Ship Acquisitions Yavin Report By M Rath Et Tra

Filer: Sgt. Major M’rath Et’tra
Subject: For Yavin IV Imperial Fleet Graveyard Recovery Team

We received our orders from Alliance Command to travel to the Yavin system, to the fourth planet, moon. Our mission team was a curious one, with a grab-bag of skills and talents but heavy with knowledge of The Game (others call it ‘The Force’). For unconventional situations Command appended to our unit the elite martial artist Darius ‘Slik’ Wade. For sensor expertise we had the aptly named ‘Enigma’, a master of various detection suites. Qwi Sung, a full-blooded human with like tastes, was sent along for his skills in The Game. The one who taught me how handle the light saber, Daryn Startrotter, rounded out the remainder of our mission group.
Major Arkansas Dave Rudebaugh, of the ADR Flight School, was our leader, who arrived a little bit late for the briefing.
Our mission proceeded reasonably well, with guarded high spirits–Alliance Intelligence had informed us that there was a very slim chance of encountering the higher ranking members of the Empire skilled in The Game, and the approach to the decommissioned fleet was routine. The technicians sent along to bring the ships back into jump capability informed us after a few scans that the ships were missing their memory cores. A further scan revealed that there was a crystalline mass on the moon proper similar to the nature of memory cores inside a massive stone structure, along with extreme jungle vegetation that concealed the ground rather well.
With the assistance of Slik’s armorer droid, we were able to modify some Imperial armor I had in stores to fit me, as well as make some minor adjustments to the other armors of the group. Slik would be our ‘leader’, dressed out in an Imperial officer uniform to sway any suspicion on the part of the local garrison charged with guarding the cores.
I do not know of any of my fellow Game players, but I felt that odd twinge in the back of my head, and then I was in darkness…and cold, hungry, alone, nothing for so long, abandoned. Then a slight patter of heat dribbled onto me. *HUNGER-FOOD(FEAR/ANGER/HATRED)*. Suddenly I was sitting upright on the ship, fur standing up on edge.
We weren’t greeted by the on-planet unit when we landed, though we did briefly see some indigenous life forms roughly humanoid in shape, though about another half a meter taller than the average human. When we were about half of the distance to the structure, deemed a ‘temple’ by our untrained eye, we were approached by a strange insectoid entity calling itself a ‘Watcher’, who apparently had discovered his own local version of The Game. It was a bit disconcerting for some of the members of the team to have a conversation in the mind, rather than openly, but it was relatively easy to get used to. It ‘spoke’ to us of the ‘foolish ones’, who had awoken a ‘great evil’. Though I’ve grown used to such things in the past, I cannot deny I was a little bit skeptical.
Further along the path, we were assaulted by some sort of flying creature whose nesting area we apparently upset with our travel. After being wounded by the things, they were driven off, with excellent response time on the part of Slik, Enigma, and Major Rudebaugh, who even attempted to communicate with them to no avail. (Hey, it worked once, why couldn’t it work a second time?)
Recovering from the attack, including a remarkably quick job of first aid on me by Slik, we headed to the large stone structure once more.
Upon our arrival at the ‘temple’, which was well and truly deserving of such a name, we heard none of the standard sounds of activity, though the limited sensors we had indicated that there was a mass of heat and activity somewhere inside the main section of the complex. As we entered that area, we were assaulted by what could be best described as a tentacular plant creature. It too, apparently had some feeling for The Game, because it used the first cheat of sending an electrical discharge upwards through the floor, charring my fur in various sections but apparently causing no harm to the rest of the party. With no real time to recover from that, we were attacked by tentacles that resisted the effect of the Universal Cutting Torch. It was tough going for a few seconds, until our unconventional specialist made the determination to throw a thermal detonator just past the creature, with the hope that would end the attack. As soon as the orb went over the thing, we ran from the complex–we had no guarantee to the stability of the structure, plus we did not want to run the risk of being caught in a channeled blast as the detonation sought release.
After the device detonated, we heard the most horrible scream which even echoed on Game levels. Heading back in once more, mindful of entities that could absorb such energy discharges, we discovered that the way had been cleared to the memory cores. The unfortunate thing was that the nearest part of the ceiling to the devices was starting to collapse, and two of the folks more skilled with the direct manipulation of the Game brought forth the cores. Some of the storage devices were slightly damaged during the effort, which would later cause us to be unable to bring back four of the twenty-three ships we were sent to prepare for recovery.
We secured the cores outside and headed into the structure once more after the area over the cores had collapsed. Using a couple of droids, we were able to clear out the section, and discovered two artifacts in the debris. I could tell by my feelings on the Game that one of them was evil, and one was not–but not the distinction between the two. Carefully, we had the droids run one of the objects outside, and I went with to determine the nature of it. There was a mask which radiated the purest darkest side of the Game, the province of the cheaters–and there was a box which radiated some light, but it was muted, much in the way some of the more expert Game players can bluff about having a fully loaded Hand.
