Beyond Charted Stars

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Beyond Charted Stars
Session I

The year is 3 BBY, and our adventurers have been hired out for an expedition. Funded by Dr. Stazi, a Duros xenoarcheologist from the University of Agamar. Suited to aid in one task or another the crew aided Stazi in finding an ancient derelict ship in the far reaches of the Outer Rim, and an artifact none thought to find outside an Imperial Vault. An old Jedi Holocron.

 

A shrewd professor Stazi dismissed it as intriguing trinket to his crew and grad students while secretly trying to get it to open. His efforts were in vain, until a small group of his workers examined it and it blinked to life. Since then Stazi has found every reason he could to extend the expedition, and convince our adventurers to share the history possessed within it. 

 

Reluctant of what to do with the holocron or their destiny, the special few of the crew have attempted to delay Stazi's enthusiasm. The rest of the crew has been suspicious, and one of them may be the reason an Imperial Customs frigate has arrived on world . . . 

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Journal Entry #1 - The Nav Officer

JARVIN HOLT

I'd like to think Dr. Stazi and I are starting to really get along. It's not just that the crystal box likes me, either. Stazi may be an academic, but he's a fething solid explorer. He'd probably have been the ship's navigator himself if he could find the time. Once he figured out I really did know what I was doing, he stopped looking over my shoulder, and now we're basically colleagues. Even shared a drink a couple of times. 

Of course, if I'm being honest, the reason it probably took him so long to warm up to me is he felt he was taking a gamble on me. Not the first time I've felt a boss wondering if I'm going to disrupt the crew or if I've got a dilettante's work ethic. You would think I enjoy busting stereotypes. Apart from the occasional moment, I really don't. There's even times when I think of using colour-crawlers or cosmetics to pass as human. I'm not proud of those moments, but I'm from Constancia: Zeltrons know all about humiliation versus longing. 

I think I'll stay on with Stazi if I can manage it. He pays pretty well, and I've had far worse employers. He says his cousin works at one of the big Duros navigation guilds. If I keep my nose clean, maybe I'll get a connection. It's all about who you know, right? Besides, let's be real: I'm not getting into an Empire-approved nav corp anytime soon, not any more than a Duros is. 

Mom sent me a message the other day. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Empire tried moving in again, with the usual results. Guess they can build a ship a mile long, but they can't invent a helmet that filters out pheromones. One of these days, though, they'll figure it out, and Zeltros and Constancia are going to get a dose of death and taxes.

<s>I don't get why Mom doesn't get that, or why she doesn't</s>

Anyways, my plan is getting better every day. I've even got a line on a proper colony ship and some surplus prefabs. I ace this job, and maybe one or two more, and I'll have enough for a down payment. Then it's just a matter of finding the right spot. I'm keeping my eyes open the whole time the expedition is out this way. Something's going to click, guaranteed.

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~001 – Entry #149 – Date: 012/27/4857(?)~
Angar

Working with Stazi's outfit has been a boon. Even if the work's soft. Knowing the Doctor, probably will not remain so. At anchor in void, for the moment. Navigation officer, man they call Holt, wants to run calibrations again. Stazi trusts his intuition, and so shall I. It's a weird vulnerability, unable to chart my own course or take the helm if need be. Weakness. Bardoq would call it another lesson. Patience. Serenity. He'd argue control is finite and slippery, more oft than not an illusion. To him, maybe. Prefer thinking I have choices. Decisions. Ones that matter, in the moment and the long run.

 

Found a curio. Jedi holocron. One of the last that's not supervised by Imperial authorities. For that reason alone, I will work to make sure it remains so. That said, dubious about what wisdom it could supposedly impart. Seydakin and Jedi do not meld. We're an aberration. They saw themselves as sole authority. We have fought. Lost. And won. Tremulous relationship. In the day, they preferred thinking we did not exist at all. Part of me is tempted to break the 'Cron. Spiteful. I know this. And unbecoming. Not my place to discard an ultimately historical treasure. Would I appreciate it if they burned our last schools? Destroyed our remaining relics? Another lesson. Ajax and Bardoq were right. Still so much to learn.

 

Stazi is an odd well of practical wisdom. He doesn't take to staying in a spot for too long. Something I appreciate. And he takes what time he can to inculcate my own want to… see. Can't explain it. Every star has a name, every world its own story. It's worth knowing. I'm sure it is. Great astrophysicist, Gnharl Saeger, said we are a way for the universe to know itself. Always stuck with me. Shared that with Stazi one day, with Holt present. Both seemed to go a little glassy eyed. …Or maybe Holt had indigestion, don't know. Those ribenes tasted a little funny. And he doesn't have the benefit of my metabolism. Poor man.

