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No death, only Wrath: The Helicarrier Chronicles

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No death, only Wrath: The Helicarrier Chronicles

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bright_ephemera
07.09.2012 , 06:29 PM | #11
CHRONICLES PAST, 1: In which Nalenne comes to a decision regarding Broonmark

Time period: Prior to Quinn's death; shortly after Broonmark's original recruitment

This entry is cross-posted from the fine Weekly Challenge Thread.


When Nalenne got onto the ship, Vette greeted her at a sprint. “It’s Broonmark, in the mess. You gotta come knock him out or something.”

“What’s up?”

“Ordinarily I wouldn’t interrupt a murder attempt on the captain, but Broonmark doesn’t seem likely to – “

Nalenne was already past her, running.

When she got to the mess door, Broonmark had one huge hand wrapped around Quinn’s throat and was lifting the officer off the ground while roaring in his face. The Talz waved one arm in the direction of the dish-littered kitchen sink as he held forth in a loud tortured gurgle. As Nalenne came to a halt, Broonmark threw the captain away, slamming him into the far wall.

When Quinn recovered he had his blaster out. “Hold,” ordered Nalenne, and Force pushed Broonmark against the counter. “Explain.”

“He’s a murderous animal,” said the captain.

“Wggglorpbop,” said Broonmark.

“Hey, I thought you were going to be my loyal and bad***-looking servant,” Nalenne told the Talz. “What gives?”

Broonmark shuffled aside and indicated the sink. A neat stack of dirty plates and bowls occupied the left half. Another bowl and a cup were on the right. Broonmark pointed at those two with one scythelike claw. “Wogglipprbl.”

“I don’t get it. He shouldn’t use those dishes?”

“Blop.” He didn’t seem satisfied.

“Um…he shouldn’t leave those specific dishes in the sink?”

“Blop.”

“He shouldn’t touch dishes at all?”

“RRBLOP!”

“I don’t understand what you want!”

“Rrgt.” Broonmark took the bowl from the right side of the sink. He presented it for Nalenne’s examination, then set it on the neat stack on the left side. “Gglorp.”

“Um,” said Nalenne.

Broonmark set the cup on top of the stack, then moved the faucet head to the now-empty right side and started running water. “Aggbp.” He grabbed a glass from the cupboard and placed it under, waving it around to demonstrate the free space before filling it up. “Rrgbp. Woggglort bblibbbl.”

“Um,” said Nalenne. “Leaving that half of the space free means you can, uh, fill stuff up and whatever, and then you can handle the dirty dishes at your leisure, and you clearly feel very strongly that this is a superior system to the one we had in place before you came along?”

“Blip.”

“And you had to try to murder my XO to get this point across?”

Broonmark turned his head toward Quinn. “Hgzzzzt.”

“You had to try to murder my XO just because?”

Broonmark nodded decisively. “Blip.”

“Can we kill him now, my lord?” said Quinn.

“No. No, I think he has a point, behind all the crazed aggression. We can go with this system.” She looked back to Broonmark. “But, we won’t be opening future conversations by murdering my crew. You’re teaching me Talz.”
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bright_ephemera
07.09.2012 , 06:31 PM | #12
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 6: In which Niselle throws some stuff away

Time period: Settled in after Quinn's return to life


Niselle called. She had her full god-awful yellow makeup on, festooning her face ridges in a smear of bright fake yellow pigment that thinned through orange to the faint natural red left beneath her heavy Dark Side corruption.

“Nis, you look awful,” said Nalenne.

“Lenny,” said Niselle. “I was in a bit of a hurry this morning, had to clear out of Dromund Kaas faster than expected.”

“That’s very exciting, dear.”

Niselle’s upper lip curled. “The husband got whiny. I decided to leave him behind.”

“That’s nice.”

“In orbit.”

“I don’t suppose he was enclosed in something at the time? A ship, a suit, a coffin?”

“An escape pod,” she said casually. “It was the best I could do on short notice.”

“So you just left him there.”

“Yes.”

“And?”

“Well, now Andronikos is drifting in a decaying orbit with a limited oxygen supply.”

“You’re his wife. You fix it.”

“The boy is intolerable. I’m sick of him.”

“So we’re coming around to why did you call me?”

“I thought you were fond of him, that’s all. Thought I’d give you a chance to keep him.”

