Corrino Transport Network
Southeast Coast of Uskil
Was he still dreaming? The voices shouting to be heard over the crashing and thundering of Uskil’s constant storms. The sickening jolt of a near-drop as strangers’ hands struggled to keep a grip on clothes and skin drenched with what Farad prayed was only rain. He’d been here before, felt this pain before, on the night before this nightmare. Except that it wasn’t a dream at all, but some demonic premonition of these last agonizing hours of his life.
With a hiss, the transport closed its doors and Farad felt himself rushed somewhere he couldn’t see – was he blind? worse? – helpless to respond to his “rescuers” as he slipped in and out of consciousness.
“We’ve recovered an Iktochi researcher from Corrino Research Lab who was on assignment near one of the research habitats.” A modulated voice broke into his awareness. “His injuries are extensive, but we’ve arranged for our best combat medics to meet us in the SARLACC facilities at the Colosseum.”
“Ensure you reach them in time to salvage something.” A perturbed, feminine voice replied, some of its quality lost to the noise of a sputtering comm. “Survivors have been sparse – do we know why this Iktochi is still breathing?”
Farad’s heart pounded in his chest as the question brought its answer barreling through the pain. He knew precisely why he was the only one left. It was the dream! That cursed knowing. He hadn’t understood it at the time, but when the creature appeared, when the nightmare began to unfold, he knew. He knew what he had to do to survive.
“He was not on assignment alone, Headmistress.” A long pause followed the mechanically even tone. When it spoke again, even the modulator could not disguise the relish. “One would suppose he survived … by being quicker than his fellows.”
Shadow Academy Research Lab: Antei Combat Center (SARLACC)
When Farad awoke again, the rhythmic and arrhythmic beeping of electronics mingled with hushed, coldly analytic murmurings – the kind bred by an institution infinitely more interested in preserving knowledge than life.
“His injuries are inconsistent with the victims from the northern islands or from those on Elos Vrai, Headmistress. We suspect that whatever this is could be affecting habitats across Arx.” Footsteps carried the medic’s voice farther away, but not out of earshot. “He is not well. Perhaps it would be a mercy–”
“Keep him alive until I arrive – we need more answers than these autopsies are giving us.”
While the creatures of Earth may be quieting their “stirring” ahead of holiday festivities, the creatures of Arx have not been the same since the events of the last Great Jedi War sent much of the Shadow Academy’s Nesolat platform crashing to its surface. While the cause and effects are still being ascertained by the Shadow Academy Research Lab, autopsies suggest some of Arx’ native fauna have undergone some peculiar changes.
What does that mean for you? It means that once you’ve stuffed yourself with holiday treats, it’s time to get in shape for the first-ever SARLACC (Shadow Academy Research Lab: ACC) competition! This event, which will begin in mid-January, will be a cooperative ACC event in which members will team up in pairs to track down the affected beasties (for science!).
If you’ve never participated in the Antei Combat Center (ACC) before, you’ll need to qualify before the competition begins – which is why we’re announcing this about three weeks in advance to give you time and opportunity to do so if you’d like to try it out for the first time. This is a great chance to explore the ACC since you’ll have a teammate for support.
In order to qualify, just head over to the Shadow Academy’s Department of Combat and Warfare and take the ACC Qualification Exam. You’ll find links to all the resources you need to learn about the ACC and pass the exam in the course notes section.
More details on the mechanics will be announced with the competition as the time nears, but you can look forward to two rounds - the first beginning on January 15, and the second round beginning February 12, with a brief breather in between.
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