Raiders of the Lost Temple

The Road to Chandrila

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During their hastened departure from Nar Shaddaa, Sei Lest confides in the young Duros pilot Lai Nootka, explaining to him the vision she saw of him handing over a fractured arc-shaped piece of obsidian. The fractured piece of obsidian was very similar to the piece of an artifact she uncovered while at a dig in the remote frost covered mountains in Chandrila. Sei Lest revealed that her co-workers and herself had made a breakthrough in their dig, uncovering a hidden chamber beneath an ancient cathedral prior to being attacked by a group of raiders clothed in white armor (different from standard stormtrooper armor), the last memories she had before awaking in the Imperial prison facility (without the artifact) were the sight of her friends being gunned down in cold blood by her attackers. Feeling that the cathedral may hold some clues as to the nature of the artifacts that the two of them found. Wanting to uncover the truth behind his father's murder, Lai convinces the rest of the crew to journey to an isolated area high in the Chandrila mountain ranges.

In their approach to the coordinates provided by Sei Lest, Lai Nootka confirmed the young woman's story with an extensive sensor sweep of the area, revealing the presence of eight humanoid remains in the outskirts of a large ruined structure. The party's brief search of the area (around the bodies) did not uncover any additional clues as to the nature of the attackers except for the remnants of a charred utility belt, akin to the ones recovered from slain stormtroopers (in the prison facility). Worried about the safety of the ruined structure, and the possibility for unseen attackers damaging his prized possession, Lai Nootka ordered the Emerald Luck set down a ways away from the ruined cathedral, with Cade and Moira on standby to render assistance, while the rest of the party journeyed into the heart of the structure in search for answers.

The Abandoned Cathedral

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Passing through the frozen and ruined archways of the cathedral, the party was taken back by the enormity of the structure and the labor force required to construct such an intricate structure, particularly in such an isolated part of Chandrila. Carefully scanning through his scope, checking for any sudden movements, Ivan Wren cautiously moved through the rows of frozen stone pews, and towards a large hole at the southern end of the structure that seemed to continue deeper into the earth. After confirming with Sei Lest, that it was indeed the direction her excavation team took to uncover the obsidian artifact, Ivan took a deep breath and trudged onward into the darkness.
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The excavation tunnel lead to a large ice covered expanse in the ground, with the remnants of an ancient sarcophagus laying in the center of the cave with a pile of massive rocks and boulders blocking what appeared to be another potential tunnel, in the southwest corner, leading further into the earth. Summoning the Force, Kadin's intense concentration allows him to pull out the massive boulder blocking the entrance of the tunnel with ease, enabling the party to continue onward into the bowels of the cathedral.
The sixty foot deep tunnel, leads the party into a 20' x 20' ornate stone room. With no other light sources but the light from their glow rods, the team slowly scan the room, searching for any clues, traps and dangers that may be lurking in the depths. Ivan is the first to notice a set of stairs that lead further down into the complex. Grabbing Sei Lest back before she placed her right foot down on the first set of stairs, Ivan pointed out the presence of a pressure plate right in the path of Sei Lest's intended footsteps. Alarmed by this discovery, the party continued forward with caution, taking the time to scan and examine each step down the thirty feet of stairs for booby traps and pressure plates. Breathing a sigh of relief after making it downstairs without any mishaps, the party finds themselves in the middle of a long 10-foot wide corridor. Opting to head west (right), the careful walk down the dark corridor enable the heroes to examine the surface of the stone walls. After walking for nearly fifty feet and rounding a corner, the party discovers a series of hieroglyphics and ancient writings etched into the western walls. Szhon Ilo is able to decipher some of the ancient writings as an archaic form of High Galactic that was common almost four or five millenia ago, while Sei Lest confirmed that the rest of the undecipherable script were Sith in origin.

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Just as the rest of the group began contemplating the meaning of their discovery, their introspection was cut short with a loud hiss coming from around the southern eastern corner of the hall they just turned into. Almost fifteen feet away from Ivan (as he was taking point), the party catches a glimpse of a large insectoid monstrosity, with a dark mottled carapace and elongated head rounding the south eastern corner. Its ponderous movement suddenly stops as it cocks its head at the party and lets out a loud and omnious hiss: "ShaaaaRRRRRRHHH" at the party.

Uncovered Map

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  • Szhon: Seeing as how there's a queen Alien bearing down on us; i'll maintain my current position, draw my blaster, inform HK of the threat (he doesn't appear to have line of sight), and have the IG take up defensive position in front of me while preparing to lay down some cover-fire.
  • Lai Nootka: Lai Nootka likewise spots the alien, but feels less quick on the draw, merely pointing his torch for now to get a better look at it, drawing on his Galactic Lore to try and decide if it can be reasoned with before we start shooting. On the off chance that it understands Basic, he also ventures a greeting before drawing his weapon.
  • Ivan: Brings his rifle to bear, and readies an action to shoot the hell out of it if it makes an aggressive action. "Something tells me this thing didn't bring us any warm, wet towels."(Likewise on the Galactic Lore to identify the creature.)
  • Kadin: I will have my strange "flashlight" in hand as well as scanning the current area between myself and the insectoid for objects that can be thrown and or moved with….. "May the power we don't know exists or talk about be with us"

Down the Dark Corridor

Your ability to see the bulk of the stone hallway is limited by the luminescence provided by your light sources, however, your eyes adjust to the darkness enough for you to see a majority of the creature. Peering through the targeting sight of his rifle Ivan estimated the creature to be almost five meters (16 feet) in length, based on the slithering motion used by the creature. Coiling itself into two five-foot squares in the hallway (as indicated in the above diagram in red), the mottled green creature hisses at you, its mandibles primed and open, waiting to strike.