“I would yawn if I thought it were worth the effort. Splash your drama elsewhere, Nis.”

“He would be touched to know how much you really care about your family. Ugh, anyway, there’s my ten o’clock. Ciao, darling.” The holo cut.

“What was that?” said Vette.

“Nis hoping I would freak out on camera. Jaesa, course for Dromund Kaas, now. Quinn, I want anything we can use to track an escape pod from Nis’s ship, Broonmark, have some medpacs and an adrenal ready in case he’s already in bad shape. Vette, Pierce, you’re on call ‘til we’ve got this sorted out.”

They made it to Dromund Kaas quickly enough. How long had Niselle delayed before calling? It would be just like her to trick Nalenne into rushing to rescue a corpse.

“Milord,” said Pierce, “she’s probably just tricked you into rushing to rescue a corpse.”

“Or a total absence of any kind of escape pod at all,” said Vette.

“Hey, it might be my brother-in-law,” said Nalenne, hurrying to the door. “Found it? We docking yet?” she yelled. “Airlock, Quinn. Hurry it up.”

The door finally pulled open, revealing a considerable expanse of sealing walls and a very small entrance to a very cramped pod. Andronikos Revel took one suspicious look up at Nalenne, then started pushing himself out onto the Helicarrier’s floor.

She helped him up. “You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. But when our 2V kept saying he cleaned the vessel stem to stern? He definitely skipped the pod.” He coughed, hard. “That was disgusting.”

“What the hell did you and Nis fight about?”

Andronikos shrugged. “Not much. If she were really mad she’d’a killed me outright.” He rolled his shoulders and shook out his arms, then checked the blasters strapped to his legs. “All the same. Think I’ll strike out elsewhere for the time being. Any chance you could drop me on Nar Shaddaa?”

“You could stay here a while.”

“I can certainly get us to Nar Shaddaa,” volunteered Quinn, and hurried away.

“You could stay here a while,” repeated Nalenne. “We’ve got a spare bunk. You know our itinerary’s kind of tight a lot of the time, but I’d love to have you along for the work.”

Andronikos looked around the hallway, the airlock, the escape pod beyond. “You do make trouble like no one I’ve ever met. I could be convinced. For a little while, anyway.”
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bright_ephemera
07.09.2012 , 06:33 PM | #13
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 7: In which Quinn voices an opinion on Andronikos

Time period: Settled in after Quinn's return to life


“My lord. We have arrived at Nar Shaddaa.”

“Quinn, I never thought you were the partying type.”

“That was not my intention.”

“Are you doing a favor for Vette?

“That is never my intention. I was rather referring to letting the pirate off as he requested.”

“As he requested before we instead agreed to put him up in your old quarters and let him play with us for a while.”

“We have Pierce. We scarcely need another loose cannon. Also, they are my quarters.”

“What, are you not living with me?”

Quinn exhaled hard. “I…that is…my old quarters are required, for…storage.”

“I moved the Scarlet Nexu comics to the cargo bay. Though I think Andronikos just brought a bunch of them back to his room.”

“My room.”

“You don’t own enough stuff to need storage.”

“I can acquire something if it means there will be no room for him.”

“My ship. My orders. He stays.” Nalenne moved in close enough to whisper in his ear. “I’ll make it up to you.”

“That is a great deal of making up, and I’m still not sure you’ve ever paid off for Pierce.”

“I didn’t say I was paying for Pierce.”

“It stands to reason.”

“I owe you nothing for him. He was a formal military assignment.”

Quinn froze. “Very well,” he said through set teeth.

“Besides, at the ten point three minutes per day you were allowing, it would’ve taken years to make up for him by your calculations.”

“It’s true. You could simply eject him instead.”

“Nuh-uh. Who would make you so beautifully angry if I didn’t have him?”

“Jaesa. Vette. Broonmark. Niselle. You.”

“I like you when you’re angry.”

“You like me any way at all.”

“Embarrassing but true. But, since everybody else already makes you angry, Pierce and Andronikos can’t possibly make it worse.”

“Oh, no, they can.”

Nalenne almost jumped when Andronikos stumped onto the bridge. “So, we shooting something yet?” he asked.

“I don’t know. Do we have plans, captain?”

