Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

Formal Request of the Galactic Underworld (IC)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Roleplaying > Roleplay and Play-by-Post
Formal Request of the Galactic Underworld (IC)

meanken's Avatar


meanken
03.07.2013 , 05:03 PM | #71
Hoth, close to target coordinates

"Ready," Arnn reported over comm. "Will start firing in 20 sec."

He laid behind one of the probe droids (he had deactivated its repulsor) on a small hill. A group of pirates who seemed to be unloading supplies from a vehicle were right ahead. They hadn't noticed anything.

Time for a bloodbath, Meanken thought as he got into position behind the pirates, waiting for the attack to begin.

Serlynne lay on the ground, the optic scope of the assassin's sniper rifle pressed against her right eye. The thermal systems of her costume worked hard to keep her warm. She targeted one of the pirates who was carrying a heavy crate, and pulled the trigger. A laser bolt from the rifle hit the unsuspecting man in the head, and he fell on the ground, dead, the container landing right next to the corpse's legs.

Several nearby pirates looked at their fallen comrade in shock, then ran for cover, but Serlynne was already looking for her next victim. Two more men went down before the pirates were able to find a place to hide. Then the assassin began to move her weapon slowly, still looking through the scope. Her shots were rare, but always lethal.

...5...4... Arnn saw how some pirates ran for cover while others where looking where the attack came from.

...2...1... He started firing. One pirate went down, though he was probably wounded, not dead. But his attack shouldn't be efficient. Several blaster bolts hit the ground or some crates. And it worked.

"Over there!" Someone shouted. While some started to fire in his direction, others started to charge towards him.

Mean snuck up behind the pirates now focused on Arnn and rolled a live grenade into the middle of them. He watched as it exploded, killing several people, and used the confusion to grab another from behind, slitting his throat and then holding him, using his body as cover as he fired at the remaining guards, laughing at the top of his lungs and yelling "I LOVE THIS JOB!"

Serlynne shook her head at Meanken's barbarity, sighting her next target, a Zabrak, the shot cleanly punching through his heart. The man fell to the ground without a sound, crumpled in the white silk of the snow.

A blaster-bolt from Arnn's weapon hit a Gran in the center mass. Again, probably not deadly, but he went down. Those pirates didn't seem that keen on battle strategy. Arnn had been able to down three of them by now, while they were storming towards him. They did fire in his direction, but not aimed enough to hit.

Mean drew a throwing knife as a few pirates fired on him, hitting the body he was holding. He tossed it at one of their heads, killing one, then shoved the body at the rest as he rushed them with his knives.

Serlynne hurriedly reloaded, twisting the rifle to pick off the bruisers rushing at Arnn. Another clean shot through one of the attacker's arms, the limb flying off as the bolt punctured his lungs.

Arnn took a last shot at the nearest attacker, now merely a few meters away. Then he pushed himself back and rolled down the hill. If the next step wouldn't work, he was dead for sure. He caught himself and aimed at the hilltop. Not at the pirates who had reached it buy now, but at the scout droid he had laid down there. The hit didn't do much damage, but enough to activate the droids self destruct. It exploded immediately, throwing the attacking pirates into the air.

Mean ran down the pirates, who were now running away from him. He grinned as he caught up to them, impaling one in the back of the head. The other two turned to try to take him down. He ripped one of their throats out with ease, and twisted out of the way of the swinging blade of another, cutting one of his hands off and knocking him to the ground.

With the last of the pirates wounded by the explosions, Serlynne grinned to herself, once again the victor in her battles. She rolled onto her feet, lithely beginning her climb down her nest, rappelling quickly down the length of rope to the bloodied, charred snowdrift below.

To make sure he didn't survive, Arnn shot the nearest pirate, a human, laying on the ground in the head. Then he went to the next pirate to repeat. The explosion had probably killed most of them, but definitly not all. He reached a big alien, one he couldn't quite remember the species, something like Hour or Houk. No matter, he aimed...

The alien kicked him right into the stomach. Arnn stumbled back to the ground as the pain rushed through his body. The alien stood up and took up his blade.

Serlynne froze as she heard the sound of battle resume, cursing as she grabbed her blaster, twisting in her ropes to attempt to fire at the massive alien gunning for Arnn.

Mean stomped on the remaining pirate's throat, choking him. "Beg. Beg me to kill you." The pirate gave him the finger in response, and Meanken reached down, snapping said finger. He continued breaking bones, enjoying the screams of the pirate, untill he broken. "Ok, ok, kill me already, just get it over with, damn you!" He put his knife through the man's head.

