Archive for the ‘Fanfic’ Category

Trunk Diary: Nar Shaddaa

October 3, 2022

Nar Shaddaa is an entire moon converted into a hive of scum and villainy like no one has ever seen before.  It’s a place that Doreau would have only gone near undercover and that even Hamr wouldn’t have gone to.  In my past life, I’d never have come here, but as a Sith, I have to come here to find an artifact by infiltrating and taking over a cult.  If I had had to come here in the past, I would have snuck in gotten out as quickly as possible before anyone figured out who I was.  As a Sith, I’m being blatant about who and what I am.

Things have really changed now that I’m a Sith.

While setting things up for the cult, I helped the Empire out which is trying to make deals with the criminals here to at least annoy the Republic and gain some power.  I’d say that they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, but then that’s what the Sith would say I was doing cultivating the loyalty of the ordinary person.  If I can see the power of the ordinary person, I can’t really deny the power of the criminal person, can I?

Anyway, first up was a job for the diplomatic corps.  She wanted me to attack a gang that wasn’t co-operating with them to put the fear of the Empire into them.  I wasn’t sure that was a good idea, since any gang that could be intimidated by what I could do wasn’t one we needed, and it turned out that this group was worse because they decided to attack back.  Against at least part of the advice of the trio of criminal heads she was working with, I defended the people against their attacks instead of attacking them back, because I want to help people and gain their loyalty.  After that, at least two members of that trio — including the Hutt, naturally — wanted me to kill the diplomatic corps rep for being incompetent, promising me a big payoff if I did that.  Yeah, corrupt bounty hunters and agents and even some Sith would appreciate the payoff, but I wasn’t one of those.  And a lot of Sith liked to kill those who they deemed incompetent to, as Doreau put it “pour encourager les autres”.  But I’ve never thought killing someone because they failed was a good way to get more competent underlings.  Better to simply hire better ones than try to get to competence using murder.  Anyway, I wasn’t sure she was actually incompetent, but the big thing is that I’m not opposed to the Empire itself.  I’m opposed to the Sith, and want to build a better Empire without them, at least in their current form.  And they were attacking the representative of the Empire and trying to use the Empire as a foil for their plans.  So I told them “No” and made it clear that messing with her was messing with the Empire, which was messing with me.  Since they couldn’t have done what I did, that made an impression, and hopefully made her feel at least a little bit grateful to me so that I can use her as a contact in the future.

Then, they sent me out after an anti-Imperial agitator called “The Flame”.  He was billed as being unkillable, but I never found out because when I encountered him after he captured an important Admiral I demanded that he surrender and give up his campaign against the Empire — mostly just because that avoids making me look like just another Sith brute — he … did.  He ended up taking his people and moving out on the Rim, since all he wanted was a replacement for his planet.  So nothing much came of that, except that I got that song stuck in my head.  You know the one.

Another area had someone taking down the Holonet.  When I went inside, it was some kind of agent who wanted to stay inside and wanted me to help him fake his death, offering the information he could gather in exchange.  Well, actually, he insisted that I was going to do it because the deal was too good, and that almost made me just kill him instead.  I don’t like being told what I was going to do, especially since I was made a slave and became a Sith.  But the information we could get was too valuable for me to give up out for such silly reasons, so I let him live.

The last thing to do for the Empire on Nar Shaddaa was to go inside one of Revan’s old haunts and figure out what was happening there, which I found a bit ironic given that on Dromund Kaas I joined the Revanites for my own purposes and figured I’d never think about Revan or them ever again.  It turns out that he had left some kind of seed from a “Star Forge” behind and it was keeping his followers alive.  I decided not to take it from them but took a sliver from it instead to give to the Empire.  I also kept a record of the journals he left behind and sent a copy to the Revanites, to see what they would do with it.  Yeah, I’m not sold on their cause, but again this doesn’t cost me anything and could gain me the loyalty of another power group that could be useful in the future.

Back to my main goal.  I had the choice of wiping out another criminal gang or working to cure a disease.  This was a tricky choice.  I wanted to cure the disease because it would help the ordinary people and that’s the power base that the Sith ignore and I wanted to build.  But a Sith can’t dodge fighting too much or else they’ll look weak and get attacked a lot.  Still, I went with the disease, because as my followers said and proved taking out one gang only means having to come back and fight the next one, while something like this lasts a lot longer.  After that, I faked a miracle and finally came face-to-face with the Sith who was leading the cult.  He tried to poison me, and while it weakened me a bit it wasn’t enough to actually stop me from beating him.  He asked me for mercy and to lead my cult, but he wasn’t the sort of person who I wanted leading my cult and, well, was a Sith of the worst kind, so I took some pleasure in killing him.