“I believe we’re out of work at the moment. And for the foreseeable future. You’ll be terribly bored. We’ve reached Nar Shaddaa, though. The door is that way.”

Nalenne pushed up on her toes to peer over Quinn’s shoulder at his console. “Well, apart from us being out of work, it looks like there’s an op on Alderaan that could use our attention. Major Killik love. Let’s go.”
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MilaniGrey
07.10.2012 , 10:15 AM | #14
I'm so glad you decided to continue with your Wrath story!
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iamthehoyden
07.10.2012 , 02:25 PM | #15
I have to say I love the dynamic between Naleen and Andronikos (and if either of those are misspelled I apologize but I'm not going to go look them up). I like that they get along in this weird kind of truce/bond-from-dealing-with-Niselle thing. It's fun
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bright_ephemera
07.10.2012 , 08:24 PM | #16
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 8: In which Nalenne gets dirty on Alderaan

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier

This entry contains spoilers for one possible variant of the Agent's Alderaan line. No information of significance to the overall class arc is included.


House Thul had issued an urgent call for help. Their efforts to reclaim the old Cortess estate from Killik forces had been violently repelled, and the Killik hive was now sending periodic sorties while Thul was trying to regroup for another assault.

Nalenne sat more or less patiently through the briefing and then hit the field with her crew plus Andronikos. “Captain,” she said once they had dismounted their speeders near the main entrance to the Cortess extension of the nest. “Plan?”

“Yes, my lord,” said Quinn. “I suspect we cannot trust the maps we are given, since the Killiks have likely burrowed entrances and exits to suit their own purposes. We’ll be going in blind. Ordinarily I would recommend setting charges and waiting to burn them out, but Killik patterns are to burrow deep or under solid rock, and we have no good way to plant charges where we’ll want them.”

“So blah blah, blah blah blah, let’s just attack already.”

“’Blind charge’ is never a good plan, my lord.”

“Sounds fine to me,” said Pierce. “We good to go?”

“Everyone set?” asked Nalenne.

“I still don’t see why we all have to come,” said Vette. “You still owe me a day off from the last time I saved your Captain Kaas crates from one of Broonmark’s chemical spills.”

“Hey, this is a risky job, like the captain said. I need all my people. Besides, there’s no kill like overkill.”

“Let’s do this already,” said Andronikos.

*

“You have got to be kidding me,” said Andronikos, in a tone more of disbelief than of horror.

“Welcome to my life,” said Nalenne. “Population: Rapidly declining.”

They had rounded another turn in the twisting, earth-fragrantly fresh tunnels beneath the eerie shell of House Cortess. Another wave of Killiks came hissing at them, all electrostaves and blasters and rage. Nalenne and her team engaged them: Vette, Andronikos, and Quinn firing from behind while Broonmark, Jaesa, and Nalenne carved in front.

“Milord!” yelled Pierce, at last, from someplace behind Nalenne. “Blew up every local hive entrance I could. Only clear exit left is behind us. Any angry bugs stuck indoors will be coming up here.”

“We noticed,” yelled Vette.

“Keep us lit, captain,” ordered Nalenne, and Quinn affixed another high-wattage battery-run lamp to the wall, illuminating the frantic combat in a decidedly disorienting mess of bright lights and long shadows. Underground fighting had some really cool effects like that.

They rounded a corner and found three humanoids amidst the Killiks. It was hard to tell details in the melee. Nalenne kept killing anything that engaged and swearing at anything cowardly enough to try to back off.

The humanoids were a problem, and Nalenne was curious. Finally she managed to slam one of them down to the ground.

Familiar slanted eyes stared up from a head surrounded by straight black hair. Nalenne couldn’t resist a smile. “Dahlia! I haven’t seen you in ages!” (*)

A wild, rapid clicking went up among the Killiks. The bugs all pulled back a bit. “Cease fire,” called Nalenne to her people, and then she addressed the woman at her feet. “These bugs aren’t yours, are they?”

The slim agent sat up giggling. “Oh. Oh, this is too good.”

“Broonmark,” said Nalenne sharply. She looked over to the only other movement in the room, which was the Talz straddling a particularly large Killik and stabbing it repeatedly with its own electroblade. “I said cease fire.”

“Not fire. Sharp,” quorked Broonmark.

“Knock it off.”

“Bzzlp,” he said disappointedly.

