Lit We Hav to Go on an Adventure with Jello

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    Makes you wonder if Darth Bane might have changed his mind about the whole "Rule of Two" philosophy if he'd read up on the Gree.
  2. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 6
    Nope.
  3. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 5
    Man, I love the Gree.
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Uhl Eharl Khoehng isn't just the sound of someone hacking up mucus, it's also the title of Patricia Jackson's short story returning to the Brandls. Jackson's had a piece in every Adventure Journal since the second issue, except issue six. Almost all of them have been part of her series about Socorran smuggler Drake Paulsen; the one outlier was The Final Exit, my pick for best short story of the Journal thus far, about dark side actor Adalric Brandl. Though that story ended with Brandl's apparent death, leaving it as a seeming one-off, Jackson appears to have decided to turn it into another series, bringing Brandl and his son Jaalib back for another story.

    We open with a YT-1300. It's always a YT-1300, isn't it? It's on a landing pad on Iscera, in the middle of a snowy thunderstorm. Jackson does a good job of painting an evocative scene. Fable Astin is aboard the ship. She's a Rebel captain, running an infiltrator team, and appears to be your typical fringe Rebel gunslinger type . . . except for the fact that she's also a Jedi, with a lightsaber. Not very well trained, but she's got a lightsaber. She's also only nineteen, which means she's got a lot of responsibility for being a kid, and as an inexperienced young Force-sensitive, she's undisciplined and vulnerable to the allure of the dark side. She had some training from her mother, a Jedi who had also trained her husband only to see him killed by a "rival," presumably around the end of the Clone Wars,* but not much. She's just successfully destroyed an Imperial communications bunker, but she's pretty down because one of her men died on the mission. Vialco, a Dark Jedi, was stationed there and killed her friend, and she skirted the dark side in fighting him. Vialco was trained by Tremayne, and likes to turn Jedi to the dark side by haunting them with visions. He's successful enough in doing this that he's able to get by despite being kind of obnoxious and not working well with non-Force-sensitive leadership.

    *I'm kinda intrigued by this husband story (which is actually related later in the story but it's easiest to infodump here). We've got a Jedi training a man, presumably as an adult because we really don't need a story about a Jedi seducing her own Padawan, and he's then killed by a "rival" before they have to go on the run from the Empire. Given the husband and the adult training and the fact that Fable's age actually lines up perfectly with being born right at the end of the Clone Wars because she's nineteen years old in a 0 BBY story, I rather suspect a secret marriage to a secret apprentice. It would make the most sense, I think, if the rivalry were pre-existing, because it's hard to develop a Jedi rival as a secret Jedi, and the adult apprentice thing works better if he's coming from a pre-existing Force tradition where he just needs to be trained as a Jedi, but not completely zero to sixty as an adult secret apprentice. What I'm saying is I like the idea that she fell in love with a Dathomiri man, trained him, and then he was killed by a Dathomiri rival who joined the CIS. I think that brings this into the prequel-informed continuity fairly well.

    To get out and get her mind off things, she heads to a small theater with her fellow rebel Deke Holman, since Iscera is a dry planet and she can't get drunk. Deke is Socorran, of course. He's black, but has bright red hair. He's an ex-pirate and -smuggler who fought against the Empire as a mercenary before he joined the Rebellion. He's now forty-five and I have no idea why he isn't the leader of this group instead of the teenager. She finds herself immersed in the play, For the Want of an Empire, and the lead actor's performance as the tragic hero. It's Jaalib Brandl, and the play is a kind of tragic parallel to the Empire, with an idealistic young hero rising through government, only to become horrified by corruption and seek to reform it, ultimately becoming an oppressive tyrant. It's not specified if it's a play written as a critique of Palpatine, or a predating play that now has relevant political overtones. She's so entranced by his performance and his incredible stage swordfighting that she rushes backstage to meet him and catches him outside, literally falling into his arms on the ice. I feel a romance coming on. She tells him what a fan she is, he deflects, they part as he prepares to take off from the planet.

