The Photonovel Alliance

On the outer rim world of Tatooine…


A raucous palace on the outskirts of the Jundland Wastelands, a celebration ensues for the greatest Pod Race in the galaxy. The Boonta Eve Classic.

The victory party is hosted by the notable crimelord, Gardulla the Hutt. Gardulla sits on her lavish dias revelling in the excitement amongst her guests.

Her palace is filled with an eclectic group of guests. Pod Racers, both champions and perennial losers, are surrounded by Gardulla’s guests and Inner Court.

Gardulla’s newest acquisition, a state of the art WA-7, bustles about tending to all her guest’s needs.

Years after his famous loss to the human pod racer, Anakin Skywalker, the dug Sebulba basks in the glow of his recent victory at the Boonta Eve race. Accompanied by his twin slaves, Ann and Tan Gella, he is always the center of attention.

“Welcome my guests. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Champion of the Boonta Eve Classic, Sebulba!” booms the deep voiced Hutt. “Congratulations and thank you again for a very profitable day, hough, hauw, hough!”

Sebulba waves triumphantly to the crowd. He has no love for the Hutts but he does love the attention.

Many of the Boonta Eve challengers pay little respect to their champion. They are tired of his incessant celebrating but could not pass up the opportunity for the the fine Corellian spiced ale served in Gardulla’s Court.

“Gardulla the Hutt is pleased to welcome back to the stage, the Midithorians,” exclaims X-LOM, Gardulla’s personal Protocol droid.

Syltana , the Theelin lead singer, accompanied by her Ithorian bandmates, seranades Sebulba in her sultry tone.

As is typical in their concerts, the crowd is mesmerized by dulcet lyrics and sounds.

Shortly after the concert, Syltana greets her adoring fans while the Ithorians enjoy the fruits of the ongoing celebration.

A high pitch voice brings silence to the room, “Gardulla, I’m here to claim the bounty on this man!”

The site of the two bounty hunters catches the attention of a Tusken raider lurking in the shadows of the Palace. “At last…” the solemn figure thinks to himself.

“Hough, hauw, hough, Aurra, my dear, how nice of you to join our party.” Gardulla bellows with a wry smile. “Thank you for bringing me this fellow Bounty Hunter.” Addressing Jango Fett, Gardulla moans “I understand I have something you’ve been looking for, hough, hauw, hough. Too bad my favorite bounty hunter found you first!”

Delinath Roq, Gardulla’s Head of Security, calls out to one of his guards, “Take the prisoner to the dungeon.”

Through the steel gate, the hulking Gammorean guard ushers Jango into the depths of the palace.

Silently, the Tusken turns and leaves, ignored by the surrounding guards.

Elsewhere on Tatooine…

“Commander Gorn, have you reached your destination?” says Darth Sidious through the holoprojector. “Yes, my Lord. As you predicted, there is a dark cave at these coordinates. I will contact you again when I’ve learned more,” replies Gorn, eager to serve his Master.

With new found swagger, Gorn strides into the depths of the dark cave.

Gorn is mesmerized by the shimmering object levitating in the center of main cavern. “What is this?” exclaims Gorn under his breath.

“It is my Holocron, you fool,” says Darth Plagueis as he appears seemingly from nowhere.

Gorn wips around, hearing the voice. The helmed figure speaks again in a raspy voice, “You should not be here. I knew the he would feel my presence. He should have come to confront me himself.”

“What creature are you?” asks Gorn feeling the evil pervade his inner core.

“I am the true Lord of the Sith, and YOU will tell Lord Sidious that I have returned!” exclaims Darth Plagueis.

Sensing the opportunity to finally achieve favor in his Master’s eyes, Gorn acts quickly, rushing to attack.

In a swift attack, Sith lightning streaks from the fingers of the Dark Lord. “You fool! You are no match for the true Sith!” screams Plagueis.

“Aaaaargh!” screams Gorn as the electricity rifles through his body. Unable to move, he looks up at the Lord of the Sith.

Removing his protective helmet, Plagueis speaks slowly, “Now, I will reveal myself to you. I am Darth Plagueis the Wise. Your Master, Darth Sidious is merely an Apprentice eager for his own power. Soon I will be fully restored.”

