Friday, May 19, 2017

Mynock Squadron: Epilogue [RPG]


After destroying the Nanocarriers, Beta Flight makes contact with Alpha and Gamma Flights, and learns of their success.  Following a period of lying low and healing, careful scouting missions turn up a surprising find: Grand Moff Kain and all of the Imperial forces on Planet 2505 are dead, faces contorted as in tremendous pain.  No sign of the mysterious hooded figure can be found, and the strange obelisks are as silent as a tomb.  The scattered Imperial forces elsewhere in the system are easily mopped up, and weeks later New Republic reinforcements arrive through Dorval's Wall.  The heroes of Beta Flight return to lives of adventure and duty, but danger and drama are not left behind . . .

Max Cindarion's story continued as rebellious as what had come before. Despite his current probation and being demoted to a glorified janitor, he still refused to obey command.  He was a man deeply devoted to his companions. Though Kero was the reason for his current position, the other members of Beta Flight each went out of their way to offer him support and even defended him publicly. Realising that command were about to abandon his friends, Max acted out against orders one final time. 

“To hell with it! If you're gonna break the rules, why not do it in style?” 

Before the capital vessel made its jump back through the wall, Max snuck aboard a lone A-Wing and raced to his companions’ aid. Accompanied by little knowledge, he had only Gamma Flight’s location to rely on. He arrived with little time to spare, solving a dispute that had happened between the Natives and Gamma Flights less than diplomatic pilots. His charm was invaluable in solidifying that alliance.

He went on to aid his fellow companions in the completion of their mission. Remnant forces unleashed a fierce counter attack upon Beta Flight’s position. Gamma Flight’s arrival at the Asteroid Field was a crucial element in Beta Flight’s survival against the oncoming offensive. They helped turn the tide of the fight, allowing Mynock Squadron to rally together deep behind enemy lines.

It offered Max a degree of redemption, regardless of the backlash. His problems were only just beginning. Following Mynock Squadron's monumental victory, Max was once again made to answer for his disobedience. It was determined that he endangered the mission and every pilot involved.

Whatever the ultimate decision was going to be, it was never made. That night Max disappeared from the brig. The remaining members of Beta Flight were tasked with finding and capturing their previous companion, now little more than an escaped convict. Further investigation made the group question the truth of these events. A deactivated droid in Max's old maintenance job offered insight. Within its databanks was a message informing the group that a Bounty Hunter had snuck on board to capture him. Blaster fire ended the transmission before he could state who. 

His life was now in their hands. Further pursuit inevitably lead to a Hutt known as Slazza. Through deceit and manipulation he had risen from exile and was now a feared Crime Lord. The one-eyed Hutt sought vengeance against Max and the location of an ancient jewel he had stolen long ago. Events had finally come full circle.

Cutting a long story short, it was up to Beta Flight to reach Max, who had been imprisoned on a barren planet, from which there was no escape. It was Slazza's personal game. A group of victims would be set loose on this planet, whereupon a variety of Slazza's personal hunters would track them. Those who get the most kills reaped the rewards. Could Beta Flight reach Max in time or was his fate already sealed?

Events spiralled, Max was saved, Slazza was imprisoned on his own planet with no escape and the ancient Jewel was returned to the Princess of Zahira. Her testimony in Max's favour secured his release though it was at the cost of his position in Mynock Squadron.

In the end Max was happy to leave. It had never been his intention to join the military or Mynock Squadron. Circumstance forced his hand. Yet his brief involvement with Mynock Squadron had changed him for the better, and the friends he made he would keep for as long as he could. Max went on to join an old friend on Naboo. He became a popular ace swoop racer on the hunt for the championship. With a love of speed and an insatiable taste for adventure, he was in his element. He toured from one planet to the other living fast and loving every second of it. The first class treatment and fan-girls was a plus too!

After returning to service, Warik faced a severe crisis: his other personae, that of the human-hating droid Null, became more aggressive in trying to assert control, especially once it saw another opportunity to use nanite technology.   The growing internal conflict led Warik to question why he left the Empire to begin with, and he began to feel guilty about betraying his former lover.  Soon after, a psychotic break occurred as Null tried to take over Warik’s body in order to use the Nanoshaped virus to destroy all “meatbags” in the Galaxy!  Tragically, but heroically, Warik managed to resist just long enough to take his own (and Null’s) life in order to save so many others.  The true depths of his sacrifice would never be known . . .

Keth’s fate remains a mystery . . .

After Mynock's triumph, Mikaela Sor earned her seat in Beta Flight. Her piloting skills were instrumental during the counter attack in the asteroid field. Not only did she flourish in the face of adversity, but she revealed her skills as a squadron leader.

Despite her past involvement with the Empire, leadership could no longer dispute her right to be a full member of Beta Flight. She went on to serve for several years more and her service record quickly became exemplary. She thrived in the air proving just what an ace she was.

Mikaela's time in Mynock Squadron was not easy. The missions were intense and the battles fierce, but time and time again she and her companions overcame the odds. Her greatest challenge came when her her loyalties were questioned. One year after Mynock's victory beyond the wall she finally found her father. He was the Grand Admiral for one of the Remnant’s most dangerous warlords. The warlord had solidified his position with a monstrous fleet of veteran Admirals. Beyond that, he had gained the backing of Dark Side acolytes, including that of a powerful seer. It later became known that the Warlord himself was a Dark Side Acolyte who had once been the Emperor's Voice. This made him a dangerous adversary for the now growing New Republic.

Mynock Squadron were deployed to contain this threat.