    Fable then wakes from a nightmare in which Vialco taunts her over her friend's death and encourages her to give in to the dark side. She senses his presence; it's not just a dream -- he's messing with her through the Force. And she's having a hard time resisting the anger. She's still obsessed with Jaalib and feels he's important somehow, so she has Deke pull up all the records on him. He's seventeen, and since he was orphaned five years ago he lived with Otias Atori -- Adalric Brandl's old acting master -- before becoming an actor. More interestingly, his father was Adalric Brandl, a deadly Inquisitor who went rogue before killing himself after the Empire captured him, as we saw in the prior story. Deke, in a scene redolent of Jackson's occasional bouts of confused, jumpy, missing-piece dream-logic prose, somehow realizes that Fable is determined to go find Brandl, whom she thinks isn't dead because no body was found (not that you would expect to find the body of a guy who set off a thermal detonator, but I guess she doesn't know the specifics), and get trained or something. Because obviously the best way to learn the discipline and skill you need to defeat a Dark Jedi is to train with another psycho Dark Jedi. He hooks her up with the port master, another Socorran, who can lend her a ship.

    This ship is an X-wing, because of course it is. Fable wakes up from another Vialco nightmare as she comes out of hyperspace over Trulalis, the Brandl homeworld. In the little village, she finds uninhabited ruins and bodies of citizens and stormtroopers, the remnant of long-ago insurrection and retaliation. Jaalib's shuttle is also there. He is, of course, in the theater. With Adalric. Rehearsing Uhl Eharl Khoehng, which Adalric proclaims the greatest tragedy of the stage. Jaalib's furious when she walks up, insisting she shouldn't be there, but Adalric seems intrigued and allows her to stay overnight as she's overpowered by his magnificent presence. Jaalib insists that many have come asking for Brandl to train them and he's turned them all away, which makes it hard to believe the Empire still thinks he's dead, but sure, whatever.

    The next morning, after a refreshing meal of sausage and what I think is an attempt to describe oatmeal, she goes out to the graveyard to see Lord Adalric Brandl, since graveyards are the dramatically obvious place to hang out waiting for your student when you're the Laurence Olivier of the dark side. He says a lot of suitably-impressive sounding things about conflict within the Jedi between emotion and reason, about the lure of the dark side, about choosing to win or lose, about Vialco being a putz who's fated to destroy himself, but none of it really bears clearly on Fable's issues. More germanely, he agrees to train her, and starts her slicing ball bearings off the tops of candles on tops of gravestones. Look, it makes sense in context. She succeeds early, gets cocky, and fails miserably when Brandl tells her to strike ten. He leaves her to continue trying until she succeeds. If she can't do it, she knows where her ship is parked.

    Throughout the rainy fall, she continues training. She's not making much progress, and Brandl, who's kind of a jerk about most things, is a jerk about it. Though Fable does notice that any time Brandl seems tempted to try to turn her to the dark side, he backs off and tells her to make her own choices. During the current session, Fable gives up in dejecting, walking back to the theater to see Jaalib, who's supportive now that she's actually training, while Brandl hectors her for her failure and demands that she respect the Force, humble herself before it and let it guide her rather than demanding success from it. She heads off to take a bath, while Jaalib and Adalric argue about her value as a pupil. Adalric is annoyed at her emotionalism, which reminds him of his wife, who, Jaalib reminds him, died protecting Jaalib from the stormtroopers sent to find Brandl, who destroyed the village. Brandl may have faked his death and tutored Jaalib in acting in seclusion on Trulalis, but he's not exactly the best father.

