Star Wars: The Last Hope
The Jedi Temple
The Jedi Temple
From the Journal of Talus Fyurron, Rebel Force Commando
Hunters, Holocrons, and a Hundred and One Sith Clones
I never realized how much the Force could truly guide us until this mission. I wasn’t on the group’s first mission. I think Kota was hesitant to put me out there and afraid of what I might do. Now…my path is my own. That I believe. My guidance…is the Force. It will be my guide on this path now. I realize that. We have now come to know defeat of a sort, in a way we have never had to before that day.
We had wanted answers, so our mission was our own. We decided we were going to Coruscant on our “down-time” to hit two Wamp-Rats with one blaster bolt. We needed to see if the Commodore had anything else on the Sundancer, and we needed to see if we could find any Jedi Holocrons left in the Temple since the fall of the Republic that might lead us to the Kyyber Crystal. Although, Mitchell and Sorilea were not able to go with us there: They had been sent on a “secret mission” by the Rebel Command recently and would be unavailable until they returned. I considered it strange at first, but not really unexpected in my opinion. We each had our special talents to offer the Rebel Alliance.
We arrived on Coruscant packed in crates like Mon Cal Salty Sardines. It was difficult and uncomfortable, but understandable. However, I knew as soon as we left our travel- crates and found Greedo the Bounty-Hunter in warehouse with us that the Force was kind to those who are patient. He was unconscious when I finally saw him; struggling under the weight of the weapons Crate he had been lifting off a shelf, and had fallen on his head when Skriz had stunned him. We quickly disabled him and tied his limbs right then, so as to put any idea of escape from his mind.
We quickly surmised that the warehouse our smuggler friend had left us in was a Dark Sun warehouse. Skriz, Tromph, and Salamarr ransacked a few crates and lifted some handy items while I kept watch. Although, why Tromph wanted to take several kilos of the Darks Sun’s purest white I didn’t understand at the time. However, if we were caught, it would have been the least of our problems.
Once were ready to move, I wiped Greedo’s memory of us there, and we stole his speeder. Leaving him to take whatever fall he took. Yes, sometimes the Force was good to you. Sometimes.
We immediately searched out the Commodore’s personal transport ship, and by-passed the guards by doing a quick flyby, and dropped off the stealthy Tromph and his “Dark Jawa” ally to infiltrate his mobile fortress. Salamarr and I then proceeded to scout out the Jedi Temple area and see what we could recon.
After a short time, we got a signal on our new ”untraceable” Comms that we had liberated from the Dark Suns’ warehouse, that our friends were ready to be picked up. A short pass later, we were together again, one Holocron heavier and several kilos of “White Powder” lighter. When I asked about it later the only response I got from Tromph was: “Too Funny!” Then he would then proceed to fall down laughing… Skriz would just shake his head and walk off.
We headed towards the Jedi Temple and landed in a nearby parking lot. We quickly entered the main Temple complex using our Force powers. We did not seem to be detected in our entry. We headed up towards the Library and proceed to encounter several “Voices and Shadows.” These voices forced us toward upward into the Temple proper. We encounter a “dark-Side” feeling or two. However, nothing specific was pinpointed in our searches.
Eventually we came to a side hall where we encountered a Force apparition (resembling the Ancient Jedi in the Holocron found on board the Commodore’s vessel) near a blank wall that was off down a short side corridor. We investigated and discovered a hidden lift, behind a sliding panel. Forcing open the door, we heard “skittering” noises coming down the main hall, and quickly hid in the lift passage on the emergency ladder therein. We followed the passage to its lowest point and found ourselves in the Main Library Holocron Storage! Again the Force had guided us well! We also found the sadly desiccated corpse of a fallen Jedi librarian, abandoned and forgotten to this lost vault.
Gathering our booty of lost Jedi lore, we turned to leave using the main doors out into the Library. Cracking them we discovered two old commando droids hiding behind a desk in front of the doors, patiently waiting to ambush somebody coming from the other direction. Skriz, never one to fear droids, immediately pulled his Ion Blaster and let them both have a full blast.
