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(L,F&E 38) Special Problems call for Special Solutions

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 38) Special Problems call for Special Solutions

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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 04:31 AM | #1
((This takes place two days after the end of A General Pain, a Royal Nuisance))

<Alderaan, twenty minutes before closing time at the Arms and Armor bar>

The bartender ducked and swore softly as a glass flew by his head. In any place where soldier drank, tempers tended to run high. But this was ridiculous. A Wookiee had come in and bought a drink and like any young and dumb fools, one of the Special Forces grunts had to make a comment about fur. Okay, more than one. And when that fool had gone flying, well, his buddies just had to pile on. Then their buddies. Then their buddies. Not that it did any of them any good.

The good news was that the Wookiee was obviously in a good mood. Nobody's arms had been yanked off and nobody had died. A man wearing sergeants stripes walked in and froze on seeing the scene. A low whistle escaped him as he took in the unconscious special forces troopers scattered all over the bar. And he had to grin as the Wookiee looked at him and absentmindedly clipped the last conscious trooper unconscious. The Wookiee looked at him and he shrugged.

“Bad jokes?” The sergeant asked quietly as he waited for his drink. The Wookiee nodded. The sergeant chuckled. “Maybe they will know better next time.” The Wookiee snorted his opinion of that and the sergeant laughed. “Yeah, I don't think so either... Not too shabby.” The Wookiee came up to the bar and picked up a drink. In a swift move he quaffed it. He put the glass back on the bar and smiled at the sergeant. He clapped the man on the shoulder and then turned and left the bar.

The sergeant put his hand to his shoulder and seemed to freeze momentarily. Then he shook his head. “Wookiees...” He turned to the bartender. “I don't think any of these guys are going to be mobile for a while. I'll have a meatwagon sent...” He looked around the bar. “Maybe two... What's the damage?”

The bartender looked at him and held up three fingers. Only 300 credits this time. The sergeant shook his head and then he tossed the Devonarian a credchip. “They will pay me back...” the Devonarian grinned at his tone and started to clean up. He finished his drink, stepped outside and called the base hospital. Then he stared back towards the base, rubbing his shoulder. Only a truly paranoid and observant person might have noticed that he slid a piece of paper into his pocket that he hadn't had a few moments earlier. As he walked he smiled as he thought about what had just happened.

Of all the crazy ways to make an intel drop. A bar brawl...

He made it to his quarters and pulled the note from his pocket. He read it. Then he reread it. It made no sense. Well, it did, but it didn't. He sighed.

‘Mak, my wife still wants your privates on a platter’? Great, more mysteries...

<The next morning>

The sergeant was up bright and early as was his wont. He walked quickly to the HQ and signed in. In a few minutes he was standing before the Battalion Commander. General Mak was a hard leader but he was also fair. His goggles bored right into the sergeant, who tried not to gulp. Kel-Dor could be intimidating even when they were not 6' 9” and in full dress uniform. The general nodded. It was hard to tell through the mask and goggles, but the sergeant was pretty sure the general was smiling a bit.

“Sergeant Kang, you said you needed to speak to me.” The general said in his usual no nonsense tone. The sergeant nodded.

“Yes sir." The sergeant saluted and the general returned it. "We had an incident at the bar last night, sir.” The general snorted.

“I read the report. I wish we had a few like that Wookiee in the battalion. Twenty troopers in medical this morning.” The sergeant had to grin a little. He had thought the exact same thing. The sergeant stepped forward and handed the general the paper he had found in his shoulder pocket. The general took it, unfolded it, looked it over and froze. The sergeant looked at the general and shook his head.

“Sir, the Wookiee made the drop. I have no idea what that means.” When the general looked up the sergeant almost took a step back from the look on the face of the Kel-Dor, even through the goggles and filter mask the look was... regret? The general walked back to his desk and sat down heavily. “Sir?” The sergeant had seen the general in a lot of moods, but never like this.

“I know what it means sergeant.” The general's voice was low and filled with something the sergeant had never heard before.

“Sir?” the sergeant repeated. He sounded stupid, but it was all her could say. He had never seen his commanding general look so... well, old. The general looked at him.

“How soon can your squad be ready to move, full armor, full equipment?” General Mak asked soberly. The sergeant braced.

“Anybody not up in ten minutes I'll bust, sir.” The general nodded to the sergeant's words.

“Do it. Unscheduled training exercise. But... draw combat loads.” The sergeant looked at the general and shook his head, not understanding. Training was one thing, but to draw a full combat load was another. That meant full ordnance loadouts, demo, missiles, heavy weapons... the works. The general sighed and beckoned the sergeant close. The general whispered into the sergeant's ear and the sergeant blanched dead white as he stepped back.

“Oh, flarg me...” The sergeant cursed quietly, trying to keep himself under control. It wasn't every day one had to deal with a legend gone rogue. The general nodded.

“Yes sergeant." The general sighed. "Flarg indeed. We are neck deep in osik and sinking fast. Keep that information tight. I will have transport ready for us as soon as your people are geared up.” The sergeant froze.

“Us, sir?” The sergeant could not keep the hint of disapproval from his voice but the general just sighed.

“If I don't show, he will just vanish." General Mak said with a wince. "And we have to talk to him.” The sergeant nodded. But then he made a face.

“Sir I need to know..." Sergeant Kang wasn't sure how to say it. "Does she really...?” The general snorted.

“No sergeant. That would be much too quick and painless.” The sergeant looked at the general who waved him out of the office. As soon as the sergeant was outside he started moving at a trot, ignoring the startled looks from the staffers. He wanted to get his people moving as soon as possible. This was going to get nasty.

Back in his office, the general sat and stared out his window. In his hand was a holoprint of a young Kel-dor girl.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 04:38 AM | #2
<Somewhere>

Will walked into the starboard dormitory of his ship and was surprised to see the four special forces 'guests' he had snap to attention.

“Come off it people. I am not a colonel.” The humor in his voice had a dark edge and Captain Deering smiled slightly.

“Until high command says otherwise,..." Deering grinned at his expression. "Special Forces says you are.” Will slumped.

“You all are going to be stubborn about this aren't you?” He snorted as all four smiled, just a bit. “Never mind, silly question." Special Forces defined stubborn. "This is your stop.” They looked at him and he shrugged. “You all have behaved. Even if Olana is sure you crazy fools cheat at Dejarik.”

The captain turned and looked at her people, who tried to look innocent. Will snorted.

“If you are not cheating...” He started. All four of them spoke up, quoting an old special Forces maxim with him.

“...You are not trying hard enough.” He nodded and jerked his head towards the door. And just like that, he was gone. The captain walked to the hatch slowly. It opened under her touch. She froze. That she hadn't expected. What was more... No one was in evidence. Her team looked at her and she shook her head.

“Let's get out of here...” They egressed the ship and were not surprised to see themselves on Alderaan. What WAS surprising however... No one was around. No one at all. No dockworkers, no security forces, no nothing. She started forward but her hand dropped in a motion her team recognized immediately.

