On board the Resurgence the heroes are briefed by Jedi Master Denia on their next mission:
“Your help to our cause in the last few months has been invaluable and your dedication exemplary. During my recovery, I had time to reflect on our goal—to discover the purpose of the Sarlacc Project.
“While studying at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, I learned about holocrons—recording devices into which Jedi stored their wisdom to pass on to future generations. Some holocrons, such as the prized Tedryn Holocron of Jedi Master Ashka Boda, were tailored toward helping Jedi Masters penetrate the secrets of the Force. Even beings already trained in the Jedi ways, like myself, greatly benefit from such a source of learning.
“I summoned you because the Force has pulled together threads of knowledge to reveal the location of a holocron similar to the Tedryn. Some time before I traveled to Cato Neimoidia, Master Ashka Boda contacted me with news that he had joined the former Almas Academy student Halagad Ventor in trying to form a network between the scattered Jedi survivors of the destruction of the academy. During the Clone Wars, an orbital bombardment decimated the academy in the Cularin system, and if any artifacts have survived, common sense suggests that they have since been stolen. But the Force tells me that the holocron we require is there.
“I’ve never been to the planet Almas in person, but I knew the headmaster there, a serene Jedi Master named Lanius Qel-Bertuk. I have no current information on the planet, but I can provide you with coordinates and a path through the treacherous comet cloud that surrounds the Cularin system. These were obtained at great expense thanks to Senator Organa’s vast connections.
“I feel this is crucial to our cause, because I have sensed a link between the Sarlacc Project and the slaves that you tried to rescue above Bespin. But I have probed the Force tirelessly and at last reached my limits. With this Jedi holocron, however, I might expand my ability to see through the Force and find the answers we seek. Furthermore, I will be able to pass on the lessons it contains to a future generation of Jedi, thus coming one step closer to restoring peace and justice to the galaxy."
Basically, she wants the heroes to go to the planet Almas, find the lost holocron and bring it back. Sounds simple enough…
Several hours after leaving the Corellian Run, their starship, the Heart of Alderaan, exits hyperspace at the calculated point just outside the Cularin system. Exactly as they were warned by Master Denia, the heroes notice innumerable comets of all shapes and sizes occasionally colliding with each other, forming an enormous cloud around the system. Fortunately, they were supplied with a sensor package that analyses their erratic patterns and calculates a safe path through the cloud. Once past that danger, another jump must be calculated to avoid flying for weeks at sublight speeds. However, this time the calculations are trickier due to large, overlapping gravity wells created by the system’s dense planet cores. But knowing people who’ve made the Kessel Run, this can’t be worse than skirting the Maw cluster. An hour later, the ship again emerges from hyperspace and the planet farthest from Cularin’s twin suns comes into view, lambent and mysterious: Almas.
The first thing the heroes notice from orbit is the strange luminescence that emanates from the planet itself. The twin suns are too distant to illuminate the planet, and they are approaching from the side facing away from them. Yet most of the surface emits a faint glow, except for one dark spot where the Jedi academy happens to be located according to the nav computer.
The second thing they notice is a consular-class frigate heading their way, just rising above the orbital plane: a ship painted blood-red and flanked by a pair of Z-95 starfighters. Almost as soon as they spot it, the communication panel beeps and the viewer flickers on to reveal, in all his preposterous glory, is a pointyeared, male near-Human with thick, flaring eyebrows, a patch of fur on his jutting chin, and a razor-thin mustache that would be the envy of any holodrama villain. He’s wearing an open crimson blouse, strapped down at the waist by a gold sash, and he brandishes a menacing vibrorapier. His gloating smile says it all.
“Let’s not waste time, you starforsaken spawns of space slugs,” the man says. “By the authority of the Red Fury Brotherhood, you’re now Captain Reddjak’s prisoners. Cut all power to your weapons and shields, and the Blood Brother won’t blow you out of the stars. Prepare for the pleasure of being boarded.”
The heroes waste no time in talking and activate their shields and power-up their weapons, hoping to outrun the vessel. Their ship is swifter and more agile, dodging a warning flurry of turbolaser blasts with ease, but the two Z-95 starfighters are soon closing in; but the combined fire of the Droid of Doom and Tracer quickly takes them out, and even score a lucky shot on the pirate ship. That ship, in turn, almost takes them out with a well-aimed turbolaser, but Riddick’s skilful Force-aided piloting rolls them out of the worse of it, and Valdor quickly re-establishes the shields.
