Artefacts of Old

Episode 64: The Hapes Gambit

The Dawnstar and Lost Cause escaped into space, rushing out of the system as quickly as possible as the portion of there allied fleet kept the harrowers engaged. They returned to the Hearthfire on the edge of the System. Once landed, they debarked.
“Captain, Set course for the interior region.” Said Stebe, as they left the docking area. The resistance fighters all begun to unload there supplies while there leader, Gared Nakara, joined the rest of them in the conference room an hour later. Rebeka had meanwhile repaired Jaces Jetpack in the short time prior to the meeting.
Present were the four of them, Admiral Krin, Stebe, Captain Starfire, Taylen, Bob, and Gared. Gared started by thanking them for his rescue, and explaining that the situation was dire. Many of the resistance cells had been discovered and destroyed by the Empire, and it looked almost as though they would lose it all before the Allies had arrived.
“We here to make sure things change for the better.” Said Rebeka.
“It’ll be a long and difficult task, but with your help, there is hope of a chance.” Said Gared.
“We need to contact the cell on Hapes if we are to set things in motion.” Said Stebe.
“Of course, it’s still fortunately active on Hapes, but then the Empires key target in that system is the members of the Consortium. Stoe Rinn is the current leader of this cell. I’m loathed to make contact however as that will only draw attention to them. I suggest a face to face meeting.”
“I agree.” Said Stebe.
“We are fortunate then that Imperial Intelligence has gifted us the means to get into Ta’a Chume’Dan. One of there agents attempted to reveal us on Darruvia, the attempt failed, and we retrieved his codes, giving us the chance to elude to being of the Intelligence division.”
“Did he reveal anything?” asked Jace.
“Nothing useful. He said the age of metal was upon us.” Gared continued to explain the situation. The entire Hapes Cluster was more or less under imperial rule. Hapes was the centre of that rule, and the most organised of the conquered worlds. Curfews and patrols were likely to be commonplace so it was best not to draw attention to themselves until necessary. The Dawnstar Crew and Stebe were to follow Gared onto Hapes as Imperial Conspirators and Agents. Stebe said they should avoid any Sith overseers as well if need be, as they would instantly sense there true intentions. Meanwhile Krin and Starfire would organise an assault on the capital planet, to liberate the system and it’s people.

They took the Dawnstar, one of the least recognisable ships in the fleet to Hapes the day after. Lanyef assisted the Resistance Forger in altering the Agents codes to reflect Gared and his supposed conspirators. He also ghosted the Dawnstars silhouette in order to conceal there approach to Hapes. The majority of the traffic around Hapes was imperial, several fleets intended to Repel the allied forces once they reached the Interior region. Rebeka kept there distance. Stebe replied to the imperial control, maintaining the illusion of there alliegance right up until they landed. The city had not changed much from there last visit, though many of the buildings had been repaired, and the Royal Palace flew the imperial flag. There were also one or two new buildings that had an obvious imperial design. They left the ship, taking only what they could hide and following Gared out to the checkpoint. The former Hapan Security were replaced with Imperial troopers, and Scourge flags flew in place of the consortium banners. The number of people about the spaceport were greatly reduced.
Fortunately there forgery was enough, and they were passed through and allowed to enter the city proper. They were given more or less free reign of the city, and after being waved through a few checkpoints, reached the part of the city initially lived in by the men, now the area the resistance concealed itself. They reached a small unassuming home, which Gared knocked on the door and uttered a phrase in Hapan. They were let in and led down into a basement, where the resistance was organising it’s plans.
Stoe Rinn greeted them all and bowed to Gared, “Have you done it? Are the Republic here to help us?” she asked.
“The Republic isn’t coming.” Said Rebeka regrettably. “we have a fleet though.”
“Then it is more than we have.”
“I am Master Stebe of the Jedi Order.” Said Stebe introducing herself. Stoe looked apprehensive.
“It’s alright, she’s here to help.” Said Rebeka, “She helped us get in.”
“Forgive me, the Jedi do not have the best reputation in the Hapes Cluster. But we have greater concerns, and a Jedi might be what we need now.
Your timing couldn’t be better. I have heard word that the Queen Mother has been found and scheduled to be executed tomorrow.”
“Then we need to stop it surely.” Said Rebeka.
“Agreed, the Queen Mother has organised the Resistance and done well to avoid capture this far, however it was only a matter of time before they found her. The consortium is all but destroyed, without the Queen Mother there would be no one left to rally our people if she’s killed tomorrow.
That’s why we plan to liberate the queen and show the people of Hapes the Empire is not needed to be feared.”
“Do you know who is organising the sith occupation?” asked Stebe.
“We have heard the name Taivus mentioned here and there. But no one has seen him anywhere, he operates behind the scenes of the occupation. We have leads, but none we’re willing to explore until the queen Mother is safe.”
“We can help you, but only united will we reclaim the Hapes cluster. If there’s anything you can do to make it easier on our attack fleet, this is what we ask of you. In exchange we will help your Queen Mother.”
“There are some Hapan Vessels that survived the war, they are all we have, I hope it will be enough.”
“Then the Liberation of Hapes will have to be enough to rout the Imperial Fleet.”
“Our numbers are dwindling, so it’s unlikely the Sith will have strong protection for the queen mother. By all accounts they’ve already won.”
“That’s good.” Said Rebeka, “If they think they’ve won they’ll drop there guard.”