Trap. but for who...?

<Not very nearby, in a well hidden spot>

Will watched through his scope and sighed inaudibly as the Special Forces team made it out of the landing bay without incident. He snorted as he saw an armored team accost them. He drew a bead on the leader of that team, who armor was marked with easily visible symbols of rank.

“Idiot... has to be a Special Branch moron...” He froze as his spotter clucked quietly. Helen was not fully recovered so he had her set up in a hover chair on the highest tower in the area. She was unarmed and looked nothing like her normal self, so she was reasonably safe. Her voice was almost inaudible, seeing as how she had to subvocalize it. But seeing as how she was surrounded by civilians taking in the view... Well, caution was a byword for people doing things like this. And his earbud had her voice coming through just fine.

“Airspeeder APC three o'clock.” The ancient standard of counting time still worked for telling direction from a person's position. He nodded and looked at the vehicle that had just landed. He froze as he saw the first person to get out was a Kel-Dor. “Mak, you moron... Point is for soldiers, not generals...”

<At the entrance to the hangar bay>

“...I don't care who you say you are. You are under arrest for association with a terrorist.” Captain Deering was quickly losing patience with this fool. Being accosted by a person in full armor was nothing new. But this guy... She shook her head slowly and grinned sourly as the armored team raised their weapons.

“Do you really want to go there?” Her voice was quiet, dangerous. But the moron didn't seem to notice.

“You are under arrest. Sergeant secure these for transport back to...” Everything froze as a loud voice came.

“I don't think so.” All eyes turned to the hatch that led into the open air spaceport and everything froze as a squad of armored Special Forces came into view. As well armed as the Special Branch team was, the squad that was now deploying doubled or trebled their available firepower. Not to mention that they were all in heavy armor. A figure in heavy armor walked forward from the team. A Kel Dor... “Operative Toss, why am I not surprised...”

"Solius Mak." The Special Branch team leader snarled. “You stepped in it, general. I have you now. No friends to save you this time. You people are associating with a terrorist.” But the general laughed. There was no humor in it.

“You are one to talk. Cloaking your actions saying it is 'For the Republic'. When its really for you.” The ice in the general's tone was sharp as a razor. The Intell team leader seemed taken aback, but then he snarled again.

“You are under arrest. You and all your people." Toss snarled again, obviously losing his temper. "We KNOW you had something to do with the attack on Ord Mantell.” The general's head went to the side.

“Something happen on Ord Mantell?” Mak asked reasonably. Now the team leader was visibly shaking.

“Like you don't know." Toss waved at the teams who surrounded his now. "Like your people were not 'conveniently' out of position when our base was slaughtered.” The general chuckled sourly.

“We were ordered, by your people no less, to 'deal' with the Separatist threat. We dealt with it. If you can't protect your own bases... well...” The general shrugged. “You are autonomous. You don't need our help. Or want it.” His voice was cold. Those words had come from Special Branch on occasion. Once from Toss himself. Toss snarled and raised his blaster.

<In his hide>

"Oh no... No one kills Mak but Sharra...!" Will cursed. Then he hit a code sequence into his com. It wouldn't mean anything to most people, except the two beings hidden near the area about to be engulfed in a firefight. He took steady aim, breathed out and squeezed.

<Downrange>

The general laughed and Toss snarled and aimed. Just in time to catch a blaster shot in the side of his helmet. He dropped instantly, suddenly and completely dead.

Sniper!

Deering and her team hit the ground, there wasn't anything else they could do as Blaster fire criss-crossed the area. It was over quickly. While the operatives were well trained, the Special forces had heavier armor and heavier weapons. Add to that the disturbing accuracy of the sniper who picked off targets like it was shooting gallery... In less than a minute it was over. Deering's heart seemed to stop as she saw the crumpled form of the general lying near her.

Medic!
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 04:52 AM | #3
Captain Deering froze as an armored form came running up, but it was the squad medic. Her own team medic took station to assist and they started working on the general. The captain sighed. A figure wearing the subdued rank of a sergeant in the field cam up and nodded to her.

“Orders, captain?” Sergeant Kang asked. She remembered him. The captain sighed and fell back on training.

“Secure the immediate area, do not hunt for that sniper...” Captain Deering knew that the sniper was unlikely to be seen, let alone caught, but she had to play the hand she was dealt. The sergeant winced. “You know who that was.” He nodded, silent. “We are going to have a big problem here...” The sergeant cleared his throat.

“Special Branch cleared the spaceport Ma'am." His voice had a nasty smile in it, even through the helmet. "They claimed a terrorist attack.” The captain snorted, and then nodded.

“I guess they gave their lives heroically then, saving civilians for a change...” The sergeant snorted in matching dry, dark humor and then moved off to start cleanup procedures. The captain moved towards the medics, but stayed back. She knew better than to crowd them. The unarmored one looked up.

“We have him stable, but we need to get him to a hospital.” The captain nodded, and then froze as a airspeeder swooped in and landed nearby. It was marked with the symbols of a medevac bird. Weapons covered it instantly. Special Branch loved using ambulances to transport troops. But the team that debarked was Special Forces medical. They ignored the weapons pointed at them and darted towards the fallen general carrying an Anti-Grav gurney. The captain stared at them, she knew them. She had worked with them, so she waved the hyperalert squad to stand down and they did.

“Who called you?" The captain asked, unsure. "We didn't.” The lead medic stood back as the team started maneuvering the general's still form onto the gurney.

“No idea." The head medic replied as her team started to work. "We got the call out of the blue. Said there had been a firefight. Said the general was down, so we didn't waste any time. Any bad guys for the brig?” The captain froze for a moment, her mind blanking, but the sergeant spoke up.

“No, they got away. We got here too late. As you can see...” He waved at the crumpled corpses of the Special Branch team. The captain took his direction and ran with it. As she did, she mentally blessed smart sergeants.

“Sergeant, scour the area, they must have left traces of some kind. Anyone who can kill a whole team of Intell people is not to be trifled with however... If you find them, do not engage. Shadow and call for backup.” The sergeant nodded. “My team and I have to get back, debrief. We will ride in the medevac.” It wasn't a suggestion, more an order and the medic in charge nodded soberly. The gurney started towards the ambulance slowly. The medics following. And her people following as well. She sighed. This was going to be one heck of a debriefing.

Unseen, a shadow moved off of a high perch almost half a klick away. It disappeared into the deeper shadows of the Alderaan afternoon, unremarked and nearly silent.

This is going to complicate things... As if it wasn't complicated enough.

<Eight hours later>

General Jakob Mak hated hospitals. He hated waking up in them. He hated the smells. He hated the sounds, but mostly he hated arrogant doctors.

“...no you are not leaving General. The shot was stopped by your armor. Mostly. But not completely. It broke several of your ribs and collapsed your lung. You are lucky to be alive.” the general snorted.