Although the insectoid creature is unfamiliar to Lai Nootka and Ivan, they recall having read as children, stories of valiant Republic troops and commandos squaring off against the dark sorcerers of Tormamund and the 'Sith(who fielded similar monstrous biologically engineered creatures (from native species)). While drawing his pistol from its holster, Szhon was struck by the similarity of the hissing monstrosity to a native caterpillar-like herbivore on his home planet of Kel Dor. Motioning for his Magnaguard to take up defensive positions and notifying HK of the developments, Szhon braces his hands around his pistol and waits for the creature's next move, much like the rest of his compatriots.

With Szhon's gesture, HK begins moving toward the creature in a bee-line toward the defensive position taken up by IG-100. The taciturn droid seemingly blends into the darkness again, out of plain sight of the rest of the party.

Seeing the flurry of movement from the group, the creature hisses again, revealing wicked scythe-like blades for hands. Opening its mandibles wide, it hissed a strange language, unfamiliar to the rest of the party its body primed as though waiting to attack, in the event of an improper response.

The disembodied voice of HK-12 reverberates through the cramped stone corridor: "Master, this flesh-thing is speaking to us in Sith, would you like me to translate and answer its question or shall we commence with negotiating the cessation of hostilities?" (You hear the familiar 'cha-chink' sound of a battle rifle being braced for a shot).

  • "Please translate, HK," as Szohn eases his hands off of his pistol, "perhaps we can avoid a messy scuffle… You speak its language!?"

"Of course Master, the dialect used by his creature is the official dialect used by our Sith Empire." HK responds, "The creature is inquiring whether we have been sent to inspect the facility. Our arrival has been long over due."

  • "Well, interesting. Thank you, HK." After exchanging glances with his companions Szohn says, "Gentlemen, and lady, I suggest we proceed with our inspection. Yes, HK, let it know that we are, in fact, here for the inspection, and we're very sorry for our tardiness."
  • Rei Vax: Checks his gear to ensure his armor is functioning normally & ensures his blaster clip is full & a grenade is in the chamber. "I am ready to proceed and will keep an eye on our tail." Using my helmet sensor pack in night vision, I keep an eye out for any tails & have my blaster rifle in hand - ready to turn, drop to one knee, and fire.
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The air shimmers around IG-100 as HK appears to materialize from thin air next to the droid. Turning his attention to the creature, HK begins translating Szhon's message to the creature. The Sith language feels alien and almost unnatural to your ears, whatever message that HK conveyed to the creature appeared to be well received as it became noticeably more calm. Its scythe-like hands dropping to its sides, and what appear to be a series of sharp needle-like barbs (nestled in the ridges of its carapace) slowly retracting into its body, the creature gestures for you to follow with a motion from its shoulder, hissing another series of sentences to you before turning around and slinking back down the corridor it came (heading east :: see map above :: ). "The creature says that it's pleased that the honored servants of the god-Emperor have finally graced the facility for an inspection. They have been maintaining the security of the facility for some time now disposing of any interlopers that may have tried to infiltrate the base." HK informs the group with its sinister tinny voice. Taking up a position just a couple steps behind Ivan. With its battle rifle still cradled in its hands, HK says: "We should follow the creature if we're to convince it that we are indeed the inspectors, Master."

You catch a glimpse of the creature as it disappears down the corridor. Your limited light sources allow you to see the bulk of the creature… and it is quite fearsome looking.

  • Kadin: "I agree, if this show is going to work we need to move on down the hall behind it. I think we are good to go in this formation, yes? Ivan & the droids up front, Rai on rear guard and the rest of us 2x2 in the middle? As we move we should probably be on alert and aware of our surroundings at all times." With that, Kadin falls into place and patiently waits for the rest of the party, "flashlight" on his belt, ready to be used at a moments notice if trouble should happen to find them.
  • Rei Vax: "The formation looks good. Let us move on before it loses us in the tunnels ahead." - Still keeping a weary eye out for anything watching or following us via nightvision.
  • Lai Nootka: Nodding his head in agreement, "I suppose we shall inspect. I wonder if they have any warm moist towels in stock for the inspectors?" He keeps his glowrod in his left hand, scanning it over the walls a short distance in front of us, looking for any pictograms that happen to make sense on them. Meanwhile his right hand continues to hover a short ways from his holstered blaster.
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Following the creature, Ivan gently cradles his battle rifle with his left hand while resting his finger next to the trigger of his battle rifle, eyes open ready to bring the weapon to bear on any hostile creatures. Assured that Szhon's two combat droids are flanking him as he moved forward, the scout pressed onward trying to match the creature's movement. Kadin, Sei Lest, Szhon and Lai Nookta fall behind assuming a staggered two column formation.

Peering through the bright green lens of his night-vision scope, Rei Vax slowly falls back, following the rest of the crew while continually scanning the rear of the formation. His eyes and ears keened for any sudden movements and slight sounds, the alert commando does not find anything that would be a threat to the party.

The slithering insectoid leads the party down the corridor, eastward. The corridor that the party is being lead down appears to be about 10 foot wide and 50 feet in length. Adorning the walls are more hieroglyphs that Sei Lest identifies as being Sith in nature, however she is unsure what they represent.

As Ivan follows their guide, his eyes catch the presence of another similar looking creature just around the corner. A hiss from the party's insectoid guide causes that creature to lower its head as though showing respect to the party. The party has to squeeze past the second insectoid (second red 'C') to proceed. With a little bit of effort everyone passes it without incident. To the right side of the hall, just 20 feet east of the second insectoid guard, the party notices a strange ember/colored organic/bubbly looking cyst adorning the wall of the corridor. Another 10 feet east of the strange cyst growing on the wall is a set of heavy stone double doors. Motioning for the party to approach it, the creature points double doors and hisses in Sith.

