Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer

Trinkets Among the Stars

woad's Avatar

01.12.2012 , 03:48 PM | #1
A Game You Didn’t Know

Erlin Archain had been staring at the slowly rotating system model for nearly three hours when his communicator flashed. He clicked it passively, not taking his eyes or his mind off the task in front of him.

“This is Doctor Archain.”

His assistant’s voice came through, cheery but with a creeping irritation, “Professor, you have forgotten two meals already today. Can I bring you something?”

His stomach groaned in reply. Had he really been in here that long?

“Thank you, Trin, but I’ll be done shortly.”

Erlin’s eyes drifted back to the projection of the system that spun in the air in front of him, displayed was an ancient, forgotten corner of the Sith Empire. The Tumbos system only existed in a few records, no one had visited in living memory. He’d stumbled on it by pure luck.

He looked at his notes scrawled on the monitor next to him. A Republic exploratory patrol had discovered and surveyed the system, then marked it as worthy of future investigation. That had been nearly a hundred and twenty years ago. Before that the last record was from a Sith codex stored in the Jedi library and that reference dated to well over a thousand years ago.

The preserved codex said only that the Sith had buried something on the tiny, rocky planet and begun a process of expunging the system from all records and memory. It was somewhat ironic that the codex had survived to reveal the secret. Apparently even the Sith had written then entire system off. What he wanted to know was why.

His communicator buzzed again.

“Trina I said I’d be-“

A firm voice interrupted him, “Is this Doctor Archain?”

Erlin started, “Yes, yes it is.

“Doctor Archain, the Council requests your presence at the earliest possible convenience.”

The color drained from his face, “I…I don’t understand, have I done something?”

The man at the other end was already ending the communication, “There will be a shuttle waiting for you.”
Allayne Caravind,Imperial Reclamation Service, Primordial Division

Trinkets Among the Stars: The Tale of Allayne Caravind

woad's Avatar

01.12.2012 , 03:51 PM | #2
Part I
Memories in the Rain

Allayne decided this was the part of any mission she liked the most.

Anything could still happen. This was the point where it one of three directions: perfect, bad, or exceptionally bad and, more than likely, dead. It might all go according to plan. The Senator might walk in right on time, take his seat with his lovely young mistress in the booth by the back door, and take a sip of his drink just as device under the table went thermal and melted them both to unrecognizable slag. Obviously this was contingent on the Senator being a creature of habit, as was indicated repeatedly in her target profile, and sitting in the same spot he always did. Otherwise Allayne would have to rely on the scoped blaster rifle that was slung onto her back; an inelegant solution. Also, the device was going to detonate anyway and it would be embarrassing to incinerate someone she didn’t mean to. Of course if the target didn’t show up at all it meant she’d either been ratted out or she’d gotten sloppy somewhere.

Neither ended well on her end.

She ran through an internal checklist. She knew Ranick was out there, somewhere close by, and he would be carefully evaluating her every move.

The senator appeared right on time. Allayne’s sigh of relief, however, was cut short. He was alone, except for his standard Bothan security escort, with no young mistress close in tow. He wouldn’t be sitting in his accustomed booth tonight. Instead he approached the bartender, signaled something, and then passed out of Allayne’s line of vision. She also lost sight of the two man security detail.

She checked the holo-timer on her wrist. Ninety three seconds until the auto-trigger on the device detonated. It was going to be very, very ugly and the collateral was going to be extensive. Not to mention the odds and those had just swung decisively against her walking out of there alive.

Although she did have to admit she loved it when things went wrong. There’d be no use for the long range rifle now. She dumped it on the roof beside her and patted her coat pocket to make sure the light blaster was still there. Her civilian clothes let her blend in but they didn’t lend themselves well to carrying an arsenal.

Allayne slid the descent harness over her shoulder and locked it into place as she dropped over the edge of the building. She kept her eye on the cantina on the street level and watched for any suspicious persons entering. There was light speeder traffic below but nothing out of the ordinary. The mechanical whir of the descent harness slowly stopped as her feet touched the ground, she unclasped the device and tucked it into a nearby waste disposal bin.

