1.11: The Stars are Glowing

Dates: 1/22/2000

Chronicle Day 69: 1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Mrlsst & Imperial Research Station M-96

The asteroid field around Mrlsst was majestic, and a mystery. Most assumed it was a moon that had crumbled under some great catastrophe. But only a few knew the true story behind it, and fewer were willing to tell. A dark tale that started millennia ago, on a moon far across galaxy and ended with a battle between early Jedi and a Dark Jedi named Kar’reez Nar.

The Sunrise was a cramped ship. It was obvious Riddom was used to working alone. But the Sunrise was perfect to navigate the sensor-free corridor supplied by Morel, just the right size to get in and out with out detection.

After avoiding a patrol and a few near-misses with a few unscheduled asteroids, the Sunrise arched around in full view of the Imperial research station they were approaching. They had heard that the Mrlssti were involved in a few black projects with the Empire. The Empire was taking advantage of the pool of knowledge and information that was the Mrlssti university. This was apparently one of the many secret Imperial research stations being used for these kinds of projects.

It was carved out of one of the larger asteroids, the Imperial modification protruding out of the rock like castles in the mountains.

The Sunrise banked again through the final twist of the sensor-blanked corridor, to slowly dock with a maintenance airlock on the underside of the asteroid base. Sensors picked up an ion signature that revealed another ship had been there before them. How long could not be determined.

After they docked and prepared to disembark, an alarm sounded from the cockpit signaling and intruder in the rear cargo bay.

“D5, what’s going on in the cargo bay?” Riddom demanded from his ship’s built in droid brain.

“Unknown, Captain Riddom. Sensors have been severed in that area.”

Armed, the group approached the access door into the cargo bay. The gravity had been turned off, and cargo pods floated about aimlessly. The rear door of the cargo bay was open, leading out into space. Riddom took only a few moments to restore gravity and atmosphere, then tried to open the door. They were forced to open the door manually, because something had jammed the automatic system.

Moments later, their assessment of the situation concluded that someone else was on board, miraculously sabotaging enough of the systems to sneak on and off ship.

“I think we just brought the assassin that’s suppose to take out the Moff.” Kragar said. He had a bad sinking feeling. However, he had had it ever since the Star that dangled on Rex’s neck joined their party.

Before the disembarked, they turned to Rex. Tarsus sternly looked at the Herglic, who seemed oddly quiet.

“OK, Rex, is there anything else you want to tell us about these asteroids that you haven’t already…”

“Well…. there is the Yad’thul. But there is no way one could have survived since we handed over these asteroids to the Mrlsst.”

“Yad’thul?”

“A slave race we bred as tunnellers for the asteroids. They also came in handy for keeping the asteroids clean. They were small little beasts that ate anything. Large heads, many rows of teeth, semi-intelligent. But we used them centuries ago, and left them here when we handed the field over to the Mrlssti.”

“Are they dangerous?” Jarnak said gripping his sword tighter.

“Not unless you starve them. The legends talk of riots during some of the dark times. They were quite formidable when you didn’t supply them with a steady source of nutrition. They’ll eat anything, but get nutrition out of only a few things. The asteroid rock is the best supply of it.”

They all paused for a moment contemplating the amount of times legend became fact on this odyssey. “Anything else?”

“No one really knows what happened to the dark Jedi that caused this event in the first place. Some say he was entombed in one of these asteroids.

“Also, chances are, the imperials haven’t mapped out all the catacombs of the asteroid. The early Herglics of this system carved out complex catacombs to hide their most treasured merchandise. ” Rex removed the map, and a hand-scanner. he reconfigured the hand-scanner to emit a specific band of invisible light, and from the map arose a hologram of the asteroid they had docked with. “This is the last map of this asteroid before handing them over to the Mrlssti. No telling what the Imperials have done.”

They began to file through the airlock into the maintenance shaft. As they walked deeper into the asteroid, Rex’s Star began to glow. Jarnak wasn’t sure, but he could swear it was getting bigger.

The maintenance corridor went on for hours. The journey was a long one. Rex filled them in on more of the history of the 12 Stars and this particular Asteroid. “The Twelve Stars were found in twelve different asteroids, deep with in its heart. They were removed by my great forefather and hidden. Some said they had great and dark power, and should never be returned to the original place. By my calculations using this map, this is the Twelfth Resting Place, where this very Star was found …”

“Is that what the Moff is here to do? Does he somehow have the other eleven Stars?” Brendaron asked.

“Morel mentioned something like that.” Jarnak said.

“I have a real bad feeling that something really bad is going to happen if all 12 are placed in their original spots. Nothing good can come out of a Dark Sith jewel, if that indeed is what it is.” Kragar said. He had been oddly very quiet the entire trip, as if ill.

Suddenly, noises interrupted their thoughts. Something was coming down the corridor, and very loudly. Weapons were drawn. The sound continued passed them, with nothing in sight. They all looked at each other confused. Then suddenly, a hatch along the ceiling drop open and an alien head poked out.