  • HK: "Master, the creature says that it is now going to bring us into the main halls of the facility. It has fallen on some disrepair as the facility staff have not been conducting the proper maintenance as of late. "
  • Lai Nootka: Has a thought, and asks "HK, How long does he say it has been since the last maintenance?" However, he doesn't seem to concerned about the answer as he looks at the door, recalling the traps in the hallway. Those traps however bring up another concern for him. "I wonder how far that paranoia extended though….Inspectors would be expected to know how to bypass any traps around here."
  • Kadin: Turning to his compatriot, Kadin says to Lai Nootka "Funny, I was having the same thoughts as we advanced down the hallway. Perhaps we should also have HK ask some questions as to the current state of functions on the base, any new findings and whatever else we can think of to ascertain as much info as possible before blindly walking into this room." Senses now raised to a higher level, Kadin wonders to himself if he should reach out and see what his powers can sense.

Examining the pulsating ember organic cyst growing alongside the southern corridor, Szhon jumps back in shock after looking through a semi-translucent membrane located on the cyst. The sudden involuntary movement of an insectoid creature gestating or meta-morphing inside the fluid-filled cyst had the Kel Dor physician backing away cautiously. The doctor’s trained eye identified a remarkable similarity between the gestating creature and the two creatures flanking the party in the corridor. What really made Szhon’s skin crawl was that he realized that the cyst was slowly drawing its nutrients for the creature through the remains of a dead Twi’lek female in a dark blue Old Republic Judicial Forces armored flight suit, her face locked in a twisted scream.

HK engages the creature in a flurry of dialogue as the party approaches the door, the assassin droid seemed to be concentrating intently on the insectoid guide. The ornate massive ten-foot tall stone double doors cast a foreboding aura on the party. The ancient hieroglyphs found along the corridor are also carved into the doors. What’s even more interesting is that a massive lock-like device has been built in where the handles to the door would be, securing the doors in place. The locking mechanism is composed of three free rotating metallic circular rings built into each other (a single larger circle, with a medium circle in the center and an even smaller circle within that circle). A series of the arcane glyphs are carved on each of the circular rings. However, unlike the glyphs found on the corridor walls, they seem to be in jumbled, just pieces of a full glyph. Also carved into the doors is the awe-inspiring picture of a armored figures locked in fierce combat with swords.

As the party cautiously approaches the doubled doors, HK informs the party what he has learned of the facility. "The creature has informed me that the facility has not been maintained for at least three thousand standard orbits around the Chandrilan sun, at least according to the galactic map." HK waits for you to absorb this information before continuing, "Based on the information provided by our guide, I estimate that this facility was created about forty years after the Sith god-Emperor's Treaty of Coruscant with the deposed Republic dogs. It was probably a fully functional Class 2 base designed to be operational for an undisclosed period of time."

The gears in Szohn's head start whirring; "What fantastic potential! This place may just be the perfect base for Ganymede. But, lets not get ahead of ourselves…". Snapping out of his short daydream, Szohn addresses the rest of the group, "There are sure to be more and varied mysteries lying within this ruin, and I do not like the look of that cypher on the portal. I hope they do not expect us to unlock it…" Cautiously, Ivan walks to the far side of the door and takes up what he hopes to be a defensive posture. He stares at the glyph in the center of the door for a moment, trying to puzzle it out. "Kadin, Sei Lest, I'm thinking that opening the door might be in your, ah, area of expertise." Examining the door, Se Lest begins considering whether it would be possible to push one of the insectoids flanking the party into the doors.

Kadin studies the door for any recognition of the glyphs. "Obviously there is a pattern to the glyphs that must be properly aligned in order to open the locking mechanism. The question is, do we have to know this pattern or will I giant insect friend here do the honors for us?" With that Kadin begins an intense study of the glyphs to ascertain a pattern. Calling on all of his knowledge, are any of the glyphs recognizable? Is there any type of pattern to the glyphs? are they separate symbols or pieces of one giant glyph?

Studying the door intently, Sei Lest is not sure if merely telekinetically throwing items or creatures at the door would be sufficient to budge the doors. Although she has no knowledge of the physical sciences, the multitude of carbon scorch marks (from blaster fire) and what seem like strange cuts by some sort of energy weapon seem to have no marked effect on the integrity of the door. The construction of the door seems to suggest that they were designed to repel all but the most determined of invaders.
Sei Lest thought to herself, perhaps a concentrated and drawn out application of her powers might eventually budge the door, but would also most likely reveal the party to be infiltrators needing to be eliminated, or worse…

Kadin attempts to get a closer look at the locking mechanism due to the limited light available. The lock has three freely rotatable circular pieces (built into one another) with a final round center piece that’s solidly in place. Etched into the three metallic freely rotatable circular mechanisms symbols similar to the ones identified as Sith by HK. Gently manipulating the locks with a easy application of the power that people don’t know exists, he turns several of the circular locks and realizes when the glyphs pieces combine with the pieces on the subsequently smaller circular piece (as they are rotated around), they form different glyph combinations. By combining the glyph pieces on the three metallic circles and those on fixed center piece, the lock altogether seems to have three lines of text. Kadin seems to recognize the glyphs as part of some mantra he’s seen before when learning about that people don’t know existed.

Due to the defensive posture he had assumed, Ivan also takes the moment to examine the glyphs on the circular door. Although he cannot read the language, he’s also sure that he’s seen a combination of the words somewhere before. Seeing that Kadin seems to also recognize the glyphs… he thinks to himself that perhaps by working together along with HK (as translator) they might be able to piece together the puzzle in short order.

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Although Sei Lest feels that this entire situation would be better resolved with a giant insect going through the door, she didn't want to put the rest of the party in jeopardy. She is more interested in understanding the glyphs. Her time spent searching for Sith and Jedi artifacts has given her a deeper knowledge pertaining to Galactic Lore. She would love to do a knowledge check (galactic lore) to see if she can decipher the glyphs.