Plagueis asks an innocent question, “Can your ship fly with droids alone?” Puzzled, but too weak to fight, Gorn answers with a faint “Yes.”

Fearing his eminent death, Gorn watches as Plagueis ignites his saber.

With a single sweeping motion, Plagueis amputates the arms of the weakend Sith Knight. Screaming in pain Gorn hears Plagueis speak slowly, “Go back to Coruscant. Tell your Master that I wish to see him.”

Meanwhile, Darth Plaguies’ eager apprentice, Darth Punio, approaches the Palace of Gardulla the Hutt. Skirting the outer wall, Punio thinks back of the time years ago, when he created a mysterious orb from the ancient Sith Holocron he found abandoned in the old cave.

Although this is his first visit to Gardulla’s Palace, it was not supposed to be… His very first mission was to deliver the orb to Gardulla. However, as we was eager to resume his study of the Holocron, he took advantage using an old friend as a courier.

At the end of an evening of heavy celebration, Gardulla’s guests are unaware at first of the new visitor.

Punio approaches the mighty Hutt. “Greetings, Exalted One. I am Darth Punio, apprentice to Darth Plagueis the Wise. I’ve come to reclaim the orb of power.” A look of shock overcomes Gardulla’s face as she speaks “Hough, hauw, hough. What sort of joke is this? Lord Plagueis is dead. I know nothing of the object of which you speak.”

Gardulla continues, “True it is that Plagueis and I have an ‘arrangement’ and he foretold of his return. However, the object he said would be delivered, never arrived.”

Immediately, Darth Punio feels the sense of betrayal. He stammers “But Hamma Gringol, he brought this object to you.” A wry smile overcomes Gardulla’s enormous face. “Hough, hough. If you trusted him, then you have been played by that old fool. He was banned from my Palace years ago for inappropriate behavior with one of my slaves. I can assure you Hamma delivered no such object to me.”

Shrumpel Thichna, Gardulla’s Major Domo steps forward. “As a courtesy to Lord Plagueis’ arrangement with Gardulla. I will take you to the medical chamber and you can see for yourself.”

Punio’s mind is racing with possibilities as he already plots his next move. He thinks to himself “He will pay for his betrayal.”

Silently, Lord Punio follows the giant figure deeper into Gardulla’s Palace.

An electrical hum contrasts the cold reaches of Gardulla’s medical facility. Three droids attend to the bizarre medical chamber.

Pointing towards a large bacta tank, Shumpel speaks, “There, you can see what we’ve been maintaining in a dormant state for your master”. Puzzled, Punio asks “What is it?”

3-1B4, the medical droid, turns to face the diminutive Sith Lord “This is a embryonic cloning sac. It has been maintained in a stasis chambers for 60 years.”

Lord Punio approaches the chamber, “But what purpose does it serve?” The cybernetic doctor replies, “This cloning chamber was specially designed to receive midi-chlorians as part of the life fusion process. It only awaits activation.”

Slowly, the truth is revealed to Lord Punio. The Orb of Power must have been a physical manifestation of the midi-chlorians.

On the other side of Tatooine’s Dune Sea, Jedi Knight Ty-Ri Docosto skims across the surface of the desert. Ordered by the Jedi Council to investigate the possibility of a Sith presence in the Outer Rim, the young Jedi has a premonition that a dark power is growing on Tatooine.

Ty-Ri lands his Starfighter and scans the horizon for his first destination.

Ty-Ri, thinking out loud, says, “Mos Eisley, seems as good as anywhere.”

Back in Gardulla’s Palace, Delinath speaks slowly “Have you seen enough?” Reluctantly, Punio agrees “Yes, I still need answers, however, I can’t get them here.”

One of Gardulla’s guests, the Kubaz, Duronden seems to pay special attention to the Sith Lord.

Turning away from Gardulla’s court, Lord Punio already knows his next destination. His Master will not be happy at his failure. Certain punishment awaits him. But first, Punio will have his revenge.

<<  Chapter 3
Chapter 4  
Brought to you by BrentS

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