A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.... Knights of the New Republic Episode 1: FRACTURES IN THE FORCE After months of debating with the war-hungry peoples of MANDALORE, BARON DEX TA'EM has finally agreed to peace negotiations between his planet and the planets of the NEW REPUBLIC. The peace campaign, led by SENATOR AKI VARN, has been working tirelessly to prevent another GALACTIC CIVIL WAR if it was at all possible. Her personal meetings with BARON TA'EM have managed to win over his support for the cause, but there are some who believe it is folly. The MANDORLIAN-comprised extremist group known as THE DEATH WATCH, has publicly spoken out against the peace negotiations and have unleashed a series of vile and ruthless terrorist acts across the Galaxy. The MANDORLIAN people were believed responsible for each attack by the GALACTIC SENATE, but SENATOR VARN and like-minded Senators were not so quick to judge. Now a fugitive running from the government, BARON TA'EM and his council have taken refuge on DANTOOINE while MANDOLORE remains under a blockade imposed by the NEW REPUBLIC. Desperate for assistance, BARON TA'EM sent out a plea to SENATOR VARN in order to help clear his name. While en-route to DANTOOINE to meet with BARON TA'EM in an attempt to find the truth, SENATOR VARN's ship mysteriously vanished from known space. While the GALACTIC SENATE believed the disappearance to be the work of BARON TA'EM, newly appointed CHANCELLOR AQUILA SO was not so sure. CHANCELLOR SO secretly contact the JEDI COUNCIL on DAGOBAH for assistance in tracking down the missing senator, as well as discovering the truth behind the MANDOLORIAN CAMPAIGN. Although the council did not initially wish to get involved, it was the decision of JEDI MASTER LUKE SKYWALKER to send out a single JEDI to investigate the matter quietly. Agreeing to help, the JEDI COUCIL knew that if the MANDOLORIANS went to war, the threat they posed would eventually force the JEDI out of hiding and participate in the conflict, just as they had done so long ago in the times of the OLD REPUBLIC. But there was more to their reasoning then just that fact. MASTER SKYWALKER felt that the JEDI would need to investigate the disappearance anyways, as there was a mysterious presence surrounding the event, like a fracture in THE FORCE. So, MASTER SKYWALKER contacted a lone JEDI KNIGHT on TARIS and requested he seek out the cause of the disappearance as well as the mysterious FORCE presence spreading from the location where the ship was thought to have vanished... Borgo Prime - a Spaceport in the Outer Rim Albedo, a Dug adorned with rings and piercings of various precious metals and jewels, stared out the window of the Borgo Prime space station at the surrounding asteroid belt. He wore a quite fine, purple dug tailored suit and twiddled the death stick in his mouth back and forth. The large metal doors behind the Dug quickly opened, allowing a silvery protocol droid to enter the primary control room overlooking the asteroid belt. Back when Borgo Prime had been a publicly used spaceport, the designers had practically built an entire city into just one asteroid. There was an open forum area where traders or smugglers could sell their goods, conference rooms where , the hangar bay had enough room for at least 50 average sized ships, and there was an almost unlimited number of living quarters where passers by or permanent residents could stay while on Borgo Prime. However, rather than attracting good and clean business people, the station attracted all sorts of unsavoury types: bounty hunters, smugglers, rogue droid units, crime lords, and on special occasion, a Sith or two. Needless to say, you could never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, unless of course you had been to Mos Eisely, Tatooine. Slowly plodding towards its master, the feminine voiced droid spoke. ~ Master, you have a call from your benefactor again. Shall I put him through? ~ "I don't believe that will be necessary..." A mysterious metallic voice suddenly spoke up somewhere behind Albedo's chair. Slowly, a tiny holographic image of a cloaked figure donned in a metal mask appeared on the console behind him. Albedo let out an annoyed sigh as he turned towards the holo image. "Quite unnecessary now, but nothing to do about it now." "I don't take being put on 'hold' very well. I'm sure you understand the urgency of this matter. Now, we have business to discuss. Have you acquired the Senator and your... Bonus, let's call it?" "Yes yes, I have this senator of yours," He said as he adjusted a flimsily framed picture of the Dug holovid star, Seboca, next to a cyborg face plate reported to have been retrieved from Utapau during the end of the Clone Wars. "She is currently in one of the holding cells under heavy guard and brought with the utmost discretion." Albedo added, turning the chair around to face the holograph completely. "The... Bonus, as you say, is in my possession as well so no problem there." He explained with a wave towards the droid, a gesture which indicated that he wanted a drink. The feminine humanoid droid did as he commanded and also refreshed the gabaki to fill the room with a relaxing smoke. "Now, indulge my curiosity. I am putting my investment at some risk keeping this senator here. I could run a scan and find out for myself but it would be far more quicker if you were to tell me." Albedo said, holding out his hand. The droid arriving with perfect timing to hand him a crystal glass of ebla which he took a small but drawn out draft from. "The less you know about the Cube, the better, perhaps. All you need to know is that it once contained vital information known only to the Jedi Order long ago, during the time of the Old Republic. You may keep the cube once the information is decrypted from it. It still holds significant value with or without the information stored within." "Fine