    Then, Jaalib and Fable commiserate over Adalric's behavior, and Jaalib informs her that papa's gone for a few days. He invites her on a picnic to make up for being such a jerk when she first landed, and also because they're an obvious romantic pairing and love interests go on picnics. It's what they do. So they picnic idyllically on a mountainside before it rains on them, as always happens to romantic picnics, and they take shelter in the five-hundred-year-old amphitheater built into the mountain and talk about Uhl Eharl Khoehng, a play titled (of course) in Old Corellian. Turns out it's about a prince who inherits a forest kingdom and tries to expand it by felling the forest, only for the elf-king of the forest to make everyone sent into the forest disappear. The prince becomes fascinated, obsessed with bringing the mystical elf-king to the palace, and ends up slowly sending his entire kingdom into the forest to find the elf-king and invite him to dinner until it's just him left, and the elf-king promises him safe passage into the forest, but keeps him trapped there by illusions for a decade, going mad with guilt, until the spirit of his most faithful servant shows up to tell him that the elf-king turned everyone into conscious, immobile trees, and leads him out of the forest to the elf-king, who demands that the prince call him master and he'll restore his kingdom to him. The prince then loses his mind and burns the entire forest down out of guilt, saying that the ruin is the only kingdom he deserves to rule, and the only kingdom the elf-king can have now, and finally returns to do homage to the elf-king for the wasteland. I'm not sure how it's relevant to the story, but Jackson appears to have decided that it would be the greatest tragedy ever. Anyway, the prince was Brandl's greatest role and now he's training Jaalib to do it and he'll play the elf-king and they'll stage a revival. More relevantly, Jaalib finally explains why he's not a Jedi: he learned the lightsaber and meditation, but he never wanted to be a Jedi, only an actor, and so he's never asked his father to teach him any more, and Brandl's never seemed to want to teach him any more. Then she has Jaalib show her how he does the lightsaber drill using some candles, which of course involves him standing behind her and guiding her hands, because again, this is how romantic scenes work in fiction. Because Jaalib's a less crap instructor than his bitchy father, he manages to actually show her how to do it, telling her to trust the Force to guide her hand rather than trying to plan it all out in terms of lines and angles, trying to do it all with her eyes and hands and conscious mind. After a stumble, she succeeds, and kisses him. Romance!

    When Brandl comes back, she's now a much better student, better able to focus, and Brandl seems appropriately pleased. And Jaalib seems appropriately romantic. This leads to an angry Brandl storming in one night, telling her that he won't allow her relationship with Jaalib, and telling her he's already sent Jaalib back to Iscera to prepare for their play's opening. She vents by trying to taunt Brandl about his remaining loyalty to the Emperor, whom Brandl regards as an old friend with noble ideas.

    At this time, Vialco shows up. I guess he got tired of waiting for Fable to ever actually decide she'd learned enough to go and face him herself. She hears him land and heads off to the graveyard to confront him, because that's obviously where you have this kind of dramatic confrontation. They duel, and Fable's much better because I guess going through candle drills makes you a good duelist. But Vialco starts taunting her with the image of her dead pal and she starts to lose her temper. She gets the edge over him, because he's apparently a pretty pathetic Dark Jedi, but a blast of Force lightning turns the tables. She takes a few hits, but then manages to start deflecting it. She advances, knocks him down into a hollow, and stands over him, ready to kill him, before hesitating at this dramatically appropriate moment. Brandl then pops up to encourage her to kill him. She doesn't want to; she's defeated him, and that's enough. Then Vialco gets up and attacks, so she kills him in self-defense -- only to realize he was unarmed. His attack was an illusion by Brandl. So then she attacks Brandl. He admits his plan to her: he wants to bring her to the Emperor, present her as another Dark Jedi servant to win his way back into Imperial favor. If she cooperates, he won't get between her and Jaalib. He's already destroyed her ship and Vialco's. She's got no choice.

    So she's stuck on Trulalis, obviously unable to defeat Brandl, locked in her room, with a choice to make. That's until Jaalib comes back, and tells her that he checked his ship's logs and found out that Brandl's trip was to Byss, obviously to see Palpatine. He rushed back, getting Deke to land with Fable's YT-1300, and now they run away to the freighter, Jaalib rescuing Fable romantically. But he won't go. He just can't leave his father. He makes Fable leave without him as he stays behind; as the prince, he must burn the forest down before paying his homage to the elf-king. Oh, good, the play's relevant now. Brandl briefly Force-chokes him before stalking away, as Jaalib quotes the play at him.

