THE FIERY PATH - 12/14/02

The planet slowly rotated below them in the silence of space. Bot Welo's voice came over the intercom, "We've arrived...and orbit has been established."

Quinn turned to Kenai, "Have you met a Jedi before other than ones from the White Tower?"

Kenai shook his head. "No...never have. Jedi working for the Republic rarely make it out this far into the Outer Rim. This disturbance in the Force on Peren must be a very serious matter to draw their attention to our Sector."

Morgan smiled. "It is good that all of us are together again. It has been much too long. Five years since I've seen either of you! Its amazing...."

Quinn nodded. "I visited Peren with Kenai about a year ago on a short mission. Managed to get myself captured by a group of particularly nasty arcane force-users...seeking to awake the elder gods, or some equally proface plan. Kenai scuttered off and hired some local mercenaries and after a fairly bloody battle and a timely escape on my part, we destroyed the dark coven. Kenai ran into a few locals...seems they call their planet 'Kempin,' rather than Peren."

Kenai laughed, "They were suspicious of outsiders and strangers, and quite a few of them seemed to have tapped into the Force in some fairly powerful ways. I can see why open contact and sharing information with the Perens is prohibited."

Morgan slapped Kenai on the shoulder. "Depending on what we run into...we may have to bend the rules a little. There are these new members to our group, which we will need to watch in order to judge their skills and honestly. And then...well, then, there's Vette."

Quinn's face twisted into a frown. "Master Tchor-Won insisted we take him along with us...and it is true that while I feel he is tainted, there is much good in him yet. He claims to not remember his past...and I suggest that we leave things that way for the time-being. If he has truly forgotten Darth Vile's control of him, and all the evil he did on Milos...then perhaps it is best it remain forgotten. Do we all agree?"

Each of them agreed, though Kenai added, "I agree, for now. We will have to discuss this again later. Now who's this Jedi from the Republic we're supposed to meet with before going to the surface?"

Quinn answered. "We were given only the name Oaht-Goth...and a code he would transmit..."

Quinn was interrupted by the sound of an explosion on the shields of the ship. Vette's voice came over the intercom, "We're taking fire from a Trade Corporation Avengers...taking ion cannon fire...let's get someone in the turrets...."

The ship was rocked again by enemy fire, and everyone but Quinn was knocked off their feet. Vette's voice was a bit shaken, "Hyperdrive's damaged...uh...damnit...damnit!"

Bot Welo's voice came over the intercom with a buzz and a pop..."I'm going to manuver into the atmosphere...bring us in at an entry-angle a big Avenger-class starship can't handle...strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride!"

The Gray Sunrise sliced the atmosphere with a screaching whine, and a streak of flame forming off its surface trailed far behind it. "Hold on...Hold on....Ion engines failing...hold on...."

Their still smoking ship dug into the green grassy turf, and rich brown earth exploded into the air as they slid to a stop. A trench 200 feet long was evidence of their uncontrolled landing...but the Gray Sunrise was down...and intact. Bot Welo let out a whistling cry of joy...a cry unique to Rodians. "We've landed! We're alive!" Bot and Vette came into the crew quarters from the bridge. Bot climbed a ladder inset into the wall and began manipulating some levers with his long green fingers. "Can't go out the belly ramp...its buried. We'll have to use the docking hatch."

There was a hiss as the small pressure difference inside from outside balanced out, and the round hatchway slid open. The members of the party climbed out onto the top of the Gray Sunrise...and then quickly ran and jumped off the side when they noticed their shoe soles were heating up on the hot surface of the ship. They stood in the tall brown grass blowing in the wind, looking at the endless rolling hills in all directions. Vette whispered, "It's beautiful."

Quinn walked strode over to Bot, "How long to get this ship back in the air?"

Bot's pursed lips were all that moved on his face as he spoke, and his large dark eyes never blinked. "We've got droids on board. It should be a day or two...if we've got the parts we need. The flight vectors of those Avengers suggest they were on a set patrol pattern above the planet. Its a sure bet the Fendora-Bengala Trade Corporation has agents on the planet's surface."

Kenai was scanning the horizon with a pair of electrobinoculars. "Riders from the south...and the east. Looks like armored men on the backs of quadrapeds...primitive armor...bladed weapons. Perens on the move...our way. They are at a gallop. Looks like our crash landing has earned us some attention!"

(Note: this "game" occurred at the end of a long D&D game, and lasted about 15 minutes)