“From the journals of Ekafti Acomar, 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin):” The crew and passengers of the Lucky Strike had attended a garden party on Bakura, where I hoped to continue the diplomatic work I had begun for the old Republic. However, we were brutally reminded of how the galaxy has become an even more dangerous place.
Droid MX-PR, “Max,” sacrificed himself protecting recent padawan Thayne Highlander and me from Bela-Trepada, a powerful Sith and twisted copy of me. B-1E4, another protocol droid, had left Princess Tethys of Chandrila, another clone.
Meanwhile, medic Ari Sundar and pilot Tark Agros confronted Tolovo Nathu, yet another clone of mine whom we had been tracking on behalf of Bal Grainer, a Rodian bookie and associate of ex-Jedi Garolos Banku Nuruolos.
We staggered back to our hosts, since the party had been disrupted by vehicles flying overhead. Oong Bak attended to Thayne’s and my injuries, while Tark asked Bakuran head of state Grina Arden for other medical assistance. Princess Tethys seemed as oblivious as ever.
Ari and Tark sensed movement in the trumpet flower garden, where they saw droids hunting on behalf of an unnamed master. The droids sensed Tethys, as well as traces of Tolovo (who had gotten away), Bela, and me, so there was no mistaking what they were looking for.
Garos shared with us an Imperial transmission that had been intercepted weeks ago. Imperial scouts had learned that the Chiss Ascendancy (Garos’ home space) included twice as many worlds than it claimed, and they requested military support.
In combination with the list that we had obtained of surviving Jedi — and Jedi clones — being hunted, it was clear that the Chiss were competing with Palpatine’s new order to gain control over or eliminate me and my peers.
We added the Chiss to our growing list of enemies, including the empire, the Sith, Bakuran cloners and arms dealers, Krevaaki zealots, and Ssi-ruuk invaders. We also believed that the Hutts and Black Sun criminal syndicate were responsible for a virus that had shut down most computer networks.
But first, we had to deal with more immediate concerns. Tark talked with weapons designer Juris Keel, who agreed to take Garos, Thayne, and me to Salis D’aar, the Bakuran capital. On the way, however, a Mind Read determined that Keel wasn’t thinking about getting us to a hospital.
Instead, I had a vision of the Bakuran human sitting in a room full of Separatist droids watching video of Thayne and his late master Shin-wu Sorotai fighting. Garos and Thayne subdued and restrained Keel, who was working with the insectoid Verpine, as well as supposedly against the “droid menace.”
We took Keel’s speeder back to the rest of our crew at the Lucky Strike ’s landing pad. Oong, Ari, and Tark had repelled an attack droid and confiscated its stun blades, which Garos discovered could be tuned to be short force blades.
Garos also found a Gamorrean enforcer for Bel Grainer waiting for us at the pad. Through a mix of bargaining and traded insults, we persuaded burly Tharg Thargsson not to attack us in return for information about Tolovo.
While Oong easily repaired our ship, he was unable to do the same for Max. Sharp-eyed Ari spotted a restraining bolt on Keel. The Duros removed it, incapacitating the android, which was nearly indistinguishable from a human. How many of the people on Bakura were droids or clones, and whom did they serve?
Tark asked his racing buddy Roviden Belden to help us get into the “Lesser Grace” spaceport, an exclusive retreat for Bakura’s elite. We hoped to rest there and devise a plan to fight the Sith and shut down the cloning operations.
We were interrupted when a group of Mandalorians found us. Foxdi Zess and two armored troopers had Tolovo with them, but she was badly wounded. Foxdi explained that my clone had sought out the mercenary Brotherhood, which was composed of clones of soldiers from the Mandalorian Death Watch (enemies of the Jedi) as well as the Grand Army of the Republic.
Tolovo offered a Kaminoan vaccine against a Separatist virus that would extend the clones’ lifespans. Unfortunately for her, the Brotherhood had been taken over by Griz Starfire. Thayne was surprised to hear the name of the clone trooper (Clone Commander Starfire) who had turned on Shin-wu.