“Like those fools could shoot straight.” The general hadn't been too sure what had happened after he had been hit, but, since he was in his own Special Forces hospital instead of a prison cell or a Special Branch hospital, his people must have won. Not that he had expected anything else. The doctor sighed.

“General they killed an entire team. Of Special Branch scum I admit, but an entire team. And whoever that sniper was, I certainly don't want to face him...” The doctor shuddered. The general snorted. From what he had heard the sniper, who he knew very well had been the man he had been hoping to talk to, had accounted for half of the Special Branch team. Each with a single hole in their helmets. But then he winced. He did hurt, he had to admit that. But being stuck in this... contraption when he needed to be doing something chafed him. The tent apparatus kept him alive and kept him from having a tube down his throat so he was happy about that at least. The doctor shook his head.

“General, please... I can have you mobile in two days. IF you listen to me.” The general sighed. He had come to the first time in a bacta tank. He hadn't known the full extent of his injuries, but it was obvious he wasn't going to be able to move any time soon. But he had a reputation to maintain as well as something he had to do. He put an obstinate look on his face and sat up. The pain was excruciating, and the doctor sighed. “Why do I even try?” He threw up his hands and left the room. The general lay back down with a barely audible grunt. Just then, he heard a chime. He looked beside him and the chime sounded again. He grinned sourly and reached behind his pillow. Sure enough... He put the secure com to his ear.

“Are you trying to rip your body apart?” The cold voice was ironic and the general froze. There was only one window in the room, armor plated of course and supposedly opaque. His voice was quiet.

“Always with the all seeing eyes." General Mak couldn't understand how the man could see him, but obviously Will Kalenath could. "Damn man, you had me worried.” The man at the other end laughed sourly.

“You got me beat." The rogue Special Forces operative replied coldly. "How in the name of the Force did you swing listing me KIA, and a colonel?” The general sighed. He had known that wouldn't go over well, but he hadn't really had a choice.

“I... convinced some people that you were deep cover, like when you went to...” He broke off. The man at the other end was silent. “I'm sorry... I... We need you.” The man's voice was cold when he spoke again.

“Last time I checked I don't work for you any more.” The general slumped in his bed.

“When you hit the base on Ord Mantell, if that was you... I need to find out if there were any Kel Dor kids there.” An indrawn breath was heard on the other end.

“Yours?”

“Yeah. Grandaughter. Disappeared on her way to class. I got a note saying to back off my inquiries into their activities. Or they would put her in one of those droids.”

”I'll be in touch.” The line clicked off and the general stared at the com for along moment before stashing it under his pillow again.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 04:58 AM | #4
<Somewhere on Alderaan>

The figure in the holo shook her huge head. “...No Kel Dor children in the group we rescued. Male or female. What is going on?” Will shook his head.

“They grabbed the general's grandaughter.” At that Cranna's eyes went cold. Will shook his head. “They are moving on the Forces.” He sighed. “We are already unblack here. We will be in touch if we need assistance.” Cranna nodded and cut the connection. Will leaned forward and put his chin on his hand, thinking hard. He sat that way for a long moment, and then he started as warm hands found his shoulders. But then he relaxed as they started to kneed the painfully tight muscles. Neither of them spoke for a while, but finally Will broke the silence.

“They probably wouldn't have taken her offworld. They would have wanted to keep her close.” He heard a sigh and Sharra's head lay on his shoulder.

“You are not a superhero. You can't fly in and save the day. Especially not for him.” Her voice was flat, and he nodded.

“I don't like him any more than you do, after what he ordered me to do. After what you went through for it. The girl's name is Diseree. And she didn't do anything to us.” He felt her stiffen and he continued softly. “I met her older sister, you know... She was all of... two I think... Good kid...”

Sharra let him go and stepped back. He spun his chair to face her. Her face was cold. His was sad.

“I... I remember...” She shook her head savagely. “We owe him nothing...” Will nodded.

“No we don't. Especially after they cut us off the way they did.” Will didn't like to remember that time, almost eleven years ago now. He had infiltrated a terrorist organization at the general's orders. Then he and Sharra had been left out in the cold when a political favor had been called in. They had dealt with the terrorists, and then with the politician working for the terrorist. But then when the general had gloated about how he had set it all up, Sharra had slugged the man. It didn't help that they had set the explosive device at his orders...

"Yeah." Sharra sighed. “I remember her too. I just...” Will nodded. She had a lot of rage built up from that incident. So did he.

“Yeah..." Will sighed. "Good news is that apparently I am legit, for now.” Sharra scoffed.

“Until he doesn't need you any more.” She shook her head. “You are going anyway aren't you?” Will sighed and slumped.

“Yeah. I don't owe him anything, but you know what they will do to her.” She bowed her head. But then she nodded reluctantly.

“What is your plan?” Her voice was painfully neutral now.

“Well..” Will shook his head. “We don't have the manpower to check everywhere we would need to, but... if I am legit...” Sharra grinned a bit. It was sour, but it did have an element of humor to it.

“Wait a sec... if you are staff rank... you can ask for Intell from...” Will grinned evilly and Sharra shared it. Then they both laughed evilly. Oh this was going to be good.

<Republic Intell base, Alderaan>

“I don't care what your precious regs say, sonny. I need that Intell and I need it now.” The old man standing in front of the desk was waving his arms and basically calling attention to himself. He was obviously no spring chicken, but his voice volume was impressive to say the least. "Silly me, I thought that was your job!"

“Sir I can't give that information to you without a form 312-1A.” He almost fell out of his chair as the irate man, whose colonel's pips were prominent on his shoulders pushed way into his personal space.

“What do you call this?” The colonel literally threw the papers at the harried desk clerk and the man recoiled, almost falling out of his chair. The colonel snarled and stepped back a step, assumed a perfect pose of parade rest as the clerk tried to grab all the papers. Another voice came.

“Is there a problem, sir?” The colonel's gimlet eye fell on another human. A female who wore the rank tabs of a major. To her credit she didn't flinch. The colonel spoke in a more reasonable tone.

“Major. I was explaining to this young idiot that I do have all the forms that I was told to fill out. I am old, not stupid.” His words were biting and the guy behind the desk flinched. The major stared at him and young man seemed to wilt. The major stepped up to the desk.

“Let me see those...” She picked up the various forms and nodded as she checked each one. When she was done, she gave a look to the desk clerk that promised pain. “Yes sir, it all seems to be in order. What can I help you with?”

“Can we talk in private?” He asked softly. She nodded and led the old man to another room. Once the door closed he straightened a bit and spoke.

“I need some intel on comings and goings.” The major looked at him and he sighed. “We have a problem, and by we I mean the entire military. You know about the drug problems?” She nodded. “The cartels are getting bolder. They are not just targeting the rank and file any more. They are targeting the Navy, Intell and Special Forces.” She winced a bit. That would definitely be a problem. But he was continuing. “We even found one starship captain they... suborned. With glitterstim, no less.” At that she winced harder. “It gets worse...” She stared at him. He handed her a picture. She looked at it and shrugged.

