- "This is Doctor Lancer Brunou of Imperial science team MS-133 on Aaris III. Only three of us are left. Please respond, Kal'Shebbol."
- ―Lancer Brunou's distress signal
Lancer Brunou was a Human male doctor of archaeology at the University of Byblos during the Galactic Civil War. Loyal to the Galactic Empire, Brunou despaired for the stability of the galaxy following the death of Emperor Palpatine at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. Feeling helpless that he could not help in restoring order, he resigned from his post and wandered the Outer Rim Territories, visiting archaeological digs. During his travels, he heard that Moff Kentor Sarne was attempting to forge a new empire from his capital planet of Kal'Shebbol in the Kathol sector. Brunou traveled to Kal'Shebbol and joined the Moff's forces.
Welcomed by the Moff, Brunou was initially assigned to study examples of the mysterious DarkStryder technology. However, he was quickly reassigned by Sarne to lead science team MS-133 on a mission to the planet Aaris III. Brunou's objectives were to investigate a series of ruins on the planet that belonged to a long-dead civilization, with particular emphasis on what caused the society's destruction. Brunou and his team established a base camp and began excavating the ruins. On day 49 of the expedition, they discovered the Plaque of Victory—a powerful artifact that fed off organic life forces and compelled them to destroy each other—although they were unaware of its true nature.
As the influence of the Plaque began to take hold of the members of the science team, they began to experience paranoid delusions and feelings of being watched and spied on. They were subsequently attacked by the primitive descendants of the native Aaris, and Brunou sought to escape the planet. However, the destruction of their shuttle hampered his plans, and he was forced to send a distress signal to Kal'Shebbol in the hopes of a rescue. However, during his time on Aaris III, Kal'Shebbol had fallen to New Republic forces, and the transmission was intercepted by the crew of the CR90 corvette FarStar. Responding to the distress call, they rescued Brunou and his research assistant, Solla Deremot, the last survivors of the team. However, Brunou had brought the Plaque of Victory aboard the FarStar, and it began to exert its influence over the crew. Fortunately for the FarStar's crew, personnel on the corvette figured out that the Plaque was responsible for the change in the behavior of the crew, and jettisoned it out of an airlock.
The Human male Doctor Lancer Brunou was an archaeologist and respected member of the faculty at the University of Byblos, a prestigious college based on the planet of Byblos in the Colonies, during the reign of the Galactic Empire. A loyal adherent to the ideals of the Empire, Brunou felt that the stability of the galaxy was threatened when Emperor Palpatine was killed at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. Feeling helpless that he could do nothing to assist in restoring stability to the galaxy, he resigned his position and traveled through the Outer Rim Territories for several years, visiting archaeological dig sites and constantly looking for a purpose to dedicate his life to.
Working for Moff Sarne
- "Today we made our most ground-breaking discovery since we arrived here two months ago."
- ―From Lancer Brunou's journal
Hearing rumors that an Imperial warlord, Moff Kentor Sarne, was attempting to reforge the Empire, Brunou traveled to the planet Kal'Shebbol, the capital of the Kathol sector. Sarne welcomed Brunou into his forces, and gave him the opportunity to study examples of the exotic DarkStryder technology. He was not able to study the artifacts for long, however, as Sarne soon assigned him to head science team MS-133 on a top-secret mission to investigate a series of ruins on the planet Aaris III. The planet appeared to have once been the homeworld of a civilization that had disappeared thousands of years previously, leaving behind extensive ruins that had long been covered over by the elements. Sarne wanted Brunou to pay particular attention to discovering the reason why the civilization may have died out. Hand-picking a team—including Doctor Theda, scientists Grigor Tansad and Jelok, and research assistant Solla Deremot—Brunou did extensive research and preparation before setting out for the planet several months before the Battle of Kal'Shebbol.
Arriving at Aaris III, Brunou and the science team—supported by three technicians and ten soldiers—established a base camp in a large field of ruins and began their expedition. Brunou suspected, but could not prove, that the Imperial lieutenant in charge of the security team—who was also the shuttle pilot—had been ordered to land at a specific set of coordinates and begin the excavation from there. Brunou led the team in charting the extensive ruins, then began excavations, keeping a journal of the team's progress. On day 49 of the expedition, Tansad discovered a way into one of the ruined metal structures. Since the structure was away from the base camp, and closer to the landing site of the team's shuttle, Brunou authorized the setting up of a secondary camp near the new discovery. Brunou noted Tansad's subsequent discoveries of a chamber covered in tiles—each with a pictograph raised from it in bas-relief that emitted sounds when pressed—as a significant find although he continued to work excavating the ruins at the base camp.