Rei Vax would like to see a bug smashed up against the doors too, but also feels that violence may not be the best option…. for now at least. Turning to Kadin and Sei Lest, the commando asks: "Are you able to sense or communicate using your 'magic' with the creature in the cyst? Perhaps it is somehow linked to this door-puzzle, in addition to the glyph-combination?" Building on Szhon's earlier musings, Rei Vax adds a comment: "These may be VERY suitable operatives and allies to have. I'd sure rather be on their good side."

Kadin turns to Szhon after his study of the door: "Perhaps now would be an opportune time for HK to inquire as to when the insect plans to open the door so we may see the facility. I can probably figure out the glyph puzzle with some help, I've seen them before in my studies. However, it doesn't make sense to struggle over opening that lock when our big slimy friend mentioned it was going to show us the facility as we came upon this door. To me, it sounds like it intended to open the door so why don't we figure out some way to politely ask it without giving away the fact that we don't know how to open the lock yet. No sense risking it if we can get it to open it for us."

Snapping out of his further daydreams and plans for interior design; Szohn asks HK: "Do they expect us to open the door? If so, could you help Kadin with the translation?" Ivan turns to HK, expectantly awaiting a translation of the glyphs. He occasionally glances back at the alien creature, nervously thumbing the autofire selector on his rifle. Responding to Szhon's inquiry, HK replies: "Master Ilo, I believe our guide is waiting for us to lock to the doors into the facility, it is standard protocol to ascertain the identity of all entrants into the facility." The assassin droid pauses for a moment before continuing: "The glyphs that Mr. Novastar have created from manipulating the glyphs appear to be various Sith words. At the moment, the phrases on each line appear to say… 'Passion is a truth, there is only peace. Through peace, I gain solace. Through victory, I gain power'".

As HK recites the mantras created from Kadin's manipulation of the glyphs, Ivan, Se Lest and Kadin both begin to catch on to the nature of the mantras. To Kadin, it was taught to him as part of his training, while Se Lest and Ivan have come across some mentions of a similar code. As it stands, the current phrases created from manipulating the circular locks appear to be incorrect.

Rei Vax remarks: "Hmm. Doesn't sound like a mantra for evil power hungry people.. sounds quite peaceful and unselfish."

Ivan frowns at the glyphs on the door. Leaning forward, he draws upon the full scope of his knowledge of Galactic Lore to remember where he's heard this similar phrase before, and what the correct phrase might actually be. "I think I've heard this phrase before, but not exactly this one. It's not quite right. Maybe that's the test? To arrange the words in the right order?"

Kadin looks back towards the door and says… "Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me" Using the power that people don't know exists, Kadin attempts to realign the glyphs to the display "The Code of the Sith" he was taught as part of his training.

"These Sith sound like a lovely bunch. I should hope they had more sense when it came to designing a fortress; Less remodeling on my part…", Szohn muses to himself. "Thank you, HK, it looks like your knowledge of this Sith language has become a priceless commodity this day. Excellent cyphering, Kadin, I hope it works…"

Sei Lest knows the mantra quite well. She has come across the Sith Code while researching their history. She eagerly awaits what lies behind the doors. Perhaps some Sith relics she can add to her collection.

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Entry Into the Facility

The massive stone doors shudder as a bright reddish hue emanates forth from the glyphs after Kadin aligns the lock to the phrase: 'Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power'. Dust and earth, trapped for ages on the doors, begin to fall to the ground as the doors slowly begin to open, sliding back (left and right respectively for each door) into hidden recesses to reveal a massive 40' by 50' room with approximately thirty-foot ceilings and a hemispherical glass dome top. In the center stands a strange reflective black crystalline structure, almost like a gnarled tree. Carved into the walls of the room are four, twenty-foot tall statues on the western and eastern walls.

The room appears to be in an advance state of disrepair, with massive pieces of rubble and stone having fallen from the spacious ceiling, although for the moment, the area looks safe to explore. Kadin and Sei Lest however begin to feel a strange feeling wash over them. To Kadin, the feeling was an unfamiliar mix of fear and excitement, as though his five senses were heightened somehow. Sei Lest felt the familiar sensation of raw power she felt before when she had found the strange obsidian artifact with her friends (before being attacked and imprisoned on Felucia).

HK looks at Szhon and bows before replying: "Thank you Master Ilo. I strive to be of service to you."

Cautiously venturing into the room, quickly looking over the massive stone statues before cautiously moving forward, rifle at the ready. The commando peers around focusing on the ceiling moving forward into the room to inspect where the rubble has fallen from. Responding to the sudden disturbance in the Force, Kadin glances over to Sei Lest to see if she also felt the strange sensation as the doors opened. "Did you feel that?" He asks her as he enters into the room. Upon entering the room he turns back to Szhon and asks: "Perhaps HK can ask our lovely tour guide a bit about this room and the rest of the complex. Now that it thinks we truly are the inspection team, lets try to get some info from it." The young warrior advances further into the room to inspect the tree, the four statues, and most importantly, ascertain the source of the strange power he felt when the doors opened. Eyes open for anything, he reaches out with the Force and feels a strong ominous presence emanating from the dark crystalline structure in the room, as he takes his time to study the aura of the world around him. The warrior senses not only the presence of Sei Lest and himself but also another individual somewhere else in the facility… the individual's presence is somehow being blocked of impeded somehow. Although the crystalline is a source of unease, he is sure that it is not the only source in the area.