Dodging the ship’s tractor beam again and again, the heroes manage to fly round the pirates and dive into the atmosphere of the planet, taking some damage from the hard-entry, but escaping the clutches of the pirates and safely arriving at the abandoned city of Forard.
A quick sensor scan indicates that the atmosphere is slightly toxic, high in oxygen and cold. The local plant-life, Kaluthin, covers the city, glowing. All except in the centre, where the remains of the Jedi Academy lies. Breath masks on, leaving their non-combatant droids to repair the ship and look after it, the heroes make their way through the deserted city.
The city is empty of men, women, and children. Hostile winds whip through the lifeless streets and between the alleyways of abandoned buildings. Unlike most of the planet, here the unchecked kaluthin has taken over, growing up to 2 meters tall in some parts of the city. And yet, the plant fails to mask strewn debris and the occasional decomposing body—the calling cards of looters and bandits who plundered the city after the unexpected attack almost two years
As the heroes walk through the discarded remnants of old lives, they notice the empty twin buildings housing the local children’s school. To the left, they see faded graffiti on the wall, below a sign that reads “*Remembrance Hall*.” And collective chill runs down their spines
as they make out suspiciously red letters that say, “*DEATH TO THE UNFAITHF*UL." When they get within a hundred meters of the academy ruins, they realise that all the kaluthin inside this radius has died off. This area is as dead as the entire planet was millennia ago. Furthermore, Riddickcan sense a strong feeling of the Dark Side here, spreading out across the wilted zone.
Up ahead they hear the sound of arguing, and spot a trio of rotund space-suited beings towering over five squirrel-like blue-furred beings, having a tug-of-war with a broken tarnished silver protocol-droid, who seems rather distressed. They spot the heroes as they approach and all eyes turn in their direction:
“Ged your unholy pseudopoda off dis Holy Artifact, Zquib-thing,” the big one says.
The little guy retorts, “From our dead, cold paws, ugly Ugor fiend-being! We did the location finding of this silver-ish, prettisome treasure pre-secondary!”
“It is unfortunate,” the half-droid says, “that Jedi Master Lanius never programmed me for a denouement of this particular design.”
“Hey, byu!” One of larger ones yells, popping off its helmet and turning part of its flabby amoebic body into an arm to wave the heroes over “Hey byu, tell Zquib zinners we find dis Holy Artifact infinitely dimes infinitely before dem. Blease!”
A quick discussion amongst themselves, the heroes decide to pretend that the droid is theirs, and that Jedi Riddick has come to claim it. Valdor does most of the talking, while the Droid of Doom readies his weapons, just in case. Meanwhile, Tracer sneaks through the ruins and flanks them: as he does, he sees a trio of large, pitch-black lizards sneaking towards the commotion: he yells out a warning and gets off a shot, singeing one of the lizard’s hides, as the creatures move into attack; the blue-furred Squibs and the squat Ugor scatter, pulling blasters, as another lizard rears up from behind them.
The Dark Lizards’ hungry, inky tongues unfurl from gullets that seem bottomless, thanks to the 10-centimeter ebon teeth lining their mouths, which dribble tarlike drool. These beasts resemble living shadows, and only their ivory claws indicate that their origin is not supernatural. Their obsidian hides radiate incalculably vile energy. There is no sign of intelligence in their primeval gazes, only the brand of distilled evil—their eyes smolder with the orange-red glow
of the dark side.
But the heroes aren’t daunted by such creatures. One-by-one the heroes spread their fire, wounding the lizards and avoiding their darting tongues. Valdor inspires them with a few well-chosen words, while Riddick calls on the Force to slam the beasts to the ground. Tracer takes the kill on the alpha lizard and another, one of Ugor and Squibs take out a third, and Valdor takes out the last lizard; all very quickly and efficiently.
In the aftermath the squibs and ugor hand the droid over to the heroes and then scarper, still arguing amongst themselves.
Leaving the heroes with the rescued droid, and the ruined Jedi Academy looming before them.
End of Session