Hundreds of red eyes lit the Darkness beyond the desk and turned towards the doors. A eerily familiar mechanical voice shouted out: “They are already here!”
Recoiling from the sight before us, we retreated and quickly locked the vault doors. Skriz began constructing a booby trap out of some Dark Sun grenades while the rest of us, checked our options. We were going to head back up and out, but the passage up was being cut through from another lift tube and would cut us off too quickly.
I suggested we head down. Coruscant was deep. The Jedi Temple had to have other passages, vaults, and hangers below ground. Didn’t it? Unfortunately, I was more right than anybody else could have imagined.
We cut our way down another lift tube and quickly found ourselves in an ancient part of the Temple. After only a few hundred feet we came across an entrance that reeked of the Dark Side. We debated. The Force was telling us to go back. But we were between a hundred hungry Mynocks we knew of and an invisible Rancor we could not see yet. We chose the former to our detriment.
We had debated too long. Just as we closed the door, a hovering scout Droid came to our level and saw us just as the passage door closed.
I ordered the others to move, and I blasted the door with force lightning, hoping the powerful electrical current would burn out the door motor if nothing else. Moving further in, we found many empty rooms and a stronger sense of the Dark Side. What we found at the end of the passage, was something none of us had seen since the Battle of Kamino!
The chamber was at least a kilometer long, if not longer and several spans high with an arching roof over our heads. A walkway lead around the perimeter of the large room and toward a centralized platform covered in at least five cloning chambers. Beyond the first platform were at least four more platforms we could see each with their own cloning chambers attached. Below the chambers was a large pool of stagnant seeming water.
Skriz immediately checked out the control panels along the wall just inside the door, and Salamarr and I starting looking at the cloning chambers themselves.
Salamarr and I dived into some chest on the platform. The chests contained Imperial Crimson Guard uniforms and basic equipment. Like a Hutt in a hurry to get to a strip club, it hit us immediately. These were the Emperor’s personal guard replacements. All Sith trained and dedicated only to him. It also hit me that with the loss of Kamino, they would be impossible to replace easily. Their loss would be a strong blow to the Emperor personally. I gave the order without hesitation: “Shut ‘em down! Any way you can without waking them up Skriz!” The Jawa waved and proceed to sabotage the clone freezers.
We considered grabbing some of the rare and valuable armor, just as we heard the entrance door blasted open. We knew they would be coming quickly so we tried to be prepared. Tromph cut away one of the “feeding” tubes that contained cooling liquid for the clones, and let it pour out over the entrance area.
The attack was surprising, fast, and well executed however. The Droids rushed in, but along the walls and ceiling, nearly half a dozen or so at first. This means they avoided the fluid we had prepared for the area in front of the entrance door. The Droids maneuver also distracted Skriz and Tromph long enough for some of the mercenaries to enter the main area.
Although they all skidded a little, only one managed to lose his footing and slide all the way to my feet at the base of the platform. One of the more successful ones proceeded to grapple Skriz in a death grip, in order to prevent the smaller man from striking with his lightsaber. The other mercs started blasting away at us, except one who fell in the coolant and slid all the way to the platform’s edge at my feet. Tromph engaged one of the mercs quickly face-to-face…or face-to-knee…whatever.
Salamarr immediately grabbed and ripped out a clone tank from its moorings using the Force and threw it at some of the droids, hoping to cause some to fall. He hit one direct, and clipped another knocking them both down into the water below us. Lightsaber already blazing, I quickly finished off the merc at my feet, and then blasted a droid off the ceiling with some hastily thrown Force Lightning.
About the same time, Skriz managed to lose his grappling foe, and cut him in half. Then proceeded to grab a spot near the door and started throwing telekinetic Force Blasts randomly down the hall. He couldn’t see their effectiveness, but he could hear the shouts of pain and outrage that encouraged his efforts.