Arnn couldn't reach his rifle before the pirate reached him. But he managed to take hold of his own techblade. This'll hurt, he thought as the pirate raised his hand for the slash. But instead of blocking it, he turned his blade upwards. While the other blade came down, he buried his blade deep in the aliens massive body.

"Well, ****," Serlynne breathed as the Houk collapsed on Arnn, unbuckling her rappel as she touched on the ground. "At least we won't have to worry about him now."

Mean walked up as she started talking, blood driping off his trenchcoat. "I still say we should have left the guy back at base. He is a damn liabilty, nothing more."

"If I had had a choice, I would have. But I didn't. He guessed far too much," Serlynne retorted, glancing at the blood-soaked Chiss. "And clean off your jacket. If that blood freezes, you'll need more then your knife to clean it off." She holstered her blaster, moving up the hill to where Arnn had been crushed.

"I'm fine if you get this guy off me," they heard from under the Houk. "Even though he would probably keep me warm for a few days."

Oh, great. Why can't this guy just die already? Mean stormed over and effortlessly tossed the Houk off of him. "Get the hell up, you are wasting time."

"Yes, sir," Arnn said and tried to stand up. "Arghh," he shouted as pain ran through his left shoulder. He tried again, this time using his right arm and stood up without problems. "Nice work," he said to both of them after looking around.

"Enough standing around, let's get done and get off this ****** rock," Mean turned around and started walking to the cave. Serlynne arched an eyebrow at him as he stomped passed her down the hill, before slowly turning her gaze towards Arnn.

"I'm fine, except my shoulder," Arnn answered the unasked question. "Guess I was lucky this guy was to stupid to activate a vibroblade." He said with a slight smile, nodded to Serlynne and then started to follow Mean.

Serlynne watched him closely before following, her lips pursed and closed. As they moved deeper into the cave, the air became noticeably warmer, as though a boiler were going off. "Seems odd that such a heat source wouldn't be sensed from geo-thermal scans," she muttered.

Meanken shrugged. "It's a big planet, not hard to miss one cave. Besides, maybe whoever made this cave took steps to hide the heat? You don't leave crap sitting in random caves unless you know some ******* is not going to just stumble in and take it."

"Point, but even still, it seems far too conspicuous," She answered. As the group turned to the right, the cave dissolved into a long, narrow hallway, frost and ice coating the runes of the wall, sharp icicles dangling precariously overhead. "Yes, Dr. Kole certainly knows where his devices lay."

Mean stared at the icicles. "I have seen more then one dude get taken out by things like that. Try not to be one of them, I don't feel like carting your dead *** out of this cave."

"Arnn, travel in first. You wanted to help, then help here," Serlynne nodded, standing aside and waving for him to walk through the hallway.

Arnn nodded. He took a moment to inspect the icicles to find the least dangerous way. It seemed along the right wall, so he went over there, then entered the hallway. On his way he thought about about what he had heard them say after the battle. He hadn't understood everything, but he was sure of one part of it- He guessed too much.

Serlynne unconsciously reached for her blaster, wanting to do away with the troublesome man now creeping down the hallway before catching herself, reminding her mind that she couldn't kill him until she knew he wasn't what he appeared to be. Until then, she watched, her arms crossed and waiting.

Mean leaned over and whispered in Serlynne's ear, "I really don't understand why you give such a **** about finding out who this guy works for or whatever. Does it really matter? One shot and it is done with. Hell, we can make it look like he got impaled by one of those icicles if you really want to."

"This way seems save!" Arnn called and turned around to them, waiting for them to follow.

Serlynne murmured back, "If he's not working for the Empire, then he's a mole, something as an Agent of the Empire you should be moderately concerned about. If he is loyal, then you just killed a decent asset. I know your handler doesn't think much of you, but at least pretend to care about something other then that knife you make out with." She stepped forward, then, carefully following Arnn's footsteps.

Mean rolled his eyes at her comment about the knife and started following the two as well, secretly hoping an icicle would fall and kill one of them, not really caring which one got hit.

As they finally passed the dangerous hallway, they had entered a large circular room, adorned with dormant pipes, heavy ice clinging to some of the rusted metal. "Now, Dr. Kole, where would a mad scientist like yourself activate a millenniums old machine. . .?" Serlynne wondered as she carefully walked across the room, her eyes scanning for any threat.