After that, I took my artifact and my cult and left, but not before my ancestor warned me that Zash was planning something and told me to get his old mask as protection.  I didn’t need the warning.  Zash keeps talking about some great ritual that only I can perform, but she keeps casting this as dreams that suddenly come to her, and I don’t buy that.  I think she knew all about this long ago.  Maybe she didn’t know that it was going to be me beforehand, and maybe she doesn’t know about my ancestor, but she’s known about all of this for a while now, at least in terms of the basic form.  I don’t know what she wants, but that she’s hiding all of this stuff from me makes me think I’m not going to like it if she gets it.

Trunk Diary: Balmorra

September 26, 2022

The first artifact of Tulak Hord that I needed to get was on Balmorra.  Balmorra was a world that was abandoned by the Republic in the war and taken over by the Empire, and now at least some of them want to take it back, either for the Republic or, if they could manage it, for themselves.  But they can’t get it for themselves, because it’s too important a planet and too big a symbol for that to happen. And since the Republic abandoned them once, that should be a big hint that Balmorra’s not important enough to the Republic for them to fight hard enough to keep it.  Things don’t look good for Balmorra, because even though they make great weapons, politically they’re really screwed.

Sticking to my plan to work with the rank-and-file of the ordinary people, I decided to run some jobs for the local military to help out with keeping things calm.  I don’t really care about the Balmorrans, of course, one way or another.  I think it might be kinda fun if they screwed with the Sith for a while.  But I want to forge alliances with the rank-and-file and be seen as one of them unlike the elite Sith above them, and so working with them will only make that easier.  That’s also why I was pretty friendly with the Imperial officer who was assigned to help me find the artifact.  I worked closely with him and treated him well, and even went to save his Sith son who got himself in trouble looking for a holocron.  When I found him, he kept badmouthing his father and talked about how the ordinary people were just there as fodder for the Sith.  I could have killed him and taken the holocron, I guess, but I knew his father thought highly of this idiot and didn’t want to offend him, which is why I didn’t even tell his father what his son thought of him.  Let him think well of his idiot son and appreciate my help, and let someone else bear the brunt of his grief when his idiot son gets himself killed.

It worked out well enough; he even gave me a gift when I left.  That’s the sort of appreciation and loyalty that I’m trying to get from the ordinary people.  It gives me a power base that the Sith aren’t usually going to get, even the ones that are smarter and more disciplined than the average.

Like the new governor of Balmorra, Darth Lachris.  When I came in to meet her, she was solidifying her position by choking out the guy who held the position before her.  I didn’t interfere, because from what I’d seen and heard he probably was incompetent and while I don’t think that the best way to deal with incompetent subordinates is to kill them — although I’ve gotta admit I was tempted to do that to Hamr a few times — I wasn’t going to get in her way.  After that, though, she was a saner Sith than I expected, coming up with a reasonable if somewhat suicidal plan and thinking about all the possibilities and the political realities.  Yeah, it was a tough mission, but she gave me support and didn’t blink an eye when I spared the Republic general for his testimony and let the non-combatants go in return.  If more Sith were like her, I might not hate them so much.

Getting the artifact was fun.  I had to fight my way into a Republic base and then go into a damaged lab filled with toxic waste, taking a shot first that changed my genetics somehow to be like some strange reptilian creatures that eat the stuff.  So I had to kill some of them on my way, too.  This list of indignities I added to the list of things I hold against the Sith.  It makes me more angry, and my anger will bring me power.

But I got the artifact, and now am going to head out to Nar Shaddaa to get the last one.  I hope that Khem Val, the creature I picked up on Korriban, doesn’t whine as much, as he griped about me keeping him under control rather than earning his loyalty despite the fact that I didn’t really have any choice in the matter.  He reminds me a lot of Hamr in his desire for violence and killing, but at least Hamr didn’t whine that I wasn’t nice enough to him.  I wish I could give him a better personality, or at least one that would shut him up.

Trunk Diary: Dromund Kaas

September 19, 2022

You can’t go home again.

Not that I really wanted to.  Dromund Kaas didn’t leave me with a lot of happy memories.  But the biggest worry was that some of my old acquaintances would see me as a Sith and would try to start something, either blackmail me with things from my past or try to kill me as some kind of proof of their ability.  It didn’t happen though.  I should’ve known.  The ordinary people try not to look at the Sith too closely because it might get the Sith to start looking at them, and the Sith never bothered to look closely enough at an ordinary person like me to remember me.  So all I have to do is look out for Sith or others that are going to try to take me on based on my current status as a Sith, not based on what happened before.