then." Albedo grumbled with obvious annoyance in his voice after a swallow, swirling the liquid in his glass. "And what of the senator. Who is she? She is the one I am more worried about. I'd rather not want to expect some New Republic commandos try to rescue her." He said as he took another draft of ebla. "I would have thought you knew who Senator Varn was without my having to tell you, but so long as you keep her there and away from the Mandolorians-." The dug had not really gotten a real good look at the senator as just his flunkies had kidnapped her and not recognized her themselves. At the mention of her name, Albedo's previous draft of eblas came spurting out followed by a violent coughing fit. "Aki Varn? If the hardheaded bucket heads or the Senate even suspect that I was involved they will come here riding their basilisk droids like something out of vengeful dogma!" Albedo exclaimed with an outrage, getting up from the seat to look down at the hologram. "I wouldn't worry about that if I were you. As of now, both the New Republic and the Mandolorians believe the Death Watch has abducted Senator Varn. The extremists will not deny these claims, because it is generating the civil unrest they so desire. Your involvement, so far, has gone unnoticed. But that does not mean you are in the clear. I have sent some of my cohorts to assist you in keeping away prying eyes. They will remain cloaked until you send out a specific encoded transmission, which I will send you momentarily." The figure nodded his head subtly, as if to reassure the Dug that nothing bad would of this predicament. Then, he spoke again. "However, I have noticed you acquired a few new... Additions, shall we say. When hacking this console, I noticed some new data entires from your salvager droids: Five humanoids, and two droids. Two of those humanoids, as the scan files read, displayed high levels of an unknown energy signature sweeping through their bodies. One of those humanoids even had a set of extremely unique weapons on their person... Would you mind explaining why you seem to have a set of Jedi aboard Borgo Prime, Albedo? And, more importantly, why I was not alerted to this sudden acquisition of all the Jedi are supposed to be dead?" Albedo turned away from the hologram, hiding his angered expression as he snatched the ebla bottle from the droid and refilled what spilled during his outburst. He calmed down as the figure told him that he was safe but his anger rose once more when the figure told him that he had sliced Borgo Prime's personal console and looked into his personal business. Albedo took a deep breath and took a long draft from the drink before he waved at the droid to prepare his hookah. A moment longer than necessary, letting the hooded figure wait for a while, Albedo answered him. "I did not know that it had anything to do with you. I have other business other than you and your associates. It also has nothing to do with this job either. If you must know: it is a recruitment. An addition to my... Collection." He said with a smirk, enjoying to withhold information from the person in the holographic projection. "The fact that you currently have a Jedi aboard your space station is not good new to either one of us. You have no possible way of sedating a Jedi, but if you act quickly you and your droids might be able to kill it before it recovers. You should have informed me of its presence, because now this 'acquisition' could become a very serious complication in our plan, should it escape. If it was looking for the Senator, you have just led it right to her. My agents will not fail in destroying the issue if it gets out of hand, but I trust you can handle this little 'Jedi' problem. I'm giving you a warning, however: do not leave it alive. Either you kill it while it's vulnerable, or you stall it long enough for my agents to arrive. You can keep the body, but a live Jedi is not a smart thing to collect." "I have my own agents. I have my ways. A... Jedi... Under my employ could prove to be a valuable asset. Someone who can use that hokey power of the Force for my personal benefit. Do not worry, I have taken the necessary precautions. His Lightsabers have been confiscated, all three of them. Our deal is still underway, I do not make it a habit to break deals. But that Jedi... In fact all of them, are mine to do with. They are all capable and they all have their price. I do not ask for your trust but our deal is not compromised... Yet. If this Jedi proves too difficult to handle, I have ways to deal with him and those who have been brought aboard. I have multiple contingency plans just in case Borgo Prime is to be compromised in any way. If I do not get him to cooperate... Well, I could always add a few new Lightsabers to my collection." Albedo said with nothing but confidence, walking around his office. As he ended his little speech, he found himself facing a wall. Tapping the metal paneling of the wall opened a secret compartment, containing half a dozen lightsabers of various colours, but most of them were blue. "I would find it a great courtesy if you did not kill what I have plans for." "You are foolish to think you can contract a Jedi. Even if they have changed their teachings, do not for one second believe that they are willing to break their beloved 'Jedi Code'. They are not highly trained mercenaries, nor are they willing to cooperate with someone of your influence, unless of course they mean to bring down your little world." The hologram turned as Albedo opened a compartment full of Lightsabers, most of which had belonged to the fallen Jedi of Order 66. Some of them appeared to be new, or at least refined enough to look new, but it still did not sway the hooded figure. A low growl came from behind the mask as he listened to the overconfident Dug. "I never said our deal was threatened, I was merely stating that your decision not to kill the Jedi