The six adventurers have reached Waypoint station in three groups, each following the trail their parents left behind. Rhysh and Varssk discover that the suits rented by their parents years ago are rented out again. The rooms are registered to the name Mardossk, which Varssk recognizes as a name his father has used in illicit dealings.
There the pair meet Professor Ph’ton, who seems wary at first but greets Rhysh with great enthusiasm, having been a friend and colleague of Professor Wirrun. The three retire down to the cantina where they meet with Spang and Ryla, and are joined by Marcus and Sinya.
The gifted natural mathematician has been working on the Pandora Equation. This is an algorithm that tracks the path and timing of the Pandora Fleet’s auto-hyperspace jumps. The fleet’s navigation ship determines each jump after entering real space and conducting a three hour deep-scan of local space and surrounding star patterns. The computer systems then interpret the data, extrapolate galactic drift, and set a new Astrogation Course. It calculates a new jump based on prevailing conditions using a slow (x15) Hyperdrive. If the course is interrupted, the Fleet drops out of Hyperspace, conducts the same operation, and jumps again.
The only way to anticipate the jumps is to know the criteria by which courses are set (the Navicomputer Protocals), and to have an impossibly accurate read of twenty years worth of Astrogation data. If an actual sighting of the Fleet happens, an extremely accurate focused read of local space (Sensors with [Extreme] range) out to three light-hours can be conducted, and fed into an identical computer/program/process to produce the anticipated jump.
Due the myriad untraceable variables a vast tree of possible jumps can be calculated, and then measured against negative sightings, thus limiting the likely options. When compared with a timeline of actual possible sightings, the branching potential-jumps can be narrowed even further.
The Professor indicates that the Rebel plan was to use to the Pandora Equation to narrow the search through elimination, a process that could take months, even years. The “Last Generation” (a codename their parents seem to be using) decided to circumvent this process somehow. The Professor didn’t know the details, but it involved some secret known to Danae, and required them to leave behind their transport, the Second Chance.
Since they haven’t returned, Ph’ton assumes they were successful, went on to the Fleet, and will contact him anon. He tells the adventurers that he is to take the Equation to the Rebel Alliance so they can arrange the acquisition. But first he needs to replicate the precise instrumentation and computer system used on board the Pandora Flagship, so that the courses can be accurately predicted.
Before he can expound further, several squads of Stormtroopers burst into the cantina, apparently after the Professor. Sinya attempts to reason with the soldiers, but it is swiftly discovered that her actions on Tatooine didn’t go unnoticed, and she is wanted as well. A running firefight results, with Rhysh grabbing the frail professor and making for Hanger 89, where the Second Chance is docked. the rest of the group covers his retreat, blasting several of the stormtroopers. Rhysh, Varssk, and Marcus are all grievously wounded in the firefight, and the Professor and his Wookie protector are hit by a frag grenade. While Rhysh’s wookie physique helps him withstand the damage, Ph’ton is mortally wounded.
The group make it into the hanger, and into the ship, where the ship’s computer demands they identify themselves. They do, stating their names and the names of their parents, which is apparently sufficient. The ship gets underway, and escapes the station and the Imperial Dreadnaught waiting above.
In the aftermath the crew gather together in the ship’s common area, and learns of their destination: the fifth moon of Ryloth. The computer also identifies the datapad left for Spang by his mother. The young doctor unlocks the pad, and its message is revealed through the ship’s holo-terminal.
When the image loads, it shows a recent vid of Danae, with her husband Raith standing supportively behind her. Both look uncomfortable, as though they are about to discuss something very unpleasant.
Danae speaks first.
“Spang, if you’re watching this, you unlocked the data pad. You can’t know how long we agonized over deciding to keep this from you, but in the end we had to do what would keep you and your sister safe.” She takes a deep breath, her face clouding over. “This is so hard. We love you so much. We both love you so much. But you need to know in order to protect yourself when we are gone.”
Danae takes a deep breath. Raith takes her hand and squeezes it. He nods to her once, urging her on.
“Your name isn’t Spang Kuat. You were born Bail Antilles the Second. Your grandfather was Bail Antilles, the son of the last Antilles Viceroy before the Throne passed to the House of Organa. Your aunt Breha married Bail Organa and became Queen. And your father was Raymus Antilles, as brave and loyal a son as Alderaan ever produced. He helped smuggle me off of Alderaan when the Empire came, and we fell in love. But duty called him back to Alderaan, and he knew I couldn’t come with him. We parted ways, but not before he secretly recognized you as his heir.”
“That first year was difficult,” she says, her bleak expression belying the understatement. “I was lost, and alone. That’s when I met Raith. He took us in, raised you as his own. We were married, and had Ryla. I never told you because I feared what you would do. What if you wanted to meet Raymus? What if you returned to Alderaan? You weren’t ready for the dangers waiting there.”
“So we kept it from you.” She begins to cry. “I’m so sorry, Spang.”
Raith pulls her into a tight hug, and turns to look into the camera. “Spang… you’re my son. Your mother and I raised you from a baby, and I love both you and your sister with all my heart. But it’s time you heard this. I know the perils of a powerful name. You’ve been cursed with two.”
He sighs audibly while Danae wipes at her eyes. “I knew Raymus. He was a good man. I see a lot of you in him, most mostly I see your mother.” His smile turns fond, paternal, before the seriousness of the matter sobers him again. “Raymus died on a mission a few days before Alderaan was destroyed. House Organa and House Antilles died with Alderaan. The only two scions of those houses survived: your cousin, Princess Leia Organa, and you. And while I won’t get into the maze of Alderaanian monarchal precedence, suffice it to say that you are first in line for the throne, and Leia is your heir.”
“You’re a Prince, Spang,” he says softly. Two emotions are clearly at war in his voice. The first is the pride a father feels at having his son raised high. The second is the weary dread of a man who knows what burdens that title will bring.
“The data pad you’re holding is my own design. It holds Raymus’ original documentation, as well as added affidavits. It, and a genetic scan are sufficient to establish your claim and identity. Keep it secret until you’re ready to use it. I doubt the Empire will be happy to know that a Prince of Alderaan survived.”
“Stay safe,” interrupts Danae, having recovered. “We’re going to secure your legacy, so you and your sister can raise your future children without fear of the Empire. But it’s dangerous, and there’s a chance we won’t come back. If we return, we’ll need your help. I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you the truth, Spang,” she says, tearing up again. “But you’re the last of the Antilles. If we want Alderaan to be reborn, it’ll need you.”
“Take care, son,” says Raith, nodding to his wife that they need to hurry. “Look after Ryla. I couldn’t send her a message for fear that it’d be intercepted. Let her know what’s going on, and tell her that we love you both.”
“Good by, Spang,” says Danae. And then, only barely moving her lips: “Hail Prince Bail Antilles, Second of that name.”
The recording ends.
The data-pad is filled with extensive legal documentation, including family histories, genealogies, and a testimonial given by Raymus naming Spang as his son and heir co-signed by his father, Prince Bail Antilles the First. The device has been ridiculously hardened against all manner of catastrophy. Raith clearly designed it with a mind to protecting the information from any accidental or purposeful attempt to wipe it.