 

Last ventures have at least been lucrative. Sure if I stick with Stazi, I'll turn up more credits. And leads. Need to see about charting an excavation to Neftali or Tenupe, track down the D'oemir or Blood Bats. Bardoq mentioned he hadn't heard hide nor hair from them in decades. Doesn't bode well. Palpatine's purges reached far. Jedi and Dunaan do not meld. Not even these… blacker kin of theirs. Is that what the Emperor is? No telling. Maybe he's only a man. A very dangerous, very devious, very powerful man. He wants the Force in check. Gotta track down the other schools. Need my swords. Feel naked without them. Sold that good vibrosword just to afford check in to make Stazi's expedition.

 

All can do now is train. Keep the edge on. Trim the fat and anything excess. Can't take this downtime for granted. Thinking of taking the pay and catching tramp freighter. Anyone willing to fly out of the way. Growing restless. Another thing Bardoq said I must temper. I will. Itchy feet could spell it for me in the end. Can't buy it yet. Steel wrapped core with silver plates, razor keen edge and good two or hand-and-a-half grip. Perfect sword. Empire won't cast that into the dust. Got work to do. Galaxy doesn't need Jedi anymore.

 

It needs professionals.

 

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~001 - Entry #153 - Date: 01/15/4858(?)
The Rumble

Five Imperial officers dead, one currently under heavy anaesthetic, heavily wounded, locked in a makeshift holding cell. All because I could not hide away a box. Mister Jarvin is recuperating following his own injuries. The Professor makes plans with Grask. We're entering Rebel territories in a few days. Time to wheel and deal, hope they don't slag us in turn. Sometimes hard to tell who's more treacherous, the Empire or her enemies. Imperials you can trust to honour whatever is to their advantage. Rebels are cagey. Enemies everywhere and when you live on that razors edge long enough, far enough, anyone can look like the IIA.

 

Still. Skills were not up to snuff. Found the Box, after I made sure it was stole away. Beginning to weigh now. If it hadn't, if I had not failed, would have avoided the standoff and gotten out of vessel range. As it stands, nearly a dozen Imperials are dead and we are holding hostage. This is slippery. This is not the Trail. Screwed up. The Imperials will go wondering after their missing men, when they do, all likelihood points to bounty postings. Bardoq and Ajax would not be impressed. And this Jedi business.

 

Mentioning of an 'Eye of Belethor' or 'Berethor'. Gand, the holocron gatekepper, proffers its existence as a storage of knowledge. Kind of hoard. …Maybe the Eye might have leads on the Manticore or Griffin schools, maybe the D'oemir too. No telling. It's a loose lead but better than nothing. Still… If it's Jedi forged and Jedi moderated, doubt its isn't painted with their brand of bias. Will have to sift through bunkum until something rings true. If and when we discover the 'Eye'.

 

Suspect Mister Jarvin is more than just uncanny. Prospects aim at Sensitivity. Accounts for his piloting and shooting abilities. Some things are more than just luck and his ignorance on it all was refreshing. Took things for granted. He has conscience. Moreso than I did, facing the Customs Officer. Rigor her name? Got angry. Tired, hurting. She's a cog. No sin to that. Was tempted, however, suggest we space her and let go of a possible liability. Not very charitable. Hardly knew what to ask her, thank goodness Grask and Jarvin were on hand. More than anything, I want to put as much space between ourselves and the system as possible. Got Imperials behind us. Rebels in front of us. …Shadows in the peripheral.

 

Nothing to do about it now. Gonna patch up more. Do some practical reading. How did they make out my drop? Not good. Not good enough. Better next time. So Jarvin doesn't get shot up and Stazi isn't held at blaster point.

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Stazi's log: Dismissing the Students

"So then, the dig is concluded. When we get to Telos I will arrange for all of you to get transport back to the University. I will be joining you all as soon as I take care of some other business. Are there any questions?" Stazi informed the quartet of grad students in front of him. He could tell they only half believed him. They were academics after all. Taught to raise questions and seek answers rather than take them. 

 

"What about Grassk? Will he not be joining us?" He Gotal Jorg asked. 