“Ahhhh… more new people. Got anything I can have?” It had a large hard for it’s small body. Covered in leathery skin, it’s huge mouth was lined with many sharp teeth. It’s smile was immense. It had 3 pairs of arm/legs and a long prehensile tail. “I’m Gilli…” It smiled, and jumped down from the ceiling. It made a loud clang as it fell, the many odds and ends it hung on it’s belt making a chorus of echoing noise.

After quieting Gilli down, Jarnak spoke first. “Who else have you seen?”

“This other human, very quiet. He scared me.”

“Can you show us where he went?”

“Got stuff?” Jarnak handed the thing a trinket. “OK, I’ll show.”

****

The asteroid inner-vent-shafts were a maze. They were lucky they had a local guiding them despite the noise he tended to create. However, apparently the Imperials were used to the noise he made, which somehow gave them extra cover. Gilli, the alien asteroid dweller, was proving useful in the strangest ways.

Brendaron worked his way with the others along the vents shaft to an observation point They all crowded around a vent opening that lead out into a hallway. They heard sounds of people coming down the hallway.

The crowd started with several Imperial Stormtroopers. They were followed by Imperial officials, one of which was obviously the station commander. With him was the Moff and several of his guard. The followed many nobles with Mecetti and Melantha markings. Also in the crowd was High Inquisitor Tremayne and Lord Berellion. Also spotted by Brendaron, was Dro’een dressed in disguise. However, it was another person he recognized in the crowd that shocked him – Pyre, dressed in a Mecetti lord garb.

*****

Pyre was uncomfortable in the Mecetti garb that was delivered to his house only hours ago. He had come back from dealing with some house business to find and urgent message and a package. The package contained the clothing , and all the credentials needed to pass himself off as a Lord Warron Goromaldi, Mecetti Lord of the Out-Sector Colonies. That alone attracted him enough to go along with it, no questions asked. Also among the credentials was an invitation to a special event hosted by the Imperial Research Division on Mrlsst. No other specifics were given.

He was given an appointment to meet a shuttle at a designated port in the University City Starport, which he did. Also in the shuttle’s passenger bay were several other VIPs from House Mecetti. He used his talents to make his story as believable as possible as he waited to see his mysterious destination.

He didn’t know who supplied him with all this, but he had some guesses. But instincts told him he could be very wrong, and if he was, then he had more to be concerned about.

When he arrived, he was amazed at the site of the Imperial research station. using his talents further, he was able to learn of it’s nature and why they were here – at least as far as the others knew. Certain faction within Mecetti wanted to make peace with factions within Melantha and join together to bring the Empire into the Tapani sector a lot more aggressively. Many were low level nobles or nobles that were not given their due despite high titles. A resentment of the current aristocracy was thick amongst the group.

As they were escorted by Imperial Guard, the were joined by several other groups of people. In one group, Pyre noticed Lord Berellion. Pyre eased back into the crowd, hiding his face from the Lord.

*****

The group followed the Noble crowd through the catacombs until they reached an observation deck over-looking a cavern in the heart of the asteroid – the Resting Place of the Twelfth Star.

No one noticed that Rex had disappeared several meters back.

The Noble group crowded around the window while the director of the installation spoke. “And this is where the Twelfth Star will be laid and be the center of our new experimental super weapon. You are here to witness a new age of Imperial power, and we reveal this to you in good faith, to show your two factions that the Empire is here to work with you. We are here to celebrate the unification of your two factions with the Empire in a new age of prosperity for the Tapani Sector.”

A droid circulated through the crowd, handing out drinks to all.

“The Alliance that we form and the weapon we test this evening will help insure Imperial dominance in the Core now, and the Outer Rim in the future. And we have your two factions to thank… for the funding, for the material, and the hard work in acquiring the 12 Stars.

“A toast to the beginning of a new era of prosperity for us and our families in the Tapani Sector.”

The clinking of glasses echoed through the halls.

*****

Brendaron watched as the group dispersed to tour different regions of the observation deck. Soon, the observation deck was clear. Brendaron and the others piled out of hte vent chaft into the room to get a full view of the caveran beyond the transpara-steel window. In the middle was a rock plateua standing serveral hundred meters tall. At the top, some kind of operation center was built around an ancient alter. This was obviously the Resting Place of the 12th Star.

As the group discussed theiur situation, they were surprised by the return of Berellion. “Gentleman, much as I didn’t expect to see you hear, I am glad you are hear, regardless.”

Brendaron, trying to play off that he was invited to this event, smiled back at the Lord. “My lord, it is an honor. What can we do for you?”

“I know you are here without an invitation. I will supply you with Mecetti garb, as you will play the role of Pyre’s entourage. He is playing his own role, one of Lord Warron Goromaldi, of House Mecetti. I want him out of here and off the asteroid. I need you to arrange that.”

They looked at each other, surprised at the door that just opened. They agreed, however, were already plotting their own agendas.

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