Time is the Hunter
Episode 07: A Wild Stranglepod Appears
Bounty hunter Jax Hunt and amnesiac lady who called herself Iris Helena were waiting in the Corellian Engineering Corporation VCX-100 light freighter assigned to them, the Screeching Arrow, by the rebel fleet when the Togorian rebel coordinator Meow Skywalker came to them with a job:
“The mission will require you to travel to the Chandrila system in the Core Worlds to extract Imperial bureaucrat Ton Kelauae, his wife Aklu and his daughter Wencie. Land at Nayli Spaceport. The Kelauaes are holed up in Apartment 7C, Blackback Building. The Empire is looking for them and it will be a matter of time before they are discovered. Get to them before the Empire does and bring them back here.”
During the mission, the duo got into a stand-off at a hotel, meets another Alliance team led by Jax’s older brother Fell Hunt, escapes through the sewers to return to their ship and flies to the Crystal Canyons to rescue Ton and Aklu Kelauae with little Wencie in tow.
Leaving Wencie in the ship, they began to sneak into the cave, got swept by an underground river and fell into a shallow lake in a vast cave. Stormtroopers attacked them. Instead of defending herself Iris waded to the small island in the middle of the cave. She put an open hand on the column of black crystal at the centre of the island. The crystal glowed brightly.
In the end, Iris turned and she grasped a red-bladed lightsabre, its blade ignited in her hands.
And now the conclusion…
What Happens in the Cave Will Probably Not Stay in the Cave
The three remaining stormtroopers on the floating Bantha-II skiff turned their blaster rifles on Jax and Iris. Jax (has the highest Dexterity and thus is first on the initiative order) threw a grenade at the Imperial troops. The grenade went wild and exploded at a nearby cave wall. The explosion had opened a hole in the wall and there was now a second tunnel that the water was flowing out of.
Iris Helena, whom Jax then noted had red and orange eyes, raised both hands including the glowing lightsabre. Suddenly the lake water leapt up like a sudden wall and struck the bottom of the skiff. One of the troopers tried to take control of the craft but failed. It flipped over and all three fell into the drink.
The skiff itself tore itself into a hundred pieces as it crashed into the wall and into some stalactites. Jax said, “Nuts! I was hoping we could use that skiff to get out of here.”
Two of the fallen troopers were lightly stunned but still had the constitution to return to their feet. Their rifles were pointed at the rebels. Jax acted swiftly and fired. One trooper fell with a smoking hole in his chest.
Iris smiled and moved forward with the lightsabre in her left hand. Her right held an E-11 blaster rifle. She swung it up and shot at the second trooper. But the red energy bolt merely seared the trooper’s right pauldron. The lone trooper fired at Iris and failed as he was affected by the blast.
Jax ran forward splashing and downed the last trooper with his Relby-k23 blaster pistol.
During the post-battle stillness, Jax asked Iris, “You wanna check on them?”
Iris, her eyes returned to normal, smiled and told him, “You check them.”
But all the troops were down for the count. So they grabbed grenades from the fallen bodies. Jax took an E-11 blaster rifle from one of them.
Who You Gonna Call? Inquisitorius!
They decided to head towards the large exit on the far side of the now-red central crystal. As they waded near, the lake water suddenly formed a wall before them. The liquid wall rushed towards them. (Failing her Strength roll) Iris fell back into the water.
From the entrance tunnel, a red glow emerged. It was a red lightsabre. The sword was held by a human woman in an elaborate metal headgear and long flowing white dress. With a fierce demeanour she held out her right arm and announced, “You have a red blade. You are one of us. Kill this man and come with us. We will take you home.”
There was a pause while Iris considered the woman’s words. Then she said, “No. I don’t want to kill him. He’s my friend.”
“Then,” said the woman, “I’ll do it for you!” Her hand closed. Jax felt pressure upon his neck. He could not breathe. Then he was lifted two metres off the lake bed. He tried to speak but failed.
That was when Iris threw her lightsabre at the woman’s arm (and successfully rolling her Dexterity plus two character points with the help of an Alter roll for a touch of telekinesis). There was a flash and sparks flew. The woman’s right forearm dropped onto the steps before her. Iris’ lightsabre fell onto the ground behind the woman.
As the woman screamed in pain, Jax fell back down into the water. The young bounty hunter drew his weapon and fired. But despite being maimed, the woman raised her left arm with her palm opened. The red bolts dissipated upon reaching her.
“Inquisitor Stranglepod!” The cry came from three black-clad Imperial death troopers who had suddenly appeared behind the woman.
“Death troopers!” Jax exclaimed. “Run!”
The woman screamed with anger, “Death troopers! Kill them both!”
As Jax was running for another limestone column, the death troopers raised their E-11D blaster rifles. As Iris turned to flee, she raised her right hand. (Ain rolled Alter with a base difficulty of 5, a +5 to ignite the sabre and a +5 to strike each trooper.) Her fallen lightsabre ignited its red blade and flew back towards her hand. En route it sliced two death troopers in half.
The duo escaped through one of the tunnels that allowed water to flow out of the big cavern.
How to Return to the Surface Without Really Trying
It was soon apparent that the Imperials were not chasing after them. The surviving death trooper was probably helping the Inquisitor to return to the surface. This meant they should head back to the ship before the Imperials took Wencie prisoner.