It wasn’t enough however. With a raspy mechanical laugh, a familiar face entered on a jet pack. I had never met the man in person, but I had known who he was immediately. He was THAT infamous. Cad Bane. The crafty bounty hunter quickly caught Tromph in his arm-mounted grappling cable, and threw him over towards Salamarr.
As Salamarr caught the Jedi and fell to cushion the blow up on the first platform, a dance ensued in mid-air that even I was only partially aware of in the end. I got the gist of it later and it went something like this:
Salamarr, still prone, telekinetically tossed Tromph back at Cad Bane hovering overhead. Tromph managed a couple of mid-air attacks, in the process. Cad Bane expertly deflected the amazing attacks, and proceed to disarm the Kushiban, forcefully taking the Jedi’s small lightsaber for himself. He then proceeded to use his armor’s flamethrower on the Kushiban and the still Prone Salamarr. Both got singed but were still in the fight. Salamarr quickly tossed one of his spare full-sized lightsabers to the Kushiban, which Tromph promptly caught and started back after Bane again. A lightsaber duel in mid-air happened again, this time, Bane using the Kushiban’s shorter blade versus the Jedi’s now longer blade.
By this time I had finally pulled my blaster pistol and was taking pot-shots at the droids while deflecting shots from the Mercs across the bridge, but I was a little rusty with my fire and either missed or was ineffectual. I finally gave in and just grabbed the last couple of hanging droids with the Force and tossed them at a few of the Mercs. I almost had fun doing that. Almost.
Tromph finally wounded and disarmed Bane, who dropped the Jedi’s Lightsaber into the water below. Retreating quickly back into the passage he came from, he started yelling at his flunkies.
We all felt a surge in the Dark Side of the Force then coming from the passage. That was also when a strange incoherent voice rumbled out of the Darkness of the passage. Cad Bane seemed to be arguing with a figure that produced the voice. Suddenly the figure proceeded to ignite a red lightsaber and removed the mercenary’s right arm. This left the electronic voice of Bane screaming epithets in Duros.
The figure moved casually into the chamber…and was an odd looking specimen. Covered in strange armor with a full helmet, he proceeded to ignite a second red lightsaber and crossed his arms leaving us all confused to his motives. A Sith obviously, but who could it be? A new dark apprentice of the Emperor’s making?
We could all feel a powerful surge in the Force. Suddenly a telekinetic Force wave of an amazing intensity emanated from the figure, throwing Skriz and the other mercenaries in various directions. I’m sure one Merc too close turned to bloody mist and scraps of flesh in my amazement, but I was a little distracted to be sure.
Bracing ourselves for the fight of our lives, we knew we would probably perish if we stood our ground. Skriz was the closest to react and jumped at the figure waving his golden lightsaber yelling at us to run. With an almost casual flick of his arms, the figure parried and reposted, nearly taking the Jawa’s head off with barely any effort involved. Falling back towards the exit with a cry of pain, the figure gestured with his hands and the huge platform we were on ripped free and suddenly flipped forward spilling us in several directions.
Tromph and I ended up under the platform, where he immediately left towards the exit and the now wounded Skriz. I had to crawl myself, carefully avoiding or cutting through wreckage to get out a short time later.
By the time I had gotten out from under the platform, the strangely powerful Sith was on top of one of the other platforms that had been ripped out of its moorings as well and was now hovering over the water just off the edge of the other platform’s new position.
It was then Cad Bane saved our hides.
Yes I said it. One of the most notorious and self-serving mercenaries ever birthed in the Glactic Core, saved us. Bane saved us. Even now its hard to write, much less say out loud.
Activating some sort of booby-trap on his armor, he flew directly into the strange unmoving Sith, cursing the whole flight. A huge explosion rocked the chamber. I immediately called a tactical retreat and brooked no argument on the decision, although I could see reluctance to do so.
We made it out of Coruscant without resistance or much talking.
Once back at the Rebel Base on Dantooine, we heard speculation on who the figure might have been. We were damn lucky to still be alive if it was true. From now on, I plan on following the Force’s guidance…when I can.