Artefacts of Old

Episode 28: The battle of the Jaces

Returning to the planet of Tatooine, Rebeka June and Lanyef Reolm begin work on the Harmony during the down time provided by Jaca Terrn. During this time they have discovered Jace has been meeting with an unknown Trandoshan and they now alert Jace that they know his secret, or do they…

“Is that Jace?” asked Lanyef watching the pair go in.
“Hey Jace look behind you?” said Rebeka into her comlink. He didn’t turn around, and just kept going into the cantina.
Rebeka frowned.
“Why’s he ignoring us?” said Lanyef.
“What? I don’t see anything.” Came Jace over the comlink, his tone suggesting they don’t play games.
Rebeka froze, her memory recalling the vision of two Jaces. “Oh, Sithspit.” She murmured.
“Come and meet us, come and meet us now.” She said hurriedly.
“He should bring Rak.” Added Lanyef.
“and bring Rak” she added, “come meet us at the cantina. Lan, go round the back, make sure there aren’t any other ways out.”
Lan did so, finding the back door out to the garbage. After a few minutes Plono came out, looked puzzled at Lanyef lurking in the alley, dumped his garbage and went back inside.
Eventually Rebeka heard the familiar sound of their swoops arriving as Jace and Rak appeared.
“What is it?” asked Jace impatiently.
“you…might want to have a look in there.” She said, gesturing to the cantina. “There might be someone you want to see.”
“Like who?” said Jace, with a slight edge.
“Someone wearing your armour? Lan’s round the back keeping an eye out for him.”
“Lan should hope he doesn’t come out the back.” Said Jace, making Rebeka a little nervous.
“Lan, it might be an idea if you came back.” She said, and was relieved when he responded.
Meanwhile Jace stepped purposefully towards the Cantina. Lan tried going in the backdoor, but it only opened from the other side. He returned to the front entrance as Rebeka waved at him, hand on her rifle as she followed Jace in.
Jace had attempted to scope the cantina, but the klatooinian doorman shooed the droid away before it could get a good look. Jace stepped into the bar area, the customers still conscious sobered up quickly as the mandalorian held his hands on his pistols and scoured the area. Rebeka and the others came in soon after.
“Who exactly am I looking for?” he growled.
“it was you, basically.” Said Lan.
“He looked exactly like you, and he came in here I promise.” Protested Rebeka, looking desperately at each of the patrons in a hope to spot them.
Jace’s expressionless helmet was still judging her.
“I wouldn’t joke about this.” She said.
“Is his friend here?” interrupted Lan.
“what friend?” said Jace.
“A Trandoshan.”
“Physical details.”
“Tall, grey skinned, green flight suit.”
They scanned the nervous patrons again. No sign of either of them. Jace had had enough and grabbed Plono by his shirt, the Duros yelping in surprise. Suddenly tables were upturned as the other three drew there blasters.
“Someone came in, wearing my armour, where is he?” he demanded.
“Hey! What where’s who? What?” Plono wailed.
“Someone came in, a while ago, wearing armour like mine, where did he go?”
“I didn’t see him!” protested Plono.
“Where is he?!” growled Jace, Plono whimpered.
“I swear I didn’t see him!” Jace pulled him out onto the bar, knocking over empty glasses and cheap bottles of beer, the nearby patrons scattered to the overturned tables.
“Okay!” he managed, winded by the force of the action, “he was here, but he left! He went out the back door!”
“Blast it!” said Rebeka.
“Poodoo.” Said Lanyef, there was no way they could have passed him, but Plono seemed to scared to lie.
“What did he do while he was in here?” said Jace.
“He didn’t do anything! He came in with his buddy and left!”
“where was he going?” asked Rak.
“I’ve no idea!” said Plono.
“He wouldn’t have walked in through here for no reason, he must’ve stopped.” Said Rebeka.
“He must have come in here to hide from someone.” Reasoned Lan.
Plono seemed lost for words.
“When did he leave?” said Rebeka.
“Pretty much a minute after he came in.” said Plono.
“What did he do in that minute?” demanded Jace.
“He asked where the back exit was, I wasn’t going to argue, and he left!”
“Blast it!” growled Jace, releasing the Duros. The others scanned the room for anyone looking particularly suspicious, then remembered this was a cantina on Tatooine.
“If we’re quick we may found out where they went.” Suggested Rebeka.
They hurried outside the back door, looking for tracks, but they lost most of them when they hit the more high traffic paths. Jace sent BMO to look for the mandalorian, or anyone leaving the area in a hurry.
“What’s down that way?” asked Rak, looking down the street towards the assumed destination of the pair.
“The Starship bays are that way.” Said Rebeka, Lan nodding in agreement.
“Has anyone taken off?“
“Not that I’ve seen.” Replied Lanyef.
“Then there’s probably still time,” said Rak, hopping on the swoop bike, Rebeka getting on after him and Jace following on his own bike.
Lanyef stood on the street on his own. “Guess I’ll…get a drink,” he moped, heading back into the cantina.