Garos realized that it was Griz who had offered to sell Shin-wu’s light saber to Bal Grainer. Even though we called off our deal with the Rodian, we were able to persuade Tharg to continue working with us. Bal Grainer also noted that Chandrila hadn’t been a monarchy for 25,000 years, calling into question Princess Tethys’ story.
We agreed to help Zess sneak into Gesco City to rescue deposed leader Calo Zythor. A failed colony, this far northern base of the Brotherhood was protected by ray shielding, so we ultimately decided on a maglev subtram to get through. Thayne was anxious to recover his master’s weapon.
The Bakuran authorities set a reward for the missing Juris Keel, so I asked Tharg call Capt. Blaine Harris to tell him that Keel could be found near Gesco City. I hoped to set the military police against the Brotherhood and slip in during the confusion.
We left two Mandalorians to guard Princess Tethys and a weak Tolovo at the Lucky Strike . Mechanic Oong and pilot Tark took the front car of the automated train. I meditated and sensed that Bela-Trapada (who was on the Chiss list) was at Gesco City. More bad news.
Thayne used telekinesis to send a guard probe away, but Tark noticed something ahead on the scanner just as we reached the shielded base. A Mandalorian clone riding a Basilisk war droid blocked our path. Bakuran Tark shot out the train’s controls, as the rest of us headed to the windows.
The Basilisk’s shockwave cannon destroyed the front of the subtram as we jumped out. Duros Oong and Gamorrean Tharg swung down the same rope, and Chiss Garos jumped to a maglev ring. Tark and “our” Mandalorians flew around with their jetpacks, but one perished. I activated Force Cloak and slid down dispensed liquid cable.
Thayne swung to the roof of a falling train car, and Ssi-ruu Ari slipped until she grabbed the ring. Foxdi shot at the Basilisk. I sought shelter among the rocks. Tark descended to cover, and Ari and Garos clung to the collapsing ring support.
I used Hear My Thoughts to tell Garos where to find a line, and he kissed Ari for luck as they swung down. Foxdi was hurled into a nearby cliff, and Tharg caught her. Tark and Ari hit the droid-riding sentry, but Garos’ shots didn’t penetrate its armor.
Ever cautious, Oong hid behind a different rock from me. I used Battle Mind to help Thayne, who blasted the clone, dropping him 100 feet. Tharg frenzied and finished him off with his vibro axe. Ari took the trooper’s pistol and attended to Foxdi’s wounds.
Tharg was going to throw the Mandalorian over his shoulder, but Ari was a more careful bearer. We walked through the empty subtram station, and Foxdi directed us toward the Brotherhood’s headquarters. We saw an Imperial shuttle and prepared for another battle.
On a balcony overlooking a broad plaza, we saw a group of people in Mandalorian armor, no doubt members of the clone Brotherhood. They were facing off with a robed Sith and her guards. My clone Bela-Trapada was negotiating with usurper Griz Starfire over the lightsaber of fallen Jedi master Shin-wu Sorotai.
We knew we were outnumbered, and we needed to get past the two factions to release Calo Zythor. I recommended a diversion. Garos ran ahead and threw a grenade, blowing up four Mandalorians. He and I ran toward the holding cells.
Tharg started jogging, and Tark shot two more guards. Oong ran for cover beneath the catwalks, and Ari and Foxdi ran forward, dodging Mandalorian fire.
Impetuous Thayne shot at Griz. I’ll have to remind him that revenge is not the Jedi way. Even though she nearly killed me, I have to admit a bit of disappointment when Bela and her force pike-wielding entourage left the scene with Shin-wu’s light saber.
Griz drew a darksaber (once owned by Pre Viszla, the head of Death Watch or Kyr’tsad) and jumped down to face us. Ari shot at him with a heavy blaster, but Griz still hurt Thayne and Tharg. Garos wounded Griz, and Tharg grabbed Oong and killed a Mandalorian on the way.
Oong shook off his injury, and I managed to hit Griz with my light saber. Tark shot another Mandalorian clone, and Thayne defeated Griz. Now all we had to do was find Calo and get out without getting caught in more crossfire….