Okay folks, here's a fairly comprehensive guide to completing Act 2 and getting the game badge. In case you haven't figured it out by reading the title, this post contains spoilers. If you're not into spoilers then stop reading right about....now!
Glad to see you made it!! Okay first things first. If you haven't read the Info on Act 2 from the official site, do so. It contains very useful information about the story, objectives, etc. Also, remember that any time you are walking around outside of any city (and sometimes even if you're IN a city), you automatically run the risk of getting killed. To avoid lots of wounds and the resulting med. center downtime, make sure the first thing you do on any planet is clone yourself at a cloning facility. To find a cloning facility, you can use the Overhead Map (Ctrl-M) or the /find command. Now that we have that out of the way, journey on.
Step 1: Aquiring the Encoded Disk
To begin this little quest, you must first locate a Rebel Coordinator. I'm not sure where all of them are, but the one I used can be located in Coronet (planet Corellia) at coords 91 -4516. Walk over to the Rebel Coordinator and converse with her. She will tell you to go meet a friend of Skimmer (Lyda Skims) at a waypoint which is created in your Datapad (Ctrl-D). Before you get going, make sure you have at least one empty space in your Inventory (Ctrl-I), as the NPC you're going to meet will give you an encoded disk. Now, make your way to the waypoint and approach the NPC. As you approach, the NPC will automatically put the encoded disk in your inventory and his waypoint will disappear from your datapad and be replaced by the waypoint back to the Rebel Coordinator. Walk back there and converse with the Coordinator. She will then place a schematic in your datapad for an Imperial Decoder and tell you that you have to craft one in order to decode the disk. This ends Step 1 of the quest.
Level of Difficulty: extremely easy; the only reason you need any sort of skills is to defend yourself from creatures that may attack you on the way to and from the NPC which gives you the encoded disk.
Notes: once again, make sure you have an empty space in your inventory before the NPC tries to give you the disk.
Step 2: Decoding the Disk
In order to decode the disk, you will need to collect the six components necessary to assemble a decoder. The hard way to do this is to kill a bunch of Meatlumps and Swoop Gangers until you loot all the components. The way I did this part took just one visit to the bazaar. I was able to quickly find every one of the components for the decoder, and the most I paid for any one component is 1000 credits. The averege cost was about 500 a piece. All in all, it's not that much money and you save yourself lots of time and headache. You may even be able to find people selling completed decoders, which would further expedite this step. So, once you've aquired the six components (whichever way you chose to do that), you now need to assemble it into one working decoder. To do so, you need to get ahold of a Weapon/General Item crafting tool and go stand next to the Weapon/General Item crafting station. There is a station conveniently located in front of the Coronet starport. Tools can usually be found on the bazaar for 200 credits or less. Once you're in front of the crafting station, open your tool and go to the General Item tab. There you can select the decoder and assemble it. When you have it in your inventory, select "Decode" from the radial menu on the Encoded Disk. The disc will become decoded. Then, you can select "Read" from that same radial menu and you will be able to read that information. You don't have to read it, but it's an interesting read because you learn more about the story. Once you have decoded the disk, go back to the Rebel Coordinator and converse with her. This ends Step 2 of the quest.
Level of Difficulty: very easy if you purchase all the components from the bazaar; zero combat skills required. if you can't afford to purchase them, or would rather aquire them yourself, it'll be just a little more difficult because you have to either take some missions to raise the money, or kill gangsters and such to loot the components.
Step 3: Meet Skimmer (Lyda Skims)
Begin this step by conversing with the Rebel Coordinator. She will give you a waypoint to Skimmer and tell you to go there and make sure she's still alive, or something like that. As in Step 1, make sure you have at least one empty space in your inventory. You're not going to recieve any items, but for some reason I've found that this step won't complete unless you have an empty space when you get close to Skimmer. (One theory is that you get some invisible marker temporarily placed in your inventory to let the coordinator know you met up with Skimmer when you return to her). Proceed to the waypoint the Coordinator gave you. When you get close (about 75 meters or so), approach very cautiously. There are about four or five "bad guys" waiting there, and they're agressive so they will open fire on you as soon as they see you. Now, I'm a Master Ranger and a Teras Kasi Master, so I didn't have very much trouble with these guys at all, but if you're not about halfway through an advanced combat profession at least, you should be very careful. Use the situation to your character's strengths and try to fight only one or two at a time if possible. Getting a master doctor or a master chemist to buff all your stats before attempting this will be very helpful. Also, having a few of your friends coma along will probably lighten the load a little bit. Once you've dispatched the baddies, go converse with Skimmer. You can ask her a few questions about what she's been up to, what the situation is, etc. Her waypoint disappears and once again you get the Coordinator's waypoint put in your datapad and activated. Return to the Coordinator and converse with her. This ends Step 3 of the quest.