“Who is this?” She asked, unsure. She didn't know any Kel Dor children. He shook his head.

“That is the grand daughter of the Special Forces general who was kidnapped to make him more compliant." His voice could have frozen a sun now. "General Mak.” She froze solid. Inter-service rivalry was one thing, but this...

“Sir...” The major shook her head slowly. The colonel sighed.

“I know. I have had my own run ins with Mad Mak of the Sixth. But... Only an idiot would say he isn't loyal. He doesn't know I have that. He doesn't know I am here. If he did he would probably kick my shebs right off planet.” The major looked at him.

“What do you need?” She asked. The colonel sighed

“I think the team that ambushed the Special Branch team, and General Mak are still on planet. And I think they are the ones who took the general's granddaughter. I want to find the people responsible, and I want to make it HURT.” The major nodded, a vicious look on her face.

“Anything you need sir.” The major replied earnestly. Will Kalenath nodded as he handed her a list of dates and times. This might work out. It just might.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 05:04 AM | #5
<The next day>

Major Margaret Janes was not a stupid woman. A career intelligence officer, contrary to popular belief, did not last long being stupid. And something about this situation was bothering her. Big time. Yes, the drug problem in the Forces was escalating. It was always bad in the regiments raised from certain worlds and it had always been endemic. Cutting the supply simply didn't work. Anyone who had the means would find a supply, or make one, it wasn't that hard for some of more common recreational pharmaceuticals. The exotics were a bit easier to stop, most of the time. And she had heard of the ship captain caught using glitterstim. So that was legit. And this colonel obviously felt very strongly about the tactics that the cartels were using. Of course so did she. It hadn't been that long ago that a slaver ring had been busted on planet, selling children of all things. She shuddered a bit, thinking of her own kids. Being in the military didn't leave a great deal of time to raise her kids, but she and her husband worked hard at it. Anyone who would kidnap children earned her ire. But something wasn't adding up.

The information that the colonel had requested was straightforward enough. It took her maybe four hours of sifting through footage to find what she sought, but then she froze. That wasn't a cartel scum who was leading the dazed looking girl to a door. It was one of the Intel people who had been killed the day before, the sergeant... Her mouth dropped open and she tensed. Then, slowly and carefully, she forced her body to relax. She was aware, hyper area of the camera behind her now. She made the copies that the colonel had requested and, after a moment's thought, started another search. She knew she was on dangerous ground now, but she had to know. She had to...

<Four hours later>

Major Janes was not used to this feeling. Sheer terror wasn't something that she routinely confronted. She was reasonably sure that she had covered her tracks. After all, she wasn't in an interrogation cell. At least she HOPED she had covered her tracks. It was really hard to hide tell tales of computer searches without wiping a system completely. But she had spent time searching though enough unrelated information to make finding what she had actually been looking for difficult. It was odd. She remembered her training. She had never expected to use her counter intelligence training against her own side. But were they? If they would use such despicable tactics? She shook her head and maintained her slow walk. The 'colonel' had said she was to meet with his 'aide'. That he couldn't be seen too often. And that made a sickening amount of sense. If what she suspected was true... She looked ahead and saw the drop point. An outdoor pub. She shook her head slowly. On the surface, that was awful tradecraft. But, on reflection it wasn't bad at all. A public place. Any suspicious behavior would draw attention. And what could possibly be suspicious about two women meeting for lunch? She strode towards the pub and smile as she saw the woman who had been described to her. She moved towards the table the woman had selected and the woman smiled back. But then the woman froze and then was in motion. Major Janes had a moment to goggle, and then something hard hit her from behind and she was tumbling towards the ground. It was getting dark... It shouldn't have been getting dark so soon...

Will cursed as he followed the moving pip on his hud. He took a breath and fired. His bolt sped true, tearing through the umbrella that hid the would be assassin from view and shattering one leg. He saw Sharra gather up the still form of the Intel officer and the briefcase and move to egress. He snarled as he saw icons appear on his hud, including... He dove to the side as a bolt narrowly missed him. He was tracking his target as he rolled and fired before seeking cover again. He moved to his second hide point and set up quickly. The teams moving to cut Sharra off obviously had no idea their top cover had been eliminated. He smiled mirthlessly and started picking off targets. He wasn't sure who these guys were, so he was trying not to kill. A leg shot here, an arm wound there. One guy with a rocket launcher took a round through the helmet. Will shook his head. No Special Forces team would deploy heavy ordnance around so many panicked civilians unless they had no choice. More Special Branch. He took two more shots, dropping both of his targets. The crowd was panicked, but mostly stayed down. Fire was seeking him now and he shook his head and egressed.

<Later>

The major came to screaming. She hurt. Gentle hands held her down and a soft voice spoke to her.

“Easy, easy...” She looked up into the concerned eyes of the woman she had been supposed to meet. He voice cracked as she stared at the woman.

“What happened?” Major Janes asked, trying not to move.

“I don't know." The strange woman sighed. "I saw a man behind you draw a silenced slugthrower. And I drew. I wasn't fast enough. I'm sorry.” Major Janes breathed deeply for a moment.

“I'm alive." She was stunned that she was. Intel assassins rarely missed their targets. "I... I shouldn't be... If he was that close...” The woman shook her head.

“I distracted him. And you won't want to be alive when the painkillers I have dosed you with wear off.” Major Janes snorted at the dry humor. Then she moved her arms, er, tried to. Her right moved fine, but the left was immobilized. The woman took her left hand in a gentle grip ad the Major let out a breath she hadn't known she was holding. She could feel it. “I don't know if it nicked the nerve. So we immobilized the arm, just in case. Here...” She took the Major's right hand in a gentle grip and moved it around the back until the major could feel bandages. Just to the left of her spine. She shuddered.

“He was probably aiming for the spine junction with the head.” Margaret was amazed that her voice was so calm. Somebody had tried to kill her... “Instant kill and quiet. So he could walk away, be gone before anyone realized...” The other woman nodded, but she looked pensive.

“I don't know what set them onto us. I haven't practiced my tradecraft in a while. Maybe I got sloppy...” She broke off as Major Janes shook her head and winced as pain came.

“More likely me... You get my case?” Janes relaxed a bit as the woman nodded. “You didn't try and open it?” Now the woman laughed.

“Do I look that stupid?” She flinched and continued quickly. “Don't answer that...” She moved away and carried the case to the side of the cot. The major, looking around saw they were in a small room probably a cheap motel. That was a good place to hole up. Few people asked questions in places like that. The major took the case and spoke at it.

“Save the kids.” The case popped open. And she froze as she saw a blinking light within. She shook her head. “Tracker...” The other woman smiled and waved towards a small table where a small device was blinking.

“Jammer.” The major slumped in relief. These people were no amateurs. Whoever they were. She nodded slowly as she leafed through the flimsies and datapads inside the case.

