The Signal

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Heart of the Force

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The Smuggler's Moon
Why We Fight

“You guys after the Ar’Akanis creeps? Great! Count me in. See you in the morning. Name’s Mira, by the way.” – Mira Reskin.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

A swoop gang on Nar Shaddaa, the SCARABS, are rumored to be working under the influence of the Sith. Broadsword Headmaster ATRIS believes that, should the link be proven true, Darth Revan’s Sith Empire will use any successes on Nar Shaddaa as a springboard to other, similar recruitment drives across the galaxy.

Jedi Padawans Daken Rao-Kun, Rai-El Hulis, and Erall Rand, accompanied by their Scout Droid companion, Risk, have traveled to Nar Shaddaa for their Jedi Knighthood Trials, their mission: unravel the truth behind this alleged connection between the Scarabs and the Sith Empire.

Soon after their arrival on Nar Shaddaa, our heroes foiled a plot to detonate a bomb in a highly populated Turbolift Station, and upon successfully identifying the likely culprits involved in the failed terrorist act, Risk and the Padawans gave chase, hoping to capture these gang youths and question them, about the bombing, and about the Sith…

As the opening titles fade upward into the blackness of space, the camera remains facing the stars, but seems to be falling down, as if through a series of ever-more-dense smog clouds, until a massive Hutt luxury liner enters, camera right. The camera sweeps to face downward, into the dense urban sprawl of Tau’Hraak City, sweeping past congested, zig-zagging airspeeders, swoops, and mass transportation sky-trains. The camera speeds down toward a park area filled with overgrown, dark-leafed evergreen trees, limbs snapping and crackling below as the canopy of branches parts, revealing our heroes, Rai-El, Erall, and Risk, chasing two young gang members through the park in the direction of a massive thousand-foot drop-off about 500 meters ahead…

We rejoin our heroes as Daken has succeeded in subduing one of the three suspects, a fifteen-year-old human female with signs of neglect and malnourishment. While he held his prisoner at bay, Rai-El, Risk, and Erall continued their pursuit of the remaining two suspects, a sixteen-year-old human male with dirty blond hair, and a seventeen-year-old Weequay with a red-dyed top-knot. All three of these individuals had black and white facepaint on, white faces with black horizontal lines across their eyes and a small, vertical line crossing the center of their lips.

