Fragments from the Rim
Battle of Hoth
<appropriate dates for Battle of Hoth session 1>
After the successful rescue in Ord Radama, we returned to Hoth to try to determine if there were any other moles among the Rebellion there. Kira was, surprisingly, leading this effort, using her newly-trained Jedi abilities. As I could, as usual, not assist in these matters, I decided to get a better feel for Hoth, having only spent a brief amount of time there on our first visit.
Unfortunately, my initial explorations were cut short by Commander Skywalker failing to return from a scouting mission. By the time I was aware of the situation, his friend, Captain Solo, had already gone out on Tauntaun to try to find him, and night, with its attendant ferocity of cold, was about to fall. John Owen and I spoke about trying to outfit an expedition with Tauntauns to help in the search, but I did not like our chances: the planet was hostile under normal circumstances, and night was especially dangerous, between cold and storm.
I regretfully informed Owen that following Captain Solo out would be suicidal, and the longer we waited to properly equip for survival, the worse the situation would be. He agreed, and instead, we switched our efforts towards trying to get the air speeders modified for snow/cold operation. With Soz’s guidance, insight, and brilliance, we were able to do a job that would have taken a week in a single sleepless night, and by morning, the pilots and snow speeders were ready.
Du Nahgg, with Owen as her gunner, took one snow speeder, while I took nobody, figuring we would need the space if we found our quarries. We linked up with Zev, a Rebel pilot (I guess technically on this mission Du Nahgg and I were also Rebel pilots; I never really thought of it that way) that would be leading our wing of three speeders, and away we went. Soz’s speeders handled very well in the snow, and soon we were traveling along the dormant caldera of Hoth. After Du Nahgg and I spotted a blip in our scanners, we directed Zev towards it, and as we got closer, we were filled with relief to hear Captain Solo, alive and well, radio in.
Commander Skywalker was seriously injured. We put him in Zev’s speeder, and Captain Solo joined me in mine, blasting off to Echo Base as quickly as we could manage. Solo and I chatted about his efforts to keep his friend alive in the cold while he set up a shelter; I informed him that his choice of ground was especially fortuitous, because a few feet in either direction would have had him camping on ground that was not quite as warmed by the caldera, likely leading to both their dooms. “Rather be lucky than smart, I guess,” he quipped. I suggested that he stick around to see his friend up and about before he left us; apparently, Captain Solo had decided that he’d done his part in this conflict and wanted to get back to his life outside of it.
Unfortunately for him, when he got back, he was informed of the blanket directive against leaving Hoth. His Wookiee companion consoled him while I finally turned my attention to Hoth. According to Commander Skywalker, he’d been attacked by a large creature. I had been bothered by the fact that Hoth was missing some sort of apex predator, given my conclusion that the far-too-docile Tauntaun was certainly not going to be it. I was convinced that the Commander had found that predator, so I set out into the snow with a Tauntaun mount to try and locate them.
What I found was magnificent. Enormous creatures with jagged fangs and claws that prefer to disable or cripple their prey, lairing in various caverns in the ground. They would drag prey to their lairs to eat at their leisure, and I even saw signs of coordination, though for the most part, these creatures, which I am naming Wampas in honor of a particularly hairy relative (my mother’s sister), seemed to be solitary. The older-seeming Wampas bore horns, though to what purpose, I was unsure. Possibly mating displays or territorial displays? I cautiously tracked a number of these creatures, knowing that one wrong turn would have me in Wampa cold storage, but I could not help but try and find out more. As I compiled my notes, I passed them on to the Rebel command, ensuring that they would be somewhat prepared in future encounters with those creatures.
The strange pelt we first encountered on the Crimson Eclipse may have come from one of these creatures. I have assumed that they are native to this icy planet, given their high level of adaptation, but I wonder how many others have encountered them, hunted them, or even removed them from their home world and taken them to parts unknown?
Unfortunately, I had to put these musings aside, as I learned our scanners had picked up some kind of signal from somewhere out on the planet. Captain Solo and Chewbacca, his Wookiee companion, took a speeder out, and Bao Bogo and I took another. Once we were close, we decided to try to sneak up on the source of the transmissions on foot. What we found was highly disturbing: an Imperial probe droid, armed with weaponry enough to take shots at us. Captain Solo fired back, but I suspect he never noticed Bao doing the same, destroying the probe in the process. It was likely too late by that point, as the droid had been transmitting steadily for a while, so the Rebel command ordered the start of the evacuation of Hoth in the face of our impending Imperial visitors.
<appropriate dates for Battle of Hoth session 2>
The Empire reached us before we had completed our evacuation. Bao Bogo and I got into a Snow speeder, naturally with him piloting and me Bothanning the guns, in an attempt to slow the enemy and buy time for our ships to evacuate. Faced with the armored strength of an Imperial Walker, however, our guns were not getting the job done. Commander Skywalker suggested using grapples, and I managed to successfully attach to a Walker before Bao Bogo’s massive hubris took hold: he decided he wanted to try to trip up TWO Imperial Walkers.
Banking into a turn sharp enough to take my breath away, he managed to get the tow cable around two of the Walkers… only to have the cable break free of the speeder. A golden opportunity to bring down a single Walker lost in trying to get two for the same price! Classic Bogo, though. With our guns useless and our grapple in a similar state, we were done and headed back to the base to get the Crimson Eclipse ready for departure.
Once in flight, Bao heroically or suicidally decided to assist the evacuation by drawing the complete and undivided attention of a Star Destroyer… or two. Fortunately, he was a better pilot than a grapple trapper, dodging the incoming fire and even managing to land a hit or two as I programmed our course to Tatooine. Once the course was laid in, we jumped into hyperspace, leaving that fire and landing in the frying pan of Tatooine space… now prominently controlled by an old friend.
It appeared Theemin had come up in the world, and Mos Shuuda was now named after its dubious master. As we landed in Mos Theemin, we were immediately approached by a lackey carrying a pad. On that pad was Theemin’s likeness, welcoming Bao and making vague statements that could be interpreted as threats.