“I found out a lot. And obviously I tripped a flag or two. They probably were trying to find you though or would have just picked me up in the base.”

"Probably." Another voice came, one she remembered. The colonel she had met before walked in, but now, he was about twenty years younger and black haired instead of grey. She recognized him now, and his wife. Deep waters she thought with a wince. “I am sorry Major, this isn't your fight.” She shook her head strongly and winced again as pain came again.

“It is now Colonel Kalenath. It is now...”
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06.24.2012 , 05:12 AM | #6
<2 hours later>

The general was unsurprised. As soon as his physical therapist -a sadistic bastard worthy of inclusion in the ranks of the Sith in his estimation- had left, the com under his pillow chimed. He sighed. He had been expecting the call.

“You backstabbing son of a barve...” Will's voice was cold. The general sighed.

“I didn't do a thing.”

“Of course you didn't." WIll Kalenth was angry, as angry as Mak had ever heard him. "Special Branch just happened to flag her inquiry. And they just happened to have an assassin and a tac team standing by. With heavy weapons no less. I could have killed them all, next time I will. Is that what you want? A blood bath with civilians caught in the cross fire? After what they did to my family, I will oblige you on that, and then I will come for you. You manipulative son of hutt ...” The general winced. This was as bad as he had feared.

“Its not that simple.” The general protested. The man on the other end snorted angrily.

“It never is with you. The end always justifies the means doesn't it?” The scorn in Will's voice could have cut starship plating. “I will save you granddaughter, but I will not clean up your mess. Again.” The general winced again at that. He regretted what he had been forced to do. More and more every day. But needs must when the devil drove... The general stiffened.

“You found her?” Mak couldn't keep the hope form his voice. The voice at the other end laughed sourly.

“Yeah, we found her." Will admitted. "Getting to her will be a flarging nightmare, but we found her. And some others.” The general nodded, slowly.

“We can pull you in, get you some backup...” Mak stopped as he realized the man at the other end of the phone was laughing. Sourly, darkly, but laughing.

“Yeah right. Which way will they shoot?" Will made a noise somewhere between a groan and a roar. "That team didn't care what they shot at. I am not going to involve innocents again. Innocent pawns for you to sacrifice anyway.” The general tensed.

“Is the Major alive?” He asked, unsure. The voice laughed again.

“Like I am going to tell you that? How do I know this com isn't tapped from your end? How do I know you don't have four or five tracers going? How do I know you are not with them? As long as there is doubt about her, her family is safe. They will watch them but not move as long as she may already be dead or a hostage.” The general sighed. That did make sense, somewhat.

“You are going to have to trust that I am not.” As soon as the words left the general's mouth he froze. That was the wrong thing to say to this man. Sure enough...

“Like I can trust you." Somehow, WIll Kalenath's voice got colder. "Like I will ever trust you again.” The general sighed. “This time I do it my way.”

“You will need help.” The general stated with conviction he did not really feel. When the man at the other end spoke it was cold and vicious. Against his will the general shivered.

“Not yours.” The general shook his head. But the man wasn't done. “I had my doubts from the beginning. Like you care about kids, really.” At that the general stiffened.

“Don't you lecture me...” The general broke off as the other voice shouted.

“FIFTY FLARGING CIVILIANS MAK! EIGHTEEN KIDS! YOU TOLD ME THAT FRACKING BOMB WAS A DUD! You PROMISED me that bomb was a dud! You know I never would have placed it otherwise. You lying sack of osik. I know you knew. I know you had the disarm code, I gave it to you! You let it go off so you could make a great political show out of it. Get more money for your branch. How do I know this isn't another of your twisted power plays? Gonna add Special Branch to your little Empire?” At the the general snarled.

“You have no idea...” The general started to retort, but the voice at the other end cut him off again.

“Yeah, I have no idea how a scum sucker like you ever wound up serving the Republic instead of the Sith.” With that the com gave a screech and he dropped it fast as it smoked. It fell onto the table that lay beside his bed and he watched as it melted. He slumped and his head bowed. There was no way Will could hate him nearly as much as he hated himself sometimes.

The door opened and Captain Deering walked in. He looked at her and she shook her head. He sighed. He wasn't surprised that they couldn't trace it.

“What do we do now sir?” She asked carefully. He sighed.

“Wait for all hell to break loose, Captain. All we can do is wait for all hell to break loose...”

<Somewhere>

Major Janes woke up to muted cursing. She hurt. But it was dulled, and she assumed that she had been given more painkillers. She looked around blearily and smiled as she saw the cup of a water on the table beside her bed. She took it in her hand carefully and drank slowly. But then nature called. And that was a problem. She tried to sit up and cried out slightly as something seemed to tear in her back. The door to the bedroom opened opened and Sharra came in.

“Major? What...Oh...” The older woman helped the hurt soldier to the refresher. And a few minutes later back to the bed, but when the major lay down, she froze. Her face went white. Sharra looked at her.

“I can't feel my arm...” Sharra froze and then took the woman by the shoulders and laid her gently back in the bed. Sharra undid the immobilization and slowly, so slowly moved the arm in a range of motion. At one point the Major bit back a scream and Sharra nodded as she laid the arm gently back on the bed.

“The nerves are working, but... We need to get you to a doc.” Sharra's voice was kind and gentle as she laid the arm back down gently. Major Janes shook her head, wincing as pain started behind her temples.

"You can't." Janes said through her haze of pain. "If you take me to a hospital, they will report it, and we die or vanish.” Sharra grinned at her.

“Who said anything about a hospital? Sleep now, it will be okay.” A gentle tough on her brow was the last thing Major Janes felt before she fell unconscious. But for some reason, she wasn't afraid. She knew she should be, but she wasn't.
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06.24.2012 , 05:17 AM | #7
<Late the next evening>

“Move it people, we got a job to do.” The Intell team gathered around their leader and she spoke quietly. There really wasn't any need. The house they were in was empty, and the jammers would keep anyone from being about to eavesdrop remotely, but paranoia was hard to beat, and truth be told, none of them felt very secure at the moment. “The Major is still missing so we are going to take her kids and husband into protective custody.” One of her men snorted at that and she looked at him. “Problem Milner?”

“We should be out hunting the scum that killed our people. Not babysitting.” A dark laugh swirled around the room. They all knew what was likely to happen to anyone they took into protective custody.

“Well, its good thing you are not leading this team, because if you want to go charging at the guy who took down Sak's team and half of Hun's, well... You can go right ahead. We will bury you right beside them.” She looked at him and he looked thoughtful, or as thoughtful as a man chosen for his brawn could. “Once we get this job done we are going hunting. And we will get that guy.” The team snarled quietly before dispersing and collecting their gear. Since this was essentially a stakeout they didn't have any heavy armor or weapons. Not that they really needed them against two kids and a civilian.