They scoured the bays for the two of them, but the closest they came to finding even one of them was a dumpy Trandoshan, who did not like the way they watched him go. They looked for Daz, the docking supervisor, and found him inspecting some delivered cargo.
“How many ships have left in the last twenty minutes.” Barked Jace.
“A few, why?” he asked.
“I need to see who left in the last twenty minutes.” Said Jace.
“You can’t, there’s no record of who stays and who goes. This isn’t Coruscant flight control.”
“You should know if a Trandoshan and a Mandalorian gave you any money surely.” Said Rak.
“You’re the only docking supervisor n Anchorhead, you must have seen them arrive.” Said Jace.
Rebeka slipped him twenty credits, which he took and sighed.
“I think I would remember having seen them if I’d seen them.” He said.
“Really?” asked Rebeka.
They regarded him suspiciously, but he seemed to be telling the truth.
“The most interesting thing I’ve seen all day is a power droid and a blue Twi’lek lady get off a ship. That’s about it.”
“Think harder.” Growled Jace.
Daz babbled a little then listed off several crews that arrived, but insisted he had not seen the people they described.
“Maybe they really didn’t come here.” Said Rak thoughtfully.
“Then they’re still here. They could live here, or be from one of the republic or imperial outposts.”
“Who is this person anyway?” asked Rak.
“Don’t know, don’t ask.” Said Rebeka.
Jace considered the Mandalorians movements as Rak tried in vain to learn more about how they knew this person.
“He could be a bounty hunter.” He murmured.
“If that’s the case, are there any bounties presently for Tatooine?” asked Rebeka.
“Not unless that Trandoshan he was with is him.” Said Jace, displaying a hologram of A Trandoshan matching the description named Slarassk.
Rebeka stared at the image and shook her head. “I don’t know, maybe.” She sighed. “But if he had the bounty, would he keep him alive? He didn’t seem to be restrained.”
“Yeah, The bounty specifies dead, so if it is him if he wanted the bounty he should be dead.” Said Jace.
“So what now?” asked Rebeka.
“The imperial outpost, he has to be working still for the mandalorians.”

