When last we left, the group was headed to resupply down on the planet at the forward operating base. The shopping list included medical supplies, explosives, trauma kits, recon drones, and numerous other goodies that the Empire has access to.
On the way down to the planet, the repair droid glitches and is unable to save the pilot when the pilot starts to die (it started sending out astrogation data). It was clear that he knew a ‘secret’, but then chose to suicide somehow rather than reveal it.
The ship lies in a clearing among giant trees where a clearing has been made by heavy blaster fire. It is a heavily armed encampment: brand new tie fighters, tie bombers, At-Ats, and so on. Clearly there has been battle as there are multiple damaged ATSTs in the encampment. That the Empire is going to this level of effort rather than just carpet bombing the planet says that there is something important that the Wookies have.
Lots of activity, lots of troops, but some odd choices for deployments. Too much activity in the base and not enough on excursions. And that there are AT-ATs at all, which can’t fit in the trees, is very odd.
After landing, Thane checks the internal sensors and can’t find any external signals that could cause the medical droid to malfunction.
Thane (in dress uniform) and Daro are met outside the ship by an officer and 2 storm troopers. While Daro slowly changes and puts his makeup on, during the ensuing 15 minute wait, the waiting officer orders ATSTs and more storm troopers arrive, suspicious of the wait.
While debating what caused the droid glitch, the group start hearing the sound of music coming from the ship being played on the loudspeaker outside (courtesy of Thane). FINALLY, Daro heads outside while Duncan checks out both the medical and astromech droids. The lieutenant, seeing Daro, receives the lists from Daro, sends a runner for the base commander, and orders the ATSTs to stand down.
The base commander Colonel Jalek (human) arrives on a speeder from the base headquarters. He wears a cleanly pressed uniform, but also looks exhausted. Arm in arm, Daro and Jalek go for a stroll across the base where Jalek confides that his materiel is completely unsuited to being able to subdue the wookies, and some of the monstrous creatures living in the forest. Ultrasonics around the base keep the bigger monsters away, but inside the woods it’s a free for all. Plus the Wookies live in the trees, so they’re very difficult to get to. Recent assault attempts have led to little other than depleting resources. It seems clear to Daro, there’s no way that the Empire is going to win here.
Duncan builds a filter for Jalek. His hearing implant is picking up the ultrasonics, preventing him from sleeping properly.
Jalek heads with Daro to a command building. Jalek goes in then comes back out with a carved wooden box which he gives to Daro – it contains a crystalline bottle with an exotic brandy. Daro returns it and asks Jalek to save it and invite him back when he wins.
After a conversation filled with bonding, Jalek summons Lft. Helcosh to attend Daro and provide him with whatever help he needs.
Helcosh leads Daro to a prison large building where several Wookies are held captive. There is a modified bowcaster with a strapped on blaster rifle there that Daro ‘borrows’ for Vekis.
As Daro makes his way back to the ship, and all supplies are loaded on the ship, an imperial transport comes in for a landing. Vekis ‘takes in the view’ from the topside turret. When they land, technicians and resupply come off the ship.
Back on the ship, Ico points out that there is intense suffering on the planet, and also senses something else, something cold. Something doesn’t feel right, a hole in the life force in a specific direction (direction of the Wookie stronghold), and Alana seems uncomfortable but keeps her opinions to herself. In the ensuing discussions, the obvious was discussed, that the Empire want something from the Wookies.
The group discussed trying to speak with the Wookies. Duncan felt he could get access to Wookie communication but that he would need to get closer, so Thane flies the ship in that direction. Ico gets increasingly uncomfortable as they fly. Confident that the Empire is not being spied on, Duncan broadcasts a message in galactic common short range asking to parlay according to Caelium’s instructions.
The Wookie chatter went silent. Daro picks up on a message that ‘this place has nothing but death for you’. Not a threat, but a statement of fact. Alana also starts feeling fear, Caelium a moment of paranoia, Thane briefly despair and Duncan alone and abandoned.
A second message comes in ‘the darkness will consume those unprepared to fight it. Leave while you can’. Meanwhile Duncan keeps messing with the sensors and realizes that whatever is emitting the ‘bad feels’ is immediately below. Thermal imaging shows lots of heat signatures below, with likely trees growing over a structure.
Vekis, Daro, Caelium and Thane get in the air speeder with Alana and have a difficult flight down to the center of the bad feeling at the base of the tree canopy. The darkness surrounds the air speeder until they pass by Wookie village on the way down where they see what appears to be speeders and starships. As they go by the village, gunfire erupts toward the airspeeder. Thane begins evasive maneuvers in an attempt to avoid the worst of it. The Wookies look sad at their departure.
Once again, as they approach the ground, the feeling of sorrow overtakes most of the air speeder’s residents
At the base is a temple and large animal life but very little light and correspondingly little vegetation. Thane puts the air speeder down and cuts power.