What is this place? Arnn thought. He tried to put together all the information he had received from listening to Serlynne's and Mean's comments. He could make some guesses, but he wasn't entirely sure. The pipes might be connected to it, he thought. They must have some function, I guess. His eyes followed some of the pipes. With all the ice, this was difficult, so he reached out for one pipe which looked important and, almost touching it, followed it along the wall.

Mean started looking around as well, saying, "Hey, why you asking where the Kole dude hid it? I thought it was the Rakata that hid this crap, and the Kole guy was just trying to find what they left? Not that it really matters, but still."

"He didn't hide it, agent. But he knows what it is. So, perhaps by replicating his thought process, I can figure out- Aha!" Serlynne grinned triumphantly, brushing snow off an ancient, rune-covered pedestal. It was ornate, carefully forged, yet did not feel like hard, frozen metal, although perhaps that should be attributed to the boiler-like room temp- Wait.

"How is so warm in here, yet ice, snow, and frost coat the hallways and this room?"

"Does it matter? I sure as hell don't care. Besides, why ask us? I sure as hell am not a scientist, and the scout won't know either."

"There is something over here," Arnn called from the other side of the room. "I'm not quite sure what it is, but some of the pipes are connected to it. It gives some strange thermal readings, which don't seem to make sense to me."

The moment Arnn called out, a massive rumbling began that shook the cavern. The ice and snow melted almost instantaneously, while the pedestal split apart to sink neatly into the ground. "****, we need to move!"

"Damn it, I knew taking the scout along was a bad idea!" Mean yelled. "But what about the artifact or whatever the hell we have to get? We leave now, and we will never find it!"

Arnn's brain was busy with the device. If the snow melts instantaneously now, there must have been some melting suspension, he figured. Damn, I need more time to think... These pipes transport some liquid. Is it... no, it isn't. He made a guess: The liquid is not what has suspended the melting, if it was, it wouldn't melt so fast after shutting it down. It is something that counters the melting suspension. If we interrupt them, it might slow it down a little.

"Throw me a blaster!" he shouted. "Or just shoot these three pipes here!"

"You better know what the hell you are doing!" Mean yelled as he shot the pipes.

Arnn jumped aside as liquid splashed out of the pipes. Where it hit the ground, the ice immediately turned into a puddle.

"I don't know if and how long this will slow it down," Arnn called. "Lets get your artifact ASAP, I'll monitor the cave's stability."

But the rumbling didn't only weaken, it slowly died down to an insistent groaning of metal grinding against each other. "Good call, Arnn. Must have been a ancient trap of some kind," Serlynne coughed, waving her hand in front of her face to ward off the now sauna like temperature of the room. "As for what we're supposed to grab, I don't think we were ever supposed to take something away."

"Rather, I think we were supposed to turn something on," she gestured at the now rotating wall of runes behind the pedestal.

"So, we are done here then? That leaves only one thing to handle then, I think." He said, motioning in Arnn's direction.

LogicLoup's Avatar


LogicLoup
03.12.2013 , 01:38 PM | #72
Nar Shaddaa


The members of the four-man SIS unit hadn't had any face-to-face contact since their briefing on Coruscant. They had traveled to Nar Shaddaa on three different transports, arriving over a span of six hours, each landing in a different port. Until they reached the designated rendezvous point, they would leave no sign of being connected to each other.

Manka took up his position first. The taxi stop in front of the Vertica gave him a clear but unobtrusive view of the meet. His impatience was only partially feigned as he paced around the crowds making their way into or out of a seemingly endless stream of cabs. He fidgeted with the neckline of his impeccably-tailored suit, asked passers-by for the time, glared at the line of cabs — putting on the pose of a man stood up for a date. Finally, at T-minus three minutes, he saw what he had been waiting for, and slouched away from the casino in a dejected huff.

Krayt and Hawkbat settled into place around a table at a sidewalk cafe, chatting amiably over caf and sandwiches. As Manka dropped into the third chair at their table, Krayt nodded. "Green," he murmured, raising his cup to hide the movement of his lips.

Manka returned the nod. "Savrip?"

"There." Hawkbat's gaze flicked swiftly to a short, slender woman struggling with a holomap. With her gaudy floral-printed shirt, souvenir hat shaped like an oversized bell, and the broad Mantellian drawl that accented her muttered swearing, she looked every bit the bumpkin tourist.

Manka stood and strolled over to meet her. "Do you need a hand?"

"I reckon so," she sighed. Manka tapped a few controls on her datapad, and the map display collapsed neatly. "Thank ya kindly," she added, beaming up at him from beneath the ridiculous bell hat.