After picking up Lanyef from the Cantina they used the Dawnstar to trace the fastest route to Mos Ila, the imperial garrison, but even tracing that it looked as though there was no sign of the Mandalorian and his Trandoshan friend. Meanwhile Rebeka explained to Rak the vision she had of the two Jaces, and she assumed this second mandalorian was what the vision was interpreting. “…If Jace acts like this about him, I’m guessing he’s kind of dangerous.” Finished Rebeka.
“Someone needs to die, that’s all you need to know.” Growled Jace, unwilling to give up anything about the Mandalorian they searched for. After an hour, they gave in, admitting the pair must still be in Anchorhead, or gotten offworld by now. But Jace didn’t relent, he continued to scour the city, ordering his BMO to keep searching for them.
“Do you want me to come with you?” asked Rebeka as the Dawnstar hovered over Anchorhead to allow him to jump out.
“Stay on the ship, I’ll contact you if I find anything.” He said and headed for the Airlock.
“Please do.” Said Rebeka, nervously.
Jace waited all night for BMO to report something, anything, but the droid reported nothing, in fact, he didn’t return at all.
As the light of first dawn begun to glow, Rebeka called him on the comlink.
“Find anything?”
“Nothing.” Grumbled Jace. “You know this area, how would you find someone?”
She suggested shivadee’s shop, but upon arriving there Shivadee had no idea, not seeing either of them, Rak, Lanyef and Rebeka hit the cantina’s for some sort of clue, while Jace wandered on foot in the streets.
As they continued unsuccessfully, moving cantina to cantina, a sudden sparking in one alley caused Lan to pause and investigate. Partially covered in sand he found a damaged RMD-20, and hazarded it was likely BMO. He alerted his companions and within the hour they were all together at BMO’s site.
“He’s repairable, but he’ll need to be fixed back at the ship.” Said Rebeka, more relieved than anyone.”
“He was most likely hit by an ion blast given the fact we have him intact.”
“It must mean he was here.” Said Jace.
“perhaps we can see what this little guy saw, before his untimely deactivation.” Said Lan, getting some plugs out of his security kit, and connecting it up to his datapad. They replayed the short term data and found that BMO saw nothing shortly before he shutdown.
“Blast it!” Said Jace in frustration.
“Wait, he passed a power droid before he cut out.” Said Rebeka.
“Perhaps the Droid shorted out, or was struck by a pulse or something.” Said Lanyef.
Rebeka sighed, “so… we’re still looking. You may not want to hear this Jace but maybe BMO should sit this one out, we were lucky this time but if he gets blasted we’ll have no chance.“
They considered the ion blast might have affected the power droid too, but given that there was no sign of the droid, they assumed.
“Could this Mandalorian be looking for you too?” suggested Rebeka.
Jace went silent, considering this. “I don’t think so.”
“So we can’t wait for him to make his move.”
“No.” said Jace, and with barely a word he headed in the approximate direction of the power droid.
Rebeka watched him go and shook her head. “I’ll take BMO back to the ship, we may stand a better chance with the droid fixed.”
“I’ll keep about the docks.” Said Lanyef, “see if they’ve left recently.”
“I’ll go with you,” said Rak, nodding to Rebeka.

As Rak and Rebeka made there way back to the ship, they caught sight of a Twi’lek woman beckoning to them. They approached her and found it to be Nola Aoni, the slave they had dropped off at the outpost.
“Hi.” Said Rebeka, surprised to see her again.
“I’m sorry, I had to return, a friend of mine is in great danger, and I couldn’t just leave him alone. I heard some terrible news that he was in serious trouble, and I need your help.”
“What kind of trouble.” Asked Rebeka.
“Bounty Hunters by the looks of it.”
“alright,” she said going to call it in.
“No!” said Nola nervously, “no more should come.”
“But the man who helped you before-“
“The man who helped me before is the same man that’s doing this now.”
“No, he won’t be I promise, “ said Rebeka, “he just looks like him.”
Nola seemed unconvinced. “The two of you look like you can handle yourselves.” She said, leading them into the street she was on the entrance of.
Something was off about this situation, and Rak couldn’t shake it, he attempted to call Jace and Lanyef on the sly when Nola wheeled on him, slapping the comlink out of his hand and yelling.
“How about we say no to your problems.” Said Rak sourly.
“Look,” said Rebeka, “I know who you think it is, but I swear it’s not Jace causing you problems. We’re looking for him. Jace is with us, he was with us up until a moment ago.”
The pressure of the situation got to Nola, and she started crying.
Rebeka couldn’t help but give her a hug, “We want to help you but I don’t think we can-“ Rebeka paused, looking down at the all too familiar shape of a disruptor pistol.
“Gotcha, now if you don’t want your atoms scattered to the sands of this planet, I suggest that you put your hands up. And your boyfriend too.”
There was the sound of engines suddenly, as a Dark armoured mandalorian with similar markings to Jace landed in the street behind them. He wore a large dull duster coat that concealed much of his gear, but did not hide the fact that he was more heavily armoured than Jace. The Trandoshan growled above them as he aimed his rifle down at them, Rebeka and Rak did both recognise him as Slarassk. Given there chances, Rebeka and Rak complied and put there hands up.
“We helped you.” Said Rebeka to Nola.
Nola didn’t seem particularly broken up about that. “Yes… you helped my act. You did very well, it’s amazing how many people fall for the obedient Twi’lek slave girl. Darth Myonis’ Son fell for the same act too right before I killed him and made my escape.” Nola removed the old robes she wore to reveal an outfit more or less similar to Rebeka’s.
“Nice outfit.”
“Thanks, you too.” She smirked as she disarmed the pair of them, removing rebeka’s comlink, but neglecting the concealed pistol Rak had.
Slarassk growled in dosh at the Mandalorian.
“No. he may be superfluous but I’ll not kill him We’ll let him go.”
“But that means he’ll tell his friends.” Whined Nola.
“That’s the point.” He growled, “The girl comes with us though.” He pulled his two pistols and moved Rak away down the alley.
“Don’t go trying to be the hero. You get back to your friends and tell them they can have her back tomorrow an hour after noon, outside the purple rodents shop. She’ll not be harmed, provided you do as I say.”
Rak weighed his options, the Mandalorian alone would have been tricky if he had the same skill as Jace, and Rebeka would be vapourised almost as soon as he took him down so he concluded with, “Okay.”
“I’ll be fine.” Said Rebeka, that’s what she hoped.
The mandalorian pushed him off down the street. “We’ll come back for you.” He promised.
Rebeka nodded, “Be careful,” as Rak walked away.
When Rak had turned the street, the Mandalorian looked at her. “Are you going to struggle or are you going to be sensible about this.”
“Well a struggle would be fun, but I’m kinda tired.”
“Good call.” Said the Mandalorian, pushing her forward.