The night was cool and quiet. This area of the suburbs was often that way. The team leader wondered if maybe she shouldn't get out, retire while she could, maybe move somewhere like this, quiet... She shook her head and focused on her job. The team moved up by bounds. Three pairs covering each other, none with weapons visible, but all had them ready to hand. They got to the door with no problems. The point man pulled his tools out and froze. He motioned and the team lead moved up. The point shook his head.

“It was unlocked...” She shook her head. Idiot civilians. She motioned again and her team stacked up and made its entry in textbook perfect formation. Each pair broke off, going a different direction. But almost instantly, quiet puzzled vocies came over the com.

“What the flarg?” “Where are she?” The team leader and her buddy went through the master bedroom door and looked at the bed. It hadn't been slept in. The team leader froze. Something was very wrong. She spun as another sound came. A laugh.

“Poor little Intel saps. All your guinea pigs run away?” The voice was female, and mocking. The team leader made a quick command over her com and the team regrouped, but the voice came from the main room too. “I know, I know, we cheat.”

“Who are you?” The team lead asked in a quiet cold voice.

“Your worst nightmare.” The team started out of the building but froze and then hit the dirt as the point man went down in a dead heap and fire came in from two of the neighboring building. Heavy fire. “Now where did you think you were going?”

<At the Special Forces Hospital>

General Mak was awake, trying to figure some way out of this mess as Captain Deering came in.

“We have reports of a heavy fire fight near the Major's house." She reported. "Apparently, Special Branch tried to snatch her kids and ran into... somebody..” He looked at her and she shrugged. “It's not his style sir. We have reports of explosions and heavy repeaters going off.” He nodded.

“It's begun...”

<Near Major Janes' house>
The merc sat in her heavy cover and watched with glee as the cornered Special Branch team tried to break out again. She hadn't know exactly what she had been hired for but her employer was always a good one to get her into the think of it and now, well, she had a good reason to hate these creeps.

“Oh no you don't you child killing scum!” She lifted her weapon and sent a string of grenades towards the embattled Intel team. Two of them went down and wouldn't get up again as the others scattered, trying to find cover of some kind. But the mercs had chosen their fire lanes carefully and they had prepared. As one of the Intel people found out as she tried to take cover behind a bush to return fire. The merc leader pushed a button on her remote. The bush, and the Intel person cowering behind it, were blown into fragments by the anti-personnel charge. It had been a pain to set them without being detected, but she never did like easy jobs. She looked around, but none of the intel team were moving now. And she heard sirens in the distance. She whistled shrilly and her people loped for the egress point. She grinned as she counted her people. A few had scorch marks on their armor but none were even limping. They climbed into the storm drain and slithered away. As she did she tongued her com alive.

“Two, from C-Nine. Honey I'm home.” She hadn't had any hope that Cranna would find her a job on Alderaan, but Cranna always came through. And she liked hurting these scum. Especially after the boy she had taken into her heart hadn't survived what Republic Intelligence Special Branch had done to him. Aleesa's eyes were cold as she swam through muck. Two hundred meters to get to her escape vehicle. But a good nights work.

<Somewhere>

Major Janes came awake and tensed. But she didn't hurt. She was lying on a hospital bed and had hospital equipment attached to her, but the room looked like a storeroom. The door opened and she froze and then relaxed as Sharra came in.

“Evening sleepy head, how are you feeling?” The major thought about that for a moment, then smiled a bit.

“A bit dull, but... I can feel my hand...” She raised her left hand and looked at it. Sharra smiled.

“Yeah, they are probably going to put you in a tank. But for now, you up for a meal?” Margaret thought about that for a moment, but her stomach growled. Sharra grinned. “Well, I'll be right back with food.” But when Sharra came back through the door, she wasn't alone. Also coming in and bearing trays... Major Margaret Janes felt her eyes burn and then she was crying.

“Nick, Kara, Jon...” Her family crowded around her bed and she looked up to see Sharra moving towards the door. “Thank you...”

Sharra smiled and nodded. But the she left the family to reassure each other. To see that the world wasn't quite as mad as it seemed to be. To renew hope in things like freedom, peace, love... The older woman slumped against the wall outside and looked at the merc team who were on guard.

“Nobody gets in here without our permission. Nobody.” The mercs nodded at her cold tone and she started off. Lots to do this night.
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06.24.2012 , 05:21 AM | #8
<Later>

Helen wheeled her chair in to find Sharra slumped, head down. She was still very weak. She was bouncing back, but it was taking a lot longer than former princess had hoped. She had been looking for the older woman, trying to find some time alone. Now she had it, and was nervous.

“Sharra...?” She asked hesitant. Sharra looked up and Helen froze as she saw the tracks of tears down her face. “Sharra, what's wrong?' She wheeled her chair up to Sharra's and reached out to the older woman. Sharra took the younger woman's hands in hers and gave a squeeze.

“Helen, I want you to promise me something...” Helen stared at the woman she called step-mom. It was a joke. Sharra was kind, gentle, compassionate and considerate. As well as being highly lethal with weapons or ordnance. But now here eyes held fear and entreaty in equal measure. Sharra spoke quietly. “If this goes bad, listen to Olana. He will get you out if anyone can.” Helen shook her head.

“Sharra, we have a plan, we have contingency plans." Helen protested. "Those Special Branch scum won't know what hit them.” Sharra shook her head.

“They are not the problem Helen...” Sharra looked away for a long moment and her eyes were looking at something only she could see. Helen shook her head, not comprehending.

“I don't understand.” Helen said dubiously. Sharra shook her head.

“Special Branch isn't the problem here. That slime Mak is. I am willing to bet he has plans set up to catch or kill us in a whole lot of ways." Sharra shook herself and continued. "Whether he actually wants us to rescue his granddaughter or not, I don't know. I do know that as soon as he doesn't need us, he will frak us as quickly and as hard as he can.” Helen sat back in her wheeled chair. That tone wasn't one she had heard from Sharra before.

“What happened, Sharra?” Helen wasn't sure if Sharra even heard her, but she didn't press. Sharra slumped forward her head in her hands again.

“It was a mess. Twelve years ago... Feels like fifty... We were double agents working for Mak. There was a terrorist organization on Correllia, called the Correllian Free Sky Reds.” Helen nodded, but Sharra didn't seem to see or hear. “We were posing as mercs. Freelancers. A husband and wife team. They approached us. It was fairly straightforward. We had to pass a couple of tests, but nothing insurmountable. They wanted to see if we could kill in cold blood so we tore a few of them apart. They laughed and said the vacancies were ours. They were getting arms and money from somebody in the Senate, but we could never find out who. They kept it tight. Then... they got some heavy ordnance. Somehow. And decided to make a grand statement. They figured to blow up a bank in downtown Coronet.” Helen froze. Twelve years ago...

“Oh no...” Helen felt all the breath leave her body in a single exhale. Sharra nodded.