Hamr put it in his on special way, but I ended up taking his advice and went with a military-style uniform instead of Sith robes.  Sure, Hamr put it as it being “sissy”, but the robes are the sorts of things you can get away with if you have enough power to not care if anyone laughs.  Doreau had an interesting point about them, which gave me another reason to avoid them.  See, the Jedi wear robes, too, but their robes definitely look religious.  They look like monks.  But the Sith don’t want to look like monks, and so they tailor them all differently.  And yet, for the most part, they still wear robes.  And robes either look religious or silly.  She said that this all made sense if the Sith really were a splinter group from the Jedi, sticking to the trappings of their origins without realizing it, while trying to free themselves from it so that it wasn’t obvious.  It made one wonder, she said, what other trappings they were subconsciously holding onto without realizing it, and what other contrasts were there just to make them different from the Jedi even if it didn’t fit with their code.

I didn’t want to fit in with the Sith.  I wanted to fit in with the people.  And a uniform is a way to project a sense of authority while still linking yourself to the everyday.

So, of course, my first mission here was to violently put down a slave uprising.

You’d think that as a former slave myself I’d try to avoid killing them and be sympathetic to their cause.  But just like the captain of the Black Talon, what they were doing was pretty much suicide.  A slave rebellion didn’t really have much of a chance getting off the ground or getting too far because of the differences in power.  So starting one is just an excuse to get everyone involved brutally killed.  This one actually managed to get some traction … which only meant that it wasn’t a real rebellion, but was something set up by the Sith.  That’s even worse, as they’d only live just as long as needed for the Sith to get what they want.  All in all, the slaves were dead anyway, and if I needed to kill some of them off to bring down the Sith it wouldn’t make much difference.

I did come across some slaves that were trying to apply the Sith code.  They thought that it meant that the Sith get power from killing people in ritualistic ways, and so they were doing that to their fellow slaves.  It was kinda nice to get into a simple murder investigation again.  Anyway, when I discovered them they said that they wanted to actually join the Sith, and they even had some Force powers to justify it.  So I sent them to the Sith, just to create a new problem for them.  See, there are two rough philosophies in the Sith:  the brutes and the eclectics.  The slaves had the entire Sith philosophy backwards:  they thought that hurting and killing people is what gave the Sith power.  But it’s not.  It’s gaining power that lets the Sith do those sorts of things and get away with it.  The brutes use that power to do the sorts of things that the slaves thought gave the Sith power.  The eclectics sniff at those sorts of crude interests, but their interests aren’t less cruel, just more … perhaps “artistic” is the word.  That’s the one they’d want to use, anyway.  So the brutes will see promise in these and their attitude but then face new competition, while the eclectics will see them as barbarians but will also have to face their direct and brutal methods.  At the end of it all, the slaves will be killed by one or the other of them, but until then will be a reminder to them of how like those slaves they are which will cause them some discomfort.  And the more uncomfortable they are, the better I like it.

That’s also why I took the mission to investigate the Revanites.  Revan was important to both the Jedi and the Sith, and his philosophy could be one to bridge the two.  But I didn’t care.  The information would be useful and knowing about the movement could serve my purposes.  And it worked out well, as in order to hide her order the Revanite leader gave me the chance to rat out the Sith Lord who was the Master of the guy sent to find them, and I took it.  This would just introduce more conflict in the Sith ranks and meant that I would get the gratitude of a group that might come in handy later.  So it was a big win for me.

The main thing I was doing was finding an artifact that Zash wanted.  The thing was, when I went there it turned out that the guardian that no one could get past who had the information she needed happened to be an ancestor of mine.  He’d been waiting for an ancestor for a while, and gave me what Zash needed, and some other advice.

Now, this was interesting.  When I succeeded at that thing that no one else could do, Zash was surprised that no one else thought of shooting lightning at it.  But maybe that wasn’t it.  Maybe that had been tried before and it hadn’t worked, but it worked for me, because I had a connection to that that I didn’t know about.  I didn’t know about that family link here, but what if Zash did?  She’d said that she found out about me through a dream, but maybe she’d done a ton of research on me and found that link, and then used that to start down the path that she needed to get whatever it is she wants.  These are too many coincidences to take lightly, and Zash is definitely more meticulous than she’s letting on.