A tall lean man who looked human apart from blank black eyes took stock of the scene. “This was supposed to be a diplomatic visit,” he said, sounding both dazed and unhappy.

“It is. You’ve been very diplomatic, Vector.” Dahlia accepted a hand up from Nalenne as she spoke. “We couldn’t have foreseen such a hilarious bloodbath – gorgeous defensive moves, by the way, Wrath. Very invigorating.”

“Not bad at all,” added the Rattataki Kaliyo. She was the third and last of the non-Killik fighters, and along with Dahlia had figured into several ultraviolent girls’ nights out with Nalenne in the past.

“Please stop referring to the slaughter of the nest as ‘hilarious,’” sulked Vector.

“When it stops being funny, I will,” said Dahlia. “Lord, do you know how long it’s been since anybody posed a serious threat to the Oroboro hive?”

“Um…no?” said Nalenne.

“Do it again sometime. There’s no other reliable way to get a rise out of this one.”

“The nest is sending reinforcements,” noted Vector. “And will not stop doing so.”

Nalenne’s eyes widened. “Really? That’s fantastic.”

“You’re as demented as Dahlia is!”

Dahlia looked at Nalenne. Nalenne looked at Dahlia and Kaliyo. Kaliyo smiled a sly smile. “Yup,” said all three of them.
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bright_ephemera
07.11.2012 , 07:01 AM | #17
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 9: In which the Wrath dines with the Cipher (I/IV)

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier

This entry contains spoilers for one possible variant of the Agent's Alderaan line. No information of significance to the overall class arc is included.


Dahlia and Nalenne, once Vector and Jaesa had talked them into disengaging from the Killik hive, assembled their crews to dine in a private room in House Thul. Vector seemed…strained…at the decision, but it was convenient and Nalenne could bully their noble hosts into excellent service and a few hours’ relative privacy, so House Thul it was.

Nalenne let the seating fall where it might. Vette settled at one corner next to Nalenne. Quinn took the seat opposite Vette. Young Ensign Temple squeezed in next to Quinn and started comparing uniform details before he could so much as open his mouth to speak. Down Vette’s side, Jaesa, Andronikos, and Pierce; down Quinn’s side, Temple, Vector, Dahlia, and Kaliyo. At the foot of the table Broonmark took Doctor Lokin in a firm headlock.

“Is this really necessary?” inquired the doctor.

“I don’t trust you,” said Nalenne.

“I don’t trust him either. He is my friend,” said Dahlia. “Keep him there if you like – that looks hilarious – but you should at least feed him.”

“Take care of it, Broonmark,” ordered Nalenne. “Anyway, Dahlia, where’s your robot? She never comes out to play.”

“I think she’s insinuating herself into the planetary holonet. She thinks we’re too dumb for her anyway.”

“That machine is a walking security catastrophe,” said Quinn. “I am dying to know what information she extracts during these outings.”

“And you’ll never find out, cutie,” said Dahlia.

The servants started laying out the first of several courses.

*

“So I’m told that the most recent handbook had several changes to the parade formal standard,” said Ensign Temple in a sweet breathy voice. “But I haven’t managed to locate a copy. Do you have one, captain?”

“I do,” said Quinn shortly, and took another bite of nerf.

“I would love to get my hands on it sometime, if I may. Perhaps aboard your ship?”

Quinn stared straight ahead and chewed.

*

Jaesa eyed Vector curiously. “So you’re a diplomat? And a…Killik Joiner?”

“Yes, we are Dawn Herald for the Oroboro nest. We maintain some individuality while still being part of the greater nest.”

“That must be amazing. To be so aware of, well, a galaxy of life.”

“The Joining is a gift.” Vector smiled. “We are told that in some ways, the resulting sensory experience is not unlike Force awareness of a living place.”

Jaesa went all doe-eyed.

*

“Andronikos, was it?” said Dahlia.

“That’s the name.” Andronikos carefully lined up a slice of roast manka between two thick slabs of grilled nerf, and only started eating once he was satisfied with the sandwich's construction.

“I have to say, I love, love, love the gun style. Nobody trained back home handles it like that.”

“There’s a lot of things trained Imps can’t handle.”

“Maybe. But some of us are fast learners.”

*

“You had some okay moves out there,” said Kaliyo.

