Star Wars: Shards

Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 9
Echoes of Rebellion

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 9

“We have heard. We are coming.”

The cryptic response plays over the communication feed. Amid her elation of success, Vanya Ysadora feels a small disturbance through the Force. Like the ripples in a pond when a sleeping giant stirs.

Cheers echo through the enormous cavern housing the Undercity. The blaster fire has stopped. The rumble from Bloodsmith hover-transports growls then recedes. A runner from one of the local rebels calls out that the Bloodsmiths are pulling back!

The sounds of victory echo in the smoky air as Felnir Jax, one of the younger hunters for Ragnar Syndicate, walks into the small clearing. Boba Fett turns to face Vanya and the disguised Danar announcing its time to go.

Meanwhile in the orbit of Chalceon’s innermost gas giant fire lights the void.

The first volley from the Medusa’s x-wings hammered the Bloodsmith tie fighters. Ships blossomed into hot, bright novas of light. The Medusa squadron fired on the transports the second they passed the Bloodsmith outer patrols.

Slower transports, filled with now free prisoners, jolted and rocked before their engines flared out one at a time. Power flickers, making a desperate struggle to keep shields, point defense blasters and even life support online…

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 8
Strange Alliances

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 8

The dark sky above Monorick 6 was alive with dying wreckage. Shattered starship components burn up in the atmosphere. Larger portions fall to ground in the deep black desert sands.

Davish, So’zen and Aerena return to the docking bay in Port Graymouth. The mines seem – at last – headed for peace, quiet and a well-fought for ‘return to normal’. But questions about the hive of mysterious insects sends Davish and So’zen – followed by Aerena – out to the crater in the desert.

There they find the hive crafting an unusual scaffold made of the local minerals, such as the unstable mexalite that runs thick in Monorick 6. Davish and So’zen head to the crater’s edge for a closer look, only to be captured and taken down to the hive! Aerena acts fast, following on her speeder bike into the crater.

Discovering the ‘hive’ has a collective intelligence all its own, a negotiation breaks out between Aerena and the hive queen over the miners, So’zen and Davish. She brokers a deeper bargain that So’zen helps finalize once he was freed from captivity. The hives would work with the miners. A symbiosis of a sort. Already, the hive worker drones have started to pair up with miners to assist with extracting new ore and shore up tunnels with the hive’s more durable honeycombed support structures.

That only leaves the matter of the now silent mining colonies and the mysterious coordinates that the Nightsister raider fled toward.

Meanwhile on Chalcedon, the slave rebellion burns its way through the city. Word of a “Freeworld’s League” at Port Etmar lead by Nalarine Kanter spreads faster than the fires. Hijacked ships ferry escaped slaves toward this desperate hope for freedom.

Among flame-baked ruins near the docking bays, acrid smoke drifts through the underground air. Vanya, Danar and Boba Fett stand among the ruins. Nearby the former gladiator turned assassin, Thira, moans in pain. She’s seriously wounded but alive.

Her partner? The assassin had once again slipped through their grasp. Around the corner from the urban battlefield, they hear the sounds and voices of freed slaves, now freedom fighters, managing the escape ships under the watchful eye – and occasional assistance – of Darth Vondromas.

Meanwhile, a section of the underground city goes ominously silent…

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 7
Rebellions and Hope

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 7

Trouble brews across the system of Chalcedon. Deep beneath the sands of Chalcedon the shadow port of Undercity is on high alert. A slave uprising has exploded at one side of the city. The fire of revolution burns hot and is spreading through Undercity. Guards and slavers were caught off guard but are already gathering for a heavy response.

Beneath the cover of the civil unrest, Danar has tracked down the missing Bendu priestess. Belshanna has been put in the Undercity’s fighting arena along with two Ragnar Syndicate bounty hunters for sport. Wounded, the bounty hunters fall back to the decorative flora in the arena’s fighting pit to protect Belshanna. On the other side, a pack of the rare levanari rush out of the underbrush on their side of the arena.

Above, in the stands, Danar reports on the fight back to Vanya and Vondromas. He also spots the elusive assassin they fought earlier. Then the assassin wraps himself in his cloak and fades from sight.

Half a system away, an unidentified Mon Calamari Star Cruiser continues to assault the mining colony on Monorik 6. Turbo lasers pound at the surface. So far the colony’s shields have held.

So’zen, Davish and Aerena stopped the first attempt at a ground assault. But this was at the cost of Aerena’s companion, Spook, and almost her x-wing. Nearby, So’zen’s z-95 survives an initial barrage but is heavily damaged. Unable to help, Davish is caught in a desperate fight against three advanced tie fighters.

And then the star cruiser locked its tractor beam onto Aerena’s x-wing …
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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 6
A Hive of Scum and Villany

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 6

A call for help from Ragnar Syndicate brought Vanya, Danar and Zaye to Port Nevermore and the Collector’s warehouse. A robbery gone wrong, disposable drones and other clues set them on a collision course with a murderous stranger. Skilled in both the Force and mundane techniques, could he have been the assassin that participated in the murder of the two street judges?