At any rate, I’ll have to keep that in mind as I go about looking for the artifacts of Tulak Hord that she needs for some ritual.  There’s definitely more going on here than meets the eye.

Trunk Diary: Black Talon

September 12, 2022

After my “training”, I was supposed to go to Drumond Kaas to get involved in all of the normal politics there.  I could have taken a simple shuttle, but it turns out that I had an opportunity to take a transport instead, which I decided to take.  It’s more impressive than arriving on a shuttle and the most important thing on Drumond Kaas and to the Sith is image.  It’d also be easier to blend in with a bunch of people coming off a transport in case anyone who used to know me was hanging around.

I should’ve known, though, that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Soon after we entered hyperspace, I was called to a meeting room by an Admiral who needed to send this ship after a defector and was overjoyed that a Sith was on board to help with boarding a Republic vessel and fighting off all the crew to get him.  Yeah, even with a powerful Sith on board that sounds like suicide.  And the Captain certainly felt that way, as he refused to go and locked down the bridge so that no one could convince him otherwise.  I didn’t really mind him doing that — after all, ordinary people are going to need to start doing smart things instead of stupid things if the Empire’s going to survive the Sith — but the problem here was that refusing the orders wasn’t any less suicidal.  The Imperial military doesn’t let people who disobey orders off with a warning, but instead kills them all off as a lesson to anyone else who might try to do that.  At least with me around, they had a chance, and so I wanted to talk to him to convince him of those simple facts.

What I did mind was him sending the troops to keep me from the bridge.  Obviously, I didn’t want to kill them, both because they were just doing their jobs and because we were going to need them when we ended up carrying out the mission, but they weren’t using stun bolts and it’s pretty hard to set lightning or a lightsaber to stun.  So by the time I got to the bridge, I was pretty pissed, and was pretty much willing to light the Captain up if he kept on being unreasonable.

Fortunately for him, he was reasonable, and quickly copped to the idea that we pretty much had to do this and so had to find a way to do it and get out alive.  Discovering who I was and that I was going to take point on the assault suddenly opened up a new set of possibilities that he hadn’t seen before.  Good.  He was the most experienced officer on board and the chances of surviving this were a lot better with him around, and I really didn’t want to keep killing off officers that were at least willing to question stupid orders.  Then again, given what this defector had, the orders seemed less stupid and more desperate.

Now, one Sith backed by some security officers attacking an entire Republic warship should be suicidal, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy, with the help of a combat droid the transport had lying around.  Then I had to face a young Jedi Padawan who seemed to be blinded by stories of heroism and last stands and destiny and all of that.  She was determined to kill me or die trying.  Given no other choice, I gave her the “die trying” result.

Finally, I met up with the defector, who had information about a number of secret projects and was going to give them to the Republic to create balance and a stalemate in the hopes of avoiding war.  That wasn’t going to happen.  The war is coming, and nothing can stop that.  All his plan would have done is increased casualties as both sides went all in on those deadly projects to try to wipe the other side out.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Republic has a bunch of projects like this as well that they can’t wait to use.  The Republic is not really good.

Anyway, I had him taken into custody and got back to the Black Talon, and we jumped away before any support could arrive (Satele Shan, the Jedi bigwig, called to threaten us with that.  I was touched).  Casualties were relatively light and the Captain was appreciative of my efforts, meaning that I’ve got another contact that I can call on … if he doesn’t get himself killed by being too smart for his own good, first.  I also have the appreciation of the Admiral, which might come in handy, and the story is going to spread, adding to my reputation.  So not the relaxing trip I wanted, but it definitely achieved its goal.

So, now I’m back where it all began.  Hopefully this time I can come out of it better than I did the last time.

Trunk Diary: Korriban

September 5, 2022

So I step off the shuttle with a bunch of other potential Sith, and I feel a strong sense of Destiny.  Maybe the Sith that think that I have a destiny here are right, after all.  Still, it’s not going to be the sort of destiny that they think I’m gonna have if I have anything to say about it.

Someone who doesn’t think I have a destiny is the Overseer and the guy who’s going to train us, Harkun.  From the start he didn’t think any of us were worthy and he even brought in a ringer to try to beat all of us out.  It turns out that this was a move on his part to challenge the Dark Lord who set up this contest to get an apprentice, Lord Zash.  She was not pleased that Harkun was trying to do an end run around her, but that conversation revealed something important:  she wasn’t really looking for an apprentice, but she was looking for a specific apprentice, someone who would be able to achieve something very specific and very important to her.  Otherwise, she’d be more than happy that Harkun parachuted someone else in, because if he succeeded she’d have a more powerful apprentice than she would have had otherwise, and if one of the others beat him then that would be someone even more powerful than that trained apprentice, which would again prove that she had a more powerful apprentice than she expected.  But from the conversation she wanted me specifically, and Harkun knew that and was trying to cut me out and show her up.  Sith politics as usual, but what destiny she thinks I have is something I’ll have to watch out for.