    It's a pretty good story. It doesn't quite achieve the compelling depth of character of The Final Exit, but it plumbs some interesting themes, has some striking passages, and encompasses some quality character work. Brandl is less interesting here than before, no longer really a tragic hero so much as an enigmatic shadow over the whole thing. It's Jaalib, the dutiful son to an evil father, who's the compelling tragic figure now, but the story puts very little focus on him, instead following Fable, who's frankly a fairly bland character whose struggle with the dark side is really interesting in theory, but it's not executed as compellingly as it could be. There's a lot to like about the story -- for some reason Patricia Jackson really ups her game when writing about the Brandls instead of the Paulsens -- but it doesn't have the magic spark that The Final Exit had. It also suffers from the whole central concept not really making sense -- it revolves entirely about Fable's weird, never-explicitly-stated, dream-logic decision to seek out a dead darksider to train her to resist the dark side based on the inexplicable insistence that he must be alive and also won't manage to turn her, unlike the other darksider she's training to defeat. There's a much more logical version of this story somewhere where she begs Jaalib to train her to swordfight and he takes her to his father or she stumbles across him in her attempt to contact Jaalib and kind of backs into being trained by an unreformed darksider, but this isn't it. The whole story rests on this logical gap and it just undermines both the narrative and thematic coherence of the thing. I'll still take the Brandls over Dannen Lifehold any day, though.

    NEWSNETS NEXT.
  5. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 5
    ...wait, so this is where that one Lit member got his name from? That's always so surreal.
  6. Zeta1127 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    I like Uhl Eharl Khoehng a lot, definitely because of the Brandls and Old Corellian.
    KerkKorpil likes this.
  7. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Fun fact: The ending for Fable was never published because of multiple reasons but one of them being the author intended her to end on a downer note.

    Fable joins Brandl's Warlord State which includes the Chommel Sector.
  8. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    Does anyone else find it weird that "elves" exist in human mythology in Star Wars? I mean, one could probably argue that it's not much different from "Angels on the moons of Iego" or Han saying "I'll see you in hell". But lots of religions have the concept of "holy/beautiful creatures" and "place of suffering in the afterlife", so it makes sense that religions in the Galaxy Far Far Away would have those words too. On the other end, "pointy eared humans who live in the woods, are tied to nature, and have magic powers," is an awfully specific mythological creature, and it seems a bit coincidental that humans in the GFFA would also come up with that idea.
  9. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    In-universe, legends of "elves" might be based on experience of Sephi, plus a lot of time to distort the accounts.

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sephi/Legends
    JediBatman likes this.
  10. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    The pointy eared element is a creation of the Victorian times. However, it should be noted virtually every society has a concept of the Fair Folk.

    I learned that while researching my urban fantasy novels.

    Mind you, maybe there literally IS a race of elves in Star Wars like there's a race of angels.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Sep 1, 2017
    JediBatman likes this.
  11. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 5
    Arguably the Sephi existing just makes it WEIRDER. Though "elves" in this particular case really just means "magical mythical forest spirit", which, yeah, is a common concept.
  12. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Eharl translates as trickster or elf. The story actually calls him the Eharl Khoehng all the way through, but I translated it because I really didn't feel like constantly typing Eharl Khoehng. I also didn't feel like constantly calling the prince the Edjian-Prince, which Jackson doesn't even bother to explain. Since the character is, after all, not described as a stereotypical elf, I don't think there's anything particularly odd about the existence of mythological forest-trickster figures, which are fairly common throughout legend and a sort of naturally occurring superstition.

    What doesn't make as much sense is that the eharl is said to be a figure of Socorran myth. You know, the desert planet.
    JediBatman likes this.
  13. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 6
    Is it mentioned if the Gree some other ships beside Rokak'k Baran? Because if it is the only ship they have left, how do they keep others from moving in their territory?
  14. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I don't think they quite thought that through. The Gree might have some warships or something, but it would seem that the Baran is the only ship carrying on commerce and communication.
  15. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    Another possibility is that there's some sort of automated defense system that attacks any ship besides the Rokak'k Baran.
  16. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 5
    I always thought something a little similar - that there's some kind of hyperspatial weirdness related to the gates that only the Rokak'k Baran can get around - but that given the general decline of the Gree, they don't really know why that's the case anymore.
    Last edited by Vthuil, Sep 1, 2017
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    After a stretch of saving the Galaxywide NewsNets for near the end of each issue, it's a pleasant surprise to get them much earlier.