“Hm,” said Pierce, eating.

She grinned, lifted a drumstick to her mouth, worked it luxuriously with her lips a moment before tearing off a bite. Pierce comfortably ignored her.

“Rifle’s in prime shape, too,” said the Rattataki. “I liked the paint job, very ‘macho tough guy who isn’t trying to compensate for anything.’”

“Hm,” said Pierce, eating.

*

Lokin carefully sipped from the glass Broonmark was thrusting in his face. The Talz’s other arm held the doctor firmly in a headlock.

Lokin cleared his throat in genteel disapproval. “No, no, the Cortess red. The flavor is quite unique. I want to enjoy it while I can. I don’t know how we’ll manage when the supply runs out, since the Killiks don’t seem likely to cede the vineyards any time soon.”

Broonmark burbled ominously, but dragged Lokin over to the sideboard to pour the correct vintage.
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bright_ephemera
07.11.2012 , 07:02 AM | #18
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 10: In which the dinner guests chat (II/IV)

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier

This entry contains spoilers for one possible variant of the Agent's Alderaan line. No information of significance to the overall class arc is included.


“I’m sure your agent has much more direct experience with the skills relevant to your responsibilities,” Quinn was telling Ensign Temple. Nalenne and Vette watched.

“She’s wonderful,” breathed Temple, “but she offers neither the formal precision of the rules nor a certain…hands-on touch. Perhaps if you had some time, in private, maybe tonight?”

“I am afraid I will be quite occupied with my wife.” Quinn grabbed Nalenne’s nearest hand and pulled it forward to display the wedding ring.

“I wouldn’t want to monopolize you, darling,” said Nalenne. “Besides, I already know every trick in your book. Wouldn’t you want to share your wisdom with such an eager young creature?”

There was desperation in his eyes. “I have work to do.”

“I can help!” said Temple. “I want to know all the things a man of your rank can do.”

Vette tripped into a violent coughing fit. Nalenne did her damnedest not to join her. She instead summoned up her most sensuous tone. “Just think how…efficient it could be.”

Quinn kicked her under the table, hard.

*

Vector nudged his seat toward the space Temple had edged out of. Now he sat more directly opposite Jaesa.

“How do you stand it?” asked Jaesa earnestly. “Living so close to someone so…well, evil?”

Vector allowed only a small wrinkle in his brow. “We reflect on how much worse it would be for everyone, if we were not there to minimize the damage,” he said sadly.

“I know how that goes,” said Jaesa. “You did well back there. Talking the Killiks down so we could walk out.”

“It was walking or swimming, our way or the agent’s. Still, thank you.”

*

“So then,” said Dahlia, “I had to rig the whole museum to blow. Survival, right? I did snag a few choice items first.”

“So you do manage some private enterprise between doing tricks for the Sith,” said Andronikos. “Museum haul should earn you a pretty penny.”

“Oh, it did. I’m sure you’ve seen your share of easily-misplaced legendary valuables yourself.”

“Maybe. Ever hear of the Star of Gorinth? One of the biggest diamonds Balmorra ever produced.”

“Yeah, it was actually House Thul that had it for the longest time, wasn’t it?”

“Until about six years back, yeah.”

A pause.

Dahlia grinned. “No way.”

“Yeah. I usually don’t hit the megasecurity places – interception en route is more my style – but the chance came up planetside here, thought it might be fun, and now here I am enjoying a free dinner from these very same guys.”

“Ripping off Thul for fun and profit. That’s even better than the time I fed their little buddy Cortess house to the Killiks.”

“Wait, that mess out there was your fault to begin with?”

“Yup.”

*

“Tunnel work didn’t look bad, either,” said Kaliyo. “Me, I figure you toss a thermal detonator, good enough, but somebody made sure those tunnel exits were very neatly and very thoroughly blocked.”

“Hm,” said Pierce, eating.

“Was watching those sticky bombs you let off in the melee. Still using CWD models, if I’m not mistaken from the flash. You realize Dynatech’s about two generations ahead by now?”

Pierce swallowed in a hurry. “That’s a common misconception, I’ll have you know. The Dynatechs have superior energy yield, but the Czerkas still deliver far better shrapnel dispersion. If you’re looking to harm organics, give me a Czerka sticky any day.”

