Episode I: Balance of the Force, Session 4

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The group retreats back to the Star Phoenix and blasts off. Thanks to the expert piloting of BL3K, Anakin, and Janos, they manage to lose pursuit by Republic starfighters in the comet's trail. The ships jump to hyperspace away from the Frozen Flame, but not back to Alderaan, nor to Coruscant, where they were to rendezvous with Bail Organa. Instead, BL3K charts a course to a thin-atmosphere planet in a relatively uncharted system (listed in the registry only as NT2386) where the ships set down so that the group can come together and talk. They seal Princess Mina in her quarters, and discuss what to do with her. She makes no attempts to deny being involved in the alien secession movement, but when Janos digs deeper into the data taken from the Republic droid they find that there is a terrorist plot afoot on Coruscant attributed to the princess and her allies. Princess Mina flatly denies being involved, and refuses to speak to anyone but Anakin, with whom she has a special rapport. After convincing young Skywalker that she is innocent, the Princess cannot give any more information on the attack because she simply does not know it (and, Anakin determines, the data about the attack is likely falsified by the 13th Legion).

Alana Lars also reveals some secrets of her own, as she lets a Force illusion that his been shrouding her drop, revealing that she is in fact nearly a decade (if not more) younger than she actually claimed to be. She maintained the illusion to make the other Jedi take her seriously, and to keep from appearing as a threat to Princess Mina, who already showed her penchant for distrusting other young women when Zythe arrived. Alana is little older then Kane Starkiller, and had only attained the rank of Jedi Knight in recent years.

After contacting Bail Organa via the Holonet, the Admiral instructs them to meet his flagship, the Pride of Alderaan above Coruscant. There, he will take custody of his wife. Fearing that Bail Organa may be planning on destroying the Star Phoenix upon its arrival at Coruscant, eliminating not only his traitorous wife but also the only witnesses to her treason, the group entrusts Zythe with a second copy of the data and sends it off to be held securely. They arrive at Coruscant and are not blown out the sky, but instead are welcomed onto Organa's flagship. There, he takes his wife into custody, and tells the group that he will be turning her over to the Republic to face trial for treason.

Later that night, as Janos and Anakin are researching more about the 13th Legion, Anakin receives a call on his comlink from Princess Mina in her holding cell. Apparently, she has allies still aboard the Pride of Alderaan, who have informed here that the terrorist plot is underway. According to her sources, a repulsortrain laden with heavy explosives is set on a collision course with the Republic Senate, but she cannot communicate with anyone from the outside. Anakin races to the detention level, frees the Princess, and is headed to the Star Phoenix when they run into Alana Lars, who sensed a disturbance in the Force. Anakin and the Princess fear that she means to stop them, but instead Alana agrees to come with them. The trio head to the docking bay and convince BL3K to take them to the planet below. Janos Creel, who has been following Anakin after his disappearance, arrives in the docking bay just in time to see the Star Phoenix blast off.

Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice, Kane, realize that something is going on, and head to the hangar bay. En route, they encounter another problem: a squad of Republic clone troopers, come to take Princess Mina into custody. Realizing that the Jedi don't mean to let them pass, the clone troopers open fire, and the two Jedi find themselves defending the hallway leading to the turbolifts headed to the bridge. While they delay the Republic's troops, the Star Phoenix locates the bomb-laden repulsortrain and heads in to drop Alana, the Princess, and Anakin off on the train. Before they can get too close, four Republic starfighters close in and open fire. Just when it seems that the pursuit is going to make it impossible to stop the train, Janos Creel arrives in his Z-95 Headhunter to engage the starfighters in a dogfight. With the Republic fighters distracted, BL3K is able to descend above the rear car of the train and drop off Anakin and Alana; just as the Princess is about to leap onto the train, Alana uses the Force to push the princess back inside the cargo hold, and instructs BL3K to close the cargo hatch and blast out of Coruscant.

Alana and Anakin begin fighting their way through the train, encountering clone troopers set aboard the train to make sure that no one meddles with the explosives. By the time they reach the front car, they realize that the controls are too badly damaged to stop the train. Above, on the Pride of Alderaan, Kane suffers a blaster wound as they try to keep the clones from making their way to the bridge and arresting Bail Organa. Meanwhile, Organa himself has received a direct order from the Supreme Chancellor: to fire upon the repulsortrain and destroy it before it can reach the Senate. Thinking his wife is aboard the train, Organa grimly orders the bridge gunner to open fire, but in the nick of time Zythe, who has been lurking on the bridge the whole time, convinces Organa to stay his hand and give Anakin a chance to stop the out of control train. Time is running out, and with the clone troopers pushing their way forward to try and make it to the bridge and enforce the Supreme Chancellor's order, the repulsortrain nears the Senate building.

Faced with few options, Anakin uses the lightsaber Alana gave him to begin carving up the connector between the engine car of the train and the car carrying the explosives. Alana assists, cutting up the other side of the connector, and as their lightsabers meet at the peak of their arc the connection is severed and the back half of the train, including the car laden with explosives, begins to fall behind. Using his knowledge of repulsorlift technology gleaned from racing swoops, Anakin carves up the power source for the lead car's main repulsors, causing a catastrophic repulsor failure. The engine car, speeding toward the Senate building and almost ready to collide, rapidly slows as power fails and emergency repulsor systems come online. Scant meters before striking the Senate, the engine comes to a halt. Anakin and Alana, standing at the gaping hole at the rear of the car, have a moment to catch their breath before the explosives in the second car (now hundreds of meters away) detonate in a timed explosion, knocking them from their feet and giving them an idea of the devastation that the explosives would have caused.

As the Episode draws to a close, the final scene shows Anakin and Alana, lightsabers burning against the scintillating skyline of Coruscant, standing silhouetted at the rear of the open train car, looking up into the sky as the Star Phoenix and Janos Creel's starfighter blast their way out of the atmosphere, escorting the treasonous princess to parts unknown.

A Sneak Preview of Episode II

I've created the opening crawl for Episode II already, which kicks off tonight!

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