    The Independent Traders' Infonet reports that tariffs on gladiator walkers have been lifted. Imperial law requires they be manufactured in the Core, to comply with security regulations, and the heavy transport tariffs have kept them mostly restricted to the Core, where the sport of gladiator walker combat is popular. It's never really caught on outside the Core, despite the presence of some exhibition teams. Now, however, it's expected that there will be a boom in demand as people establish the sort of minor league teams needed to feed the galactic sport, meaning there's an opening for enterprising spacers to sell them now, before the big corporations get settled into the trade. I have to note that I really like the idea of team gladiatorial walker combat. It sounds totally awesome, and like something you could only have in a sci-fi setting.

    The Darpa SectorNet reports that just as authorities were preparing to close in on a Rebel "terrorist cell" at the university in Calamar, Esseles, a blackout struck the city when the power grid received a shutdown order authorized by the mayor. The Rebels escaped, and Imperial authorities are now looking into who shut down the power grid and how the Rebels, who are presumed to have done it, obtained the mayor's key codes. I presume this is going somewhere.

    Imperial HoloVision brings the story of a feud between miners from Jante and Freda, in which a longstanding dispute over mining rights to the Rettna system, located between both worlds, has escalated, with shots fired and both sides massing their defense forces in the Rettna system. The spike in conflict is driven by the rawmat shortage and the consequent boom in prices. The Empire is now sending ships into the system, and Moff Havaland is currently sending mediators. If there isn't a peaceful resolution, Havaland threatens to settle the matter by appointing an Imperial arbiter to decide the claims. And you don't argue with the Empire.

    Alendar Jarvis of the New Order Progressive has a gossipy story on Imperial Court politics. Grand Admiral Rufaan Tigellinus has become a key player in only a short time, forging alliances with such power brokers as Alec Pradeux, one of Palpatine's closer Advisors. This is the first mention of Tigellinus, who's only the third Grand Admiral to be named. Tigellinus pulled off a coup when he got Moff Jamson Caglio to back Gerald Weizel, a Tigellinus protege, for the Chandrilan governorship. Caglio had long been a notable supporter of Grand Moff Traeda, leader of a different Court faction. Tigellinus is said to now be courting another official who is out of favor with Palpatine but has great influence among Traeda's supporters, Moff Disra. Yes, Moff Disra. This is two years before Specter of the Past came out. So either Tim Zahn tipped off Paul Sudlow two years in advance to start dropping the name of a major character from his next book, or Tim Zahn took the name of a major character in his duology from a one-off mention in an Adventure Journal NewsNet. Either's pretty cool, though I actually suspect the latter.

    On Elshandruu Pica, our old friend the Tombat has ripped off the security vault of the formerly famously-secure resort Margath's, making off with six millions credits worth of gems. Kina Margath, owner, is very upset at the news, as it's tarred her business's former reputation for total security for the elite class of the galaxy, and a furious Lady Landric of Danteel, wife of a Core Moff, has kicked off an Imperial investigation of the resort due to the loss of her two-million-credit corusca stone necklace.

    That was Colonial News Nets; our next story is from Nova Network, with the instant followup -- two days later, the Tombat has replaced all the jewels back in Margath's vault. It's a totally unprecedented move for the Tombat, and the Imperial investigator has no idea why it happened. If anything, it's even showier to bypass not only Margath's security again, but also the Imperial investigative team on the grounds. This whole story (which misspells Margath as Margrath, consistently) will only make sense if you recognize Kina Margath and Margath's from Galaxy Guide 9, which established Margath as a Rebel agent using her resort complex as a front for her spy activities, and the Tombat from Cracken's Rebel Operatives, which establishes Tanda Marelle, Galactic Resorts senior reporter, as the legendary jewel thief who is herself a part-time Rebel operative. With that knowledge, you can understand that once the Imperial investigation was announced, the Tombat returned the jewels to deflect the investigation and keep it from uncovering Margath's Rebel secrets.