But they were soaking wet in the dark beneath the surface of Chandrila and above all, they were lost.
Jax told Iris, “Maybe you can use your abilities to get us out of here?”
She closed her eyes and tried (by spending two more Character Points and also one Force Point). The apparent Force user felt her senses expand outwards. She sensed their ship not a hundred metres above them in the cavern. Because of her trust in the Force, she was even able to sense that Wencie was not alone in the Screeching Arrow. Her parents were in the ship with her. There were all afraid.
Two Imperial troops were also present outside the ship.
Inquisitor Stranglepod had not returned yet.
Iris led Jax through the caves. They both ascended higher in the tunnel network and soon found themselves emerging from a cavern opening right at the canyon where the Screeching Arrow was parked. They peeked carefully from behind a rock and noticed two death troopers standing guard under the their VCX-100 freighter.
Jax sneaked along the canyon wall to get closer to their ship. However, he did not realise that Iris did not follow suit. As he tiptoed behind a boulder, his hand brushed against what he thought was a firm rock. A pile of rubble clattered loudly onto the ground. The death troopers (with their +1D to Search) easily spotted him.
“Karabast!” exclaimed Jax (and Irfan).
As they raised their rifles, Jax shot first. The bolt hit the closest trooper on his chest, but the armour (which provided a +2D bonus to resist Physical damage) absorbed the energy bolt. Jax shouted, “What are you made out of?” Before the troopers could return fire, a grenade floated out from the cave to a spot between the two. It exploded. However, the death troopers held their ground.
They fired at Jax but missed obviously shaken by the grenade blast. The bounty hunter aimed for the grenade on the first trooper’s belt. There was another explosion as Jax took cover. When the smoke cleared, the troopers was still standing and was about to fire back.
But the two death troopers were unaware of the fact that Iris Helena had used the Force to pull their all grenades’ pins from her hiding spot by the cave entrance.
There were five simultaneous explosions. The force of two and three grenades respectively finally turned both death troopers into smouldering corpses. Jax hoped that the explosions did not damage the Screeching Arrow.
The Rush for Clearer Skies
“Come on!” Jax yelled, gesturing to Iris to run for their ship.
A cadre of Imperial stormtroopers appeared from another cave entrance on the far side of the canyon. They started firing on them (but missed because of the long range) as they safely ran up the ramp. Before the ramp closed, they caught a glimpse of Inquisitor Stranglepod being supported as she walked by a death trooper. She looked somewhat furious at them.
In the ship, they were reunited with Wencie who reassured Ton and Aklu that these were the rebel agents who were helping her search for them. Jax muttered a short greeting and jumped up towards the cockpit.
30 seconds later, the Screeching Arrow took off as Imperial troops shot at it harmlessly with blaster rifles.
They soared upwards.
Soon they were in space, although still flying in low orbit. Jax was starting to make the calculations for the jump to hyperspace when the proximity alarms went off. Three huge vessels had reverted back into realspace very close to them.
A gigantic Imperator-I Star Destroyer and two monstrous Quasar Fire-class carriers were closing in on them from three directions. (Jax had six combat rounds before he could pull the hyperdrive lever, and the enemy ships would be in range in three.)
“Iris!” he yelled. “Prepare for battle. I’ll try to get these ships off our tail!”
Iris skipped into the cockpit cheerfully and said, “Why not I get them to think about food instead of chasing us?”
“They’re only thinking about fighting. They must be hungry.” She closed her eyes and extended both her arms outwards. “Let’s make them only think about food.”
Meanwhile, each capital ship had launched a flight of four TIE fighters in their direction.
(The difficulty number to use Projective Telepathy in a strong enough way to distract the Imperials with intense thoughts of food was 25. Ain had to roll her Control and Sense, each with the same difficulty number. She spent two more character points and another Force Point. She had obtained an extra Force Point the previous session when she became a Force user.)
As the enemy ships came into firing range, something strange began to happen. The ships began listing and drifting off. Even the incoming TIE fighters were swaying and spiralling all over the place. Two of the fighters flew into each other as they were side by side. Their solar panels were smashed into a thousand pieces.
Jax was still both awestruck and horrified by how Iris was using her Force powers effectively when the navicomputer informed him that the course calculations had been completed. The bounty hunter grabbed on a lever at a nearby console and pulled.
The Screeching Arrow jumped into hyperspace.
Finally safe, the Kelauae family thanked Iris and Jax profusely for saving their lives. Iris dug through the shipboard supplies and decided to cook a home-cooked meal for them before they arrived at their rendezvous point with their Alliance contact the Togorian named Meow Skywalker.
As they ate, Jax continued to give Iris the side eye as he realised that this person with no past memory and incredible mystical abilities might actually be someone who might one day turn on them and annihilate them all: a Sith.
To be continued.
- I would say I still enjoy running Star Wars D6 as much as I did when I first ran it 29 years ago.
- I have had this scenario (and others) percolating in my brain for the last year or so.
- I totally forgot that you cannot spend a Force Point while spending a Character Point. Oh well.
- Thanks to Ryan Rhodes’ friend Steven for the name Kimdu Stranglepod.