was a mistake. One that you will surely pay for if you weren't smart enough to contact me. The Jedi will not work for you, nor will the Jedi forgive you for taking its life as one of your 'collectables'. I will not order them to kill just yet, but since I have my own doubts about your plan, I will send my agents aboard Borgo Prime anyways, regardless of wether or not they are required. I wouldn't want my investment to be all for nothing, after all." "Do what you will, so long as you don't inturrupt my business. If this Jedi denies the honey, I can always give him the vinegar." Albedo said as he ran his hand over one of the hilts, grinning. "I have done my research. I can handle a single Jedi. Glad though that you seem to care." He said before turning around to face the Hologram. "Now, was there something else you wanted or can I get back to my business?" Albedo asked with a defiant tone and a grin, taking pleasure at the position that he was in. "Perhaps I was mistaken in assuming the Jedi were the most overconfident and arrogant beings in the Galaxy. You seem to be proving me very wrong... But, at least for now, I will have to trust your judgement, though I doubt you'll be able to contain the Jedi permanently." Quickly fading from view, the hologram projector was shut off from the other end, leaving Albedo alone with his thoughts. Still confident in his belief that the Jedi would soon work for him. "Everyone has their price..." Borgo Prime: Containment Cells Slowly blinking as he felt his mind returning to the conscious world, Maar groaned and let out a deep sigh. "That's the last time I let that Astromech droid fly the ship..." moaned the Jedi as he realized just how sore his entire body was. His limbs were aching and his skin felt hot, almost as if he had experienced some kind of extreme physical strain recently. Even as a Jedi, Maar still had his limits. Now I just need to figure out what the Hell happened... thought Maar as he squinted, trying to gain back his now blurred vision. Why did everything look so yellow? In a matter of seconds, Maar realized that the hazy yellow colours dancing in his vision were actually the rays of a containment cell. Luckily for him, his cell did not appear to be 'Jedi Proof'. Easy fix... Maar thought, looking around the room for a switch of some kind. When his search came up fruitless, as the only thing Maar could see that might open the cell was a control panel located to his far right. He thought about another way out of the cell. Eventually his eyes landed on the cables linking the cell with the control console, unsure wether or not disconnecting them would result in his electrocution. Then Maar thought about potentially overloading the console with a bit of force lightning, but again, he could wind up frying himself. Deep fried Jedi wasn't exactly a fun thought for Maar. But, he couldn't see any other solutions aside from meditating and waiting for the cell to unlock. "Well, guess it's one alternative or the other..." grumbled Maar, not exactly excited about his current predicament. Taking a deep breath as he convinced himself this was the only way out, Maar closed his eyes and focused his attention on the industrial strength cables. Waving his hand in a circular motion while his arm remained at his side, Maar imagined the cables breaking apart cleanly. It took a little longer then he originally thought, but finally the cables snapped in half, shooting out a few sparks, but nothing more. Sighing a breath of relief when he stepped out of the containment cell, Maar stretched his tired limbs and nodded to himself. "Alright, well that worked better then expected. Awesome... Still doesn't help answer the whole 'where am I' question." Looking around the cell block with an inquisitive expression, Maar's eyes landed upon a window overlooking the asteroid belt surrounding his current environment. "Huh. We're not moving, so I guess I'm on a space station of some kind." said Maar, talking to no one in particular. He then raised an eyebrow, realizing he had been talking to himself a lot since he first woke up. He continued to stare out the window for a few moments before glancing around the room again. Near the control console rested a set of large, sealed metallic doors. It was obvious that the room was some kind of containment block, as a series of cells lined the rather lengthy corridor. While most of the cells were empty, there were five others aside from his own that contained a set of prisoners: a Chiss donned in a set of heavy armour, a Kel'Dorian wearing Clone armour, a Mandolorian dressed as a Stormtrooper, a Human woman who Maar had previously encountered, and a Hapan who Maar recognized as a smuggler who had frequently visited Nar Shaddaa back when the Jedi had taken up residence on the crime-ridden planet. Close to the Kel'Dorian's cell was a deactivated R2 Astromech droid. The droid showed serious signs of burn damage, indicating it had to be electrocuted in order to turn it off. The severed cables had only disengaged the lock on his cell, so Maar was left with the task of freeing the others. Unless of course he decided against it. They seemed to all be slowly regaining themselves, but Maar decided to first ask them a few questions before he started unlocking the cells. "Before any of you ask, no, I'm not the one in charge. As far as I know, we've all been taken aboard a space station of some kind for reasons that currently evade me. Do any of you remember what happened before you blacked out? What you might have been doing before we were abducted?" Maar asked, crossing his arms as he stared at his fellow prisoners. "I'll free you afterwards, I just need to know if there's any reason why I shouldn't unlock your cell. Be honest, because if I get the feeling that you're lying to me, you can just remain in that cell. If any of you know exactly where we are, speak up. I'll free you first."