The Chase

    As they were running, the two gang members whispered something to one another, believing they were too far away for our heroes to hear what they were saying. Risk captured and amplified their voices back to Rai-El and Erall. They were planning to separate. The Weequay told the human to meet up at the “hideout” as soon as he got away.
  • Erall and Risk chased town the human as he made a sharp left turn away from the Weequay. Rai-El accelerated her pace, a slight smile coming across her face. In this thick wooded area, her unique sense of vision gave her a tremendous advantage over her target.
  • Risk leapt into the trees and made his way ahead of the human Scarab. He popped out his vibroblade and, with a deft flick of his precisely-tuned gyroscopic sword-arm, he dropped a tree limb in the fleeing boy’s path, causing him to trip and hurtle through the air. Thinking quickly, Erall reached out with the force and took a hold of his left ankle, holding up aloft a foot away from reaching the mossy ground.
  • Overhead, the sky grew darker as a massive Hutt luxury yacht (seen in the camera sweep after the opening crawl earlier) passed overhead. The Weequay that Rai-El was chasing began to stumble around and crash into the tree-limbs, tearing cuts and scrapes into his arms and face. Worse still, he was heading right toward a massive drop-off at the center of the park, where long ago, there was a waterfall from the upper-most levels of the city. Now, there was nothing to prevent the Weequay gang member from just running over the edge and to his certain death!
  • Using the Force, she levitated a fallen branch to snag his foot and bring him to the ground, then she moved other branches to pin him to the ground and prevent him from struggling free. It seemed to be perfect timing, too, because in three more seconds, he would have been over the ravine. In fact, there were no trees in front of them anymore, but due to the eclipsing presence of the Hutt’s pleasure ship, there was no way for the Weequay to know that.
  • Daken was pacing back and forth, glancing between his captive gang member and the forest where he saw his companions run. He was questioning the wisdom of letting them continue the chase without him. Perhaps, he thought, he should have dragged her alone with him? She began to come-to, still sedated and relatively calm from the influence of his Force technique, but agitated enough to spit a curse in his direction. He began to question her, asking what she and her friends were doing at the Turbolift Station. She gave a flippant, false reply, and Daken told her not to make this any harder on herself than it already was. There was then a massive explosion further along in the park, in the direction Daken watched his friends run off to…
  • Erall, too, was questioning his captured gang youth, but this boy was of extremely limited intelligence, so it didn’t seem like they would have entrusted him with any information of value. He claimed to be a little confused, because he did not remember going to the station at all, but he knew they had to run away if something “went wrong.” Believing that he was caught in a logical fallacy, Risk called him on it, saying: “If you knew something could go wrong, then you had to have known what that ‘something’ was, so you are lying about having no knowledge of why you were at the Dockside Turbolifts.” Erall shook his head, however, as through the Force, he could tell. This young man was telling the truth. In fact, he sensed the influence of the Dark Side within him, as if some Dark Jedi had wiped a part of his memory and only left him the data that was absolutely necessary. Erall asked what he was supposed to do if things went wrong. He was about to answer when a massive explosion rattled the park and lit up the dark skies above, piercing rays of light through the canopy of tree limbs.
  • Rai-El began to question her captive Weequay as well, but he was far less compliant than either of the others. He seemed a bit more intelligent, too. Using a Jedi persuasion technique, she rendered him more malleable and got him to begin telling her some of the more critical details that he knew. However, like his companions, there were some things he just could not remember.
  • Rai-El experienced a Force vision, a brief glimpse of the near-future. A sniper from a tower rooftop across the ravine was going to fire a laser-guided rocket which would kill both herself and the young Weequay she was questioning. Acting as quickly as she could, she Force-Pushed against the rocket, but it was so small and traveling so fast that she only managed to divert it. The rocket exploded thirty-meters from the Weequay, the shrapnel and shock-blast of the explosion killing him instantly. Rai-El was thrown fifty meters back into the trees, snapping a few smaller saplings in half before crashing back-first into a sharp-branched tree.
  • The explosion roused a level of fear in the human girl that Daken did not see before. She said: “Oh, man, we’re all dead, now!” When pushed for an explanation, she said that the people who wanted that building blown up must be after them, now. Daken got her up to her feet and said to stay close to him if she wanted to stay alive. He then began to work his way into the woods, following the smoke and the smell of burnt flesh, praying that her friends were safe. Deep within him, an echoing message filled his mind. It was Rai-El. She was in pain. She needed help.
  • Erall told Risk to grab the kid they captured and follow him. He, like Daken, heard Rai-El’s call through the Force. Risk told him to go on ahead. Erall ran into Daken en route, and when they entered the blasted crater of fallen, charred trees and saw the charred corpse of the Weequay, they feared the worst. Rai-El weakly called out to them: “S… sniper.”
  • Erall reached out with his hands and used his Force Heatwave ability to create a wall of concealing steam. Daken, meanwhile, leapt into the trees to extricate Rai-El, who was a bit battered and had her left tricep impaled by a 3-centimeter-thick branch. Using his lightsaber, Daken separated the limb from the tree and began to help Rai-El out from the crushed copse of charred trees. As Erall provided some medical assistance to Rai-El, extracting the branch and using his Force Heatwave ability to cauterize the wound, Daken searched the body of the dead Weequay. At all times, they were mindful of the possibility of being attacked again.
  • As Risk finally caught up with them, Daken found a credstick with 150C loaded onto it and a data-chip, but no data-pad on which to read it. Erall had a data-pad built into his hardsuit’s gauntlet, so he took it from Daken and inserted it into the data port. Suddenly, his on-board computer system began to spark and go haywire. There was some sort of virus uploading onto his hardware. He told everyone to get clear while he removed his gauntlet to perform a hard-reset on the computer system and extract the data-chip. Risk remained with him, unafraid of the radiation exposure, and offered his assistance in purging the virus from his hardsuit’s computer interface. Taking the gauntlet off created a localized temperature spike that, unknown to Erall, fried the infrared optical circuitry of the sniper, who was just about to take the shot that would end his life.
  • Catching up to the others with Erall, Risk said that the datachip was programmed to only work in a proprietary system, and any insertion into an unauthorized system would cause a Cyclic Redundency Error to cripple the system’s anti-viral protections and insert a virus that would hyper-accelerate the system’s hardware, frying the circuitry and rendering the system, and the data on the chip, useless and untraceable. They managed to prevent that from happening just in time. Upon further questioning, the female human gang member, Chora, said that they were supposed to go back to the hideout and play the message on that data-chip if something went wrong. Neither she nor the other human gang member could remember what it was that they were supposed to do if things went “right.” It was Daken’s theory that whoever sent these three kids to blow up the turbolift station meant for them to die in the ensuing explosion.
  • Erall said, “Alright, then, Chora. Where is the hideout?”

Fast wipe to Exterior – Nar Shaddaa, Tau’Hraak City, Dockside Apartments. The camera is poised over a drug deal in-progress, with our heroes making a surreptitious approach through an alley behind the hideout building.

Risk did a preliminary scan and determined that there were advanced proximity and pressure sensors on both the front and rear entrances, and disabling either would likely send a signal to whoever had the system installed. Neither Chora nor the boy, Paresk, remembered such systems being installed, which meant it was most likely to have been installed (and thus monitored) by the very same people who sent them to bomb the turbolift station and, upon failing to complete their mission, killed one of them to prevent him from talking to the Jedi…

