[Ed. Note: This post is part two of two of a mini series to show what Vek-Tor and Nimble were doing during Return Engagement and Interdict This!. This is based on a small session conducted with the players this time.]
As Vek-Tor arrived at the meeting point, he already saw the jedi’s ghost moving away towards the mountains. Vek-Tor sensed with the Force and detected Nimble following. Intrigued, Vek-Tor decided to follow the ghost while masking Nimble’s presence from Malthos. The ghost led Vek-Tor to a cave. The air was unnaturally colder inside and Vek-Tor could feel the area was strong in the Force. Bravely, he stepped in.
Nimble followed Vek-Tor to the cave entrance. When she looked inside, she saw the passage lead to a fork. She didn’t get there in time to see which way Vek-Tor went, so she randomly picked the left passage. It eventually opened up into a large cavern. The cave Nimble emerged was on a ledge and she could see a figure standing on the cave floor some 10 meters below her.
Vek-Tor was surrounded in darkness. He calmed his nerves through meditation. Suddenly a bright light shone above him. He opened his eyes to see an AT-ST with a spot light atop it shining down on him. A figure on top of the AT-ST controlled the spotlight and kept it on him as he moved. Vek-Tor squinted to make out the barbed figure of Morthane. Responding instinctively, Vek-Tor used his telekinetic Force powers to propel the AT-ST into the cave roof and crushed Morthane. And then the cave was dark again. No sound stirred and Vek-Tor was sure the AT-ST and Morthane were not real. They were merely a vision to test him. What more tests did this cave offer?
Nimble was about to call to Vek-Tor below when he suddenly looked at her glow rod. Perplexed, she hesitated. Before she could say anything, Vek-Tor used the Force and lifted a large stalagmite off the ground and threw it at the ceiling. The collision knocked her off her feet and she dropped her glow rod. It careened on the ledge and fell to the cave floor below her. It slowly rolled towards Vek-Tor. Confused, Nimble hid behind a column. Vek-Tor wasn’t acting like himself and Nimble didn’t know what to do about it.
Vek-Tor stumbled forward and tripped. He reached out to brace himself and felt a cold metal wall. Looking up he saw a Firespray-31 starship. The starship he always wanted and dreamed about. It was resting on a bed of gems, precious metals, and Imperial credits. Every item he ever wanted to possess was here now for his taking. Excitement filled Vek-Tor but quickly faded. This was another test. These possessions are not real. They never are. He pushed back at the apparition using the Force and it disappeared.
Nimble watched Vek-Tor stumble around and brace himself on a stone column. He stared intently at something, but Nimble wasn’t sure what it was. He then defiantly stomped on the glow rod at his feet. The cave plunged into darkness. Nimble sighed and retrieved another glow rod. She hoped Vek-Tor would ignore it.
An overhead light shown down on Vek-Tor and his military aides. He stood in front of a large map of the Elrood Sector. The aids were arguing over the armies next move. “Who should we attack next, General Vek-Tor?” one of the aids said. “The lightly defended bread basket planet where civilian casualties will be high. Or the heavily defended military factory where our troop casualties will be high?” Vek-Tor pondered the question and looked at the entire map. There had to be a third option, a better way. Then he saw it. “Move our capital ships to that mining planet. We’ll blockade their raw materials and prevent the factories from producing military hardware without any bloodshed.”
Nimble watched Vek-Tor stare at his feet for what seemed a small eternity. Finally, he shook himself and looked up at her. “Nimble? Is that you?” Nimble sighed of relief. Whatever was messing with Vek-Tor’s head was now gone.
The two began to leave the cave when Malthos’ ghost appeared at the cave entrance. “Follow me,” he said simply. They walked down an obscured cavern for a long while. Eventually they stopped at what Vek-Tor believed was directly under the Derilyn temple. Three large crystals formed a small monolith in the shape of an open pyramid. Vek-Tor could feel the Force emanating from the crystals and shooting up towards the temple.
“Quckly,” Malthos said. Destroy it before Darth Rageus can stop us. Vek-Tor’s skeptisism returned. He gave a half-hearted attempt with his wrist rockets. A dark figure in robes with the features of a Coyn emerged from the pyramid.
“Who are you and why are here in my temple,” the dark figure said.
“I’m Vek-Tor and this is Nimble. Who are you?”
“I am Darth Rageus. I see you’ve met my former apprentice, Malthos. What lies has that traitor been telling you.”
“Traitor?” Vek-Tor hissed. “Is this true, Malthos?”