Statues and the Lobby Interior

Interested in inspecting the ceiling, Rei Vax wanders into the main room as well, focusing his concentration on the ruined ceiling above. Making a mental note on the weakened state of the ceiling and then moves up to each statue for a closer look. Keeping a wary eye for any markings, compartments or anything else that may provide more information. Cautious, he grips the under-barrel grenade launcher of his rifle tightly, watching his footing as he slowly advances near the crystalline tree near Kadin. As he inspects the tree, he also notices the four twenty-foot tall carved stone statues decorating the eastern and western walls of the room. On the eastern wall across from him stand two statues. On the left side of the wall is a powerful, and imposing human-like warlord adorned in ancient battle armor, standing with his chest out and resting his two hands on the hilt of mighty war blade. On the right of Kadin (facing the eastern wall) is the statue of a shadowy cloaked humanoid figure, with no apparent facial features (as it has been obscured by a long hooded cloak). The western wall behind Kadin are the statues of a stunning Twi'lek woman in flowing robes with her right elbow bent and her right hand resting on her belt while holding a strange glow-rod like object in her left. The final statue is that of a noble looking Chagarian male with an imperious look on his face.

As Kadin advances into the room to inspect the tree, he sees a set of stone double doors much like the ones he had passed through just moments ago, on the other side of the room (between the two stone statues by the eastern wall). A set of stairs seem to lay directly south of the crystalline tree, leading further into the ancient complex. Rubble from the ceiling is strewn about the compound's floor, making travel somewhat slower if not difficult at times. Cautious, Szhon hangs back slightly with his IG bodyguard while keeping an eye on the group of insectoid escorts, assured that HK would take the necessary steps to keep him and the rest of the party safe. "Don't split-up. I know this place is intriguing, but we must maintain formation. We've no clue what we may face herein. Not to mention our tenuous relationship with our hosts."

Sei Lest slowly walks into the large room. Her mouth gaped open in amazement. The crystalline tree figure in the middle of the room is quite spectacular. She slowly turns admiring the stone carvings and statues. She's aware of the strange presence and says "Yes, I definately sense it" to Kadin's inquiry. While she makes her way around the hall, she is still fascinated by the statues. 'Who were these people?' She thought to himself. Turning to Szohn "Can HK give us any information about the identities of the statues? They were obviously quite important people in their time."

Has Sei Lest or Kadin seen this type of crystalline before? Perhaps it is a type of stone that can have things easily hidden in them… :)

"HK, have you any knowledge of the identities of the persons depicted in the statues?" Szohn tries to stick as close to the bulk of the group as possible while maintaining a safe distance from the "tree" in the center of the room.

Lai follows into the room as well, but his eyes are drawn primarily by the hooded statue, looking for any indications of who or what it was.

Without asking the insectoid guide additional information about the room, HK immediately turns to Szhon, as the Kel Dor physician cautiously saunters further in the room with the protection of his trusty Magnaguard and responds: "Master Ilo, the four statues you see before you are the stone reproductions of four of the most powerful Lords that ruled over the Empire's Dark Council in the fifty years following the Treaty of Coruscant. The humanoid in armor is the Arkanian Battlemaster Darth Pericus, the cloaked one is Master Darth Strah, the Twi'lek female is Lady Darth Scourge and the imperious Chagarian male is Darth Pneuma." statue_pericus statue_strah statue_scourge statue_pneuma Szohn, taken a bit aback at the knowledge HK has about the Sith Empire, asks his driod consigliere, "Would you be so kind as to inquire; Are these bug-creatures in league with the entity waiting at the bottom of those steps or are they its captors?"

Circling around the crystalline structure, Rei Vax and Sei Lest take their time studying the tree while keeping a small distance from the object, without physically examining it. The limited light provided by their glow rods and the dark opaque nature of the crystal makes examination for hidden compartments next to impossible. For the moment, the crystalline tree appears to be a single crystalline lattice, as thought it had been painstakingly cut from a single block of crystal. As the two heroes near the tree, they feel a strange cold emanating from the object, slowly drawing away their body heat.

While standing on the top of the southern flight of stairs (downwards), Kadin reached out with the power that people don't know about, and is sure that the obscured presence of another individual is coming from the next room (down the stairs). Shining his light down to get a better look, he is only able to observe a steep flight of stairs with stone wrought double doors similar to the ones once barring entry into the large lobby area. While Kadin and Sei Lest search the room with their "powers", Ivan performs his own mundane (but thorough) search of the room, particularly noting any objects that appear as if they could provide cover in a firefight.

He also briefly glances up at the skylight, wondering how they had missed it on scan. "Guys, I consider myself a pretty good guide, but this place is over my head. Kadin, Sei Lest, if either of you has a clue on which way to go next, be my guest."

Kadin turns from the steps and calls for Ivan: "Ivan, there is someone in the room down there, but something is stopping me from getting an exact reading of the person. I want to go down these steps and investigate beyond the doors at the end. Perhaps you could take a quick peek down the steps before we go down there? I'd rather not go blindly running into something without making sure we are all safe." With that Kadin also informs the rest of the party of his findings, expressing his desire to go down the steps and investigate further. "Szhon, perhaps HK can ask our bug friend there exactly who is being held prisoner down there and why? Anyone else care to join us in going down the steps?"

Discoveries

Carefully examining the area with his glow-rod, Ivan carefully pans across the dark room, he notes several potential areas for cover (i.e. ruin and rubble areas identified in the map above). while thinking about why the skylight was missed on their initial scan, perhaps it's something in the walls that are somehow obscuring the initial sensor sweep from Emerald Luck. As he slowly walks a deliberate circle around the room, he makes note of the four massive stone statues, as well as the stone double doors leading east (out of the lobby), as well as the stairs leading downwards. Interestingly, Ivan feels some movement beneath the large tiles under his feet as his patrol takes him near the rubble (near the western statue of the Twi'lek Darth Scourge). Focused on the tile beneath him, Ivan responds to Kadin, "One second, K.", as he returns to the tiled area where he felt movement, and bends down to investigate further. Slinging his rifle behind his back, and kneeling down on his left knee, Ivan examines the tile underneath his feet for the source of the movement he just felt. Running his hands along the sides of the tile, his fingers notice a break in the ancient grout keeping the tile in place with the rest of the flooring in the lobby area. Investigating further, Ivan tries to pry the tile loose from the floor, motioning to Rei Vax's hulking Togorian melee specialist who has been following the party quietly for help, the two lift the massive eighty foot pound tile with ease. The earth underneath the tile seems looks and broken, as though something had tunneled through the foundation.