During excavation work on the chamber, Jelok and Deremot discovered a strange metal ingot concealed within a floor safe. Brunou took the artifact back to the main base camp and examined it, determining that it was constructed of no metal known to Imperial science. The analysis equipment also picked up faint traces of energy emanating from it. Brunou resolved to send the artifact back to Kal'Shebbol for further analysis by Sarne's laboratories. Unknown to Brunou or any of his team was the fact that the artifact was referred to as the Plaque of Victory by the Aaris—the civilization that had once called Aaris III home—and that it fed off the life-force of organic beings. The Plaque's goal was to destroy those around it, but not by any action of its own. Instead, the Plaque manipulated the feelings of individuals, causing them to act in paranoid, irrational and homicidal ways. The Plaque was responsible for the outbreak of the civil war that led to the destruction of the Aaris civilization.
Watchers in the jungle
- "We are certain hostiles from the jungle are attacking us."
- ―From Lancer Brunou's journal
A day after the discovery of the artifact, its influence began to infect the team as several of the troopers reported seeing "spies" watching them from the jungle. Brunou found this strange, since they had not found any evidence of a civilization remaining on Aaris III. The doctor was unaware that the Aaris had survived the destruction of their civilization; their primitive descendants lived in the ruins of their former cities. Nevertheless, the commanding lieutenant led five soldiers into the undergrowth to search for the beings they believed were watching them. An hour after they had left, Brunou heard blaster fire in the distance. The remaining troopers at the base camp opened the weapons locker and issued blasters to the science team, including Brunou. When the troopers did not return, Brunou believed them to be dead and considered recalling the expedition to save lives—a course of action that went against Sarne's standing mission orders.
That night, the Aaris attacked the base camp, using blaster weapons to wound Theda and one of the technicians. The remaining troopers fired back into the jungle, but appeared not to hit anything. As day broke, a cursory examination of the area found the bodies of several of the troopers who had entered the jungle after the hostiles the day before. Not fully understanding the situation, Brunou decided it was time to evacuate the planet, and he ordered Jelok to abandon the secondary base camp after he reported Tansad missing and that two technicians with him were shot by sniper fire from the jungle. Jelok refused, citing that his research into deciphering the chamber's pictographs was reaching a critical stage, forcing Brunou to order the remaining troops to escort the scientist to the shuttle while the rest of them packed up the base camp.
As night fell, the shuttle was destroyed by the Aaris, causing a fireball to erupt over the jungle. Brunou, along with Deremot, the wounded Theda, two soldiers and a technician, began erecting a defensive position, digging into one of the mounds in the ruins and establishing primitive fortifications using any equipment available from the base camp. Mounting an E-Web heavy repeating blaster to the makeshift ramparts and settling in, Brunou sent a distress call to Kal'Shebbol, hoping for some form of support or rescue. The following night, the Aaris once again attacked the base camp, prompting the soldiers and technicians to charge over the barricades to engage them. Deremot manned the E-Web, deterring any hostiles that got close to the camp. Brunou started to lose hope of help arriving, wondering if the team's booster satellite in orbit had been destroyed so that Kal'Shebbol had not heard their distress call.
Rescue from Aaris III
- "Despite Moff Sarne's insistence that this expedition was to be top secret, I began sending out a distress call, hoping Kal'Shebbol would send some kind of support."
- ―From Lancer Brunou's journal
The distress call had been received, but not by any Imperial force allied to Moff Sarne. During the team's stay on Aaris III, Kal'Shebbol had been liberated by New Republic forces. Moff Sarne had subsequently fled deeper into the sector with the remains of his forces, and the New Republic had commissioned the CR90 corvette FarStar to track him down. Brunou's message was intercepted by the crew of the FarStar, who diverted to Aaris III under the orders of Captain Kaiya Adrimetrum on the advice of Lieutenant Jessa Dajus. Dajus, a former Imperial Intelligence officer who had served under Sarne, was aware of the mission to Aaris III and believed that it might have a connection to the mysterious "DarkStryder" that Sarne was in league with, and visiting the planet might yield a clue to his location. Adrimetrum dispatched a team to the surface in the shuttle Muvon, piloted by the engineer Brophar Tofarain, with a rescue party led by First Officer Gorak Khzam that included the scout Kl'aal and Dajus.