Mikaela's father sought to exploit his daughter's new position. He lured Beta Flight into a trap and captured her. He sought to twist her mind, indoctrinating her to the Imperial cause. She returned a traitor to Mynock Squadron, defeating Beta Flight during a crucial battle. Ultimately their lives were left in her hands. Mikaela made her choice, that choice was her family. Her father had never been that to her. She told him that her family was her companions.

She turned on him, delivering a crucial blow to the Star Destroyer. Beta Flight saw their opportunity and turned the tide of the battle. Mikaela's father was defeated, his fleet crippled and eventually so was the warlord. 

However before the end Mikaela saw a ghost. According to official records her brother had been killed long ago. She deeply cared for him, and his death made her desperate to make her father proud. He was alive, his death was merely a fabrication. The truth was, he was a Force Sensitive. Her brother's mind had been warped, his body turned into a weapon. He was an acolyte of the Dark Side, loyal to the Emperor and the Empire. Nevertheless their bond was something that could not be so easily wiped. Her brother freed himself of the shackles of the Dark Side long enough to help defeat the Warlord. He ultimately perished during the destruction of the fleet to save his sister. 

The sobering event meant the world to Mikaela who had missed her brother dearly. She often wondered if he was really dead. Now she finally had closure. The truth had set her free. Mikaela pursued her own path, forging her own legacy.

After an exemplary service in Mynock Squadron Mikaela eventually signed her resignation six years later. But that was far from the end of her story. As a child she had dreamed of sailing the stars in her own starship. She wanted to visit exotic planets, see wondrous worlds and strange new cultures. As the last surviving member of her prestigious family, she had the credits and now the opportunity, the freedom to explore her path.

Though her new pursuits where not militaristic, she was not done living a life of high adventure, nor serving the New Republic. In her travels she became a reliable privateer many New Republic senators and military personnel called on for aid. She earned this reputation through her continued good deeds. Mikaela broke the record for an old Smugglers Pass. She ran blockades to deliver relief to oppressed civilians. She rescued survivors on a hazardous planet and escorted young politicians from the dangerous Outer Rim to the Core Worlds. And all of this whilst she toured the many worlds, doing what she had always dreamed.

It was only natural that other explorers rallied around her. She founded her own Privateer Squadron, and contacted her old companions in Beta Flight to see if they would be interested. This squadron specialised in exploration, aid and even scavenging. Though Mikaela refused to partake in any military operation that involved the destruction of any target. She would defend, she would protect, and of course she would destroy aggressors. However she had spent years serving the Empire and later Mynock Squadron, killing, destroying and attacking. 

Mikaela vowed to use her ace skills to help people and that was exactly what she did.

Mikaela visited exotic worlds, she saw wondrous cultures, she encountered dangerous adversaries and ran supposed unbeatable blockades. She later met a Theelin dancer, a rare and almost extinct species. It turned out this Theelin woman was in fact an agent sent to kill Mikaela for her continued  'good deeds' in the Outer Rim. Despite this minor inconvenience and the fact that the two became rivals, Mikaela fell for the Theelin beauty. She began to long for the thrill of their back and forth. Eventually she won her over. The two became an item.

After Mynock Squadron returned to active duty, Kero ensured the brass knew about the excellent performance of her squad. She tried to see if Warik needed some kind of psychological help because she respected him so much, but he resisted her offer.  She also frequently spoke up for Max during his periodic bouts of trouble with authority, emphasizing that even if standard military service may not be a fit, he should be offered a role in intelligence where he could “go his own way” and still contribute to the New Republic.

Kero continued in her dream of becoming a decorated military officer, climbing the ranks and impressing her military family.  Over time, however, it became increasingly obvious that she was suffering from a serious psychiatric condition.  Alongside her “Kero” personality, another personality had long resided inside her body: that of “Wyn”, who had always tried to protect Kero while pushing for a career in medicine.  Soon, the “wrong” personality (the soldier Kero or the doctor Wyn) began to manifest at critical times.  Eventually, the “bleed” between the two started to drive her mad, as she found  herself in a constant state of flux between the two.

Yet her many friends and colleagues from years in the military did not stand by to watch her spiral out of control.  They intervened and force Kero/Wyn into treatment.  Investigation into Kero's family background revealed that her multiple personality disorder emerged after witnessing the murder of her elder brother (a medical student) when she was younger. Her family was well aware of her illness, but kept it from her - it was this reason and nothing to do with her gender that made them try to keep her from a career in the military.   

Fortunately, after nearly three years of clinical treatment, the psychic rupture was repaired.  Although only one personality survived, a full and satisfying life lay ahead.

The pilots of Mynock Squadron had earned the thanks of countless beings in the Galaxy.  By stopping Grand Moff Kain’s secret plan to crash massive ships full of Nanoshaped into key New Republic worlds, Mynock Squadron gave the fledging government a chance to flourish and repair the decades of evil and injustice wrought by the Empire.  Their lives of valor and sacrifice are not soon forgotten . . .

Director's Commentary (19/5/2017)

It was disappointing to see the campaign come to a sudden, premature end, but one of the things I'm glad I did was to ask the players to write an epilogue for their characters.  The results are above, and are a fitting way to remember the PCs.

I've written before about how this campaign got the short end of the stick because I was simultaneously running another campaign that was extremely prep-intensive and time draining.  In many respects, however, this one was more fun.  It was rules-lighter, less angst-producing, and something different than I'd ever ran before.  It was a successful experiment in trying a military-themed campaign, and I'm glad I got a chance to use some of the optional rules sub-systems (like Rank, Requisitions, and Organizational Scores) to add a different twist to the more standard "adventurers in space" set-up.  I still have all of Saga Edition books, and someday I'll return to the Star Wars universe!

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