Star wars: shards Band of Shadows

Band of Shadows

Disaster / Destruction

Tapani Day through 10 Selona 12728

On the holiday Tapani Day which falls between the months of Kelona and Selona
with barely a month to go before Capital Season
massive political assassination is attempted on the capital world of the Tapani Imperium

On Procopia, Count Tsu Vorboccioni hosts a trade summit between the young Alliance of Worlds, the freshly seceded Tapani Confederation, and assorted other factions -- including, of course, the Galactic Empire -- in order to help ease the rapidly-rising tensions between the Vor coalitions. Two days into the beginning of the trade summit, Emperor Gregor Vortapani calls for mandatory Council of Counts attendance at a friendly sporting event, and passes the "requested and required" command appearances to certain other personnel.


The sporting event in question is a combination of exhibition and ladder challenge for Emperor Gregor's new favored sport: a "stun foil" dueling league. This is Emperor Gregor's (and Count Vorboccioni's) brilliant way of replacing illegal saber rake duels with an elegant equivalent every bit as skillful but much less likely to destroy young Tapani lives. Danar Vorpadaran is among those "requested and required" to attend. At Vorboccioni's further careful arranging, Dr. Simon Tam invites Captain Eleni Benacor on a "mystery date" that turns out to be for this event; Knight Errant Sir Davish Tam has the next two seats in the same row reserved for himself and the unsuspecting Padawan Vanya Ysadora.

Eleni to Tsu: I like Simon, but you don't need to keep arranging for us to spend time together.
Vanya to Tsu: She means Tam, not Illyan!
Eleni to Vanya: That's right, thanks.
— We'd like Tsu Vorboccioni to quit messing with our (potential) love lives; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009

In a break between matches, Emperor Gregor announces some additional policy changes. Among them, he places the agricultural worlds of Allandor System into the care of the Jedi Order and Dathomirian Witches.


Things blow up. Enthusiastically.


Orbital stations and nearby starships explode in a variety of ways, especially those on the same side of the planet as Estalle Island where all the most important buildings of the Tapani Imperium and Alliance of Worlds governments are located. Some of these orbital stations include traffic control for the Procopia System and the central nav buoy hub for travel on the Procopian Shipping Lane. Also affected was Nocturne, the major federal penitentiary for the Tapani Imperium. Some damaged stations survive their explosions, while others come apart completely.


Of more immediate concern for people on the surface of Procopia: the many very large starships which suffer catastrophic explosions, deliberately driving massive chunks of hull into the atmosphere at planet-killer trajectories. It quickly becomes apparent that all of these explosions have been plotted to aim their debris directly at Estalle Island and Yuliska Isle. The planetary defenses would be overwhelmed by the tsunamis, even before chunks of capital ships aim for

  • the hospital area
  • the private starport of the Bene Gesserit Temple
  • and the civilian starport still under reconstruction
  • the headquarters for the most powerful Tapani holovid channels outside of Barnaba Province
  • Vorhartung Castle where the Council of Counts meet in session and where Emperor Gregor has his public offices
  • the Imperium Palace
  • the residential area of most working-class Tapani citizens in the capital city
  • and Shey Tapani University.


When the initial shockwave hits during a major, holovid-relayed sporting event, some buildings and a few canal overpasses collapse -- but Shey Tapani's people have always built to withstand orbital bombardment. The majority of structures hold.


On the ground, VN Ysadora stops running toward a fallen monorail station as her attention is drawn to the central mass of the damaged capital ship in very low orbit over Procopia, still breaking into pieces and losing height. "Size matters not," Vanya mutters into group comms channel, and then, "but momentum...." and then she shuts off her comms gear.
And reaches up as if to brace the entire capital ship.
And it stops moving.


For a while.


The deflector shields only have enough power to hold up to a certain amount of strain at once, and they are already working to withstand the first in a series of storm-sized waves from the falling space debris. Something has to be done to break up the currently falling chunks before they reach the shields.


And that "something" comes in the form of the hottest pilots around, veterans of the Long Night and of the Empire-Rebellion civil war beforehand, jumping into their personal vehicles for one hell of a dogfight. Captain Eleni Benacor and Tsu "Khun Lakhia" Vorboccioni lead Tapani forces, various smugglers and pirates, and a few volunteers from the foreign embassies on Yuliska Isle as they target the artificial meteors in order of most immediate threat onward.


