- September 22, 2016
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Episode XXXIV - Operation Torch
Utilizing a captured Imperial Lambda shuttle, the Rebel heroes travel to a remote supply depot floating in open space. They are disguised as Imperial officers, with Var’ath pretending to be a lower-ranked technical officer aiding the others.
The agents are welcomed aboard by a Lieutenant who has been recently placed in charge of the space station, and they are shown to a cargo bay where supplies for the upcoming Empire Day celebration over Jaminere await them. They notice that there are several Wookiees being roughly handled by Imperial officers as they are escorted onto the same turbolift, then taken to a different level. They can see some construction work being done as the doors close, and the Imperials are evidently utilizing the Wookiees as forced labor.
After tampering with the contents of the party supplies, the Rebels debate trying to aid the Wookiees despite their pressing mission. Tyren successfully lobbies the group to take some sort of action on behalf of the slave workers, but before they can come up with a plan, they hear a disturbance taking place on the level where the Wookiees are working. An’ath berates the harried Lieutenant about the situation, learning that the works are acting out against their oppressors.
Var’ath is able to slice into a terminal and keep Imperial troops from responding to the scene by shutting down most of the station’s turbolifts. Kentas takes a turbolift up to the construction site, pretending to come to the aid of the harried guards who are trying to put down the uprising. He feigns a stumble into the controls for a loading crane, causing stacks of construction material to come crashing down onto the hapless Imperials caught beneath it. Fleeing from the angered Wookiees by shimmying down an inoperable turbolift’s shaft, Kentas narrowly escapes and returns to the others on the lower floor.
Var’ath tries to steer the Wookiee laborers out of the work site and up to the station’s hangar bay by using his control of the doors and turbolifts between the two levels. Realizing that they now cannot use the lifts to reach the hangar themselves and deliver the cargo to a waiting Imperial freighter, the team puts on vacc suits and pulls the bulky crates out of an airlock, tying the boxes together with some cables. Ascending the outer hull of the supply depot in zero-g, the agents drag the now weightless crates with them in tandem, working their way up to the hangar bay level. As they climb, they pass a viewport where the confounded Imperial officer in charge of the station spots them.
Maintaining the guise of an imperious officer serving Lord Verpalion, An’ath coldly castigates the Lieutenant about his performance during the crisis, and the officer is forced to apologize for how badly things have gotten out of hand. He gives them top-level clearance to board the Imperial freighter without having to wait for inspection.
Hidden among the containers aboard the freighter, the team rides the Imperial cargo vessel out of the hangar bay, noting that the Wookiee prisoners have also managed to escape aboard a stolen Imperial craft. The Wookiees thank the heroes for their help as they also make the jump to hyperspace.
The Imperial container ship reaches the upper levels of the Brulia skyhook, a massive space elevator that rises up from the surface of Jaminere, capital planet of the Allied Tion Sector. The Rebels sneak out unobserved and then blend in with the other Imperial officers who are currently occupying the facility. After settling a bureaucratic argument between a deck officer and a supply officer, the group scouts out the skyhook levels. They also overhear rumors that High Inquisitor Tremayne and one of his pupils will be somewhere nearby, a source of some concern for both the Imperial officers and the Rebel spies.
They locate the comms station at the very top of the elevator, where the PERCEPTOR scanning system is currently installed and being manned by a team of Imperial technicians. They also recognize the Imperial spy they once knew as Rix Kiloean, a Rebel SpecForces soldier, as he apparently oversees the monitoring operation. Kiloean doesn’t see them as they peer into the room and take in the view high over the planet.
Outside of the observation windows, they see the massed fleet of Venom Squadron in orbit over Jaminere, including the massive cruiser “Maledictor”, flagship of Admiral Turkel. Preparations are underway for the Empire Day celebration to take place around the skyhook, and they learn that the shuttle carrying Imperial Advisor Lord Verpalion is expected to arrive shortly. A number of VIPs have gathered in the observation deck to partake of the festivities, and security is tight.
The Rebels decide to split up to focus on two tasks - Kentas and Tyren will locate and secure an escape craft for their team while An’ath and Var’ath will set up a diversion in anticipation of raiding the comm station and setting up IsoTech’s scrambler system.
The smuggler and former Padawan enter a hangar being used by Imperial vessels and see the arrival of a prototype TIE fighter that clearly belongs to one of Venom Squadron’s elite pilots. Kentas is surprised to recognize the man as a cousin of his from Corellia, Delin Angard. While he knew that Delin had joined the Imperial Navy, he had no idea that the man was now one of the premier aces serving with the enemy fleet. He and Tyren eye the prototype TIE as possible vehicle to escape on, but decide that they will likely need one that can carry more people.
Meanwhile, An’ath and Var’ath enter the observation deck where Lord Verpalion is being welcomed by the Imperial VIPs. The Rebels catch glimpses of some of the propaganda being spouted by the guests during interviews with a holonet news reporter named Deera Newnon. Var’ath locates a console in the large room, and he decides to try and slice into it to affect the furniture settings in the observation deck while the unaware partygoers continue mingling. Just as he is getting access, however, the Twi’lek is shocked to find a microphone being shoved in his face and holocam focusing on him.
Newnon asks the disguised saboteur about Empire Day as his surprised face is broadcast throughout the galaxy….