 

"Grassk has told me he will arrange his own transportation after he has finished some business. If you wish for more information I suggest asking him yourself. It is not my place to speak for him." Stazi replied, being as truthful as he could. 

 

"Will Jarvin and Angar be joining us?" Kyla asked, and Stazi heard an 'eel' joke in the background. 

 

"Their contracts conclude when we arrive. What they do afterwards is their business, and again not my place to discuss." The Duros replied. He could feel them getting more and more curious. He didn't blame them, but the less they knew the better. They each looked around at each other for a moment, but none of them asked about the customs search. None of them had been to the hold and knew that Stazi was technically holding a prisoner. 

 

"What do you want us to take back?" One of them finally said. 

 

"I'm going to put what I need in a crate that I'll mark with my name. Everything else goes back for you all to study. Any other questions?" There was a pause. "Right then. Good night." Stazi dismissed them before doing a lap around the ship. His ship. For only another few days now. He sighed. He was gonna miss this boat. 

 

Heading to his quarters he considered pulling out his bottle of Whyren's Reserve, a gift from a professor at Coronet University. Rational thought entered his mind and he realized he'd need to sell it somewhere. His saving were good enough to keep paying his pilot and security, but only for so long. After that ran out who knew how long they'd stay, if at all. Grassk . . . he might stay for a while. For all the jokes the other students made that he was the beast of the department he wanted to learn and explore. 

 

Locking the door his quarters Stazi examined the Holocron. He knew what it was when he found it. He was a professor for long enough to know what the Jedi were. Kriff, he even met one once, before the clone wars. She was probably dead now, like all the other Jedi in the galaxy. Shame. Snoot aside she didn't deserve that. Jarvin might be a way for the Jedi to rebuild, but should he? Angar seemed to know of the Force already, and he is no Jedi. Far too practical. There was a hint of disdain in his voice at the holocron. A rival order perhaps? The Duros sighed. The university library would be invaluable right now. And he would probably never see it again. 

 

"May the Force be with you two." He caught himself saying. "We'll need it."

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Navigator's Personal Log #2

You would think I'd be more interested in what I learned from the little crystal box's hologram AI, but it's not the kind of thing that makes me reevaluate my identity. I mean, sure, it makes sense to me, once you kind of take the mysticality with a grain of salt. I'm from a planet of empaths and telepaths, and I guess I always thought knowing which way to go was part of that. None of this Force stuff is stunning to me, even if I'm dubious about the whole 'we are all connected' bit. No, what really sticks with me is Officer Rigor. 

There's an Imperial customs officer, quite a reasonable one, wounded and tied up in our cargo hold. 

What do I know about her so far? I tried my darndest to win her over back on the planet, and she was having none of that. All business. She's gutsy: she bolted through a gunfight to grab a bike, and that almost screwed us. We had a bit of a fight on speeders until she twitched wrong and ran into a tree; she just about killed me and I just about killed her. I never really got the feeling she was raging or terrified or full of hate, just fired up and doing her job. So when we caught her, I mean, I'm no medic, but I tried hard to make sure she didn't just bleed out.

I couldn't believe it when Angar dug his blaster muzzle into the slug wound. I don't think I'd ever seen actual torture before. I was paralyzed. Couldn't speak up, at least not right away. Well, I could have, but I just

That's going to stick with me.

Anyways, she started talking, more out of exasperation than anything. I kept screwing up bandaging her. Wound up giving her one of our only stimpacks to stabilize her. So once she got talking, she was actually really useful – told us how to use her credentials and what they'd get us; told us all about the kind of ship that chased us to hyperspace and beat the crap out of us; just all kinds of things. I chatted with her a bit more, just a little, after we jumped. Couldn't get a first name out of her.

We'll be dropping her off somewhere, Prof. Stazi says. Not sure how that's going to work. Telos might not be the safest place to release a captured Imperial officer into the wild. Oh wait, Grassk says the Rebellion will have a use for her. Not sure I like the sound of that.

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Navigator's Personal Log #3

Who's this Jarvin fether and what's he done with the Eel? I never used to be the guy with the gun. I'm a getaway driver. But here I am planning bounty hunts and taking a guns-blazing approach to a gang stronghold. Shooting gangsters – shooting first. Took me a while to switch to stun, too, and I think I only did it because I couldn't remember whether the Gotal was wanted dead or alive.


The Force saved me hours of asking around. I just plain knew which way to go. Then I used that to hunt someone with not a lot of mercy. That doesn't sit right with me.

