The Beginning of Your Journey: Black Spire Outpost Prologue
You’ve heard the rumors for some time now, and they’ve only seem to grow over the past months. You have even seen the hacked broadcasts on the Galactic News Service, and know of a few people from back home who left to join them. You’ve waited for so long, trying to convince yourself not to go. You’ve tried coming up with excuse after excuse, but eventually your curiosity got the best of you and you’ve decided to finally go and see for yourself if the rumors really are true. To see for yourself, to learn more and maybe… just maybe… even join them… join The Resistance.
The Resistance is rumoured to be a large, yet secretive organization. You’ve heard through a smuggler you know that The Resistance has an outpost on the planet Batuu on the edge of the Outer Rim Territories, one of the last stops before Wild Space and the Unknown Regions. After some haggling, the smuggler agreed to fly you to Batuu in his light freighter. The smuggler claims its the fastest ship in the galaxy, but as you board the old YT-1300 freighter you wonder if it can even fly at all. You stash your things in the crew quarters, and settle in for what becomes a long journey.
Some time passes, just how long you can’t say, but eventually the smuggler calls you to the cockpit of the YT-1300 as it makes it descent to the surface of Batuu. Looking out the cockpit, you see the clouds break apart as you descend, and a landscape covered in giant black trees and tall rock formations fills the horizon. The light freighter follows the trail of a river through the valley, and slowly its speed decreases as it flies toward the only settlement in view.
“Well kid, it may not look like much, but here we are… Black Spire outpost.” The smuggler says to you, as they begin the landing procedures. “If you’re looking to learn what you can about The Resistance, or maybe even join up, this is the place.” You nod silently and turn to leave the cockpit, but as you do so the smuggler calls our you name. You stop and turn around. “Just a little piece of advice kid, watch yourself down there. Black Spire might not seem like much at first, you may even think its some backwater settlement. But be careful, and be on your guard, and you might just find what you’re looking for.” You’re not sure what to make of the smuggler’s advice, so you thank them and go collect your things. Within minutes your walking down the ramp and taking your first steps into the Black Spire Outpost.
As you walk off the ramp descending from the smuggler’s ship, you look around and begin to question if you made the right decision coming here. The settlement doesn’t look like much at all. Would The Resistance really have a base here, of all places? You look around the landing pad, investigating your surroundings, and you notice a protocol droid walking up an alleyway heading in your direction. You are ready to dismiss it and start your journey through the settlement, when you notice the protocol droid is waving and calling out in your direction.
“Ah, hello there! Welcome. Well, you are quite the specimen.!” The protocol droid continues to walk your way, and you quickly look around, hoping to see someone else the droid might be talking to. You turn back to the droid, and realize it almost in front of you. “Greetings Sir, Madam, or non-binary sentient. Welcome to Black Spire Outpost. My designation is 0-0-0 or Triple-Zero, if you prefer. I'm a protocol droid, specialized in etiquette, customs, translation and torture. Unfortunately, my master has tasked me with welcoming new travelers to showing them around Black Spire. BT-1 is off looking for that frustrating archaeologist, so I guess it will be just you and me today. Please, follow me.”
At first you hesitate, but you realize you’ve already taken risks and gambled in just coming here. You follow the droid as it walks you through the alleyways and corridors of the outpost. After a series of twists and turns through the alleyways, the protocol droid comes to a stop before a small open market.
“This is Smugglers Alley.” The protocol droids states. “An illogical name if you ask me, as it is not an alleyway at all. Rather, this is the open market or commerce center of Black Spire. There is a holo-terminal off to the side, if you wish to browse the listings or post a notice of something you have for sale. Every now and then something quite interesting come through here, like restricted Imperial technology, or rare and interesting creatures… and you might just be lucky enough to acquire it if you’re in the right place at the right time. It is slow right now, but it will get more active once the sun sets.”
“Come along now, we have a few more stops to make on this dreadful tour.” The protocol starts shuffling off, and you slowly follow as you look around. It does indeed seem calm and quiet now, but you begin to imagine what trades and deals might occur here. You make a mental note to return here and check out the area after the sun sets.