Aboard her beloved Mismatch , Eleni destroys the chunk closest to hitting the hospital, then swerves toward one of the two pieces aimed specifically at the Bene Gesserit starport.

Since everyone ELSE is doing it....
Vorboccioni's player, spending a Force Point to save Procopia's only remaining functional starport; Band of Shadows, Star Wars, Shards of Honor campaign; Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Danar Vorpadaran diverts power sources throughout the islands to the deflector shields, trying to keep their generators balanced and steady. Vanya gradually redirects the falling bulk of the capital ship into the ocean, as far away as she can manage. That is, unfortunately, not far enough to prevent a full-blown tsunami in already choppy seas.


Khun and Eleni use their ships to follow a Mentat-calculated exact course and break the sound barrier at a precise moment, creating an opposing wave of pressure that significantly lessens the intensity of the tsunami's wave. What hits the juiced-up deflector shield is exactly the power that the shields can withstand in one last gasp before they stutter and collapse.


Many are dead, thousands are hurt -- including Regent Aral Vorkosigan, Fleet Commander Admiral Vord'arcy, and Galactic Empire representative Sir Davish Tam.


The defenders of the islands trickle into the hospital, where Dr. Simon Tam updates everyone on his most critical patients in rapid snippets: he is in charge of the life-saving operations for so many people, including his own cousin and some of the most important people in the Tapani Alliance. His resources are scarce; he is going to have to make some hard decisions about who to save with what he has available. And he certainly wants his lady friend Eleni to assure him that nothing will make these decisions even harder, such as another attack by the mystery enemy.


That sounds like politics. Eleni doesn't even know who the short older man on one gurney is. Why is Danar so distraught?

Danar: You ... don't watch the news very much, do you?
Eleni: No. I'm not usually here.
— Eleni doesn't know who Aral Vorkosigan is, other than "hospital patient"; Eleni's player gets a Character Point for cracking up the party. Band of Shadows, Star Wars, Shards of Honor campaign; Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Danar is distraught because that's his Uncle Aral, former Prime Minister, current Regent and also the head of House Vorpelagia. Count Vorkosigan already had a medical history of heart trouble. Getting speared by a slice of building rebar is not helping.)

Danar: Why aren't they in bacta?
Eleni, impatiently: {shrugs} Hello, not a nurse!
— Band of Shadows, Star Wars, Shards of Honor campaign; Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Post-catastrophe investigation quickly discovers that several ships in orbit around Procopia had been destroyed from within, breaking apart violently; large segments of ships rocketed down onto the water planet, and would have killed many if not for the quick thinking of Captain Benacor and of Vor lords Count Vorboccioni and Lord Danar Vorpadaran.


That was, however, just the warmup; now Danar, Tsu, Eleni, and Vanya have to gently extract a paranoid, half-demented outlaw tech nicknamed "Dervish" from his unstable connection to the United Confederation of Peacekeepers.


And from some visibly-empty containers that register to ship's sensors as vastly overpowered droids ... droids that have compromised station integrity on the adventurers' recent home base of New Dendarii.


This should prove interesting!

Tsu: I know how the Station Master's memory is ... gets distracted by ... Benjamins?
Eleni: ... "Benjamins"?
Danar: Benjamin Vordollas ... {gives history}
— Band of Shadows, Saturday, August 1st, 2009
You have to remember when you ask Vorboccioni for something: he's a Vor genie!
Danar's player, Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009
VNY to D. Vorpadaran : These words just came out of Tsu's mouth, and Eleni is a witness: "d'Arcy is not a Vor."
Danar to Vanya: Hunh?
— Intraparty Text Messages; Granted, it was followed by "No Wait, what I MEANT was". Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009
Eleni to Vanya: Dervish has been found, hiding under the chess table here in the galley, and he really wants to talk to you now.
Vanya to Eleni, without looking away from the extremely hostile shape-rearranging maybe-silicon-based life form in front of her: HELP
— Intraparty Text Messages; during a debate on whether we should go to the planet we're already at; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009 to :
Dear Master Kenobi:
Ani needs rescuing from rescuing me.
— Anakin is telling Danar the parable of managing the womprat population in the swamp; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009 to Vanya, I am certain Master Skywalker can take care of himself.
Are you well?
Kenobi NO.