HK turns its head to the insectoid guide and fires off a flurry of Sith. The insectoid responds quickly, the massive creature's head is seemingly bent low in show of deference or respect to HK. Statement: Master Ilo and Mr. Novastar, our host has responded and it says that there are currently no prisoners being held in the subsequent level. Only authorized personnel such as the inspection team as well as residents of the facility are allowed in. Their standing order has been to slay or detain intruders for further examination. Curious as to the nature of the residents currently residing in the building, Szhon asks HK: "HK, Could you inquire as to the status of any residents here?" After a brief exchange of dialogue with the insectoid guide, HK responds: "Master Ilo, the creature says that it has been unable to account for all the residents of the facility, for the moment it is sure that there nine residents in an enclosed structure down the other direction of the corridor in which we entered the base. There is one inactive resident in the next lower level of the facility (i.e. the level Kadin is trying to examine). It is unsure as to the status of residents residing in the third level of the base."

Kadin reaches out one more time with his power while waiting for Ivan to join him at the top of the stairs.

Examining the crystalline tree at the center of the room, Lai Nookta is unsure about how the obsidian artifact would fit together with the crystalline tree. Perhaps the tree may be better examined by the Alderaanian archaeologist, Dekar Starfallen. Perhaps he would have a better understanding of the significance of the historical significance of the glyphs and the temple ruins.

Kadin says to he companions: "Whomever or whatever is down these steps certainly doesn't feel inactive. I'd like to investigate the room down there, but it seems Ivan has discovered something else of interest as well. Personally, I vote we check out the room downstairs before investigating the strange tunnel. Anyone else have some ideas?"

Moving towards where Ivan and his specialist Ruukas are standing, Rei Vax moves towards the two and make an attempt at inspecting the new found discovery. The commando comments: "I think we should check the tunnel, since we've exposed it. It may seem strange that we 'uncorked' an entrance to the tunnel & just keep moving on past it." Walking over to help Ivan examine the patch of loose earth the scout had uncovered. The pair drew out their miniature shovels and began digging to find what was underneath the massive tile. After nearly ten minutes of hard labor, the two uncovered a large six foot tall (in diameter) tunnel filled with loose earth. Peering down the strange tunnel with his night-vision scope, Rei Vax is convinced that the tunnel does not seems to have been man made in any way(the tunnel seems to run at least twenty feet west and east of their current position). Instead, it appears as if the tunnel was unearthed by the passing of a creature of some sort… a sudden movement caught the corner of his eye as he peered through his scope. He caught sight of the back end of a large scaled creature moving away from his position heading east further down the tunnel.

Cursing to himself, Rei Vax thinks: Why must everything have scales? before asking the Kel Dor physician, "Szhon, please have HK inquire as to whether the creature and its tunnel below is known to them. If so, where does the tunnel its burrowed go and what is this creatures role here?"

Walking over to help Ivan examine the patch of loose earth the scout had uncovered. The pair drew out their miniature shovels and began digging to find what was underneath the massive tile. After nearly ten minutes of hard labor, the two uncovered a large six foot tall (in diameter) tunnel filled with loose earth. Peering down the strange tunnel with his night-vision scope, Rei Vax is convinced that the tunnel does not seems to have been man made in any way(the tunnel seems to run at least twenty feet west and east of their current position). Instead, it appears as if the tunnel was unearthed by the passing of a creature of some sort… a sudden movement caught the corner of his eye as he peered through his scope. He caught sight of the back end of a large scaled creature moving away from his position heading east further down the tunnel.

Although Sei Lest had never encountered the strange crystalline tree before, as she took her time examining the tree, taking care not to come into contact with it, for fear of any unexpected consequences, the young woman took her time examining the artifact while the rest of the party conducted their examination of the lobby. Remembering the ancient tomes of literature on the study of the phenomenon known as the 'Force', the young explorer remembered having read about of similar crystalline structures before. In the tomes, they are often referred to as force crystals… often used as a means of enhancing the telepathic capabilities of those attuned to the crystals. The method of attuning however… differed depending on use of the crystal and what the original artificers had done to attune the original harmonics.

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Sudden Attack!

While the party deliberated the direction to take: whether it be the unearthed tunnel, the set of stone double doors (between the two massive stone statues) leading further east into the facility, or the set of double doors at the end of a long flight of stairs to the south (where Kadin is standing), a sudden movement from the southern flight of stairs catches the attention of everyone in the lobby. Surprised at the sudden movement, Kadin is the first person to see several of the stone tiles along the walls of the stairs fall apart unveiling four sinister looking crab-like robotic machines. The machines pop out of the recesses in the walls and begin advancing upwards towards the young warrior, their bluish robotic visors belying their sinister intent. Two of the droids appear to have massive blaster attachments added to their backs while the remaining two droids have massive claw attachments. Seeing the large number of droids appear in the corridor, Kadin reflexively enters into a defensive posture, activating his flashlight's bluish blade. "Ivan, Rei, looks like I could use your assistance over here please!"

Round 1

Hearing the commotion over by Kadin, the assassin droid shifts into an aggressive stance quickly extending the stock of the rifle and moving swiftly to Kadin's side, while taking cover at south western corner of the stairs. "Declarative Statement: Master Ilo, these are Mark II and Mark IV AADs (Aggressive-Assault Droids) used by the Empire, our presence in the facility must have triggered one of the life form sensors in the facility. I strongly suggest that we enter aggressive negotiations with the said droids." Taking quick aim at the droids, the droid unleashes a salvo blaster fire at the first two droids (one with blasters the other with claws). The slew of blaster fire seem to hit a bluish energy bubble on each of the droids, deflecting a majority of the damage intended for the AADs, although several bolts do get through, scorching the reflective silver-gray finish. "Statement: The droids appear to be equipped with Mark III energy shields!"