The tests on Korriban were pretty standard for all of that:  go into tombs and talk to a crazy Sith, find stuff, interrogate prisoners, and so on.  But one of them was one that even I wasn’t sure about, which was to get a holocron that no one had ever been able to get in the past.  I’d chalk it up to Harkun just sabotaging me, except that first, I actually managed it and second, in light of their conversation it seems likely that Zash set me up with that task herself, because it’s something she really wanted and she had some kind of Force inkling that I’d be the one who would be able to get it.  I’d really like to know where she’s getting her information from.

While on Korriban, I also took up some missions for the armed forces, trying to make good connections and show that I’m someone who can work with the ordinary people.  The Sith tend to ignore the ordinary people, figuring that since they don’t have Force powers they’re worthless and not a threat at all.  And they smartly tend to try to stay out of the way of the Sith.  But ordinary people know more and can do more than the Sith expect.  I’d put all of Doreau’s brains and skill up against pretty much any Sith, and I’ve gotta give Hamr his due and recognize that he’s a threat to anybody who faces him, even his superior officers.  If you take the ordinary people and use their skills wisely, you can topple even the most powerful Sith.  Give them a sympathetic leader with Force powers, and just watch what they can do.

The final mission was to find a creature of Tulak Hord who would be needed for some kind of ritual later.  So I had to shut down a bunch of things, free him, and then beat him in combat.  And when I did that, he decided to let me become his new master, at least until he decided that he’d had enough and decided it would be better to eat me.  So I now have a hungry brute following me around that I can use to intimidate people.  Except for the eating part, this seems really familiar.

Anyway, after that Zash told me to join her on Drumond Kaas.  So I’m going back to where the nightmare started, and to the place of the incident that gives me the motivation I have.  So I’m going to go back at least in some style, with a berth on the Black Talon.

Trunk Diary: HAMR!!!!!

August 29, 2022

All I wanted was to be a police officer.

Yeah, being a police officer is a pretty thankless job in the Empire.  You’re expected to keep the peace and keep the “little people” out of the hair of all the big political bodies like the Sith and the military, while they stir up trouble with their heavy-handedness and expect you to clean it up, and blame you if you don’t manage to clean up their mess to their satisfaction.  Still, being a police officer can be a pretty good job if you know how to play diplomatically with the other groups and keep things quiet.  I was good enough at that to get assigned to Kaas City, which happens to police officers who do really well at managing all the little things.  It’s also hard mode in the game of politics, but I was managing it pretty well and pretty much everyone figured I be one of the few to make it out with a good reputation and a decent retirement.

And then he was assigned to my office.

Slej Hamr, an officer who should never had made it to Kaas City.  I guess he wanted to lock away the bad guys, but he was too violent to be a good cop.  Well, I guess that sort of thing’s not really an issue in the Empire.  But he also wasn’t one to play the diplomatic game, and so it’s hard to see how he managed to get this far without ticking someone off.  I guess his superiors managed to manage him and shield him from that, and his record said that he always solved his cases.  Maybe the guys he arrested weren’t even guilty, but they’d usually rather be in an Imperial prison than face him again.  Which should say something about him.

But I figured I could keep him away from trouble just like his other superiors did, and setting him up with the smart and diplomatic Doreau as his partner helped.  She couldn’t control him, but she could steer him out of the way of most trouble most of the time, and I could patch up most of the rest.

Until the deal with the Sith.

Honestly, that scum-sucking Sith deserved to die, and he made the mistake of picking on Hamr when Hamr confronted him, figuring that being a Sith would mean that he could easily take out a low-budget cop.  But if there’s one thing Hamr was good at, it was violence, and the Sith found himself outmatched, which meant that he soon found himself dead.  Good riddance.

If Hamr hadn’t been so direct, I probably could have arranged something that would have ended up the same way but with less political problems.  Or at least I would have time to bail.  But the Sith wouldn’t let something like that stand, and things moved too quickly for me to get away.  Before they shipped me off as a slave, I heard that Doreau managed to get Imperial Intelligence to protect her, which made me happy.  And that Hamr ran off for Republic space, which made me angry.