Fatigued, confused, and low on supplies, Brunou tended to the injured Theda while Deremot stood watch with the E-Web. As the New Republic delegation approached the makeshift barricades, they were forced to deal with Brunou and Deremot, eventually convincing them that they were not the enemy that had attacked them, and that they were there to provide assistance. Convinced of the crew's sincerity, Brunou insisted that they had to get off the planet before nightfall, as that was when the hostiles attacked. When questioned over what had occurred, Brunou relayed the team's mission objectives to the FarStar crew members, as well as what had happened to them over the course of the preceding days. Brunou offered anything to the crew members in exchange for being allowed onto their ship, including his own knowledge of various alien species and planets in the sector, as well as any of the surviving equipment they could find. However, the doctor never informed the FarStar crew of the strange artifact that had been discovered, but made sure it was on his person at all times. Theda, however, had died before the New Republic could evacuate them.
Once aboard the FarStar, Brunou calmed down and was questioned over his team's presence on the planet. He relayed as much information as he knew, including the fact that he believed that Sarne had prearranged their landing coordinates and that they had been ordered to pay attention to any signs of why the Aaris civilization had died out. When it was discovered that Brunou had brought the artifact he found onto the ship, he defended his action, claiming it was a significant discovery. He allowed members of the crew to handle and examine the artifact, although he insisted that he keep it. Adrimetrum, on the suggestion of several crew members, ordered a mission group to the surface to scavenge for parts and supplies from the Imperial camps, gather fresh fruit and meats, and to investigate the ruins to see if they could determine why Sarne was so interested in them. Upon learning of the mission, Brunou showed no interest in returning to the surface, becoming nervous and visibly shivering at the prospect. He provided the team with a scandoc map of the area and directions to the ruins, but refused to go back to Aaris III.
Watchers on the FarStar
Aboard the FarStar, Brunou continued to feel watched. He began to examine the few datapad notes and artifacts he had been allowed to bring up from the surface, including the ingot. He was extremely possessive of the artifact, examining it with single-minded interest, holding it close and appearing to fondle the surface. On one occasion, an argument with Deremot—who also felt an overwhelming desire to possess the artifact—escalated into a physical confrontation. However, Brunou and Deremot were not the only ones to experiencing antagonistic feelings—members of the FarStar's crew were also beginning to feel paranoid. Crewmembers reported feeling watched, hearing footsteps in empty corridors behind them, whispered voices, and even mild hallucinations.
Eventually, the FarStar crew began to realize that they all could not be going crazy, and that something was affecting their behavior. They figured out that the artifact was responsible, since the bizarre feelings had only started after Brunou had bought the ingot aboard the vessel, and that proximity to the artifact caused the feelings of suspicion and violence to increase. Rationalizing that to free themselves of the influence of the artifact they needed to put as much distance as possible between it and them, the crew planned to jettison it out of one of the corvette's airlocks. Managing to get it away from Brunou—who had become defensive of his prize—the crew sent the artifact into space. Once free of its oppressive influence, the personnel aboard the FarStar started to return to their normal behavior.
Personality and traits
- "With the loss of our shuttle pilot and several troopers, I am seriously considering recalling the expedition (against Moff Sarne's explicit orders) in the interest of saving lives."
- ―From Lancer Brunou's journal
Lancer Brunou was loyal to the concept of the Empire, and strongly believed that the New Republic's ascendancy had brought chaos to the galaxy. Believing that the Empire could be reforged, he worked to help those he thought could achieve that end. However, his instincts for self-preservation sometimes overrode his loyalty, and he was able to conceal his true affiliation long enough to be rescued by the New Republic corvette FarStar.
Under the influence of the Plaque of Victory, Brunou became extremely possessive of the artifact, and would defend it with a single-minded determination. He would often examine it closely, fondling its surface. He also became highly paranoid and suspicious of those around him, believing that they intended him harm.
Skills and abilities
Brunou was an intelligent and dedicated scientist. He was knowledgeable about alien species and cultures, and a specialist in ancient languages and civilizations. He had survival training, and was skilled in both first aid and medicine. Brunou had experience with astrogation, and could operate communications and sensor systems, and drive repulsorlift vehicles.
Behind the scenes
Lancer Brunou was created for the adventure Artifact of Aaris by Peter M. Schweighofer, which was published in The DarkStryder Campaign. Brunou's fate in the adventure is left open to the whim of the Gamemaster. He may die during the events laid out in Artifact of Aaris, but if Brunou survives, he volunteers to join the crew of the FarStar. However, his loyalty to the Empire will cause him to jump ship at the first opportunity to re-join Moff Sarne.
Artifact of Aaris implies that under the Plaque of Victory's direction, the members of MS-133 turned upon each other resulting in multiple deaths and the destruction of the shuttle. However, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, published in 2008 confirmed that the team came under attack from the remnants of the Aaris civilization.
- "Artifact of Aaris"—The DarkStryder Campaign (First appearance)
- "Artifact of Aaris"—The DarkStryder Campaign, Deluxe
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II ("Jelok")