(OOC: When we last saw Tosca, the jedi in the ballroom had slaughtered Thrace, the Devaronian girl, and many innocents. Luckily, Breel, Tos and Asoni were able to protect the unarmed Tosca. A lucky hit from a thrown blue lightsaber took down the jedi before he could harm them and Security has flooded the ballroom.)
Crews of medical droids search for the wounded while Security impounds the rest of us for questioning. A Security officer attempts to grab Asoni and I warn him that she tends to bite strangers. He grabs her by her midsection and she begins to yowl and thrash.
A dozen imperial officers come in and we are put into lift vehicles and transported elsewhere in the station for individual questioning. It takes an eternity, but I am glad to help with what few details I have about the evening’s…. festivities.
We end up in a circular chamber with metallic walls. Breel and I are reunited and we see the bounty hunter from the cantina incident. Two stormtroopers are stationed at each of the three doors. Asoni is already in the room and she scurries over and climbs up on my shoulders.
A door opens and the wounded Devaronian girl is brought in, supported by two Security officers. She’s still attached to medical equipment and seems to be barely hanging on to life.
The next door opens and Tos is lead in by two stormtroopers. He gives them the evil eye and they turn and leave, closing the door behind them.
“I guess they didn’t tell you anything either,” he says, exasperated.
The third door opens and a male and female human enter. They are clad in dark red armor with lightsabers strapped to their hips. The symbol of the Empire is engraved on their shoulders. These are members of the Imperial Knights. From what I know, they are trained from birth to serve the Empire with unwavering allegiance first, and the Force second. Entering behind them is Grand Moff Thrace.
My jaw drops. It is not the same man that was at the ball. They are similar in appearance, but this one looks much healthier, but certainly not happier.
Tos immediately bows and the bounty hunter follows suit.
Tos stutters, having lost his composure. “M… my… my lord, I’m… glad to see you’re all right.”
“The same can’t be said for my stand-in. I should have anticipated this, but apparently I was misled on the status of security of this station.” He walks over to the table in the center of the room and a chair rises from the floor for him.
“Thank you all for coming,” he begins. “I appreciate what you did at the… incident… that we had earlier this evening. The first question I want answered is… why? Would anyone be willing to volunteer any information?”
The Devaronian weakly raises her hand, and Thrace gestures towards the table for her to sit. Another seat rises up from the floor and she slowly sits. She looks to be in much pain. “With all due respect sir,” she says, “I wasn’t trying to get the jedi to kill you… I was trying to convince his friends to stop killing the nobles… thank you for the chair.”
The bounty hunter slaps his hand to his visor and lowers his head and I try to stifle a giggle. She’s just absolutely adorable.
“In the situation in which you were placed, I believe your actions are commendable. It is unfortunate that you were injured, but you will have full access to the facilities here until you are fully recovered.”
“So who are they?” she asks.
“That’s the next question I’d like answered,” Thrace replies.
Tos steps forward. “My lord, the assailants claimed to be members of the Knights of the Old Republic. Given their nature and their anti-imperial rhetoric, I’m inclined to agree.”
Thrace motions to one of the red-clad knights. The knight loads a data chip into a slot on the edge of the table and a holographic video of the ballroom begins to play in the center of the table. We watch the replay of the night’s events – I do look stunning in this dress! – and at a certain point Thrace taps on the table and the video freezes. He taps again and it zooms in to show the jedis slicing through the bystanders.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, Caras,” Thrace says to the knight. “But no jedi would hold a lightsaber like that.”
Caras nods. “Judging by their stance and hold, in addition to killing unarmed persons, I don’t even believe they’re force sensitive.”
Thrace hits a button and the hologram disappears. “Again,” he says, “the second question is WHO…. who would play impostor for the Knights of the Old Republic?”
The bounty hunter guesses, “Someone trying to turn the Empire against force users?”
The Devaronian’s weak voice adds, “Someone who doesn’t like jedis of the Old Republic?”
Thrace taps again and a screen of bounty records pops up. All of our faces are there, even Asoni. Five figure bounties are on all our heads.
“Now, my last question,” Thrace lowers his voice. “Who could I possibly get to investigate this matter?”
The Devaronian seems to be getting her strength back and she complains, “I’m an archaeologist! Why do I have a bounty on my head!? I’m a scientist!”
Asoni ponders, “A companion, with a bounty?”
The bounty hunter looks shocked. “Hey! It talks!”
The Devaronian’s eyes widen with curiosity. “Your pet… talks?”
Thrace interrupts, “The facts are these… we have an opponent that somehow infiltrated the security at this station, assigned and deactivated an all-droid security force, and locked the guests of the reception into a ballroom in order to execute them. These are enemies that were disguised as members of a force tradition that has fallen out of grace in the galaxy and have seen fit to place bounties on the heads of those that tried to protect the innocents.”
Thrace goes on to explain how the Empire does place contracts for personnel outside of the military forces. Seeing as this opponent was able to infiltrate the security forces of an imperial colony leaving no residual trace, we might start there.
“So in a roundabout way, you’re offering us a contract?” the bounty hunter asks.
“In a roundabout way…”
The bounty hunter asks if he might request the return of a blue lightsaber, which is currently lodged in the wall on the top floor balcony. So he was the one with the lucky throw that saved us! I’d hug him, but… the suit is a bit unhuggable. Thrace just stares at him.
The bounty hunter explains, “I commandeered a lightsaber and threw it and it hit the jedi leader. It’s a lucky trophy to me.”
Thrace walks towards the door. “When you leave here, you are not to speak of this meeting or my continued existence. If you do, the Empire will not acknowledge that any of this occurred. Before you leave, your possessions will be returned, your wounds will be tended, and you’ll be given my permission to find the root of this problem.”
The Devaronian pipes up. “One – okay, two – last questions. Is it possible for the bounty on our heads to be removed?”
“In the next few weeks,” Thrace explains, “This station will be a hotbed of activity. During our investigation, certain bounty hunters will have their efforts… impeded by our forces.”
“Second question. My friend Foxst has a dig on the surface, and he needs permission to -”
“Bereg Foxst is on our list of suspects.”
Thrace turns to the bounty hunter. “Oh, and I think maintenance can pry a certain object out of the bulkhead of the reception area.”
Asoni gives the bounty hunter a high five.
….to be continued…
To read this story from the point of view of Zara, Asoni, or Naveed, check out their blogs, linked from my Current Campaigns page.