The stage was set. Cameras recorded the small platform on which the Queen Mother would be executed. And dozens of Hapans were forced into the streets to watch. Making good concealing spots for Rebeka, Jace, Rak, Lanyef and Stebe. Stoe had wisely left the liberation to Stebe, given her skill, especially as the Executioner and leader of the forces here were Sith. The queen mother was marched out by Berzerker droids wearing robes, and the square was surrounded by troops. The populace watched in shock and anger as there monarch was shoved before the executioners block. They glanced up at the imperial troops concealed in buildings and standing on roofs, hoping to see any threats from there high vantage point. The resistance was to take out the spotters when the signal was given, leaving the rest of the square to the five of them. The Executioner wore red robes and armour similar to the large assassin that was sent to kill U’tl, and wielded a large sword similar to the ones he wielded. The other Sith was a pureblood, red skinned with facial spikes and tendrils familiar to his race.
“Silence!” he commanded, the angry crowd cowing in the face of his sudden command.
“People of Hapes! Today peace and security returns to the Hapes Cluster. The empire came to liberate your people from the corrupted consortium that looks after your interests. The final member stands before you, the worst of the bunch.” He said, one of the droids pushing her down to kneel before the block. “The Queen Mother. We protect your homes, and in time, will re-establish your government, but this woman has taken your sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, partners and done everything in her power to make your lives miserable during this transition. It is this woman who causes the bombings! The arrests of innocents! The fear and distrust sown among your people! Today, that ends! Today, order and security will be restored with the execution of Queen Mother Alasunin!”
After giving the Sith a scornful look, the queen was pushed down to the block by a droid. The executioner readied his blade and Rak could not bare the suspense. Then Stebe rose from the crowd, orange and green blades whirling as she landed on the podium, both Sith sensing the sudden danger and reacting defensively. Her blades paused midjump, thrusting her hands out and throwing the Sith back with a sudden strike with the force. The four Berserker droids shrieked at her and the crowd, there pained screams causing the crowd to panic. Jace pushed his way through, drawing his rifle and taking out three of the troopers before the stage. Rebeka took a few shots, killing a couple of troopers with clean shots. Rak picked his target, aiming for the executioner, hitting the sith several times before reloading. The Sith blasted the crowd in a bid to cause the crowd to retreat, while two troopers blasted at Rebeka and Jace. The two Sith war droids opened fire shortly after, trying to annihilate them, catching Jace with a shot as well as Rebeka and several of the crowd members fleeing the attacks. The executioner then struck Jace with his sword, the blade slicing through his armour keenly. Troopers continued to fire as Lanyef blasted a couple of troopers, killing one and wounding the other as the Hapes people fled past him. The Berserker Droids attacked Stebe while two others broke off to blast at Jace and Rebeka. The Queen Mother dodged away from one of the droids. Jace used his jetpack to hop over the executioner and engage a Berserker droid, swinging at the droid with his lightsabers, damaging the droid lightly. Stebe engaged the Sith and Droid attacking her, deflecting there sabers where possible, as Rebeka used the Berserker droid to hop onto the platform and blast the Sith. Rak capitalised on the distraction, blasting the Berserker