It’s hard to say. But the chase goes on for him and for the missing Bendu priestess, Belshanna. Right through an underground town beneath the surface of Chalcedon. From the floating holo figures and signs, the location is the poster child for one of the infamous Shadow Ports of the galaxy. A true hive of scum and villainy.

It was also a long way from Port Etmar.

Meanwhile, half a system away on the black desert moon of Monorik 6, the Nightsister raiders blast away from the hidden underground base.

So’zen, Aerena, and Davish watch with mixed emotions. Relief and frustration. But while the nightsisters are gone, their allies aren’t. The enforcers were left behind in the eager hands of their former slaves; miners of Monorik 6, who have had enough.

And while the beetles crunch on the abundance of the mexalite in the hangar, one of the freed miners picks up a forgotten plasma cutter and turns towards one of his former captors. A dark gleam shimmers in the abused man’s eye…

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 5
Chapter 5: Shadow Ports

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 5

A request from Jerrod Quantas took Aerena, So’zen and Davish to the mining colony of Port Greymouth on the black desert moon of Monorik 6. What the bounty hunter had said was that an ore freighter was missing. But the trio found more than that.

According to the administrator, Dack Dontin, they had been requesting help for some time. Not only have shipments gone missing, so have several of his miners working the deep mines.

After gathering supplies, they descended into the depths of the mines. Beyond a sealed mine shaft, a strange swarm of energy absorbing beetles, they locate a concealed door. That covered the true find: a hidden base with one of the Nightsister clan’s Mantis class raider ships.

Now, hidden at the mouth of a tunnel leading down to the base, Aerena, So’zen and Davish watch while armed and armoed figures load cargo aboard the raider light transport. Crates of supplies, parts, minerals, and cages with slaves.

Meanwhile, half a system away, Danar, Vanya, and Zaye had traveled to Port Nevermore to look into a problem with the Collector’s warehouse. The Collector himself is away, gone to Mechis II, leaving Ragnar Syndicate to guard the warehouse.

They failed, a fact that became clear to the group when they arrived. Door locks sliced open, explosive traps had been left to catch the unwary. Worse, the Collector’s items were missing save for the Sith trap. Around the entire warehouse lay the dead bodies of Bloodsmith pirates, all killed much like the Crimson Knights had been.

The spherical Sith prison of Darth Vondromas was cracked and empty. Only a taunting – even hard to believe – message was left behind for Vanya, Danar and Zaye. The Sith lord advised the group to chase him and he might tell them what was going on.

Taking another path, the group looked for tracks on their own. Leading them to a disturbed part of the sand behind the warehouse along with a hidden signal device. But before they could find more, they have a strange feeling move across them.

Port Nevermore was silent. Even the wind stilled as they realize they had not heard any nearby sounds. Not even the wind between the buildings.

And then the ground opened its maw to eat them.

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 4
Chapter 4: The Sprung Trap

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 4

The morning had been memorable. Scents of braised nerf, eggs and other breakfast foods heralded an introduction to Zaye, a Nogri mother of two and Danar – as Vance Kerplokin’s – new ‘bond’ or ‘honor’ wife.

Conversations and many explanations followed, which came to a halt when events for the day started to unfold. Jerrod Quantas requested help tracking down a missing ore hauler that was long overdue to Chalcedon from the mining colony on Monorik 6. And outside the heroes tramp freighter, an old friend came to visit.

The krayt cyber-dragon from the battle at the Bendu temple.

But the group realized the creature had a reason for being there. It was supposed to stay at the Bendu temple until the Star Empire arrived to transport it to its new home. The Bendu were to protect it, which meant something might have happened to the Bendu.

The group decides to split up and tackle both problems at once. So’zen and Aerena collect their droids, find Davish then head for the mining colony on Monorik 6. Danar, as Vance, along with Vanya and Zaye rent a landspeeder and head for the Bendu temple.

Smoke rises to the sky before the Bendu temple comes into view and the triangular shape of a Star Destroyer hovers high above the complex.

The temple had been under attack by a group of Bloodsmiths. A different crew than who attacked Port Etmar. Despite the damage they inflicted, the Star Empire had little trouble in capturing the hunters. But not before the old Bendu priestess was taken.

A common thread, a thought, it put to voice by Danar who asked, “Why here? Slavers attack easy prey. Easy targets. This has to be a ruse for something else.”

It was after that when a shape changing machine, one of the ancient A’wakeen, revealed himself to deliver a cryptic message about Eborians. Then raced off across the desert.

Meanwhile, Aerena, So’zen and Davish arrive at Port Greymouth. A wind-swept durasteel mining colony on the black desert moon of Monorik 6.

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 3
Chapter 3: With Friends Like These ...

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 3

The sand-choked trail to catch Aurra Sing led to an obsidian crystal in Aerena’s hands. The crystal spoke as if curious then went silent. So did the ruins of Port Tanin.