The irony is that while Hamr’s anger made me a slave, my anger at Hamr freed me.  Turns out that I had latent Force abilities that my rage brought out and let the Sith find, and since they are hoping to start a war they need all the Force users they can get, and so they freed me and sent me to Korriban to become a true Sith or die trying.  Not what I wanted, but it’s a lot better than being a slave.

The thing is that the Sith want to turn me into their weapon, as a different kind of slave.  But this is gonna backfire on them.  See, Hamr frustrated me.  He exasperated me.  He even really, really pissed me off.  And all of that gave me the power that they want to use and that they have to respect.  But they say that hate is one of the strongest emotions of all, and while I thought I hated Hamr, I didn’t know what the word meant until the Sith screwed me over.  Them, I hate, and it’s against them that I’m gonna turn all that hatred.

What’re they gonna do when Clavell Trunk runs wild on them?

Trunk Diary: Introduction

August 22, 2022

Once upon a time, there were three little Imperials who went to the police academy.

And they were all assigned to very hazardous duty.

Of course, all police officers assigned to duty on Dromund Kaas are assigned to very hazardous duty.  Much of the planet remains an untamed jungle, and so duty in the smaller, outlying settlements involves facing off with wild jungle animals and the remains of strange Sith experiments, both in terms of fauna as well as Force-powered spirits and abominations that few even among the Sith can handle for very long.  The Sith claim to like this because it provides an environment to promote strength and cull the weak, but as it turns out few of them would deign to live in that environment that they find so desirable.

Then again, the main city of Kaas City could be claimed to be more dangerous, especially to its constabulary.

Kaas City is the seat of political power on Dromund Kaas, which makes it the seat of political power for the Empire.  Thus, every faction that has or wants power is there and constantly scheming to acquire and preserve their power.  Political power tends to form a hierarchy where the Sith are at the top, followed by the military and by Imperial intelligence.  The constabulary ranks far, far below them, and so are often used as pawns in these power struggles, with little recourse but to just go along with it and hope that they come out of those schemes alive.  Woe betide the police officer who happens to get in the way of one of these schemes, as all of these factions have no qualms about ruining, or even taking, the live of anyone who gets in their way.  Especially the Sith, who add to the troubles by often killing people just out of their own perverse sense of fun.  In theory, the police are supposed to prevent murderous serial killers from pursuing their perverted pleasures, but when that involves the Sith things get far more complicated.  Even those Sith who disapprove of such actions will not suffer a mere police officer to interfere with the actions of a Sith.

Which is what brought about the downfall of our three police officers.

A burgeoning young Sith had … an interesting hobby that involved killing people in horrific ways in an attempt to gain further Force abilities and power.  As the most educated of our officers — Dori Doreau — noted, those rituals were nothing but bunk, and so were nothing more than a fig leaf excuse for the Sith’s perverted pleasures.  Something needed to be done about this situation, of course, but the captain, Clavell Trunk, knew that it had to be handled delicately and diplomatically to avoid facing Sith reprisals.

Unfortunately, his officer Slej Hamr took a more … direct approach.  As it turns out, not only was the Sith ignorant of Force rituals and how to use them to gain power, he also wasn’t a match for a non-Force aware police officer with a set of blasters who knew how to use them.  If left alone, someone else probably would have killed him, but it was his dumb luck to run up against Slej Hamr.

And, as it turned out, their bad luck as well.

The Sith, of course, could not let such an affront stand.  They were all forewarned by a contact Doreau had in Imperial Intelligence, but they all had a differing ability to avoid the consequences.  Doreau used her contact in Imperial Intelligence to join them as an agent, and the Sith they killed was not important or liked enough for the Sith to risk going up against Imperial Intelligence.  But they watched her closely, and when she interfered in another Sith plan they demanded more insurance against her interference, which led to a control chip being installed in her brain.  Once she discovered this due to Republic Intelligence using it against her, she worked to overcome it and take down the conspiracy that was playing both sides for fools.  This left her with a mountain of information to use to work to calm tensions between the Republic and the Empire and to mold them into a shape that was more fair and more just, and less vulnerable to the depredations of greedy and unprincipled people on both sides.

Hamr, on the other hand, as a fully-marked man, could only flee the Empire for the Republic, where he took up the life of a smuggler.  Having to live his life as a law breaker was, ironically, probably the worst punishment anyone could inflict upon him, but he tried to find some sort of lawful employment, working to help restore a rightful ruler to her throne and working as a privateer.  Of course, this ended up with him getting involved in a conspiracy to sell out the Republic to the Empire, which he foiled, leaving him a respected agent of the Republic.  However, it is likely that he will return to work with Doreau, as he has little love for either the Empire and the Republic in their current forms.