With a sudden burst of speed, Ivan runs, leaps into the air, and dives forward behind a block of fallen rubble behind Kadin. He comes out of the roll in a crouch, brings his rifle to bear on the nearest blaster head droid, and unleashes a rapid volley of shots at the nearest blaster-droid. "Rei! We could use some Ion Grenade support over here! Just don't bring the whole place down on top of us!"

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Following the scout's example, Rei Vax takes cover behind the nearest ceiling slabs. Popping his head out from cover, the commando tries to get a clear shot, at the two droids in front of Kadin, with his under-rifle grenade launcher.

Taking cover at the block of rubble just 2 meters north of the stairs, Ivan's rapid volley of shots at the nearest Mark IV AAD find their mark, bringing about more scorch marks on the already damaged droid. However, a familiar bluish-hued energy bubble managed to reduce the lethality of Ivan's volley to a great degree. Cursing the presence of the droid's shields, Ivan is at least happy to note that the intensity of the field surrounding the target seemed to have lessened a great deal.

The two Aggressive Assault Droids near Kadin respond to the onslaught from the party, with the Mark IV AAD (Droid 1) laying down a heavy volley at Ivan Wren from its current location, attempting to pin down the scout, while the Mark III AAD (Droid 2) attempts to slice Kadin apart with its massive pincers, however the young warrior's honed reflexes allow him to deftly avoid the claw strikes from the droid. Nearly twenty meters behind the two, are the remaining Mark III and Mark IV AADs (droid 3 and droid 4).

The second Mark IV droid (Droid 4) makes an attempt to cut Kadin down with a rapid volley from its blaster cannon fire but with a quick flick of the warrior's wrists, the two blasts are quickly deflected away by the bluish energy beam extending from his strange glowrod. The final Mark III droid (Droid 3) seems to be waiting for an opening to strike. As he deflects the incoming laser fire, Kadin shouts to the rest of the party: "Why are we being attacked by the base droids if we are here under the guise of an inspection team??"

Szohn dives for the nearest cover, drawing his Ion Blaster. "As much as I'd love to get my hands on those shields; we must destroy or be destroyed. Ion damage, everyone!" Pointing to his bodyguard, Szhon shouts: "Magna, find adequate cover and rain ion fire down on those crab droids! HK, fall back with Rei and Ivan. If anyone has any ion grenades, utilize them!"

Taking cover behind the mass of ceiling ruins along side Ivan (hiding behind the dark grey hexed shaped square one square north from the stairs, cannot get full cover from the ruins, as it is only 1 sq. large, but can get partial cover). Rei Vax realizes that he won't be able to fire off a round from his launcher without hitting Kadin as well in the resultant blast as he is unable to get a clear shot (i.e. the droids are slightly out of sight as their are on the stairs, approx 1 sq. below Kadin) due to the positioning of the droids (Droid 1 & 2).

The IG-Magnaguard quickly processes Szhon's commands and moves eastward, taking a cover position behind one of the large rocks near the south eastern statue. The droid's reflective dark gray right arm swings forward, and pops open to reveal a concealed blaster armament. The armament lets forth a loud hum as it fires off a supercharged blast at the Mark IV AAD (droid 1). The Magnaguard's shot penetrates the energy shield enveloping the droid and blasts a hole in the AAD's heavy armor, however some of the damage is dissipated by the droid's weakening shields.

HK seems to agree with Szhon's assessment and nods its head, its combat heuristics kicking in, analyzing the current situation for any advantageous movements. "Statement: Mr. Novastar, perhaps our mere presence in the facility proper triggered some sort of passive sensor array within the facility, or our movement near the corridor into the inner sanctum of the facility might have triggered some sort of response, as we do not have any implanted bio-sensor tags identifying us as non-hostiles to the mechanized defense systems."

Growling in excitement as adrenaline rushed through him, the party's Togorian melee specialist, Ruukas, surges forward from his position near the crystalline tree. In a mad dash the massive 7 foot Togorian rushes past Szhon, the cover position assumed by Rei Vax and Ivan and takes cover behind some ruins along the south western wall of the facility. As he rushes towards his cover position the massive warrior can be seen drawing forth his massive vibro-ax.

Rei Vax winds up to lob an ion grenade at the two near most AADs and then ducks back behind the slab cover. The grenade gently bounces several times on the stone tiles before finally rolling gently behind the two droids in front of Kadin. The Force warrior hears a small whine increasing in intensity right before the grenade detonates, releasing a dark emerald green energy wave that hits the two droids (Droid 1 and 2). The energy wave hits and dissipates the energy bubble surrounding the Mark IV (Droid 1) and causes some serious electrical damage to its systems while the energy bubble around the Mark III seems to absorb the entirety of the blast.

The damaged Mark IV AAD now looks heavily damaged, it's once shiny outer shell dotted with carbon scorch marks and random electrical pulses coursing visibly across its armored skin. Although still functional, the droid looks as though its combat and targeting systems took a beating from the ion pulse.

GM: Since Lai Nootka and Sei Lest have not yet acted this round, Lai Nootka takes cover behind the stone rubble (right behind Szhon) and draws out his pistol (although he does not have a clear shot) while Sei Lest is going to run closer to Szhon's IG-100 Magnaguard. Rei Vax realizes the closest cover he can get would be at the location where Ruukas, the Togorian, is currently occupying. The Togorian is planning on attacking the remaining droid(s) near Kadin on his turn in Round 2.