    Colonial News Nets is back with Earnst Kamiel's death; the JAN founder was executed by firing squad on Haldeen after his capture and sentencing, reported in the previous NewsNets. Kamiel's execution was actually delayed by two months, contrary to the usual Imperial immediate execution after conviction (not big on the appeals process, is the Empire), not because of legalities but because there were just so many planets that wanted to carry out the sentence himself. The JAN terrorist had the death penalty in fifty-four systems, and each of them wanted to be the ones to kill Kamiel. Moff Gandril ultimately settled the matter by having Kamiel executed on Haldeen, where he was captured, but allowing each system to send a member for the firing squad. Kamiel founded JAN on Findris sixteen years ago, making it a fairly early anti-Imperial movement, it's spread to over a hundred Colonies worlds, where it's responsible for thousands of bombings and ten thousand deaths. Kamiel, one of three JAN founders, has been charged with personal responsibility for three thousand of the deaths. These other two founders, mentioned here, would ultimately be retconned to be Jan Ors's parents.

    Andor Javin, TriNebulon News reporter coming to you from Camalon, Trantor (this is the first reference to Trantor, Asimov's ecumenopolis, as a Star Wars planet), has the dramatic unmasking of the legendary Cynabar: it's none other than Platt Okeefe! He's got a bit of interesting circumstantial evidence in the form of a droid's analysis of the syntactical similarities between the writing of both parties, and the fact that Platt disappeared from public at the same time Cynabar went dark. Less compelling is his claim "that the name 'Cynabar,' when translated Into Ithorian and printed out in the Huttese character system, looks very much like 'Plttke' when viewed sideways, which can readily be extrapolated into Cynabar's true name, Platt Okeefe." Javin has reported his findings to the Imperial Office of Criminal Investigation, which he admits was unimpressed and doesn't appear inclined to pursue the matter. This leaves the matter ambiguous; it may be the case that Platt is Cynabar, or more likely part of Cynabar's collective, but Javin hardly has hard proof, and it's obvious from the tone of his pompous, gossipy writing style that he's not a serious reporter or credible source. WEG would keep Cynabar's identity a continuing mystery, refusing to ever acknowledge the obvious fact that's actually a jewelry company in Canada.

    From Esseles, Deena Mipps of Darpa SectorNet informs us that the beleaguered President Ralle of Esseles, whose faltering political position under the onslaught of Jamson Freller's Esselian New Order Party the NewsNets have long documented, is now weaker than ever thanks to the recession sparked by the rawmat shortage. With unemployment rising and elections soon, Freller is making major inroads among aging Clone Wars hero Ralle's supporters by criticizing his refusal to ban aliens from strategic manufacturing jobs, the way most Core Worlds have (with notable exceptions in Corellia and Brentaal).

    In Landru City, Danteel, Emmo sector Moff Landric has spurred the Imperial Office of Criminal Investigations to appoint Special Enforcement Officer Zanza Gata to the Tombat case. Jacen Corbit, IOCI director, announced that what appears to be the Imperial FBI is getting involved in tracking down the Tombat. Inspector Gata, a legendarily effective IOCI agent with a long string of success who's long maintained a fascination with the Tombat's exploits, makes the perfect choice to lead the investigation into the Tombat's galaxy-spanning activities and bring him to justice.

    The new year (marking nearly two years since Yavin) then begins with Fete Week, which Coruscant Daily NewsFeed reports on. The traditional Shaldania Parade has kicked off Fete Week on Imperial Center. The parade was led by Imperial walkers, and a mixture of famous Imperial units from every branch of service and cultural presentations from around the galaxy. Not there to perform the traditional opening of the parade via presentation of arms were the Emperor's Royal Guards, as this was the first Shaldania Parade the Emperor had failed to attend in eight years. The Emperor was announced to be too busy attending to important Imperial business in the Deep Core to attend, and the parade was instead officiated by Grand Admiral Tigellinus, Grand Moff Traeda, and Moff Jaan. I'm not sure exactly what Sudlow means to imply by the Emperor's absence, except perhaps to suggest that he's currently recovering on Byss from transferring into a new clone body, as he was assumed to do with some regularity before Leland Chee rained on Dark Empire's parade.