“You know that’s the first time anybody’s told me that instead of giving some blind company loyalty speech?”

“I’m only loyal to results.” Pierce grinned. “Well, and to her.” He jerked his head toward Nalenne.

“Yeah, whatever. You actually think about this explosives stuff. I like that.”
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bright_ephemera
07.11.2012 , 07:04 AM | #19
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 11: In which the dinner situation unfolds (III/IV)

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier

This entry contains spoilers for one possible variant of the Agent's Alderaan line. No information of significance to the overall class arc is included.


“I was reading about the hand-to-hand techniques they’re advocating as standard training now,” said Temple.

“Have you actually eaten anything yet, Ensign?” Quinn said irritably.

“Oh! Yes, I’ve had quite enough. Thank you so much for caring. I was just saying about those manual techniques…”

“If you must know, I have an urgent assignment once this engagement is finished – “ he nudged Nalenne again with his foot – “and it is of a highly sensitive nature.”

Ensign Temple’s dark eyes widened. “That’s what I’m best at, captain,” she breathed. “Let me help you.”

Dahlia looked over for a moment and called out to Quinn. “Don’t worry, cutie, she’s like this with everyone.”

“Somehow that doesn’t make me feel better,” said Quinn.

“I hope I haven’t displeased you,” pouted Ensign Temple.

“You are quite satisfactory,” he said stiffly, “but I must decline any invitation of yours for anything anywhere at any time.”

“I did something wrong, didn’t I.”

“You mean man,” added Vette.

“Try to be kinder to our allies, captain,” said Nalenne.

“Permission to be exc-“

“Denied.” Nalenne smiled her sweetest smile.

*

“You are something of a diplomat yourself, are you not? As a representative of the Jedi ways, seeking harmony with the Wrath’s people.”

Jaesa blushed. “I would hardly call it – “

“It qualifies. Seeking peace amidst disparate elements through communication, it very well qualifies.”

“It’s kind of you to say so.”

“It occurs to us we have not asked. Do we address you as Master Jedi?”

“Oh, no. Just Jaesa.”

“Jaesa.” His voice seemed reluctant to end the word and let it move on. “We…are not accustomed to reading the finer social signs,” said Vector hesitantly.

“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Jaesa.

“She never does,” whispered Vette to Nalenne.

“But it’s nice talking to you,” added Jaesa. “Maybe we could do it again sometime.”

“We…wouldn’t want to take you away from your work.”

Jaesa deflated, a lot. “Oh. Of course. I’m sorry, I – “

“That was us misreading signs, wasn’t it,” said Vector. “We would be glad to see you again, if you have time.”

Jaesa beamed.

*

“I saw your ship on the way in. Nice, but it seems kinda standard-issue.” Dahlia grinned at Andronikos between bites.

“Heh. She’s got it where it counts.”

“My X-70B Phantom’s getting upgraded as fast as they can develop the prototype systems. You should try it out sometime.”

“A guy gets attached to his ship,” said Andronikos, “and I like mine.”

“Hm. Can’t teach an old ship new tricks.”

“Got some good standbys. Ever done an atmospheric flip without singeing your own hull?”

“Yes.”

“Ever pilot that swing over by Kessel to shake the cowards off your tail in the middle of some heat?”

“Twice,” she purred.

“Huh. Ever stroll into an enemy’s base with nothin’ but your wits and your blasters, just to talk your way through to lining up a full room of unsuspecting targets in time for your lady friend to stroll in and fry ‘em all with her brain?”

“Hm. No, actually.”

Andronikos smiled. “I’ve gotten used to the best,” he said huskily.

*

“You did not get a Corellian carbine to kick that hard.”

“I surely did,” said Kaliyo. “Could do it again if I had to.”

“Maybe so. Y’know, you’re not bad, for an alien.”

“You’re not bad, for a thug. So you said you got comparable power out of one of your electrum one-shots? Everybody knows you can’t get that stuff stable enough to explode reliably.”

“It was a custom detonator job. Double-contact, difficult to trip by accident, also hard for any hostiles to use. There’s this thing you do with your finger that’ll let it all off at once. If you’re dexterous enough to manage it.”

“Is that a challenge?”

Pierce raised one eyebrow. “Call it an invitation.”

*

Lokin raised one half-pinned arm to push Broonmark’s proffered fork away. “This has gotten rather good,” said Lokin.

