The Redemption blasted off from its hangar at the Formos starport and into space, its precious cargo – the Diadem of the Zeltu – safely in its hold. Shortly thereafter, three TIE fighters (one of them piloted by Soraya Das) rocketed off in pursuit. From above, five TIE fighters scrambled from the Star Destroyer orbiting the planet to intercept the PCs.
While Scrubb deftly piloted the ship with IG as co-pilot, Bel and Xarsis operated the Redemption’s two quad turbolaser cannons. As Asher went to the engine room to enhance ship speed and performance, he directed CPX-4 to assist the nav computer in making the calculations for the jump to hyperspace.
Scrubb gained an early advantage, performing a daring maneuver to slice through the oncoming formation of fighters. Momentarily out of formation and in disarray, the TIEs regrouped. Bel and Xarsis fired the cannons – Xarsis attacking Soraya’s fighter, attempting – and succeeding – at disabling her vessel temporarily. Asher provided a momentary boost to engine efficiency while IG plotted a course vector to fake out their pursuers. Out of position and without Soraya, the TIE counterattacks against the Redemption did no significant damage.
Soraya rerouted power and re-engaged in the battle. Against a more coordinated assault, Scrubb could not hold the advantage. But, with Asher’s boost to engine efficiency and IG’s fake-out course, the expert pilot managed to avoid the worst of the TIE assault. Bel responded by targeting Soraya’s fighter with an intent to kill but only singed the Dark Side adept’s ship. Nevertheless, Xarsis was able to use this opportunity to more severely disable Soraya’s fighter.
While Scrubb was avoiding the TIE attacks, Asher was able to use some of the parts obtained at the Formos Starport to jury-rig modifications and make the Redemption run like new! At least for the duration of the battle … As Asher finished, he heard a thud and loud groan of pain from one of the holds. Notifying the Redemption crew, IG came down to investigate. Opening the hold door, IG was greeted by the business end of a lightsaber pike. Parrying the attack with its Darksaber, IG saw that its attacker was garbed in a suit of black armor. Asher recognized the armor immediately as the hallmark of the Imperial Shadow Guard!
Scrubb executed a series of brilliant maneuvers to gain a tremendous advantage over the TIEs. Bel and Xarsis then fired into their outmatched enemies, with devastating effect. Meanwhile, in the lower deck, the grim Shadow Guard and IG dueled. The Guard thrusted forward, singing IG’s arm. The droid attempted to intimidate the black-suited warrior into submission with a fearsome display of swordsmanship, but its assailant wasn’t cowed. The TIEs roared around the Redemption, unable to land a solid hit.
Notifying his allies to hold tight, Scrubb performed a dangerous barrel roll maneuver to knock the Shadow Guard off his feet. Utilizing his Force training and formidable strength, the Guard was merely put off balance. But, realizing he was out of position, the Shadow Guard deactivated his pike and lowered it in surrender. Stepping from the hold was a man dressed in a white Imperial uniform – the uniform of Imperial Intelligence, Asher recognized – and a middle-aged man, regal despite nursing a head injury. This was Soraya’s high value prisoner, the Rebel official Danar Alde! Introducing himself as Elric Track and seeming to know the PCs’ real names, the intelligence officer offered to explain their presence later and assist CPX-4’s calculations.
Impressed by Asher’s engine modifications, Scrubb held on to the advantage over the TIEs. Bel and Xarsis continued firing into the TIEs, while IG went back to the pilot seat. Using the slicing skills it acquired from its time as a smuggler, IG overclocked key Redemption processors to improve the ship’s handling. Scrubb utilized these enhancements to dodge the latest volley of the TIE fighters. Then CPX-4 excitedly pronounced it completed the calculations for the jump to hyperspace. Asher activated the hyperdrive and left the TIEs far behind.
After things settled down, the PCs confronted their stowaways. Trask explained that he was a double-agent, still officially in the Empire but swearing allegiance to the Rebel Alliance. For some time, he and his agents had been following the PCs, assessing their potential as recruits. The silent Shadow Guard – who Trask called Vengeance – forsook his oaths to the Emperor after the destruction of Alderaan. Vengeance was assigned to guard Alde’s transport to the Star Destroyer orbiting Formos, but Trask and Vengeance plotted to free Alde before the transfer was complete. The PCs infiltration of the Formos Starport was a welcome diversion for Trask, Vengence, and Alde to steal onto the Redemption.
Very thankful for the PCs help, Alde promised the gratitude of the Rebel Alliance and suitable payment for their rescue. When the PCs hesitated to accept the offer, Trask offered to use his influence and insure the PCs’ remain unknown to the Empire. Accepting this offer, the PCs set course for the Delta Base, somewhere in the Suolriep sector.
En route to Delta Base, Xarsis had dark, fitful dreams. Waking with a start, he felt drawn to the hold containing the Diadem. There, staring into the dark green gem set into the glittering crown, Xarsis beheld a vision where he possessed the strength to protect the weak and innocent across the Galaxy. Crushing the Empire with an unparalleled mastery of the Force, Xarsis assumed the Emperor’s throne and spread his benevolent rule.
Asher, too, felt the pull of the Diadem. Walking into the hold, he saw himself on the bridge of a flagship for an awesome merchant fleet. Powered by revolutionary advances in robotics and droid technology, Asher’s Galaxy-spanning mercantile empire far exceeded that of his family.
Finally, Vengeance responded to the call of the Diadem. Seeing himself at the head of vast armies, the Shadow Guard overthrew the Empire and exulted in the flames of its destruction. Alderaan was avenged!
The three stared at the Diadem until the spell was broken by CPX-4, who, excusing itself profusely and awkwardly, informed Asher of their arrival at Delta Base.