Round 2

Initiative Cycle:

  • Droid 1, Droid 2
  • Kadin
  • Droid 3, Droid 4
  • Ivan
  • HK
  • Rei Vax (and Ruukas)
  • Szhon (and Magna)
  • Sei Lest
  • Lai Nootka
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Seizing the initiative once more, the two AADs near Kadin make their advance on the rest of the party, passing around Kadin with ease (GM: Kadin does not have the ability to make attacks of opportunity as he is on full defensive.) The massive clawed droid (Droid 2) moves towards Ivan's position, its claws glistening with murderous intent. Before the scout could get out of his defensive position the fast moving droid managed to get in a swipe with its claws, ripping a huge gash in his side. The blaster-AAD (Droid 1) moves around Kadin, headed eastward along side the southern wall before taking up a firing position and blanketing the area surrounding Kadin and HK with blaster cannon fire. The young force warrior's defensive posture and finesse with his strange energy stick deflects the torrent of laser fire with ease. HK however is not so lucky and takes several solid shots to its chassis. The blasts melt portions of the droid's dark gray armor, shredding the armor on its upper right shoulder as well as that on its left chassis (near the stomach area).

Shouting to Kadin and Sei Lest, Rei Vax yells out: "Crush the droids with the stone slabs! That'll make quick work of them.", grabbing his second to last ion grenade from his bandolier, "Ruukas, help Ivan! HK - inform the creatures that these droids must be malfunctioning - due to lack of maintenance - and ask that they assist us so we may complete our inspection of the facility."

Seeing the droids rush past him to attack his friends, Kadin says:"Excellent idea RV! Sei Lest, take the claw droid, I'll get the blaster droid!" Kadin pulls back from his defensive posture with his energy rod and extends his forth his right hand at the massive 10 foot tall stone ruin at the southeastern corner of the lobby. Focusing on channeling the will of the Force, the warrior summons his entire will and manages to begin moving the massive object. With a bit of effort, the stone is ripped from its current spot and hurtles towards the blaster AAD (Droid 1) which is just 10 feet from it. The droid is not able to respond quickly enough before the massive piece of stone smashes into it, pieces of armor and stone flying apart from the concussion. The force of the impact is enough smash the droid apart, the bluish glow from its head flickering out as its energy generator flys apart from the chassis.

Satisfied to see that his attack has removed the threat from that AAD, Kadin focuses his concentration on maintaining his control of the stone. To his surprise however, he catches a sudden glint of movement out of the corner of his eyes. The tell-tale bluish glow of an AAD seem to rush towards him. The second claw-AAD (Droid 3), which had been biding its time in the previous round had made a charge at Kadin as soon as he dropped out of his defensive posture. His vision turns red for a brief moment as he feels the sharp blade-like claws of the AAD tear into his side. While a solid strike, his armor had reduced the severity of the blow, helping to prevent a critical strike to his organs. (GM:Condition: Moderately wounded, -1 condition)

Its energy shield glowing, the last blaster cannon AAD (Droid 4) takes aim at Kadin and fires off a salvo from its cannons. The power of the blasts would have surely torn the warrior apart if not for the quick deflection provided by his glowing energy blade. Kadin feels the intensity of the heat generated by the near-hit as the shots from the blaster cannon were deflected back into the stair way taking off bits of stone work. (GM: Ivan Wren: Condition: Moderately wounded, -1 condition)

Singed and quite damaged from the first blaster-AAD's salvo of fire, never the less quickly lines the claw-AAD that just attacked Kadin in his sights and hauled off several shots with his blaster rifle at the droid before moving back towards the massive rock that Ruukas is currently hiding behind. HK's shots manage to penetrate through the droid's shields (Droid 3) and damage its chassis, however at full strength, the shield manages to absorb the bulk of the damage. "Statement: Damage sustained in engagement against hostile forces, will continue to pursue aggressive negotiations! Master Ilo, the shields on the AADs seem to be Mark IV shields, not Mark IIIs as in standard AADs."

Turning to the insectoid guide and its companion for help, HK relays the message Szhon Ilo had asked him to relay. However, the insectoid guide and its companion seem to pay not attention to HK's call for help and instead hisses back a quick response. Calm in its reponse, HK informs the party: "Statement: Master Ilo, our insectoid guide declines to enter our current negotiations for the cessation of hostilities. It informs me that it has been instructed to observe and not interfere with the outcome of the battle."

Falling back to a safer position between his companions Rei Vax and Lai Nootka, a frustrated Ivan Wren shouts: "What bloody use are these insects if they're not going to help! When I'm done here I'm firing the lot of them. Szhon, consider this my official requisition for an ion blaster." and then brackets the claw droid between the his sights and unleashes a quick double tap, his battle rifle firing off two quick bursts. Already slightly weakened from HK's initial torrent of blaster fire, the droid's shield manages to deflect the first bolt, its shield integrity weakening a bit, but allows the second round to pass through, blasting a section of armor off the droid's right legs. (GM: Claw-Droid (Droid 2) is moderately wounded).

Assessing the situation, Rei Vax realizes he will not be able to get more than a single droid into the blast radius of his ion grenades. Noticing the weakened shields on the claw-droid that had attacked Ivan Wren (Droid 2), the commando pulls the pin and lobs the grenade over at the droid. The familiar hum and emerald green pulse wave is seen exploding right behind the AAD, smashing through its shields (weakening it to the lowest intensity) and sending a course of electrical energy pulsing through the droid. Although still functional, it now looks heavily damaged from the last attack (GM: Severely Damaged).

Roaring with excitement, the team's melee specialist Ruukas, bursts towards the already damaged claw-droid in his jet pack flying over the team and landing right next to the rubble adjacent to Szhon's Magnaguard. Landing next to his target, the Togorian raises his vibro-ax above his head in a loud roar (GM: Mighty Swing), and slashes down with the heavy weapon. The vibro-ax slices through the shield with ease and the armor like hot-knife through butter, nearly bisecting the back side of the crab-like droid from head to tail. Sparks fly as droid sputters and explodes, lighting up the dark combat zone, as the fires quickly die out, the party can see the satisfied smirk on the 7 foot tall warrior.

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