I'm worried about the tail we picked up and lost, or rather she lost us. The Force didn't line up for me. She reminds me of when I thought someone was rummaging around in the ship, back when we first took the customs officer onboard. If that grad student was a plant, that could explain all kinds of things. Makes me extra worried about what we'll find waiting for us on Devaron, and I wonder if Brask's associates are in for a surprise or two. Might be that the customs officer gets sprung before the Rebellion can do their thing. Can't feel apprehensive about that, though I probably should.

I'm keeping busy by figuring out what makes this ship tick. Still kind of wish we'd gone with the yacht – easier to fly, more maneuverable, tougher hull – but the Centennial Hawk is growing on me. A '1300 is a nice boat with plenty of room for mods, assuming we can manage to save up without spending it all on whatever Brask wants that day. He's dang good in a fight, but he's an expensive friend to have around.

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Brask's Personal Log: Coming Home
Angst, Backstory

Telos was more adventurous than I'd hoped. The swap went well, but after that Jarvin and Angar were keen on going after a bounty. Contrary to lots of stereotypes I'm more excited about hunting beasts than people, but Jarvin and Angar had a good point. We need credits. Plus this was a local bounty. Some gang-banger who blasted a kid on the north side of the station. If they'd have picked some imperial target I woulda left them. Chit, we'll probably be imperial bounties in another week. Though, today makes me think us getting out of the first stormtrooper tussle wasn't a fluke. Jarvin's a pretty good shot, and Angar? I wouldn't want to be on his bad side within 50 meters or so. 

Still, there are other concerns. The woman tailing us is concerning. I can't say I've always been on edge about Aya because I'm on edge about most humans because of COMPNOR, but something doesn't sit right with me. The whole situation is odd. The way she lost us so quickly. Perhaps she just thought we made her and stopped following us, but I'm pessimistic. I feel like she'll turn up when we least need her too. Probably at Eedit. Kriff, eedit. 

I keeps hitting me. I'm going back to Devaron. I haven't been there since Montellian Serat. I should be coming to drop off hard earned credits to the family, but now I'm giving them to a memorial. To an ever growing bounty. Kriff the Empire. Kriff the rebellion. Kriff me for getting them caught up in this. Kriff the kriffing Butcher, I will end him if I so much as smell his bloodstained body. 

The sound of a ping is heard.

Yes? 

"We'll be dropping out of Hyperspace soon Brask. Jarvin is booking it." Stazi's voice is heard in the background. 

Alright, I'll be out soon.Time to face the music. Personal log entry four-nine-five, signing off. 

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~001 - Entry #157 - Telos
Blood Walk With Me

Journal Track

Telos was the hand off. Ship and Custom's Agent are with the Rebs now. Made some change with the pilfered armour and guns, nothing to brag over. The real bargain was the ship trade off. Managed to convince Jarvin we'd be better off with the Corellian model. Yacht was fancy but that kind of prestige will get us rolled if we dock in the wrong system. No one gives a second glance at a run-of-the-line 1300, credit-chit-a-dozen with those. Seemed to take to it once we started making some lane jumps. Glad for it.

Stay was shot, more or less. Got directed to a Davros, Captain with local TSF outfit, by the book, by the numbers, family on a desk holo sort. Solid. Put us on the trail of a local would-be hood wanted for a shooting in the entertainment quarter. Some punk. For an extra thousand, we took it. We're not operating under anymore scholarly sanction. Six or five dead Imperials buried in our wake, can't remember. It's gonna catch up. It's gotta. I know this feeling.

The hood holed himself up behind a local crew. We opted for directness. Shot and cut our way through some sort of disused habitat. Brought down some hard cases. Took the hand off a meaty Barabel that nearly hooked my throat out, gunned more down, caught up with the Gotal. Hands were shaking bad. Nerves took me an age to tie his ass up. …For the work, don't know if 1000 was worth it. It's paying our way, suppose. Not what has me on edge.

We got a tail. Maybe. One of the students or looks close like it. Young female, human, Aya I think her name was? We sent her off with the others to get shuttled homeward. Missed her flight, evidently. Tracked with us through hood territory and managed to outwit myself, Jarvin, and Brask without difficulty. Got my hackles up. Maybe she's just a good hide-and-seek sort. Something's smelling off and it's not that garbage whiff Jarvin got all over himself in the street fighting. …We're on our way to Devaron. A Jedi temple. Stazi is ecstatic. Jarvin's curious. …Feeling apprehensive.

Here we go.

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