“Blip,” said Broonmark. They both held still and watched.

*

Nalenne and Vette stared down the length of the table. “That cannot possibly work,” whispered Nalenne. “Pierce is the most speciesist Imperial I’ve ever met.”

“Apart from Quinn,” Vette corrected. “But no, actually, Pierce is pretty open-minded after a drink or two.”

“Is not.”

“I’ve played wingman to him dozens of times. (*) Trust me, he won’t turn down an opportunity just because it’s got some stripes on its face.”

“Oh. So are we gonna have walls left by the time they’re done blowing things up?” said Nalenne.

“We can hope they just find a room here,” replied Vette.

“Let’s hope, then. What’s your opinion on the bug and our girl?” asked Nalenne.

“If one of them doesn’t jump the other soon, I’m going to be very disappointed,” whispered Vette.

“Agreed. Dahlia?”

“Don’t know why she’s trying.”

“Temple?”

Vette giggled. “She is just beautiful.”
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bright_ephemera
07.11.2012 , 07:06 AM | #20
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 12: In which some are satisfied by the meal (IV/IV)

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier

This entry contains spoilers for one possible variant of the Agent's Alderaan line. No information of significance to the overall class arc is included.


“I need to go.” Quinn shot to his feet, yanking his hand away from where Ensign Temple had been reaching for it.

“You’re not leaving so soon, are you?” said Nalenne.

“I am,” he said coldly, and took a few steps away.

“Don’t,” she commanded.

“I fear I must, my lord.”

“You’re fighting, aren’t you,” squeaked Temple. “I’m so sorry.”

“Wait a minute, what?” said Nalenne. “We’re not fighting.”

Temple looked at Quinn, then Nalenne, then Quinn again. “I see now why you’ve been so tense, captain. It’s quite understandable, when one spouse has been wronged.”

“He isn’t wronged!” insisted Nalenne. Quinn gave her a significant look. “Oh, come on, we’re even by now.”

“Dahlia always says it’s very, very stressful dealing with a hostile partner alone,” said Temple earnestly. “I’ve heard of some very good techniqu-“

“Bugger you and Dahlia,” said Nalenne. “I’m not hostile. I would never hurt-“

Quinn gave her a particularly forceful significant look.

“Hmph,” scowled Nalenne. “I would probably not hurt you quite that badly again, unless you tried to shoot me again. Happy? Look, Miss Priss, for one thing I love him, which is none of your concern, and for another thing he’s mine, which is very much your concern if you have a single self-preserving bone in that nubile little body of yours.” She stood up to join Quinn. “Let’s go.”

“Gladly,” said Quinn, settling a hand at the small of Nalenne’s back and pushing for considerable-bordering-on-extreme walking speed as they headed out.

“I do love seeing you tormented,” said Nalenne as they went, “but nobody – nobody! – gets away thinking I don’t care for you.”

“Call me sometime, captain,” yelled Ensign Temple after them.

*

Kaliyo and Pierce quietly pocketed most of the sideboard’s ice cream toppings before excusing themselves. Broonmark finally let go of Lokin so the Talz could grab some jellied nerf blood and the doctor could go confer with a crestfallen Ensign Temple. Andronikos said something about tinkering while the engines were at the right temperature, and sauntered off in one direction while a miffed-looking Dahlia left in another. Vette savored her cake.

Jaesa and Vector finally stood up and headed toward the door.

“It’s been really nice,” said Jaesa. “It’s good to know you’re not alone in situations like this.”

“With the song of the nest, we are never alone,” Vector said beatifically. “We could bring you to listen someday.” He drifted closer.

“I think I’d…that is…I think…um. I’m a Jedi,” she blurted, and ran. Vector stood very still and watched her go.

“She’s not really an official Jedi,” said Vette as she sauntered up to the Joiner. “Here, hit me with your holofrequency. She’ll be in touch once she gets over herself.”

“She’ll be all right?” he asked.

“She has dealt with much, much weirder than you and come out okay. One prescreening question, though, are you actually attracted to women?”

“Er. Yes?”

“Whew. You’re way ahead of the competition.”

“How is it competition if they aren’t…?”

“Like I said. Much, much weirder than you. I think you’ll be good for her.” Vette winked and bounded off.
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.