13: The Yards of Korad
ESB, + 1 month
Where: Planet Korad
SUBTITLE: Operation Elrood – Industrial Intrigue Part III
Korad was a planet of vast junk yards, waste dumps, and derelict ships. The party was to meet up with the Squib “High Exalted Ruler” of Korad, Slythor. They hoped to trade a decent YT 2400 for the location of the Whisper, but what they didn’t realize was, when dealing with Squib, you usually get screwed. They learned this lesson hard.
The Squib impressed them with his “luxury” repulsorlift AT-AT, and his entourage of squibs and Gamorreans. They haggled vigorously with the pretentious squib. During their negotiations, an opportunity literally dropped in. In injured human scout stumbled in with “help” from a clumsy Gamorrean. The scout rambled insanely about “the Dark Zone” and the beasts within. The group scrambled to help, but could do nothing for the man. A power greater than them had already a hold of the man’s soul, and it was torn from him, visible only to the Jedi, Parax. He had not felt something so dark and strange before then. Something evil dwelled in this so called Dark Zone.
They offered to solve their problem in the Dark Zone. The squib perked up with that thought, and became suddenly much more cooperative. He even offered information on a 3WA cache he knew of, which just so happened to be in the middle of the Dark Zone. They agreed, and prepped for the trip.
The squib supplied them with a vehicle, a rough description of the routes within the Zone, and information about the zone. Apparently, it is an area that sensors can not penetrate, and communications are difficult. Repulsors have trouble operating in the zone, mysteriously. Many scouts go in, and never return. They brought a trailer full of Gerashoran Beasts, just in case their vehicle broke down.
The Dark zone seemed more decrepit, and desolate than the rest of the Yards of Korad. The junk seemed older, more ragged. It was foreboding to all. However, it was more to the Jedis. As the trekked further into the possible three day trip, the Jedis heard noises within the Force, felt unnatural stirrings within it. As the got closer to the island which held the 3WA cache, the Force-noises turned to Force Screams; painful sonic-like blasts that effected the flows of the Force. This had to be what haunted the Dark Zone.
The first encounter came well into the second day of the journey, when a large starship engine fell in front of them, blocking their path. The spotted in the dust and smoke, small creatures that reminded them of Jawas, scurrying about. They were armed with make-shift projectile weapons, and were cybernetically enhanced with junk-cyber. They were called Cybawas, and they attacked with vigor. The party split up, counter-attacking from several angles. In the end, the lost the vehicle, some of their equipment, but no one was badly hurt. The cybawas learned not to mess with the Dirty Pair ever again.
The battle destroyed their vehicle, so they had to resort to the riding beasts they brought with them. The journey now had slowed to the gallop of these two-legged Gerashoran beasts. They approached the end of the second day when they came across a set of openings into four tunnels. From the tunnels emanated a haunting wail, audible to all. Within the Force, however, it began to actually cause pain to the Jedis. The group attempted to go around, but realized that the only way across was through the tunnels. They knew something lurked within, and it was the source of the horrible force-screams. They had a feeling that the thing was hunting them, perhaps measuring their approach with the screams.
The tunnels were different from the rest of the Dark Zone. They seems like they were chewed out of the surrounding junk, fused by some great force. The fluids inherent to a junk yard flowed down into each one of the tunnels. The group randomly chose one of the tunnels and braved forward. The tunnels were eerie, and almost organic. Their walls were an amalgamation of metals from the yard, solid and slick. Occasionally, their a haunting sound, a explosive thump, a alien screech, or gurgle of unknown fluids. They were ankle deep in the junk-yard sludge.
An eerie breeze blew through the tunnel, and the thin un-breathable atmosphere. Despite the breathers, the stench seemed to penetrate. The tunnels’ stench was even worse. The sounds of thundering thuds came from all around. This was the only way through, so the braved onward. The screams got worse.
The hunter made his move. It was an immense beast, with for huge blade-caws and an incredible Force-Scream weapon. At this range, it bagan to do serious damage, and it nearly brought the tunnel walls down on them. The group attcked with great intensity, blaster fire, vibroblades, and wookie claws, tearing into the armored flesh. This creature was almost too perfect, taking many of the blasts as if they were nothing. It;s blood had stained them all before the final shot was fired that brought it down. It had fought with incredible ferocity. Something caught the wookie’s eye, as he pulled his trophy off the body. It was a serial number on the chest plate… a 3WA serial number…
Another unknown project from the leftovers of the 3WA. It either escaped of was released from the cache that is here. They dreaded finding out what else escaped. This thing must have been a 3WA bio-contruct.