Rak moved from street to street until the Trandoshan lost sight of him, then pursued him as best he could. After half an hour of trailing him across the rooftops, Rak finally lost him, much to his frustration. He made a note of where he lost him, and headed back to the alley to pick up his comlink and proceed with the grim business of telling everyone what had occurred.
They returned to where Rak had lost Slarassk, but the trail was cold.
“How fixed is the harmony.” Said Jace.
“we’ve only been working on it for five days.” Said Lanyef, “it’s not flyable.”
“pity, could’ve done with dropping the harmony on them.”
Lanyef frowned. “Can we not find another solution that doesn’t involve dropping my ship on them after only just getting round to fixing it.”
“Fine, we’ll use the Dawnstar’s guns.”
“We are not going to do that because we aren’t going to hit Beka.” Said Lan in frustration.
“No we aren’t.” agreed Rak, folding his arms, “provided they have her at all. Come on Mandalorian, you’re kind has fought in wars, surely you have a plan.”
Jace considered his options. “Get Shivadee out of her shop and blow it to hell.”
“What if she’s in on it?” Argued Rak.
“I doubt she has the intelligence.”
“I wouldn’t have pegged Nola to do this either.” Said Lan.
“Well we have to gain the advantage some way.” said Jace.

The hour after Noon was the quietest time in Anchorhead. Sweat bristled on Rak’s brow as the unbearable heat of noon began subsiding. From the wall of Anchorhead he had a good shot into the street containing Shivadee’s shop. Jace had lent him his blaster rifle, outfitted with a decent scope that made it excellent for picking targets at a distance.
He watched Lan flailing in the street, sending the denizens emerging from there homes either back inside or away to a safer location. Jace he knew would already be in position. They’d tried clearing Shivadee out, but she remained in her shop, certain that there attempt was merely to keep her out the way while they stole her good stuff. They’d done all they could, now they waited.
The Mandalorian, Xidonis arrived with Slarassk and Nola, who led the gagged Rebeka ahead of her. Rak noticed she was wearing an elaborate pair of energy binders too.
“They’ve arrived, three of them and Beka. The Twi’lek is holding her. She’s gagged and bound.”
“Where are they precisely?” said Jace over the com.
“10 metres from the shop. Lizard nearest the houses, mandy in the middle, Nola and Beka after that.”
“Get a bead on the Trandoshan. The Mandalorians mine. Fire as soon as you get the signal.”