    Deena Mipps is back in the new year to report that Ralle's Forad party has lost its majority in the Esselian elections, with the Esselian New Order Party capturing significant gains, if not a majority in the Hall. Freller is expected to call for new presidential elections soon, and to stand as his party's presidential candidate.

    The NewsNets finish with a bit from Sterling Hershey reflecting his Flashpoint! Brak Sector sourcebook. Brak Sector News reports from Bacrana that Rebel terrorists have disrupted the Brak Sector CommNet. A widespread, coordinated campaign of sabotage and attacks against transmitters and relays cut off communications briefly before backup systems came online. Long-distance communications were disrupted for much of the day, but local communications were not significantly affected. It's not clear what the Rebellion hoped to accomplish by the attacks, which had little apparent effect. This attack, like last issue's suppressed demonstration, is a small part of the backstory for the Rebel leader in the Brak Sector sourcebook, General Reskan. Interestingly, including it here, dated some two years after Yavin, would actually date the Brak Sector campaign closer to 3 ABY, when Flashpoint! Brak Sector itself says its campaign is intended to be set shortly after Yavin but can be modified if you like. That's the danger of trying to promote your sourcebook through the NewsNets when the NewsNets are running along their own fixedly-progressing dating scheme and have already moved well past your intended setting, I guess.

    Good stuff, overall. I love the beginning of a focus on Imperial Court politics, and big moves on the Tombat and Esselian politics threads, as well as depicting a diverse array of continued fallout from the rawmat shortage. I could criticize Sudlow for going a bit heavy on the Darpa and Bormea sectors in his coverage, since they're clearly his babies, but Darpa and Bormea are awesome so I don't care.

    Next up, The Yard of Opportunity primes you for adventure with a rundown on a fairly unique mercenary organization.
    Sarge, Nom von Anor, Vthuil and 2 others like this.
  18. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 6
    Where could all that missing rawmat be going? There must be a small moon's worth unaccounted for!


    As for the jewelry heist, I would turn that into a 3 musketeers style adventure, cuz I always thought musketeer style stories would be cool in SW.
  19. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 6
    And the boardbugs just keep on coming...
    Last edited by Sarge, Sep 3, 2017
  20. comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2017
    star 3
    Question that's slightly related: Does anyone have a copy of the pre-PT Battle for Mandalore Adventure that was in Challenge Magazine for WEG's system?
  21. Darth Zack Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 1
  22. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Yard of Opportunity is a bit of a weird one. It's by Christopher Olson with illustrations by Eric Olson. I'm going to assume they're brothers, as both hail from the greatest state, Wisconsin.

    A second-person vignette of you as an Executive Results employee landing at the Yard, a hideous junkyard on Valgauth, opens the piece. It's got some good imagery but doesn't tell you much.

    We're then introduced to Syndicate One. Post-Endor, Trigdale Metallurgy (pulled from the Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook) cut loose a lot of subdivisions. Saujutta-Ok-Topii, running a marketing unit that was spun off, converted it into Syndicate One and Executive Results, and based it on the Expansion Region world of Valgauth. Syndicate One is an arms manufacturer, and Executive Results handles distribution. A neutral company, it sells to the Empire, New Republic, and everyone else. It's preeminent in the arms trade in three local sectors, and trades in a couple others as well, making it a relatively local concern.

    Executive Results is a front company for Syndicate One, it distributes the weapons, and it also hires mercenaries to carry out company objectives and as security and smugglers. It's supposedly a used equipment dealer, but smuggles the weapons inside the equipment.

    Valgauth is an Expansion Region world that was originally exploited during an industrial boom, with many manufacturing facilities built on its surface. Once its mineral resources were played out, however, the planet was abandoned, its factories put on automated standby, and the world turned into a dumping ground and scrapyard. Okay-to-pee found the world on old star charts, full of decaying infrastructure and old scrap, and saw it as a resource, putting its surviving droid workforce to work. She bought the planet, and changed its records to list it as an uninhabitable moon. The handful of ships allowed to travel there are given navigational data to find Syndicate One's facilities, since it's almost impossible to distinguish anything in the general junkscape. The Yard is the patched-together jumble of silos that make up Syndicate One's base of operations, staffed by thirty-five people and a thousand droids.