    Realizing that the building was essentially a converted plasteel shipping container, Erall used his Force Heatwave ability to excite the molecules of the plasteel and cause them to melt, creating an alternative entrance that would not trip off any silent alarms. Risk was the first one into the building, and after performing a quick scan, he determined that there was an infrared sensor in one of the windows in the main room, and likely a number of smaller listening devices. He began to emit a picohetrz white-noise that would render the listening devices inert, allowing them to speak without their voices being overheard. However, to keep from setting off the infrared sensor, he cautioned Erall to avoid that area of the hideout.
  • Soon after entering the hideout, Daken discovered a vidscreen and a hard-wired data-chip reader attached to it. According to Chora, this was where they were supposed to place the data-chip if things didn’t go as planned in the turbolift station. Once again, Daken pointed out that if she knows things didn’t go as planned, she should remember something about the plan itself. However, she honestly did not.
  • Rai-El sat down on the pile of discarded clothes that served as the hideout’s makeshift bed. She was harboring a great deal of pain, and had to focus on healing rather than the task at hand. Erall, meanwhile, took Paresk to the side and asked him to explain how he came to live in such conditions. It was, for Erall, a wasted effort, as Paresk was so dim as to be oblivious. He honestly thought this was the way people lived.
  • Daken inserted the data-chip and told Chora to watch the message with him, hoping that something in the message would jog her memory, or at least give him a clue that would make his further questioning more fruitful. As the viewer flashed to life, a floating image of a strange, yet eerily familiar face mask appeared in the center of the screen. A deep, almost mechanical-sounding voice called out into the room from a small, tinny speaker at the base of the vidscreen:
    • “If you are watching this, then you have failed. There is only one task left you to perform…”
  • The screen suddenly became filled with static, sparks and flames shooting from the data-chip slot. Chora’s eyes glazed over and she made a move for Daken’s lightsaber! He struggled against her, but she was impossibly strong, and as he caught a glimpse of her eyes, the whites of her eyes were bloodshot, and there was nothing within her mind but a repeating thought to kill, kill, kill.
  • Paresk threw his hands across his own throat and began to squeeze in an attempt to collapse his trachea. Erall dug at his hands to no avail. Like Chora, Paresk’s strength and resolve were implacable. Finally, Erall decided that he couldn’t kill himself if he was unconscious. He levitated Paresk from the floor and smashed his head into the low-slung ceiling, knocking him unconscious. Unfortunately, Daken was not fortunate enough to save Chora, who managed to get his lightsaber away just in time to ignite it under her jaw and up through the top of her head.
  • Realizing that whoever arranged for all this was probably alerted to their presence now, Daken, Erall, Rai-El, and Risk took the unconscious Paresk and made a hasty exit, leaving the smoking remains of the vidscreen the only flickering source of light across the body of the fifteen-year-old gang member named Chora.

Fade-wipe to Interior – Nar Shaddaa, Hotel Myondd, Economy Room # 1202. The camera pans through the narrow slit-window that Erall gazes out through. Over his head we see Daken Rao-Kun as he secures Paresk to a bedpost…

Risk explained that for a brief moment, there was a strange, encoded signal transmitted by the vidscreen. Was it possible that someone used the Force to hypnotize these three youths into performing a terrorist act, and upon failing to accomplish their mission, forget the details of the mission and rush home to commit suicide? It was unheard of that such suggestions could be triggered via a transmitted signal, and even the weakest of minds would not actively participate in an act that would knowingly lead to their own destruction. As Rai-El returned from the refresher with fresh clothes, flexing her arm much more fluidly and seeming far healthier than before, Risk suggested waking Paresk up and seeing if anything could be gleaned from him.

    Rai-El sat on the bed next to Paresk and began to use a subtle Force technique to slowly, calmly return him to a conscious state. Daken feared that he may still be influenced by the signal and the brainwashing, but as he awakened, despite his obvious and understandable fears, Paresk was no longer suicidal.
  • By peeling away some of his innate suspicions and inhibitions, Rai-El was able to gain access to some of the memories that were previously hidden. Erall realized the kinds of manipulations she used were quite invasive and, despite the severity of this situation, he felt it a bit too “dark” a power for a Jedi to use.
  • Though there were no specific details to glean (they kept Paresk in the dark for the most part, and for obvious reasons. He’s an idiot), our heroes discovered that the Scarabs were led by someone called the Prophet of Ar’Akanis. Ar’Akanis, according to Paresk, is a Sith God. This was the first time anyone in the room had heard of a Sith God, or of the name Ar’Akanis. The face paint was symbolic of Ar’Akanis, apparently. Besides this information, Paresk had nothing of use to offer.
  • Since more than one attempt had been made to kill this boy, Risk surmised that whoever this Cult of Ar’Akanis was, they would keep trying until they got it right. He suggested using Paresk as bait to lure out one of these Ar’Akanis loyal assassins. He hoped that by capturing someone else, they might glean more useful data. However, everyone else was opposed to placing an unarmed captive at risk just to get more information. The conversation was interrupted by a sound at the door.
  • Rai-El saw through the door that it was the young red-haired female human she saw in her vision earlier that afternoon. She knew that this young woman would prove useful in accomplishing their goals on Nar Shaddaa. Erall opened the door and the young woman looked him up and down, saying “Why, hello there, tall, white, and creepy.” Then, she pushed past him into the room.
  • “You guys after the Ar’Akanis creeps? Great! Count me in. See you in the morning. Name’s Mira, by the way.”

The Signal

Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic Duskreign