Rebeka found herself face to helmet with Xidonis as Nola put her gag on.
“Don’t worry, as long as Jace does as expected, you won’t be harmed. I give you my word.”
Rebeka distrusted him, but admitted despite the thermal detonators on her wrist she had not been harmed physically.
They’d walked for a fair few streets before they arrived, dead on time to the empty meeting point. They waited a few minutes before Xidonis called out. “You’d better come out! Otherwise there’ll not be much left of your friend!”
“You asked for it.” Muttered Jace, and putting the Swoop bike into gear. Everyone caught sight of the sudden appearance of the swoop, Jace riding it full throttle before jumping off and letting it go towards him. Xidonis drew his blasters and launched into the air as the bike whizzed past Nola, Rebeka and Slarassk. Lanyef dodged from one alley to another and fired quickly, Catching Nola across the arm, allowing Rebeka to get out of her grip. Rak fired, the distance caused a couple of shots to fly wide as a third struck Slarassk across the chest. Rebeka ducked and removed her gag, backing up against Shivadee’s shop. Jace flew at Xidonis, blasting away, causing a few minor grazes on him as he landed and jumped back into the air. Xidonis returned fire, hitting Jace with several stun blasts that didn’t even slow him down.
“RAAI!” yelled Xidonis. The Power droid seemingly observing the battle altered form.
“Confirmed:” came the familiar tone, as A larger R.A.A.I droid converted from the power droid and raised it’s arms. “Engaging Ion Blasters: Target locked.” A sudden stream of shot’s pummeled him, Making Jace tingle but not harming him, then his Jetpack gave out due to the barrage of Ion energy and he plummeted to the street, rolling to avoid injury.
As Jace rolled and continued after Xidonis, Nola looked at Rebeka and shrugged, “I guess he doesn’t care about you after all.” She said, scrabbling up the wall with surprising Agility, dashing across the roof. Lanyef blasted at the Trandoshan, Slarassk taking cover to avoid his shots. Rak shot Nola as she tried to escape, grazing her as she ran across the rooftops. Slarassk gave a hissy chuckle as he removed what appeared to be a detonator from a pouch and clicked it. Suddenly Rebeka’s binders made alert sounds.
“Stop stop stop stop!!” yelled Rebeka as the Lizard dashed down the street away from her.
“Stop! Someone Blasting help me!!” screamed Rebeka as the binders continued to beep. Jace focused on Xidonis, blasting the mandalorian a couple of times, grazing him more as Xidonis flew further from him.
The Mandalorian shook his head. “You have no honour, Cordo Jace, you would leave a comrade to die in the pursuit of Vengeance.”
“[And you betrayed our clan! Get back here and fight me!]” screamed Jace in Mandalorian.
“Another time, we will settle this.” Xidonis growled and flew off over the Anchorhead roofs, leaving an angry Jace to roar at his departure.
“Target escaped: initiating escape path.” Stated R.A.A.I, his own jet pack activating and he followed Nola across the roofs into an alley which she dropped down into. As Slarassk past him, Lan hurried to the detonator he’d dropped and cursed that it was a one way trigger. He rushed to Rebeka’s side, taking her wrists up and examining the binders. He knew without some skill in demolition there was no way he could get her out of them, it also looked like a meticulous job.
“Lan these could explode, go away!” she yelled.
“We’ll get you out of them.” He said reassuringly. “Rebeka needs help, immediately.” He called on the com. Rak continued firing on the Trandoshan as he fled, hitting him again with a minor graze as he fled down the street. Rebeka tried to think of some way out of her predicament, but the binders incessant beeping only seemed to make her more anxious. Jace finally turned back to help her, frustrated at how clever the devices were. Only someone with Jace’s skill could deactivate them, worse still it was a long process, giving Xidonis plenty of time to escape while he was tied up.
“I’m not deactivating the bomb, but I will release the triggers on the binders so that you can take them off.” Jace cut wires as Lanyef held Rebeka tightly he deactivated the first trigger, then a second, but missed a connection and the binders beeped Erratically. Rebeka and Lan closed there eyes as they waited for the moment, then it stopped. Jace startled momentarily opened the binders and Rebeka moved her hands
“throwitthrowitthrowit!” she said staggering away from the binders as Jace hurled them at a wall. Still nothing occurred.
Rak arrived as Lanyef chuckled in Relief, “It was a fake, I knew it had to be.”
Jace watched the binders for a full minute, then approached them. He examined the bombs, two thermal detonators, a big enough explosion to vaporise Rebeka and half the street, if Xidonis hadn’t removed the cores.
Lanyef squeezed Rebeka tightly but she threw off the tender display, glaring at Jace’s back before she walked down the street. Jace didn’t turn around, it was hard to guess what was going through his head, and he didn’t look at them as he went the opposite way. Lanyef went after Rebeka, while Rak, not following what had happened, decided to head off after the Trandoshan.

