Everyone is rather excited…
…with the events that transpired a few days ago! Freedom’s Messenger is in hyperspace and making its way towards Socorro.
Devron, Dominic and Edward are on board the Freedom’s Messenger in hyperspace. Devron decides to attempt the second cadence of the Lightsaber Kata shown to him and Mer by Ylenic It’kla. Inspired by the whole cadence, Dominic begins precision shooting practice, by trying to hit a single ball bearing on top of a wax cylinder without hitting the cylidner, in a blaster pistol’s short range. With more or less nothing better to keep them occupied, the three devise several ways and techniques to practice their combat skills.
Fred, in contact with Sam, plan the next month’s business plan for the Pride of Aldera, though Sam’s Droid ABU warns them of a low profit yield this month due to inadequacy of the Pride’s Captain to maintain proper and detailed business logs. Sam further visits Socorro a few times to arrange for new ID jobs.
Mer, after a brief word with Sadoon-Kauldi, decides to head to Gelgelar on his own, following Saadoon’s lead. Reaching the planet without incident, he is greeted by absolute lack of any communication signal. Scanning the northern hemisphere for any life signs, he pinpoints a total of 15 life forms falling in the broad “humanoid sentient race” category – on the entire hemisphere. Headed towards the largest concentration of the humanoids, he flies above the mostly deserted, destroyed and moss-covered buildings that used to be the Gelgelar Free Port.
Hovering around the Free Port’s remains Mer notices several rusting debris of a variety of crafts – Z-95 canopies, broken TIE Fighter wings, hull pieces large and small. Almost all of the buildings have been targeted by some sort of orbital artillery and all but two or three of the numerous landing ramps that surrounded the Free Port are destroyed. On one of the two ramps, rests a B-7 Light Freighter, powered down and giving off no emissions. This spurs Mer into action and orders his droid to raise shields in case of any perceived threat. Attempts to communicate on open channels are unanswered and finally Mer decides to land in an open patch among some buildings.
Walking around the ruined remains of the Free Port’s buildings, Mer notices that he is being watched by someone among the ruins, who upon discovery hurries to hide out of sight. Without any further investigation, Mer walks towards the building where his scanners picked up the largest concentration of life forms – the remains of what seems to have been a hotel of sorts. All windows, ruined walls or doors to the building seemed to have been deliberately blocked from the inside, as if someone had barricaded themselves in it. Mer approached, walking in the shadow of the ominous Temple of Kooroo on his left and knocks on what serves as a “door”. Getting no reply, he finally gives up after a few more attempts and decides to circle the building.
From the north side of the Free Port, he is greeted with the shattered hull of an Imperial Patrol Vessel, the rear half of which protrudes from the ground some distance away while the front half has skidded and rammed any buildings in its crash path, reducing them to rubble. Among the hulk of the front half, Mer spies more movement and approaching he decided to chase the culprit down to start getting some answers. It turns out the culprit was a Sullustan child, dressed in rags and obviously malnourished. The child ran towards the ruined hotel building, followed (or chased) by Mer. Entering the building, Mer caught the child and it begun to cry and shout. While the little Sullustan kept asking for help, Mer turned around to a disturbance and was greeted by a blaster’s muzzle aiming at him.
From trapdoor covered with furs and rags, an Ithorian had emerged some 15 feet away and was aiming at Mer. His face was scarred, lacking his left eye from some gruesome wound and his body was weak from undernourishment. With one shaky hand he held the trapdoor open, while with the other, equally shaky, hand he had a blaster pistol leveled at Mer. In what was a heated discussion, Mer sensed the Ithorian was desperate enough to shoot – even with danger to hit the child – and managed to slowly but successfully defuse the situation. The child ran below to join other people there, while Mer and the Ithorian, his blaster always aimed at the Nautolan, exchanged several words of what is going on.
The Ithorian gave Mer to understand that “something” he referred to only as “A Monster” had taken residence in the Temple of Kooroo, and that Monster was more or less terrorizing the few survivors left. Trying to scan the Ithorian’s surface thoughts with the Force, Mer only picked up feelings of utter Fear towards this being and images of proverbial Ithorian boogey-men shapeless, dark horrors with fiery eyes and an assortment of other evil looking traits.
Deciding this should be his next stop, Mer approached the Temple. The instant he set foot inside the Temple, he felt as though he was completely cut off from the rest of the Universe. As if the Temple somehow blocked everything that a Force User should feel on a normal scale from the inherent Force in everything around him. He was completely alone in there. Walking softly through the semi-circular corridor, he located the next arch leading to the central room. Peeking through the arch, he spied a circular domed room with a series of windows running the perimeter of the dome, casting bleak rays of sunlight in the room.
At the center of the room was a lonely figure, sitting in a meditative stance. Next to him was a wooden staff and in front of him a datapad and a thick, hand-made book with thick pages full of manuscript. The figure was dressed in a padded flight suit – black in color – and over it hang a deep blue ragged robe, with its hood drawn over his face, in his hands, he fidgeted with a black cylinder, which Mer recognized to be a lightsaber. The quarterstaff and robe signified him as a Follower of Kooroo. The man simply turned his head and talked to Mer. They engaged in a short conversation, during which Mer walked to stand in front of him and looked at him. His skin was very pale and under it, a few faint blue veins were apparent. Mer had all the tell-tale signs that this is a person currently gripped by the Dark Side.
To be Continued in Part Two …