    Okay-to-pee herself was a credit-chasing corporate functionary stuck running a Trigdale marketing subsidiary selling to those alien customers that were considered relatively respectable under the Empire. She always wanted to run her own business, though, and spent her time developing resources and contacts in the manufacturing world. When her division was spun off, she jumped in headfirst, beginning a career as a businesswoman-cum-crimelord. She herself is a Pan-preneur from Sonn Vilmari, an aquatic species thought to be distantly related to the Mon Calamari.

    Sassan Sareeta runs the smuggling side of Executive Results. He's a Sareeta, an alien from an atomic-age civilization that was newly discovered when he was young. He got out into the fringe, built his own hot-rod YT-1300, and made a bit of a name for himself as a blockade runner. He was picked up by Executive Results and got a job coordinating transportation of their smuggled weapons.

    Norjax Thall is a human who serves as the main mercenary consultant for Okay-to-pee. He got his start, back before the Empire, with the Flamestrike Legion defending Bamula sector. They were a legendary outfit until the Empire kicked their ass and disbanded them. Thall went through a series of mercenary outfits out on the Rim, but didn't enjoy the chaos and low caliber of opposition, so moved toward the Core, where he got on a corporate security force. He found that too boring, and ended up working for organized crime, where he was well-paid and challenged. During one mission, he was sent up against Syndicate One forces, but the matter was resolved with negotiation. Okay-to-pee was so pleased with his performance that she hired him away and made him her top tactical adviser.

    Azuroth Khell is a near-human from a relatively primitive society on Kalzeron that had developed a strong honor code. When the Empire tried to pacify the world, Khell joined a resistance group that fled the planet to train, gather equipment, and prepare to counter-invade the world and drive the Empire off it. Unfortunately, Endor happened while they were still planning, and the Empire pulled out. Those who had been fighting a resistance on-planet declared those who had left, and now missed out on the fighting, traitors and cowards, and they were permanently exiled. He became a very successful mercenary, noted for his honorable conduct and discipline, and how he's with Executive Results, in charge of operations against corporate and criminal rivals.

    There are two Adventure Ideas. One is that Executive Results hires you to bust out an impounded starship, only to discover that it was sold out to what turns out to be a gang of pirates you have to steal it back from. The other is that a New Republic official tries to get you, Executive Results smugglers, to stop Syndicate One from selling to Imperial forces. You're supposed to take a tracking device to the Yard during a run, and then help guide in the New Republic infiltrator teams. If Syndicate One gets word of your involvement, that obviously gets a bounty on your head and mercenaries on your tail. Of course, you could also double-cross the New Republic, if you'd rather have a galactic government pissed off at you.

    I wouldn't call this a success. It feels a bit like something out of one of the early Adventure Journals. The Olsons had a couple half-neat ideas, but didn't turn them into anything. The whole presentation of the article is just, "Here's some things we thought of," and it never builds them into a coherent concept. Why are there two companies? Why isn't Executive Results just manufacturing weapons in secret? Why are there two names? What's with the emphasis on mercenaries for what's actually a smuggling racket? It never brings it all together. There's a decent basic idea in there, of this shady organization your characters can work for or run up against, with a secret base and some colorful personalities, but it's all very basic and way underdeveloped, both conceptually and as an article, which just drops a bunch of facts without even coherent organization. The Adventure Journal should be better than this at this point.

    It's the issue's first adventure next time, as you take on the Kaarenth Dissension.
    Sarge, Daneira, Vthuil and 3 others like this.
  23. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 6
    Isn't Executive Results just a very thinly veiled reference to Executive Outcomes?
  24. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Yes, but it's not actually a mercenary outfit so much as a smuggling front company that uses mercenaries, so it's not a great reference. Which is part of the general conceptual muddle.
  25. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    I always loved JAN and felt they deserved more focus as "The Evil Rebel Alliance" is an amazingly cool concept.