Trunk, as the person in charge, was one that the Sith wanted to make an example of, even more than Hamr, whom they considered a skilled brute who wasn’t much of a threat on his own, and was only in the position to act as he did because his captain didn’t quash the investigation when he should have.  So they moved against him quickly and firmly, before he could put any of his own escape plans into effect.  They made him a slave and thought that would be the end of it.

But doing that made Trunk angry, and as it turns out the Sith very much liked him when he was angry, because it revealed that he actually had strong Force abilities that would make him very valuable to them in the war they were fermenting with the Republic.  So they sent him to Korriban to be trained, not considering that maybe taking someone that they had unjustly punished and forcing him to join their ranks might have … unintended consequences …

– Galen Mag’nus

Ranathawn Diary: Quesh

November 6, 2019

So, after the war-torn but still pleasant planet of Balmorra, we were sent to the toxic swamp of Quesh. Quesh is a planet that both sides are fighting over because it has some unique chemicals that can be turned into impressive drugs to improve the fighting ability of people by an outstanding degree. Of course, it can often cause addiction and terrible side effects, but they keep trying to get them and use them on their soldiers to fight to control the supply.

See, this is precisely why I say that the Republic and the Empire aren’t all that different.

There was the usual cases where the Republic officers kept trying to force me to choose tactical superiority over, you know, the lives of the people creating the stuff in the first place, but I decided that the better option here was to save the workers and things like that, not the least of which because you can guilt the Republic into thinking better of you if you rub you being altruistic when they were being pragmatic in their faces. That’s probably one reason why the Jedi gained so much power in the first place, as no one rubs altruism into other people’s faces better than they do.

However, there was an interesting traitor, a Major frustrated by not being able to take direct measures to oppose the Empire so he … decided to defect to them for some reason. Of course, an idiot like that is someone that no Sith is going to feel in any way indebted to, even the ones that have a sense of honour, so the Sith used the drugs to turn him into a super soldier and turned him on me, knowing that either I’d kill him or the drugs would. Well, I did neither, managing to defeat him and give him the cure, and then turned him over to be arrested. He was an idiot for his attempts at betrayal, but he didn’t deserve to die over that.

But I also picked up some help for myself and Risha, as I came to the aid of the privateer Ozzik and then used my help to take control of his gang. He was upset that doing so would stop him from the good work he at least considered himself to be doing, but I assured him that he could keep doing it … as long as he always came when I called. I guess he was used to other crime lords or bosses who would insist on his only doing criminal things, but, hey, I’m a privateer, not a pirate. I’m perfectly willing to do legitimate things and helpful illegitimate things if it gets the job done.

Risha didn’t care for Quesh, but now we’re going to go to the averaging out planet … and she didn’t get the first part of that average, for better or for worse.

Ranathawn Diary: Balmorra

October 9, 2019

After fleeing from an attack by the Voidwolf on our contact point, we were directed to Balmorra to obtain some new weapons from what was called Project Nebula. Balmorra is a planet that was in the Republic but was invaded by the Empire, and once the situation became untenable the Republic pulled out and left it to the Empire. The Balmorra people don’t care for Empire rule, but also aren’t that happy with the Republic for abandoning them, and are keeping up a resistance movement that the Republic is now trying to aid, despite only having one small beachhead in an area overrun by large bugs. By which I mean human-sized bugs. So Balmorra’s not a good place to take a vacation, in other words.

I decided that I’d go out on these missions with Risha. To start, I actually like her. She’s competent and has some sense of honour, and she can be fun to be around. There’s something pleasing about two footloose and fancy-free women going out on the town to cause some mischief. Second, she’s actually pretty competent in a way that the others aren’t. Bowdaar is pretty much pure muscle and Corso is good with guns, but Risha has more subtlety to her than they do, because of her criminal background. This makes her a good back-up for cases like this. And, finally, she’s trying to reclaim her throne, and these missions are all about working with the Republic, which will get us some attention and possibly an association with the higher-ups in the Republic political and military structures (we’re already in contact with a well-known Senator). It’s a good chance for her to get known so that if she needs to call on them for help she can.