“Yeah. They had a class A concussion charge. We... We reported it. We figured out how to jam it, how to disable it, how to gimmick it so it couldn't go off. Mak told us to place it. He said we had to get the supplier. Will argued, saying the collateral damage would be too much. Mak ordered him to do it. I have never seen Will so close to shooting a superior officer before or since... I wish he had. Maker help me I wish he had...” Sharra was crying now and Helen held her.

“What happened? I remember...” Helen froze as Sharra snarled.

“We placed it, that's what happened. More accurately... I placed it. Will kept watch. We had given our general the disarm code. And he had promised us it wouldn't go off. We had a cover story about a faulty detonator ready to explain... We were all the way back at our speeder when it went off.” Helen rocked back.

“We looked at each other, and we had the exact same sick look on our faces. We ran back. Our coms went off and we ignored them. We helped. We found a few survivors. And then...” She broke off. Helen hugged her again. When Sharra spoke again her voice was old and sad. “Nobody had bothered to check. After all it was a bank? Who has a daycare in a bank? I found them, I was the first there...I helped carry them out... The kids I had helped kill.”

“Oh, Maker...” Helen breathed. Sharra shook herself and continued.

“We helped clean up for a couple of hours, just two more soldiers on leave trying to help out...” Now her voice went flat. “When we got back to the hideout, they commended us on maintaining our excellent cover.” Helen froze as Sharra's face took on a ugly aspect. “And you know what that sanctimonious bastard Mak told us when we made contact with him? He aid 'Great way to maintain your cover.'” Helen shook her head aghast. Sharra's voice was low and dangerous as she continued.

“It wasn't them, it was him. He blew it. We found out the next week who the contact was. We busted the scum, we took down the terrorists, killed a few, caught the others. Mak called us into his office and congratulated us on a 'job well done'. Then he said... He had known all along who the contact in the Senate had been. He had been 'trying to minimize the political fallout'. That, I could handle. But when he started saying about how his department had received a budget increase due to the terrorist attack... I snapped. I broke his arm, his collarbone, his nose and a bunch of his teeth. I was trying to shove a charge down his throat... I would have killed him, except his guards came in and were ready to die to stop me. Will would have killed them. They were just doing their job, just like we had... Oh the general and his 'people' wanted to bust me, but we knew too much. If it went to court martial it would land all over him. So we transferred out of Special forces. Me to logistics and Will to the Fleet. To this day I want to gut that bastard with a dull knife. He will find a way to frak us. Count on it. I wouldn't put it past him to be working with Special Branch. At all. They are his kind of people.”

Helen shook her head. “What can we do?” She asked quietly.

“Be ready for him to backstab us at every opportunity. Beyond that there is not much else we can do.” Sharra sighed and shook her head. “Just, if it does go to hell, listen to Olana and evac as fast as you can. Clear?”

Helen nodded soberly. “Clear.” Now Sharra smiled, looking a bit like her normal self.

“Okay, lets get you suited up. We will all feel a bit better if you are not out there wearing cloth.” Helen smiled a bit as Sharra gave her a hug and then assisted her out of the wheel chair to another chair. This one was odd looking. It had anti-gravity motors on the bottom and what looked like weapon hardpoints on the side. “Cranna comes up with the craziest ideas...”

“Yeah she does...” Helen eyed the plumbing attachments with distaste and Sharra smiled grimly. She helped Helen sit down and then nodded. “Lets get you plugged in, times a'wasting...” A voice came from behind them and Will appeared out of the shadows.

“Indeed it is.” His black armor glistened in the light and his eyes... Helen shivered just a bit.
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06.24.2012 , 05:25 AM | #9
<And industrial park on the far side of Alderaan from the Special Forces base>

It was a very bad night to be a member of the Special Branch of Republic Intelligence. First, one of their teams was slaughtered. Then, when they attempted to apprehend a possible mole, that team was cut in half. The survivors were mostly wounded. Now the surveillance team that they had retained, really the only true capable force they had left on planet... well, the police reports said it all. A war zone. The news showed bodies scattered all across a suburban yard.

“What the hell is happening?” The woman asked as she scanned the news feeds trying to make sense of this madness. Her partner shrugged.

“No idea. Someone is hitting us, but they can't know where we are...”

“Wanna bet?” Came a cold voice and both spun to see a form in black armor. They went for their blasters and the form's hand spit fire. Silent fire. It was over before they could get their blasters out.

Will stepped over the corpses and checked the terminal. Sure enough, the idiots hadn't shut it down, logged off, or taken any precautions. He inserted a datapad and smiled grimly as the program inside it started running. The simple program would read recent samples from the com system and play them back if anyone called. Since Special Branch used code words, it meant this post was effectively still there as far as the people in the main base would know. Then he activated his stealth and vanished from view again. This surveillance post was just one link in a chain surrounding his target and he was on short time.

<At the special Forces Hospital>

“...Only Special Branch bodies sir. No one else in evidence. A slick ambush. The house had a set of concealed speakers and three heat emitters. One in each child's room and one in the master bedroom.” Captain Deering wasn't used to feeling awe, but that was the only word for what she felt right now. General Mak shook his head.

“Whoever they were, they were good." Mak smiled. "Could wish for some more like them in our unit. Suckered them in and blew them away. Any sign of the family?” Captain Deering shook her head.

“No sir, evidence suggests they left sometime yesterday. Sir... There was no sign of them leaving, on the surveillance records we recovered from the bodies that is. They had no idea the kids and husband were gone. That sir, isn't supposed to be possible...” The general nodded.

“And yet, that is exactly the kind of insane plan I would expect him to pull off flawlessly. Get your people ready to move, we won't have a lot of time. And we won't get a second chance. Not against these people.” The captain saluted and left the room. The general continued to pull his armor on. As he did he shook his head. “It's time this ended... Once and for all...”

<Inside the Special Branch Base>

In contrast to what was happening everywhere else on the planet, it seemed that the main base was going to have a boring night. But inside a quiet argument raged. Two figures wearing lab coats stood near a surgical suite. The female spoke softly.

“We don't know that it is him. And doing anything this early is premature.” The man spoke a bit louder.

“How long do you want to wait? Until they come through the walls? We only have the one Mk IV. And she is the only one who would fit in it without major refits. Don't be going soft on me Irene, we can't afford it, not now.” The woman, Irene, shook her head.

“Listen, we have barely done the preliminary scans. We need to do more tests.” She froze as another voice came. Male, young and strong. Both of the doctors froze as a figure stepped out of a cross corridor. The white robe was a contrast to the lab coats.

“We don't have time. Mak is moving.” The man in robes said slowly. Both of the docs blanched.

“Coming here?” The male doc asked quickly, but the newcomer shrugged.

“Unknown... there is strange disturbance in the Force tonight though. Something is going to happen. Get that girl ready as soon as you can.” With that the robed figure moved off. Both of the doctors stared after him. The female doctor shrugged, and the male shook his head.