His tracking in the end proved fruitless, whoever Slarassk was, he was an expert at hiding his trail. Rak kicked a box in frustration, and headed for the Anchorhead cantina to drown his failure.
Jace meanwhile had tracked Xidonis to the spaceport, there Daz waved excitedly at him.
“I’ve just seen him! I’ve just seen him! They left!” he shouted.
Jace picked the man off his feet. “Describe the ship in every detail.”
“it was one of them XS light freighters!” he managed, “A fair few obvious mods too.”
“What Mods?”
“I don’t know… extra armour I guess!” he squealed. “a blue ship, mark of Mandalore, can’t miss it!” Jace let him go, and stalked out of the bay, fuming.
Rebeka returned to the house she was incarcerated in for the day, a rundown abandoned home close to the wall. Inside she found Rak and her gear that they’d taken along with a note.

I told you I wouldn’t kill you.
Xidonis Jace

Rebeka took her gear and told Jace where the house was, then removed her comlink and wandered back through the streets, Lan following her a ways.
Jace arrived at the house, searched it from top to bottom and found nothing. He tore the building apart in anger and frustration, then left, the neighbours coming out to see what the commotion was and quickly retreating inside when Jace came out.
Rebeka fixed BMO back on the Dawnstar and once he was active, replaced him in Jace’s bay, before heading back to the farm for the evening, while Lanyef gave her some space.
Jace returned with the damaged swoop he launched at Xidonis a little later, and found himself even more angry, tearing the bay to pieces as he worked through his rage.
Rak had a somewhat more relaxing evening, ending up having a great conversation and flirt with a Zeltron woman in the cantina, however the mood soon turned sour when she had to leave and Rak found one of his credit chits missing.
“I hate this town.” He muttered, and ordered another drink.
Back at the ship Jace sat in the cargo bay of the Star doing nothing in particular, disassembling and reassembling a blaster.
Then to his surprise Rebeka tapped on the wall outside the cargo bay and peered around. “Can I come in?”
He stopped reassembling the blaster components for a second to look at Beka, “sure”, he continued working on the blaster, slotting the components back together with a deft practised motion.
And he and Rebeka had a talk.

The rest of the week went uneventfully, Rebeka and Jace seemed to have smoothed things over, and Lanyef and she continued to work on the ship. Rebeka had not ,unfortunately for Lan, forgotten that his parents wanted to see him. She practically guilted him into going, but still Lan told her he’d consider it when the work was done.
They completed much of the main work before Rebeka wouldn’t take no for an answer anymore.
They were still arguing when they returned to the ship and a Holocall came through.
Terrn looked tired, but he still seemed to greet them in his usual way.
“I thought I would call to inform you I have returned.”
“are you well?” asked Rebeka.
“yes, I’m quite well. A little tired, I’ve only just got back, the time difference and everything. Anyway, I understand that our team has discovered the location of another Artefact, in fact I believe this will be one of the easier ones to acquire. As I understand it, it’s in the possession of the Reolm’s.”
Lanyef groaned.



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