droid as it tried to recover from the sudden leap. Blaster fire filled the square, a shot striking Lanyef as the crowd momentarily parted. Rak was hit twice, a bad burn caused in his side. The Executioner continued to chase Jace, injuring the mandalorian with his keen blade several more times. Rebeka dodged the Sith’s swings, Lanyef blasting another trooper dead, spinning to face the troopers behind him, injuring one as the Droids pressed there attack. Rak was injured by one of their shots, Stebe getting caught by one of there whirling blades, Jace was nearly overwhelmed, but after dealing several blows to the Executioner it seemed there was still a chance he would make it out alive. Stebe badly damaged one of the Berserkers as Rebeka blasted the Executioner to help out Jace. Rak blasted the droid before him a few times, getting a few shots on the executioner, who caught Jace a further glancing blow. Rebeka suffered a minor burn from the Sith, capitalising on her distraction as several troopers closed on Lanyef’s exposed position. Grazing the Arkanian with their disciplined fire. The war droids opened fire, Lanyef unable to avoid the majority of their heavy fire. Lanyef tossed a frag grenade at them, destroying the droid and killing a trooper in it’s explosion, wounding another trooper. The Berserkers continued there assault, the droid attacking Rak running at him with lightsabers drawn, catching him with it’s swings a small burn. Jace managed to take out the Executioner with a couple of final swings. Stebe managed to destroy one of the Berserkers, slicing it into pieces before striking the Sith with a quick swing. Rebeka caught him too, blasting him in the head and killing him outright. Rebeka then focused on the remaining Berserkers while Rak drew the large golden Vibroscimitar, striking the droid a couple of times, lopping pieces of it’s armour off. Lanyef was hit in the back as he tried to escape, Badly burned from his through and through. He dove into the nearby alley, and tried to boost his speed with an Adrenal, Jace was struck fairly badly by the remaining Berserkers, but still he retaliated, damaging the damaged berserker before him. Stebe moved between the queen and the berserkers, protecting her from there retaliatory strikes, while simultaneously destroying another Berserker. Rebeka blasted the Berserker remaining as Rak tried to deal with his Berserker, neither of which left themselves open to such an advantage. The troopers chased the injured Lanyef down his alley, Rebeka being hit by another Troopers fire. Rak was also hit by a stray shot as Lanyef tended to the horrible injury he suffered. The berserkers continued their relentless assault, Jace taking another bad injury, but countering it and damaging it in return severely. Stebe finished the droid off with several heavy strikes. Rebeka jumped down to help Rak, blasting the droid and another trooper, Rak striking the droid with his scimitar. The remaining War droid blasted at Rebeka as the other troopers went to hunt down Lanyef, closing on his position, and suddenly killed by fire from above, one of the resistance fighters killing them both before they could get to Lan, and giving the Arkanian a nod, Lanyef killing the final trooper coming to kill him. Jace advanced on the remaining troopers, killing two of them then blasting at the remaining berserker, damaging it further. Stebe remained Defensive, throwing out a strike of force at the War droid, damaging it as Rebeka attacked the Berserker Droid, damaging it enough for Rak to slice the droids head off cleanly, deactivating it. He then quickly pulled his rifle and blasted the damaged war droid, as it continued to fire despite the overwhelming odds, before finally being put down by Jace.

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