The one problem is that Risha has been taught mostly criminal activities, not politics, so she often gets annoyed when I take on jobs for the military and political entities without demanding payment first. The thing is, as a criminal or mercenary it’s the right call to look after your own interests first, but you aren’t going to be seen as a hero or even as someone incredibly useful if you do. If you act like a mercenary, you’re going to be treated as one, and being treated as one means you aren’t going to get to sit in on any of the interesting meetings; they’re going to pay you and tell you to stand by in case they need to pay you again. But if you seem like a patriot, then they’re going to involve you in those things, especially if you’re successful enough that they can use you to rally their forces. That gets you into the inner circles where the power is, and anyone who wants to play politics needs access to the power, one way or another.

That’s why when the opportunity came up to redirect some of the weapons to the Balmorran resistance instead of sending them all to the Republic I sent them all to the Republic. Sure, I was sympathetic to the Balmorran cause, but no matter what happened the Republic movers and shakers would see me as someone only interested in making a buck rather than the “greater good”, and their “principles” won’t let them make such a person part of the inner circle … or, at least, not after the hard work is done. I need an in there, and playing nice with them gets me that.

This is actually one of the bigger differences between the Republic and the Empire. The Empire, based as it is on the Sith philosophies, tends to accept those whose motivation is self-interest. In fact, often people in the Empire are suspicious of someone who claims to have no self-interested motives for doing something. The Republic, on the other hand, is all about sacrificing for the greater good, likely because of how it is influenced by the philosophies of the Jedi. Except the problem is that the Republic isn’t free from self-interest or motivated reasoning, and so oftentimes they have to try to justify their actions by appealing to the “greater good” even if it really isn’t.

I saw this in spades with the Barrager, an incredibly powerful weapon that uses pretty much every sort of power that a planet produces to fight off an attacking fleet. This really sounds like a pyrrhic victory, and so it only makes sense that it’s a weapon that was originally designed by the Empire. I was tasked with finding it and destroying it, but on two occasions the Republic commander seemed willing to put his own interests over principles. First, I had one use of a console, and he wanted me to use it to deal with an attack on his forces instead of helping out some hackers. This doesn’t seem unreasonable, except that those hackers were, in fact, the ones who got him access to that console and were only in trouble because they did that. Yes, sometimes you have to make sacrifices, but letting those useful hackers who helped out die isn’t likely to win you any favours in the future. But the worst was with the Barrager itself. While I had thought that we were supposed to destroy it, the commander wanted to keep it and use it. What was the “greater good” here? Seemingly luring a fleet to Balmorra, using the Barrager to destroy it, and thus ensuring that that fleet couldn’t devastate any other planet. So, essentially, turn Balmorra into Taris to prevent another planet from becoming Taris. It’s difficult to see how that trade off is one that fits in with Republic principles.

In the Empire, the underlying philosophy is to be self-interested … but, then, when you come across someone who stands for principles and order they’re almost certainly telling the truth. In the Republic, self-sacrifice is strongly encouraged … but that means that anyone who is self-centered is always going to at least mouth the ideals of self-sacrifice even as they — intentionally or not — focus on their own self-interest. I wonder if the Jedi and if some of the general Jedi arrogance comes from that: having to constantly convince themselves that the actions they take really are for the “greater good” even when, at times, they aren’t.

Ranathawn Diary: Privateer

October 2, 2019

So, after that treasure hunt, we needed something else to do. Sure, we had goals. I needed to worm my way deeper into the Republic command and political structure to get more information. Risha needed to build up support so that she could become the ruler of her planet again. Corso needed to get more guns that he could give stupid names to. Bowdaar … needed some raw meat or something. But the next steps on those journeys weren’t clear.

And then Darmas Pollaran contacted us. He’d been a minor contact when we were looking for our ship, but figured that we might be useful for a bigger job: becoming a privateer for the Republic. Of course, I jumped at the chance. What better way to gain the fame needed to walk among the movers and shakers of the Republic than to prove an important asset in their war against the Empire? And with an Imperial agent called the Voidwolf out there and some additional complications from Rogun, we were able to put on a live demonstration of our abilities, impressing any number of important people, including a Senator.

However, there is one downside to this: this definitely puts me in opposition to the Empire. I have no idea if the Voidwolf is someone we might want to recruit or not, but whatever we do is going to hurt his reputation and likely get him killed. I’ve been a citizen of the Empire all my life. I recognize its flaws. I understand Galen’s reasoning that the two flawed institutions must be torn down and merged into something better. My personal experience backs that up. But here I will definitely be directly opposing the Empire, which I’ve never done before, and risk killing people that are, at heart, like me: more interested in helping the Empire than personal gain or tearing it down, and will in fact help people whose sole goal is tearing it down. That’s … a bit daunting, even for me.