The tunnels ended a few hundred meters ahead of them, where they set up camp fro the night. It began to rain hard in the middle of the night, acid rain ruining anything not under the large tents.
The next day finally brought them to the shores of the great junk yard lake, but the liquid was far from any water substance; it was thick and very toxic. They had to figure out ways across. With the help of a little levitation, and a few grav boots, start the journey across the acid lake. The lake was swirling unnaturally as they crossed.. It became apparent that something was down there, in that sludge. They had no idea it would be so HUGE. It was worm-like, with a horned fish-like head, and thousands of saber-like teeth. It missed them by centimeters, as the flew across to the island.
The island looked like an eroded hull of some huge rusted alien ship. There was a mountainous crest that opened up like an artificial volcano in the middle of the island. Inside, the found the 3WA cache; three large cargo containers, one of which was cracked open. This was where the beast came from.
It was then they received a message. Krull, who was left behind to guard the ships with Bastian, had escaped an attempt by Slythor to take him and Bastian hostage. Apparently, Slythor had gathered a force, with intention of taking the 3WA cargo from the party once they were successful in clearing the Dark Zone. Slythor’s force was on it’s way.
They raided the containers, and found out their contents. One had computer banks with information about all the genetics projects related to a nearby research plant. They apparently worked as part of Genetics and Bio-Weapons Research department, which was one of the most loyal areas to the Empire. They had several areas of research, one of which involved the developments in the genetics for the Dirty Pair. Something called the Longevity/Near-Immortality Enzyme – a genetic trait that slowed the aging process to a slow crawl when they reached 19 standard years old. It also mentioned more of the 3WA involvement with the Clarkes Project, otherwise known as the Emperor’s Eye project, and the Advanced Shasti project, both contracts for the Empire. This held dark information about the link between the two projects plus, the development of special genetic traits for both clones. It also listed one of the other containers as holding 3 Shasti-clones, and 2 Clarke-clones. There was also a list of other projects, including the Screamer beast. It alos listed a large Worm-like beast able to live in any conditions… much like the one outside. But this one was listed to be much bigger than the one they saw. The one they saw must have been a baby… so where was the mother?
The island began to shake violently. The groups scrambled to engage the repulsors attached to the three containers. The mother was waking. The island was it’s nest, and it lived underneath the island. As they reached the top of the island, they spotted Slythor and his men on the beach. It was too late for them. The repulsor lift-walker was the only thing that was able to escape. Parax sensed that Bastian was still on board, and took after the Walker with his cargo-container. He levitated to the back of the walker, cut a hole in, and was in.
Slythor wasn’t giving up that easy. Bastian stood outside the main corridor to the command room, very still. Something was wrong. Bastian opened the oddly large coat he was wearing, and Parax saw the bomb attached to him. Slythor’s voice was over the intercomm, taunting the Jedi. At this point, Kei leaped on board to assist the Jedi.
The Jedi was able to get the best of the squib, using a combination of the squib’s stupidity, and his Jedi skill. The squib revealed that the bomb on Bastian was a decoy from the real one. At that moment he made an attempt to escape, but the Jedi not allowing that. The walker suddenly increased speed at an extreme rate, the sound of ion engines roaring in their ears. Among his squirming and screaming, Slythor said that a bomb with motion sensors, was set to go off as soon as the walker was below 600 kph, in the command cabin. They couldn’t approach it due to the motion sensors. The Jedi had to use his abilities to disarm the bomb from the outside, but he didn’t have the skill. He grabbed Kei, strapped her ti his back, and jumped out onto the hull of the speeding Repulsor-Walker, claws straining to keep them stable in the G-forces.
With an incredible show of Jedi telekinetic power, and demolition’s skill, the two were able to disarm the weapon from outside the cockpit, and slow the vehicle down. In his attempt to save his own life, the squib revealed the location of Whisper and the location of a Jedi artifact. The Jedi artifact turned out to be the abandoned hull of the Second Chance. This was the Jedi’s chance to re-open the Dragon library, and start the Dragon Academy. Now all that needed to be found was the Dragon Holocron.