2.17: Wildfire: Epilogue
DS Day 179 – 206
It was confirmed. The Imperials were in the neighborhood. However, it looked like they were in a hurry to leave. Rather than confront the Farstar, Sarne apparently had ordered his research facility and all support personnel out of there. The Imperials were making their move.
The Chillweaver Team finally returned, in small groups, on-board free-trader ships. However, the Qumok team had not. Patrols were sent out to watch for the Muvon.
As for the Chillweaver Operation, reports were coming back of the results of the Night Terror’s meddling. Chuborro’s operation was in shambles. It was a house of glass and the Night Terrors were a perfect stones to throw.
One ship was detected leaving Uukaablis, however, and it was coming from the area of the construction site. Gorak recognized it as the ship Uluala had been using in the past…. And then realized it was also Analia’s ship years before. Analia’s voice came over the comm-link. “Thanks for the ride, Farstar. I found what I was looking for. Take care of Mavia for me.” Analia had found her ship, and took it back from under Uluala’s nose. I wonder how she plans on getting off planet now, Gorak thought.
Trev and Sooni were on patrol again. Once word got out there were Imperials around, the range of the patrols were extended. They had to be spotted visually, because reports said they had special Darkstryder masking fields. They had just finished off a small group of Imperial shuttles heading off towards the Qek Confederation when sensors picked up another hyperspace jump point opening. Moments later, not far from their position, the Muvon dropped out of hyperspace.
“Forsaken patrol, this is the Muvon. Call all your buddies in, we got company coming in behind us, and their not coming for tea.” the voice of Brophar resounded.
A second sensor reading confirmed his statement. A much larger ship was coming through. The Farstar had already sent out the remaining Forsaken Squadron when Samarion detected the ships in hyperspace. When it finally dropped into normal space, it was met with the full force of the Farstar’s Forsaken Squadron.
The ship was cruiser-size, with an strange array of weaponry. It also launched odd-looking fighters, which half the Forsaken took on. The other half concentrated on the cruiser. The Muvon sped off to the Farstar.
In a storm of blaster fire, and Qek-Bio-energy weapon fire, the battle rages. The inferior Qek fighters, easy prey for the Forsaken, fell easy to the aces of the Farstar. A concentration of proton torpedoes showered the Qek cruiser, which could not fend off the barrage, even after taking out one of the X-wing Fighters. The ship sustained heavy damage, and was listing very badly. Suddenly, a torp struck directly on their primary weapon system, which caused a serious reactor over load. The explosion was spectacular.
“Enemy threat neutralized” Gorjaye reported.
Dajus awoke in her cabin days after the worst weeks of her life. It was all thrown in her face on that swamp world. It was almost a dream, and in fact some of it was; a nightmare come to reality. She left something in Shantuun, while the world gave her something in return. The question remained was she worthy of the gift.
Another question came to mind as well. How the hell did I get back here?
She stood up straight in her bed. She thought at first it was all a dream. However, the soreness in her muscles told her otherwise. The scars were still there. Damn Rancor. She then remembered Hasslock and Gunthar. She opened her door and found them lumbering down the hall towards her cabin. They had similar looks on their faces; as if a AT-AT had just hit them.
They sat and talked. They all agreed that things had changed. Jedi was never a word in Dajus’s vocabulary until then. But now it was. They had chosen their own paths; Dajus chose the path of the investigator or information brokering Jedi; Gunthar ironically chose the druidic naturalist Jedi; and Hasslock chose scholarly investigator. Their master was of the old school of Jedi, where the Jedi studied in specific areas of study. They understood little of their burden, but soon would face challenges unsurpassed. Their Master could only prepare them the best he could.
After everything that could be said was said, Dajus decided she needed a drink. She was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship had landed, and there was a cantina near by, at some starport construction sight. She didn’t care where it was, she just needed to get away from everyone.
She took a air-speeder out to the construction site. Things looked like they were closing down suddenly, because workers were packing up, shuttles were loading up with supplies, but the starport was nowhere near done. The cantina looked quite busy, with many celebrants clanging mugs together. Apparently, something had happened for these grunt to celebrate. She pulled her long coat over her Imperial uniform and decided to join them.
Going in, she noticed that the bar was somewhat damaged, with scorch marks all over the back wall, a few blaster holes, and a big hole in the far back. She shrugged. She sat down, and not long after she ordered a drink from the servant droid, a couple of rough-looking aliens sat with her. One was a Gamorrean, the other was Kerestian. She looked at them with a long cold stare. She wanted to be left alone, and was hoping they were smart enough to guess that.
“We are looking for someone, and we have a feeling you might know where he is.” the Kerestian said.
“I’m just passing through. I am not from around here.” Dajus said passively.
“We know where you are from. Look at this holo and tell us where this one is”
The holo was of Kl’aal, from a long time ago. “What do you want with him?”
“He’s wanted for the murder of his brother. We heard he was seen hear, working with the New Republic. We figured we would rain on his little parade.”
“Haven’t seen…” Dajus was interrupted from a familiar voice behind her.
“What are you doing here?” It was Mist. She froze. The bounty hunter she had dealt with on Shantuun was back.
“Mist!! My friend! Just doing a little business!!” The Kerestian piped up. Mist hadn’t seen her yet. And he won’t see me either.