Level of Difficulty: moderately difficult. having a few skills in an advanced combat profession is recommended, otherwise bring along additional muscle. looking into some stat buffs will make your day much easier
Notes: make sure you have at least one empty space in your inventory before you start this mission.
Step 4: The Rebel Commander
Begin this step by conversing with the Rebel Coordinator. She will give you a waypoint to a Rebel Commander located on one of the advanced planets (Lok, Dathomir, Endor, etc). Click on the waypoint in your datapad to find out which planet it is located on. Using the coordinates listed for it, you can also approximate the closest town to land in on that particular planet. Before you proceed, make sure you have two empty spaces in your inventory, as the Commander will eventually place two items there when you converse with him. Now, make your way to the planet with your coordinator. Once there, activate your waypoint and go to the Rebel Commander's location. Converse with the Commander. One important thing to note here is that you will now no longer have the Commander's waypoint in your Datapad. The trick with this is, if you die on the final mission or some other thing happens and you can't complete the mission, you will not be able to find the Commander again without going all the way back to the Rebel Coordinator on Corellia and asking her for it. So, to avoid having to do that, make sure that before you leave you create your own waypoint to the Rebel Commander. This way, you can just go back to him and try the final mission again in case you need to. This ends Step 4 of the quest.
Level of Difficulty: moderately easy. it will cost some money for travel from Corellia to whatever planet your Commander is on. also, despite the fact that the mission does not require you to fight anyone or anything directly, it DOES require you to do some travelling on an advanced planet. this means tough creatures who may or may not like the fact that you're standing so close to them. mask scent will be useful, as well as some careful navigation on your part.
Notes: remember, you will need two empty spaces in your inventory before conversing with the Rebel Commander for the final mission. also, don't forget to create your own waypoint to the Commander's location in case you die, etc. and have to redo the final mission.
Step 5: The Final Mission
Begin this step by conversing with the Rebel Commander. He places two items in your inventory and creates one last waypont in your datapad.. The waypoint to the final mission. Before attempting this mission, I strongly recommend that you get all your stats buffed by a Master Doctor. A good set of armor will help greatly, though I didn't use any myself. In addition, you will need some sort of backup unless you have mastered an advanced combat profession, otherwise the mission will require some VERY tricky maneuvering and a little too much luck for my tastes. You could use a pet or three, but I'd recommend bringing along a couple of friends. They're much smarter and much more fun to talk to. So, once you have prepared for the mission, head out to your waypoint. As you get close enough to see your mission objective, you will notice six Stormtroopers and one Imperial Officer standing around a small communications outpost. If you're covert, the NPC's will of course not attack you. If you're Overt, approach with caution because you will get attacked. Your objective here is to kill all the NPC's and gain entry to the Comm Tower. From there you will send a transmission to the lead scientist heading up the Dead Eye Project. The easiest and safest way to complete this mission is to try and pick off as few NPC's at a time as you can. To do so, get your group out of range of the NPC's and have just one person get within 64 meters of ONE of the NPC's. Try to be within range of as few NPC's as possible (preferribly one). Open fire on the NPC and run towards your group members, who are waiting in ambush. Once you've pulled the NPC (or NPC's) within the group's range, finish off the NPC. Rinse, and repeat until all the NPC's are dead. Don't forget to loot the corpses. I made good money off that on this mission. If you need more help with PvE tactics, search the boards and I'm sure you can find some good posts on the subject. When you have killed all the NPC's, approach the door of the Comm Center. It should automatically unlock, since the Rebel Commander has already placed the key in your inventory. Just inside the Comm Center you will find a terminal. Walk up to it and select "Use" form the radial menu. The message will now be sent, your badge will be given to you, your theme music will play, and your award will be....well....awarded. This ends Step 5 of the quest.
Level of Difficulty: difficult. if you want to solo this mission, mastery of an advanced profession and a full set of stat buffs is highly recommended. otherwise, bring backup (and I still recommend getting your buffs, hehe). personal armor helps. your target will be guarded by six Stormtroopers and one Imperial Officer.
Notes: don't forget to clone before this mission.
Congratulations! You've completed Act 2 of the Cries of Alderaan story arc.
Final Notes: First I thought this was a fun story arc. Multiple missions, multiple planets, and multiple types of things you have to do. It's much better than running around collectiong those encoded imperial/rebel transmissions (which you can still turn in by the way, provided you can complete a set). The reward is a total of 750 Faction Points, plus the extra 10% Rebels get from having won last month's contest. And, of course, the story badge. Second, this guide was written from the point of view of a Master Ranger/Teras Kasi Master. With a good set of stat buffs, my fists, and a D18 pistol (for pulling Stormtroopers) I was able to solo the entire thing. I've tried to be as objective as possible in describing the difficulty of each step of the quest, and I hope the info is useful. Your results may vary depending on your experience with the game, your skill level in your professions (especially combat professions), and your tactics. All in all though, with a little caution, some decent tactics, and a few friends I think this quest is definitely doable. Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you!