While physically healed, Aurra Sing remained in a sleeping stupor. One interrupted by the occasional mutterings that accompanied vivid dreaming or rabid nightmares. It was a state Vanya and So’zen recognized all too well.

It was a hibernation trance. Just not one either could say with all certainty was generated by the Force. Yet it wasn’t hurting her, instead it was healing her. But what was the trigger to wake her? They would need a litter to carry her and her surviving accomplice out in the desert.

The sunset was a memory by the time they returned to Port Etmar. The icy stars shone down from above, tinted by the green of the hyperspace tear in the night sky. Desert sand glistened with a gray-pale green hue to the horizon. Meanwhile a cold desert wind raced them to the outskirts of the settlement.

As the group approach, the lone figure of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi walks outside the settlement. Once they are close enough, they see he has a faint smile on his face.

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 2
Chapter 2: Crossroads Under an Angry Sky

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords, Chapter 2

Two weeks had passed with So’zen missing and life in Port Etmar returning to normal. At least it was what the Battle of Port Etmar survivors all agreed could be ‘normal’ on the heat-blasted world of Chalcedon.

Then hyperspace tore open and local space bled.

From reavers and pirates to an artificial sandstorm and a mysterious group called the Thousand Stars, the galaxy raged around the world of Chalcedon. Ships fell from the sky and the air burned with hot sand. At last, with clever plans and desperate gambles, heroes turned the tide.

Then the Thousand Stars jumped for Yavin IV and the galaxy slumped in relief. Relief ships limped to Port Etmar bringing supplies and hoping for repairs. On their heels are the heavily damaged Spartan Imperium ships. Nalerine Kanter, the outlaw tech from Port Nevermore famous for her vehicles, heads up the fledgling Port Etmar repair depot creation. But she’s short on materials and assistance for the flood of wounded ships.

In the rest of Port Etmar, the captured Bloodsmith mercenaries are being rounded up. No one knows what to do with them or where to keep them. Most of the surviving buildings aren’t designed to as cells, unless the sub-basement of the now defunct Velvet Glove pit fighting cantina is still intact …

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Episode 3.05 - Menace of the Slave Lords
Chapter 1: The Light and the Dark

Episode305.jpg

Star Wars – Shards of Exploration

Episode 3.05

Menace of the Slave Lords

SO’ZEN AL SABA is missing and despite all attempts, the INFINITY GATE on CHALCEDON prevents any attempt to conceal itself from view. El’non, the Kwa force ghost gatekeeper, has searched the HYPERWAY – the web-like network through hyperspace between INFINITY GATES. No other gatekeeper has seen or heard from Jedi Knight So’zen Al Saba since he vanished into the light. But they all agree to remain vigilant in case he appears.

Meanwhile, in the new location of PORT ETMAR around the ancient Kwa temple, survivors start the long process of rest and recovery. Ships and buildings need repair and former slaves – now freed – struggle to find their new place out of chains. All the while, Port Etmar is kept safe under the watchful eye of the Nogri ex-commandos, now calling themselves KERPLOKIN’S BRIGADE.

Rescue ships from members of the ALLIANCE appear in Chalcedon’s system to lend aid. Construction, medical and even representatives from various Force orders have arrived. For now, Chalcedon has become the focus of the galaxy’s attention. Already the first shuttle lands at what remains of Port Etmar’s battered docking bays. It’s occupants disembark, followed by a tired JEDI MASTER OBI-WAN KENOBI, who looks over the approaching sandstorm in the distance, and sighs.

Elsewhere, beyond the gates, So’zen Al Saba floats. He drifts between the light and the dark, following the balance between them. Along that path, the young knight arrives at a place that was ancient to the oldest of cultures and forgotten by almost the entire galaxy …

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Episode 2.07 - The Hunt For Silar Mins, Part 9
A plan within a plan?

Star Wars – Shards of Infamy

Episode 2.07

The Hunt for Silar Mins, Part IX

Dizzy and Iwa look around the automated shuttle. Hatches are sealed and the controls are locked for the distant world of Mechis II. Before they can find any more, the sensor chimes for attention. A hyperdrive docking collar has just come into range.

Outside the bridge of the Banana Republic, Maia looks over the collection of unconscious mercenaries. They’re alive but in no shape to cause any more mischief. Rushlight was in a similar state. He pulls open a medkit with one hand while taking care not to bump his collection of burns. Or his cracked arm.

A few meters away, Sh’ree performs his own triage. Only his patient is the long list of the Banana Republic’s systems. Not to mention her droid support crew.

Last, amid ship, Jangir and Greelo swap blaster and arrows with the last intruder. Holed up in one of the main turbolifts, the armored human has managed to keep the two bounty hunters at bay so far.

Was this, all of this, part of Madalitso’s plan? Or was it his actual plan? If so his chosen targets are now separated, some wounded. Their defenses are down. It would be the perfect time to strike.

Unless Madalitso has something else up his sleeve…

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