She reached deep within herself and remembered the teachings of her master. She focused on Mist’s senses, and his perception of her. It would be distorted, blurred. He would think nothing of it, as she slipped away. Dropping the hologram on the table, which in turn further distracted the bounty hunters, she slipped away as if she was a shadow. I am going to have to talk with that wraith.
Before rapping things up on this world, Gorak had one more thing to take care of. He wasn’t sure if he should, considering the manner at which he departed the last time he had met her, but he did want to see Uluala again. She was rather insistent. His decision was made for him when she beeped him on his comlink.
“Gorak, please meet me in my quarters at the construction site. Please. All is forgiven for the other day.”
Even through the comlink, she was almost irresistible. “Of course, my lady.”
He took the a speeder bike, and was soon at the construction site, and in her quarters, eating dinner.
“Gorak, I have a big favor of to ask of you. It seems someone has taken my ship, and I am sure you know who it was. When I bought it from an associate, I had no idea it was stolen, so I understand why she took it. I would have done the same thing. However, it seems also that my employment with a mutual acquaintance of ours has also ended. It seems he blames me for an assassination of this Skandrei bandit leader-person. You know I wouldn’t do such a thing, but Chuborro just doesn’t believe me. You believe me, don’t you?”
Because he knew in the Chillweaver reports, of Wilkes’ suspicions that Mavia had something to do with the assassination of the Skandrei leader, he had to chuckle.”Yes, I believe you.”
“I need to get passage aboard the Farstar. You think you can convince your captain.” The request took Gorak aback. After the shock wore off, he realized what exactly she was asking.
The Captain had recently reawakened from her battle with the Qek invasion in her body, and was taking minimal command duties, sharing them with Gorak. He would probably have to runt his by her. With the recent mutiny, a questionable crew member would be tough to get in.
“I can try.”
Not long afterwards, Gorak brought the Falleen to the Captain. Noting that she might help in stabilizing the underground of Kathol, Gorak was able to convince the Captain that Uluala would be an asset. Loh’Khar, however seemed to think otherwise, and avoided the Falleen at all costs. Anything that bugged the Twi’lek that much couldn’t be all that bad, the captain thought.
Acting-Captain Gorak had ordered a report of the Qumok mission, along with a report of the Chillweaver mission. What caught his attention was the theories of the Xeno-archeologist, Dr. Fasha Dansun. There was something odd about it. So he asked for Dansun to report to tactics.
Gorak reviewed his own report of the Nuniok Dak facility, and the explanation of the new cargo he had brought on board; six new Nuniok Dak pods. Along with that report was the map that pinpointed places in the Rift these Nuniok Dak Sullustans were capable of jumping to. The report was extensive and included all the information they were able to extract and store in Slave.
|Nuniok Dak Rift Jump Points|
The Xeenarch (short for Xeno-Archeologist) had another interesting map. She claimed it was what the Qek were interested in, and why she was in the custody of them. She and her partner, Jensen Makezh, were working on a project to hunt down something called the “Ferryboat of the Rift”. This was a legend of yet another ghost ship that traveled the Rift. This legend, however, originated from the Aing Tii Monks. Technically, this was the “ghost ship” legend of the “ghost ship” of the Kathol Outback. Dansun first came to Kathol to investigate the original “ghost ship”. When she finally was able to get the Aing Tii to trust her, she learned of the “ferryboat”. She had been in search of any sign of this “ferryboat” ever since.
In her search, she was able to find out that many centuries ago, this ferryboat traveled to many of the planets in the sector and beyond. Before the Rift was formed, it would take ships and cargo across great distances. It was created by an unnamed race, which the Aing Tii worshipped and feared. When the Rift was formed, it disappeared. Every world it visited had a waystation; a port for it to dock. Most are in ruins now, but few still exist. She was in search of an operational one, to summon the ferryboat and take it to where it ends up perhaps “beyond the vale of the Rift”.
Some of the most recent ruins she had found had maps of places the ferryboat visited. She cross-referenced them with known sightings of the ship in the Rift, from information she got from the Aing Tii. Thus, her map of way points. She was convinced the “ferryboat” was trapped in the Rift, and waiting for ships to pick up. She was also convinced that only that ship could survive the Rift. It had amazing adaptation abilities, and was run by an self-aware intelligence. They just had to get to one of the way points.
Dansun’s “ferryboat” way point map
The Aing Tii supplied her with a human they had aboard their ship. It was Jensen, a human born with powerful abilities not dissimilar from the Sullustan abilities of navigation. The monks had modified him to help navigate the Rift. This arrangement almost looked like slavery to her, but she refrained from commenting at the time. Makezh was free now.
Gorak super-imposed the two holographic images of the maps together and immediately saw Sarne’s plan. He was using the ferry. It was hard to estimate how long it would take Sarne to get across, if this ferry was real. The Imperials were willing to gamble it was. The Farstar would have to as well. However, the Farstar needed repairs, and a serious overhaul. The New Republic was on its way to meet the Farstar at Shantuun.
The Xeenarch said they needed to stop at a planet called Danoor to get her partner, Makezh. He could help with navigating the Rift when they weren’t using the Nuniok Dak Sullustan’s or the Ferry. It was inevitable that they would have to spend some time in raw Rift. Things would get dangerous, and they needed someone that knew it. They also needed to make plans to get the rest of the New Republic fleet across. The Rift-navigator could help in that, because he knew the routes that the Aing Tii took through it. However, those routes could take more than 40 days. Until they found an alternative, it was their only choice.
Along with Slave’s report about assassins on Danoor, it looked like they had a destination.