— Intraparty Text Messages, distressed padawan to her current Master; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009
Vanya to Khun: You are totally the bishop's knight who is helping the chess master to do things to the hunter, because you plan.
Khun to Vanya: Ok. And this means?
Vanya to Kun: He thinks Danar's boss is the scariest scary ever to think.
Khun to Vanya: And this is strange how?
Dervish was too long, I sum up; via Intraparty Text Messages; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009
Vanya: {pokes Tsu's shoulder}
Tsu: {pokes Vanya's arm}
Vanya: {pokes Tsu's shoulder}
Tsu: {pokes Vanya's arm}
Tsu, to GM/rest of party: She keeps poking me!
— shades of Leverage; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009
Danar: I thought padawans weren't allowed to date!
Vanya: The TWINS aren't allowed to date! And that's because their dad will kick their prospective dates' asses. Right? {gestures to holoprojection of Master Skywalker}
Anakin: ... From ... a certain point of view.
— Vanya'd just like to COMPLETE a date; Band of Shadows, August 30, 2009

"My name is Eleni Benacor. I used to be a Bene Gesserit until..."

Reverend Mother: We've got an excommunication notice on you. You're defrocked.

"When you're defrocked, you've got no sisters. No support from the order, no temple to take sanctuary in. You're stuck in whatever circumstances you find yourself in."

Benacor: Where am I?

Count Vorboccioni: The Tapani Imperium

"You do whatever work comes your way."

*Montage of Benacor punching out cyborgs, fighting a shapeshifter, her ship flying away from an exploding space station*

"You rely on anyone who'll talk to you. A Vor ex-smuggler..."

Count Vorboccioni: Should I blast them?

"A padawan who may be informing on you to the Council..."

Vanya: You know Jedi. Bitchy little girls.

"Mentats too..."

*shot of KitKat, followed by one of Eleni and Vanya as Eleni's communicator rings*

Vanya: Hey, is that Vorpadaran's mentat again?

"...if you're desperate."

KitKat: Some Vor need your help.

"Bottom line, as long as you're defrocked ... you're not going anywhere simple."

— Danar's player, with an assist from Vanya's player, creates "Excommunication Notice"
You think THAT's bad, you should try, "Hail Cobra! full of grace..."
Danar's player to Vanya's player on mis-mangled rituals; Band of Shadows, Sept. 26, 2009
What do Bene Gesserits think of ... sex change operations?
Danar, almost whispering the suggestion, trying to explain men with Bene Gesserit training; Band of Shadows, September 26th, 2009
I rolled a ten, and I'm going to tell you what I'm looking at: I'm looking at a one.
Danar's player, critically botching; Band of Shadows, September 26th, 2009
Danar: Excuse me, could you do me a favor?
Eleni: {sighs}
Eleni's player: {starts piling dice into her hand for the next Voice roll}
— fighting enemy Voice powers with friendly Voice powers; Band of Shadows, September 26th, 2009
GM: "It's like a filter on two lights where one filter is Jedi and the other is Bene Gesserit."
Vanya: "Wa.. what?"
Eleni: "They're like Reese's Cups!"
— The heroes discussing matters of the Force and the strange things thereof.
Yeager's player: Good mornin', Sunshine!
Vanya's player: grrmdgfmp
GM: It's not wise to be cheerful at a Jedi when she just woke up.
WookieeGunner: Absolutely. Bad things happen.
GM: Never talk to the Jedi before she's had her morning coffee. That way lies the Dark Side.
Yeager's player: {laughing} I was just trying to give her a cheerful good morning, guess I should watch out!
Vanya's player: {Dark Side voice} See if I fix YOU any coffee.{/Dark Side voice}
— The morning after the Band of Shadows conclusion, Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
Band of Shadows: Eleni Benacor
Report | Oct 3, 2019

Related Location
Procopia System
Related timelines & articles
Tapani Imperium (article)
Shards of Honor (article)