Kraft og skjebne

Introduction to Episode XLI

Divergence

The dark chamber was silent again…
Jze crept silently along the walls of the one-part natural and one-part carved tunnels on the nameless, Force forsaken planet… it was nigh on void of life. That is to say, life was leaving the planet itself, through the very ground, through these very tunnels. Jze shivered and pressed on. He had to find Kranky and Onda, he had to get them to safety… the wailing of Warde hadn’t made it easy to convince the crew to stay, but Do Nio had agreed to wait for Jze.

“Why did you spare the Wookiee? Was it intentional or are you just incompetent?”
Kiados strode alongside Kotan through tunnels leading, Kotan suspected, to her ship. Kotan glanced sideways at her, but before he could utter a syllable: “I could still feel he was alive, even after your masterful deception” sarcasm dripping from every word, she continued “it is not exactly a trust making move, but I have come to understand the ways of your people, these times. Sentiment is a strong streak among your kind and the citizens of the galaxy, with a few noteworthy exceptions. It is a weakness easily enough purged.”

They left the underground tunnels through an opening in the side of a massive crater. Not far away Kotan noticed a shimmering field, Kiados waved her left hand and a ship was revealed. Arrow shaped, dark brown and red. Four figures just outside the entryway. Kotan could feel fear, whether his own or someone else’s, he was no longer sure. As they walked through the alien ship, Kotan only half-listened to Kiados as he marvelled at the technology, the strange design and the gentle hum of the engines as he could barely feel the ship start up and take off. “… so, having failed the first test, we must find another, or two… Don’t you agree?” As Kotan realised she had be talking to him, he was gently guided into a room, the door behind him closed.

Leaning back from the navicopmuter, Vex looked out at the galaxy and was not amused by his current predicament.
“Interesting. I’m in the void in the Void… how did I end up here?”
A sound from the cargo hold made Vex tare his gaze from the view of the galaxy and leave the cockpit. He contemplated his current situation, if only he could get things running again. Once more the spectre of Tera Sinube was projected to fill the centre of the cargo hold from floor to ceiling. He was talking, but the only sound was a rasping sound. It was the same recording as all the other times. A three minute recording, before it restarts and repeats itself. It did this repetitive sequence four time. Then it turns off for a time. Vex rummaged through their stores of food and drink once more… he was running out. There was a loud sound and whirr. Someone or something had connected to the Void’s airlock. “May the Force be with me.”

“He did what?!”
Nela Kohn’s voice was strained, and something was off with the cybernetic leg as it kept wobbling and moving even as she tried to stay still. Do Nio sighed, looking over the unconscious forms of Onda and Kranky he gestured to Martail, who ordered some crew members to move the patients to the medbay, Arana one step behind as they hastily made their way to do what they could for these unfortunate, betrayed heroes. Jze made his way to the command centre, to join Kaitai and Nela in the preparations for whatever was to come.

Warde sat meditating.
A green crystal in the palm of his hand. Tears running down his cheeks. How he had failed his saviours. It was a recurring thought. It had gone from irrational fear to certainty in less than a full sentence.

An awareness gathered itself
Slowly coalescing into consciousness. Again. “Once more? Really?” it asked. Something else: “Do you think your chosen path will ever let this end?”

Elsewhere
Aeons worth of dust, piled impossibly high. Never moving. A thick crust. A crack appears somewhere in the middle, it spread upwards, downwards, outwards, inwards. An ever so slight shrug, followed by a short sigh. It returns again to a sort of stillness, a stillness that has not been disturbed since it first settled.

“They’ll live.”
“Krankawarrok will probably wake up first, unlike Onda he wasn’t covered in rubble. They should be ready for the next phase in no time. I should say, we don’t have much bacta left, these treatments consumed almost everything from our last haul.” Martail turned and left. Jze turned on the holomap again. Do Nio, Nela and Warde turn on their datapads. Nela started "So, we know from Rebel intel that Sinnius’ ship The Scourge of Elmar has been making repeated micro jumps in deep space between Tarillion and the poetically named system: S74R7, for some time. This combined with the assumed positions of Kiados’ interdictor forces, I think Sinnius is hunting. Also, he may not be alone. This also confirms that going to Tarillion with a too big ship, is inadvisable. The Last Echo may be too big, or just small enough." Nela paused. Kaitai studied the holomap, it showed the area and systems around Tarillion, and the dangerous hyperspace routes to Tarillion was highlighted as orange, squiggly lines.

“Are we really going through with this? With the loss of Kotan to the enemy, how can we hope to prevail against their combined might? Not to forget whatever other forces Kiados has at her disposal!” Warde pointed at the rhombic cube that represented Tarillion, “How can we hope to stop her from entering that station and make her way to the vault?”

Kaitai sighed. “First, we don’t know Kotan’s plan, if he has any, he could be dead, traitor or double agent. We just don’t know. We can’t let that make us hesitate.” Kaitai paused, then continued “So, from what data we do have, from Kranky and Onda, as well as the data Kotan supplied, we can infer that the station must have its own defensive systems. We also know approximately where the settlement they visited is located.” A green area was highlighted. “It is unlikely they will enter any other way considering Kotans awareness of where the vault is located and settlements assumed proximity to the vault, this is most likely their point of entry.” He looked at Nela.

She stared at the map, pointed at a highlighted blue line and said “It’ll take us two runs in the smaller ships to get all of us in this way. The Echo will run on a skeleton crew and make micro jumps as close as possible to the system, and from there go the rest of the way in real space. With some luck the ships our Rebel friends promised will arrive later today, they will join the Echo.” She paused. Warde looked at them both in bewilderment. “What if Kiados knows of another way in? What good will this plan do?” He looked at the two of them, then he turned to Jze.

Jze stared at a smaller holomap above his datapad, one of the entire galaxy. Noticing he had the room’s attention, he peeked at the three in turn. “I have here a map, it shows the trail of a signal I’ve been tracking. Kotan believed this signal could indicate the location of Sun’saith. I think he was mostly right. It led us to the dying planet, then it disappeared. I couldn’t detect it after we left. Not before today. It appears to be … reappearing.” Jze tapped his keys and superimposed on the map in front of Nela, Kaitai and Warde, a cloud of lights appeared. The cloud blinked and moved in a nauseatingly random pattern. It covered the whole map. “I don’t know what this means … but it’s all around us…”

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