Despite my warning about it’s nature, our mission leader felt it was appropriate to attempt to recover the mask. He paused for a few beats as he picked it up, as if considering something, then lifted it to his face and shoved it on, even as he screamed horribly. Then he pulled out his Universal Cutting Tool which blended to a scarlet hue. Slik had been waiting for something like this to happen, and given my wounded state I quickly affixed a medpac to myself to make sure that at least two people would be able to defend against the potential of a possessed Major Rudebaugh. Fortunately, we were able to subdue Mr. Rudebaugh and get him outside… where a new dilemma presented itself. When we tried to start the ship up with Mr. Rudebaugh on board, the ship refused to start.
The native ‘Guardian’ approached us about this time, and informed us that there were only two ways to remove the mask–either cut it from the face of the wearer, or kill the wearer. I assessed both options for viability based on my medical skill, and found that it would be easiest to cut the mask off–but that it would be better to render Mr. Rudebaugh into a death-state long enough to ‘fool’ the mask then revive him. But we would need the best medical doctor the Crucible Sector rebellion had to offer–failing that, some really good talented but new doctors in concert with some 2-1B medical droids.
This presented us with a dilemma. It was resolved by our unconventional operations expert, who offered to stay, along with the indigenous ‘Watcher’ to guard the unconscious body of Mr. Rudebaugh with the idea that they would keep him sedated and subdued until such time as medical assistance could be obtained to treat Mr. Rudebaugh on planet.
Shortly after our message was sent, the techs announced they were finished with as much of the decommissioned fleet as they could manage, and were ready for departure. We sent them on ahead with the Alliance’s newly recovered vessels also bearing a message to send assistance as soon as possible. Moments after they left, I felt a strange twist of darkness, a feeling that Slik was in some sort of danger–though what I couldn’t tell. We made our best efforts to get back planet-side, and were informed by Slik that the unconscious body had started to move of its own accord before it was subdued by the native ‘Watcher’. He then warned those of us familiar with The Game to remain on the ship. Apparently, playing The Game was a big part of what powered the mask, and those who couldn’t, weren’t attractive to it.
Several hours passed, and then we were joined by Lt. Col. Taylor Castel, M.D. and Lt. Col. Harold Ascot, M.D. along with three 2-1B medical droids. I informed them of the condition of their patient, and what we would need to do. They were a bit wary, to say the least, about my suggested course of action, and confirmed it with their own diagnosis. It was a general consensus at that point that the medical droids would remove the mask once the first part of the procedure was complete, and then there’d be a mad rush to resuscitate Mr. Rudebaugh.
Our plan to dispose of the mask was to have it thrown into the sun of the system–we were pretty certain that would work to destroy it. However, fate would play a more twisted curve on this than we could possibly imagine.
Major Rudebaugh was rendered into death briefly, and the mask flew off of his face of its own accord, and then screamed in an unwholesome way before disintegrating and leaving a barren blasted patch of earth where it departed this realm of existence. Working quickly, the crack medical team recovered Mr. Rudebaugh to the living, and quickly boarded the ships to get out of the system–according to scans that Mr. Ascot had taken on the way down, there were two Imperial Star Destroyers entering the system, heading in the general direction of the moon we were on.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, as my thoughts were preoccupied on the events on the planet as well as keeping a bit of an eye on Mr. Rudebaugh to make sure he didn’t develop any cheating aspects of the Game, but Marcus Pennik had approached me several months earlier to discuss a potential mission to the Yavin system to recover Corseca gems, and wanted to know if I’d be able to help. I offered to help if there wasn’t something else of great importance going on.
Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I had to start getting some supplies ready for the Peridian Freedom Movement. During a mission I had found a dispirited people hungry for freedom, but were more than willing to side with the Empire to gain what they thought was liberty. After much persuasion and conversation, I was able to sway them to a course that would be friendlier to the needs of the Alliance–but working on that cause has and will continue to chew up my free time. This, as well as bad timing, prevented me from being on the expedition, which according to the reports I have heard entered the system scarcely an hour after we left.

Recommendations:
1. Encountering any artifact of The Game should be reported to Command immediately. We dodged a bullet on this one, though ultimately we paid for it in a way I don’t think any of us would have expected.
2. The temple complex on the gas giant’s moon is solid. Despite having a thermal detonator going off inside it, it didn’t show the least bit of wear or tear. The only collapse inside the structure was the weaker internal construction materials that appear to have been made of some lesser material. Depending on the space utilization, there may be enough room to house a squadron of starfighters.
3. If the Imperial presence in the Yavin system dissipates over the next few years, it could be a very valuable base of operations. The moon in question has a thick jungle cover that would conceal most activities.
4. Further reconnaissance should be performed in the system for other potential useful locations.
5. It has come to my attention through the rumor-mill that a ship of Alliance operatives was destroyed in the Yavin system after we left. I do not know the full details of the situation, but if deemed appropriate by Command, I offer the suggestion that some of the ships recovered during this operation be renamed in their honor.

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