“You have a better rapport with her Irene, get her ready. I'll start prepping... That Jedi freaks me out...” Irene nodded and walked to another door. After opening the door she looked at the small Kel Dor form that was sitting reading. She smiled.

“Time for more tests, Diseree.” The girl couldn't have been over ten, but her eyes were old. She nodded silently and stood. The older woman nodded towards the small refresher and the girl moved towards it. In a few minutes the girl came out. “All squeaky clean?” The girl looked at the doctor.

“There is no need to lie. You are going to put me in one of those things aren't you?” Irene froze as Diseree rose and nodded to her. “I am not stupid. I knew it was only a matter of time before my esteemed grandparent did something you disliked.” Her voice was sad. Irene goggled at her.

“Wha...?” The girl bowed her head.

“It won't work, all it will do is kill me. But at least you won't hurt any of the others. Lead on Ma'am.” Irene just stood, frozen in shock. Diseree looked at her and there was commiseration in her eyes. “If you don't do it to me, they will kill you. And this isn't your destiny.” The young Kel Dor placed her hand in Irene's slack one and nodded. “Lets go...”

Irene stared at her. “I... I can't... I...” The Kel Dor sighed.

“Ma'am. Please. Its my choice.” Irene froze. But then she shook her head and knelt. She embraced the girl.

“I don't want to...” Diseree shook her head, but embraced the older woman.

“You are the only one here who cared. Who tried. The darkness taints everyone else, even the one in white. But not you. You have to do this. And I would prefer your hands on the scalpel. You are gentle.” Irene was crying now, but she nodded. She stood up and in a swift move scooped the little girl up in her arms.

“What is going to happen?” She asked quietly as she walked towards the door. The young Kel Dor put her arms around the woman's shoulders and spoke quietly.

“I don't know, but I do know they won't like it...”
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06.24.2012 , 05:31 AM | #10
<A few minutes later>

Will peered around the corner ahead of him and blinked in surprise. The he relaxed and straightened up. He walked around the corner to face the figure wearing Jedi robes that stood near the rear entrance to the base. Out of line of sight, Will nodded approvingly. He laughed softly.

“I didn't expect you to make it in time.” He extended a hand and Jedi Master Jina Darkstorm took it and shook. She grinned.

“Me, miss a fight? You have got to be kidding.” She sobered. “I came straight from Tatooine. I was discussing one of our Padawan's actions with him. Cranna caught him when her people hit the base on Ord Mantell. The council is not happy with him.” Will stared at her and she shrugged. "We have enough problems without a bunch of loose lipped and brained Padawans running around trying to save the galaxy by doing things like this...” Her face was expressionless, but Will knew this woman. She may have had tight control, but he could read her eyes. Jina was unhappy. And that meant a lot of people were going to be soon...

“Jina, I can handle this." Will shrugged. "Why are you here? I thought the council didn't want to get involved in Inter-Republic disputes?” Jina sighed, but her face was hard.

"Ordinarily yes. But..." Jina said slowly. "One of the prisoners they have is a Padawan they grabbed named Diseree Mak.” Will froze.

“Diseree is a Padawan?” He asked, pieces starting to fall into place. Disturbing pieces. Jina nodded.

“It isn't common knowledge yet." JIna dmitted. "She was on her way to Tython, when she vanished off the ship she was on. They found my padawan dead aboard." Sorrow clouded her features, but she remained calm. "They were together. No one knows why.” Will shook his head slowly. Things were starting to make a bit more sense.

“I was contacted by General Mak of Special Forces.” Jina hissed at that name and Will nodded. “He says she is his granddaughter. And she was snatched to make trouble for him.” Jina looked thoughtful.

“It's possible.” Jina gave the soldier a long look. “Are you working for him?” Will snorted derisively.

“Hell no, I'm doing this for Diseree. Which means I am working for you I guess...” Will nodded to her and Jina smiled. “And we are on short time, come on lets get you briefed in on this...” He led her into the shadows and started explaining the mission as he lad it planned.

<Inside the base, about thirty minutes later>

The white robed Jedi looked up from where he had been watching the preparations for surgery and flinched a bit. He shook his head.

“We have a guest, get that done.” With that he turned and left the room, striding towards the entrance. The male doctor stepped out to get something and Irene turned sad eyes over her surgical mask on Diseree.

“I can't do this... I can't...” She reached for the restraints but Diseree's eyes held her. The girl was smiling around the oxygen mask over her nose and mouth.

“I don't think you will have to. Get behind the table.” The doctor stared at her. “NOW!”

The urgency in the girl's voice made Irene duck as the male doctor came back into the room. He glanced around.

“Irene?” The query in his voice was cut off by a pair of popping noises and he collapsed to the ground. Irene bit back a scream as she saw a pair of red holes in his back. She looked up at death. The black armored figure raised a weapon but Diseree called out.

No! She isn't an enemy!” The black apparition turned to the table, but the weapon didn't stray from Irene. Who didn't move. She knew her life hung by a very slender thread. Diseree spoke again. “She is just as much a prisoner here as I am... More...”

A low voice came from the man in armor. “How do I know she hasn't drugged or implanted you?”

Diseree sighed. “You don't. You can't. But I know who you are. Will Kalenath. Master Jina told me about you.” Irene stayed still, she didn't know the name, but the man in armor sighed. He moved his weapon into a ready position, away from the doctor who reached up and tore off her mask. The man spoke quietly.

“You Jedi really need to learn to keep your thoughts to yourselves...” The man in black groused. Irene stared at Diseree.

“You're a Jedi...?” The doctor asked incredulous. She stood up slowly and very, very slowly started releasing the girl's restraints. Diseree sat up after a moment and nodded.

“Just a Padawan right now...” Diseree admitted. Irene smiled and picked the girl up. She hugged the girl tight.

“Hang on... I have to get this out...” She turned Diseree's head and groped for a tool. Will handed her a scalpel and she nodded her thanks. “A new wrinkle...a bomb in case people get rescued...Dead people can't talk very well.” Will nodded.

“I have a few other things I have to do. Stay here, don't leave this room.” With that, he was gone. Diseree waited in silence, not flinching as the doctor made a quick incision. In moments, the small object was removed. The doctor threw it in a trash receptacle with a gesture of repugnance. Diseree looked at the doctor.

“I can't do that...” Diseree said sadly. Irene nodded. It wasn't something for untrained hands.

“I know.” Irene sighed. Diseree shook her head, but Irene held it tight and applied a sterile pad and bandage to the incision area. As soon as that was done the girl embraced the doctor.

“I won't leave you...”

<Outside>

The white garbed Jedi approached the brown garbed one. He bowed to her.

“Master Jina.” She bowed back.

“Furgen.” They stood that way for along moment before Jina spoke again. “In the name of the Council, surrender. Cease this insanity.” Her voice was sad. When Furgen spoke it was dismissive.

“You want me to stop? Then stop me.” His lightsaber ignited and a moment later hers did as well.
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