“Of course its true,” Darth Rageus furiously exclaimed. “The man literally stabbed me in the back with a lightsaber.”
“There was a little more to it than that if I remember correctly,” Malthos replied calmly. “Rageus convinced me that my people of the Elrood Sector were being oppressed. He and I fought against the Republic and the Jedi Order. The war brought more suffering to this sector than the Republic ever did. Killing you, Rageus, was the only way that suffering would end.”
“The ends justified the means.” Rageus replied forcefully.
“The ends never justify the means.” Vek-Tor interjected. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t destroy this contraption and end your possession right now.”
“No one is being possessed that doesn’t want to be.” Rageus retorted. “I have given him power and in return he will fulfill my dream of rebelling against Coruscant.”
“Things have changed since you were alive,” Vek-Tor said calmly. Must stay calm and focused he thought. “Would you still rebel against a fellow Sith?”
“I know very well about this so called New Order. It stinks very much of the old order. Power resides in Coruscant and is doled out to other planets at the whim of Coruscant. It doesn’t matter if it comes from officious bureaucrats of the Senate or a self-styled Emperor. And just because he’s Sith doesn’t mean I like him.” Vek-Tor could tell Rageus was just warming up. Indeed, he continued his diatribe.
“There’s something you should know about the duality of Jedi and Sith. They do not represent good and evil as you have been taught. They represent Selfless and Selfish. You can be good and selfish as well as evil and selfless. The selfless jedi that I fought sought to perpetuate the systemic evils of the status quo. That selflessness was worth rebelling against. That was worth fighting and yes dying for. Would you have made the same choice? Will you make it now?”
“What do you mean? I would never rebel against the Republic, but I would against the Empire. I would go so far as to say I do rebel against the Empire.” Vek-Tor asked intrigued.
“Careful here, it’s a trap.” Malthos cautioned.
“Quiet fool,” Rageus snapped. “You made your case. Now let me make mine. We are not so different you and I. I had to convince my current apprentice to fight against the Empire. His fear told him to hide. Your anger tells you to fight.”
“I’m not angry,” Vek-Tor insisted.
“Indeed,” Rageus dismissed. “Let me tell you about my goals. I seek to free this sector from the evils of foreign rule. I fought for this crusade when I was alive, and I fight for it now in death. You wish to fight as well. Then let me help you. Together we will throw off this yoke of oppression. The sectors should rule themselves. If there are disputes between two sectors, then let neutral sectors act as third party mediators. But let no one sector oppress another sector whether core or outer rim.”
“Quite the utopia,” Malthos said sarcastically. “Ask him who should rule?”
“Good question, Malthos. Well, Rageus. What about it?” Vek-Tor asks. For the first time Rageus responded cautiously.
“I don’t care about the form of government as long as there is a strong executive to guard against invasion. Coruscant will not let any planet go without a fight.”
“What about you Malthos? What your goals?” Vek-Tor asked.
“I joined Rageus because I was idealistic enough to believe that my people would be better served ruling themselves. I still believe that, but I would not see my people swap the oppressive rule of one Sith Lord for another. You have to choose between us Vek-Tor. This is the final test of your spirit.”
Intuitively, Vek-Tor knew what his choices were. Each of these spirits saw him as their pawn. They wished him to choose to become what they couldn’t become in the past. His destiny was to lead a rebellion against the Empire, but just like in his spiritual test, there was a third way. He couldn’t see it now, but he would find the third way. In the meantime …
“I’ve decided,” Vek-Tor said softly. He quickly raised his and hands and commanded the cavern roof to collapse on the crystals. The Force energies faded and Darth Rageus’ face alighted with anger.
“You have made your choice now, but there will be others. I will see you anon young Vek-Tor,” Rageus said from clenched teeth. The dark apparition vanished.
“I am most excited about your choice, Vek-Tor. We will make a great team and we will bring these people freedom,” Malthos beamed before vanishing too.
Cynically Vek-Tor replied, “Freedom’s just a word for nothing left to lose. We’re not there yet.”
A low rumble shook the cave. “Looks like you shook something loose,” Nimble said worriedly. “Was that what a cave in sounds like?”
The two made their way to the cave entrance. The found a blocked passage on their way.
“Yes that was a cave in,” Vek-Tor stated flatly. “We’ll have to dig our way out. Let’s just hope our friends don’t attack the temple without us.”
Two days of digging later and a breathless seeming ordeal was over. Their friends had left and took their ship with them. Vek-Tor and Nimble absconded with an Imperial speeder they found nearby and returned to Derilyssa.