A light rain began to fall as she crossed the street, soaking into her tightly pulled back hair. For a brief moment her mind was somewhere else, a place from a long time ago, when she was someone else and the rain had always made her smile. She pushed the thoughts and aside and forced herself back to the present. There was the mission and nothing else.

Passing into the cantina she assessed the situation in a micro second. It was a large room with a high ceiling supported by beams of a twisting alien wood, the bar was built into the left wall, and scattered private booths along the right side. The booth with the thermal bomb was in the far back corner. She didn’t risk glancing at the holo-timer but she knew she had to be well inside sixty seconds now.

The two members of the Senator’s Bothan security detail stood against the wall near the door while the Senator sat alone chatting distractedly with the bartender. She eyed the other patrons in the bar quickly, looking for any possible threats. A cantina serving girl milled about near a door to what was likely the kitchen, a tall humanoid sat at the bar a re-breather obscuring his face, lastly there was the bartender. She nodded. One target, two guards, three bystanders.

She walked over to the bar, smiling pleasantly at the elderly bartender, careful to position a support pillar between herself and the rigged table.

The bartender returned her smile, “If you’ve come looking for excitement, dear, we’re pretty dead tonight.”

She winked in response, “Sorry, I didn’t have time to come up with something witty to say.”

There was a flash of brilliant white, temporarily blinding her, followed by the roar of the explosion and the impacts of debris and shrapnel. Something large and smoldering slammed into the bartender, leaving what was left of him fused into the wall behind his bar. The ringing faded from her ears quickly to be replaced by the screams of the serving girl.

Allayne blocked it out.

Reaching into her coat she felt the comforting grip of her light blaster. She drew it out and twisted towards the Bothans against the wall, both of whom were still struggling back to their feet, and squeezed off two precise shots. The blaster bolts took them above the eyes. Burning fur sizzled into the air as both guards crumpled to floor, dead before they hit it.

She turned, keeping the blaster in a combat ready position.

The Senator cowered against the bar. He was injured badly and too traumatized to even bother crawling for safety. He was babbling incoherently to her about something not being his fault. Allayne didn’t care; she stalked over, adding some sway to her hips for effect. She winked and leveled her blaster right between his wet, squinty eyes. He had just opened his mouth to try bargaining when Allayne fired.

Something grabbed her tight around the neck, wrenching with enough force to lift her clear off the ground. An unmistakable smell filled her nostrils. Clever Bothans.

She should have been prepared for an additional guard hiding somewhere nearby. She’d started enjoying things too much and gotten careless. Right now that carelessness was cutting off all the oxygen to her brain and causing her vision to fade into black spots.

There was the unmistakable report of a heavy blaster and her assailant crumpled behind her, releasing its hold on her neck and dropping her back to her feet. She took a deep ragged breath, tasting blood, and the searing pain in her chest slowly began to recede.

Her senses returned and she spun to face the bar.

Ranick, her immediate superior and mentor, was seated in one of the bar chairs. The re-breather he had been wearing was sitting on the chair next to him. A heavy blaster, still leaking a thin tendril of smoke, sat idly in his lap.

“Couple of things you could have done better.”

She frowned and narrowed her eyes, “Such as?”

He raised the blaster and fired off a quick shot over her shoulder. Something slumped to the floor behind her. She cursed under her breath. The blasted whimpering cantina girl.

She put a hand on her hip and tried to act nonplussed by her mistake, “Anything else?”

He smirked as he looked about the room. The massive crater from the thermal detonation took up most of the back wall, charred limbs and unidentifiable remains were scattered on nearly every surface, and small fires burned everywhere. His smirk broke into a throaty chuckle.

“Let’s get to our pickup.”

The two stepped through the battered remains of the entryway and out into the night. A steady rain was falling.
Allayne Caravind,Imperial Reclamation Service, Primordial Division

Trinkets Among the Stars: The Tale of Allayne Caravind