You continue to follow the protocol droid through the back alleyways of Black Spire, and wonder how you’re supposed to keep track of where you are and where you’ve been. You think to yourself that you should try and find a map of the area that you can upload to your datapad, when suddenly you turn the corner after Triple and find yourself in front of a less than reputable looking building. You reach out your hand and are about to call out for the protocol droid to stop, but before you can the droid quickly shuggles through the door and into the building. You look both ways down the alleyway, and shrug your shoulders to no one in particular. ‘What's one more questionable choice?’ you think to yourself before following Triple Zero and walking through the door.
“And this seedy bar is on par with Chalmun's Cantina. Despite appearances though, the food is good and the drinks are better. Rumor is that if you are on good terms with the bartenders, you can even order some O’Clock brews. I wouldn’t know myself. In the corner you can see R-3X, the cantina droid tasked with mixing music from across the galaxy. They say he gave up his old job as a Starspeeder 3000 pilot for Star Tours. Despite the interastly mixed music, travelers come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and possibly even encounter a contact. Hang out here long enough, and you’ll likely have a story or two before you leave. Oh, before I forget: the Spice Runner Hard Cider is good, but don’t order a Fuzzy Tauntaun. Nothing good comes out of having one of those.”
Looking around, this does indeed seem like quite the place. You lean on the bar and motion for the bartender. As she walks toward you, you turn to Triple Zero to ask about the local food, when you realize the droid is already almost out the door. You curse under your break, and quickly follow him out. Again, you find yourself weaving through the alleys of Black Spire, before coming to another building labeled Docking Bay 7.
You follow the droid inside, and quickly come to a stop. “This is Docking Bay 7” The protocol droid announced, as it waved a hand at the large room, full of people talking and play games of cards around makeshift tables. “If you are, like many of the other travelers to this planet on the edge of the galaxy, looking to learn about… or perhaps even join, The Resistance… Docking Bay 7 is the place you should start. Find a table, play a game of sabacc or holochess and make smalltalk with the locals. After a day or two, they might ask your personal views on the Galactic Civil War. Follow the conversation and see where it leads”
You look around the docking bay, and see that there are indeed groups of people playing cards and interacting with one another. But, as far as you can tell, none of the individuals seem noteworthy or extraordinary. Rather, it just appears to be another hangout for local civilians. You wonder, could this be what the smuggler who transported you here was alluring to? Are things more than they appear to be? Before you can ask the droid, you realize he is shuffling off again, through the door and back onto the street.
Again, you follow the droid through the streets of Black Spire. This time, however, you notice that you’re walking away from the center of the settlement. The buildings on either side of the street are getting smaller and less well kept. Soon, you find yourself at the archway into the city, looking out onto the sprawling hills and forests of Batuu.
“If you can feel the force, or feel drawn to learn more of it, you need only walk down this path.” Triple Zero waved a hand in the direction of path leading out of Black Spire Outpost and into the valley below. “Follow the path down into the Surabat River Valley, and continue until the mossy grass turns to brick. Down in the valley, you will find the ruins of a small ancient settlement near a cave. The locals avoid the Surabat River Valley, and in my calculated opinion you should too. Few who go down there, ever return.”
You gaze down the path, and begin to ponder what could possibly be down there before the protocol droid interrupts your thoughts. “Well, that is the extent of the tour. Should you wish to blend in the locals… which might be difficult in your case, they greet each other by saying ‘Bright Suns’ during daylight and ‘Rising Moons’ during the darkness. I would encourage you to give it a try, but perhaps it would be better you be careful who you talk to at all. Should you need my assistance, I will be back at the spaceport awaiting new orders from my master. I do hope that I get to interrogate someone or something again soon.”
The protocol droid Triple Zero begins shuffling off quickly back up the road into Black Spire, and you are left standing there, under the arch of the entrance into the outpost, wondering what you will do next…