his body. Leeloo was given the freedom to form her team to investigate this planet, Alton. She asked if I would join. I told there was no other mission I was more interested in and of course I would travel at her side. She told me a Jedi Watchmen in the area was notified to scout ahead of us but that we would need to leave soon. I asked if Kip were going to accompany us as I thought it be good for him. She disagreed and still didnt not feel he would be cleared. Again I deferred to her. At least until I had the chance to speak with Kip or Master Doe’nar myself.
That time came only a day later when the Council re-instated Kip’s padawan status. Albeit in a probationary state. Still he was released from isolation and I wasted no time in seeking him out. I found him in one of the meditation chambers and our initial contact had him full of apprehension. I quickly told him I held no judgements of him and ease his concerns. With that awkwardness behind us, signs of the TRUE Kip continued to emerge. We even shared a few jest and I got him to smile.
Feeling confidant he truly was on the mend, I shared that Leeloo was recruiting for the Task Force to go after Redora once more. I was on it and would support his efforts to join as well. His drive to right his past wrongs was clear to see and together we spoke to Leeloo. The conversation did not begin well. Leeloo did not believe Kip was ready. Kip shared that Master Andor himself said he could go if Leeloo ok’d it. I then mentioned to Leeloo that if a Master would allow it, then surely she could. Grudgingly she agreed, with a condition. That when it comes to Redora, Kip had to follow her lead. He started to push back but I stepped in and told him that was a fair request. Redora was a Sister of the Force and Leeloo should be the lead on dealing with her. Finally on all agreed, we prepared ourselves for the journey.
As we gathered in the Jedi speeder bay, Master Andor arrived to send us off. He had a gift for us as well. It was certainly a great one, as an even more recently knighted Reegan Centari appeared offering to join our cause. It was good news indeed as Reegan, although a bit reckless in battle, was quite a skilled combatant. Not to mention, if memory served, she had some infiltration skill that would undoubtedly prove useful.
With the Jedi gathered we headed to Senate space port and unfortunately another awkward moment. Senator Cana was providing transportation, and Kip was understandably concerned about how he would be received. As we approach I could see some apprehension from her as well. Before a thought could form on how I could help defuse this situation, Kip knelt before the Senator and offered her his life in apology for his “others” transgressions. We were all stunned by this. Still, after only a few moments Senator Cana accepted the gesture and we all boarded the recently repaired Rogue Star.
The flight to Alton was uneventful. Upon arrival however we picked up an automated Jedi distress beacon. We knew there was a Jedi Watchmen sent here ahead of us. It was not an encouraging sign that they already ran into trouble. The terrain was extremely rocky so after our fly by, we were forced to land some distance away. Upon arrival at the shuttle, after some difficult overland travel, we fine the insides destroyed by blaster fire and a lone Survivor. A young and injured padawan named Min.
Min tells us that there are mandolorians here and that her master, the Watchmen we were to meet, was killed by a painted face woman working with the Mandolorians. This could only mean Redora was still here. For the first time, since Dathomir we were on the same planet at the same time, I certainly felt an urgentness to the moment. Still with Mando’s it does not always pay to simply rush in. However that seemed like just what Kip and Leeloo wanted. Even Min was eager to punish Redora for her masters death.
With Senator Cana’s aid we were able to patch Min up and get some additional details before heading towards the Mando’s base. We encountered two security drones on our way to the base and had to give chase to destroy them less our approach be known. I was not familiar with these models that had a few surprises in them. For as we approached to destroy them, they each separated into 8 sections. Half flying off to get into transmit range, the other covering the escape with blaster fire. The defending sections caught a few of us be surprise. I was thankful of Min moving quickly to my side and helping me up just before the next barrage of blaster fire.
The chase through the cannon went under and over cross sections of stone. It took the entire group working together, and cutting it very close, we managed to destroy the last section in time. Taking only a few moments to catch our breath, we continued on our way.
Upon arrival at the site we see 4 Neo-Crusaders in front of a large blast door built into the side of a mountain. We could not get too close without risk of being spotted so we quickly made a plan. Reegan using her Force Cloak ability was able to get to the doors and disable the comm system while the rest of us quickly closed the distance.
The guards caught off unaware still managed to regroup quickly dishing out damage from mounted repeaters, their carbines and vibro swords. Reegan took some heavy hits and I thought at one point we lost her. She had never fought Mando’s before so was unaware of their Bescar armor or the fact that they know Jedi how to fight Jedi. Thankfully we were able to out pace Min so by the time she joined the fray it was largely over. Still I had to leap ahead of her at one point as she was heading right for an unwounded Neo. I was able to weaken him for the brash young padawan finished him off. I must admit I was impressed with her strike.
After the fighting was over and we patched our hurt I took a moment to point out the points of weakness in the Mandolorian armor to Min and a heavily wounded Reegan. Leeloo also added some suggestions to our companions as she has a reputation with the Mando’s that is well earned.
While Boyd’s crack shooting is apparent, his true calling seems to be with electronics. He had the doors sliced before we fully had time to catch our breath. Still we moved and to the underground complex and discovered the remains of Min’s master. A tough moment for the little padawan. Further we discovered the primary Mando mining operation a buzz of activity. Also we learn Redora was there.
Again Reegan scouted ahead and based on her intel we planned our attack. Kip and I would creep along the either side of the cavern and Leeloo would speed across the central stone bridge once we engaged with Min and the heavily injured Reegan would work as ranged cleanup with the sharpshooting Boyd. It took some convincing but Leeloo agreed to engage Redora only after she cut down two of the 10 Mandolorians. Kip felt he should engage Redora with Leeloo but I urge him to stay focused. Leeloo would most likey be able to buy us some time to deal with the warriors. Grudging he agreed.
As most plans do it started well enough but a sharp eyed lookout spotted Kip and I sneaking into the room and called alarm. Over the din of the mining equipment Kip didn’t notice, by fortunately I had locked eyes with the Neo in just that moment and was able to call out to the others that we had been discovered. From that point it was move forward and engage as quickly as we could and try and stick to the plan.
It was touch and go as all battles with Mandolorians are. Redora fled down a lift just before the fighting started. I could tell It took great restraint for both Kip and Leeloo to not follow immediately and they even had some words over the matter although the two Neo’s very much in my personal space made it tough to make out what was said. Still I was please that they stuck to the plan. Once the 10 guards turn to four Leeloo headed for the lift shaft. I had dispated one Neo but another took us place so two blades now occupied my attention. Still I managed to meet Leeloo’s gaze. We nodded to one another and then she disappeared down the hole.
The remain Mandos with their jet packs where tenacious, and with the mine equipment set to overload time was running out. The pressure in the pipes were build to a point where it would shake this place apart. We were able to dispatch the the remain Neo’s and set to stabilizing the system. Reegan, little Min and I raced to several valess to try and release the pressure in the pipes. Kip, took this moment to follow down the hole after Leeloo.
Once the shaking subsided I when to the lift and called it up. Kip lay unconscious upon. Searching the lower levels there was no sign of Leeloo and no ship in the hanger.
Redora had escaped once more. Thinking back to the encounters on Dathomir, and the words of Leeloo’s shades during Darkers Challenge I have to wonder… is Leeloo a captured prisoner, stow-away or a welcomed guest.
Leeloo… what have you gotten yourself into?