"There are easier ways to find where you're going." The signal — T-minus zero. Are you ready?

"You offerin' to play tour guide?" The countersign — Everything's by the numbers.

Manka offered his arm, Sabrip tucked her hand into the bend of his elbow, and they were off. Moments later, they heard Krayt and Hawkbat's footsteps approaching, just as expected. The team ducked into an alley and, with Savrip and Krayt covering him, Hawkbat found and disabled the hidden lock. A section of seemingly-unbroken wall slid aside and, with Manka on point, the team began the long descent on an emergency stairway.

*************************

"Maybe if I use potassium, I can prevent the Zabrak's spleen from exploding. . . No, wait, that'd just set it on fire before it exploded," Arthen mused, shifting from datapad to datapad, bubbling blue fluids resting in beakers in front of him. An assistant lowered a green vial on top of a flame nearby, carefully heating the substance.

"Dr. Kole, what about boron?" the human suggested, his labcoat neatly shifting as he brought the vial to Arthen.

"A good suggestion, but then Miraluka would change skin color," Arthen responded as he signaled for the fluid inside to be poured into the glasses. As the first drop landed inside, Arthen immediately saw one datapad switch to code red, a low beeping sound coming from the device. "Intruders. . . Yunez, would you kindly go to the power room and shut off all but the emergency lights? Then, please stay in your quarters."

"Uh, sure, Dr. Kole," Yunez replied, setting the vial into a case before walking quickly out of the room. As the assistant turned the switch, the entire complex descended into shadows. When the deep red lights of emergency fizzed on, Arthen's lab was empty.

*************************

As the emergency lighting flickered on, Hawkbat vaulted over the stairway handrail, hopping lightly down onto the next flight of stairs. Savrip followed close behind him, while Manka and Krayt barreled down the steps two at a time. When they reached the bottom of the stairwell, Krayt drew his sidearm and stood in front of the heavy exit door while Hawkbat moved to the control panel.

"Fail secure," he muttered after a moment's examination. "Can't pop it unless we get power back."

Savrip took off her hat and reached inside as she shouldered Krayt out of her way. She worked quickly to smear a thin line of explosive paste along the seam in the door panels, then attached the detonator leads and looked over her shoulder at Manka. At his nod, she sparked off the paste, and Krayt worked his fingers into the still-smoking gap between panels to pry the door open.

Manka took point once again, leading the team into the primary laboratory. They clustered into a tight circle, backs facing inward as they moved cautiously forward. "Where to?" Manka whispered, pausing as they came to the middle of the room.

Hawkbat squinted into the darkness, checking the few door signs he could make out, orienting himself on the map in his head. "Residences," he replied, pointing down one darkened hallway. "Storage," he added, gesturing again, "more labs, and lockdown."

"Work space is our best bet for a control center," Krayt muttered.

"Agreed," Manka nodded. The team moved again in perfect unison, maintaining their defensive formation as they headed for the labs.

A blast of Force impacted Manka from the front, sending him sprawling. The lights seemed to dim even more now, flickers barely keeping the room doused in blood-red.

The SIS team scrambled for cover, Krayt turning to grab Manka while diving behind a bank of computers. Hawkbat drew his sidearm as he popped up from behind a table, squeezing off a quick volley of unaimed warning shots before dropping back into hiding and crawling to a new nest.

The room stayed dead quiet as the team strained their ears to hear something, anything, to give them a clue of their situation. A loud crash down the hallway, through the right door, sounded out, breaking the deafening lack of sound.

With quick, furtive bursts of movement, Savrip moved to join Krayt and Manka. "Go on," she whispered, nudging Krayt's shoulder. "I got the kitty." Staying hunkered down, Krayt darted for the side door, Hawkbat joining him on the way.

The two agents peeked down the darkened hallway, squinting as the lights here dimmed as well. A sliding door was ajar, an unusual gust of wind blowing out from the room. "Savrip, Krayt. Weird noise from right door along hallway. Gonna check it out, over."

"Acknowledged, Krayt," she subvocalized. "Keep careful and keep in touch. Savrip out." She propped Manka up against the line of computers, gently tapping his cheek. "Stay with me," she demanded in a hissing whisper.

"Got knocked around," he slurred, his head weaving as he tried to keep her in focus. "Can't see in here."

"Just sit tight," she replied, settling her hat low onto his head as she drew a pair of knives from her boots, her eyes wide as she peered watchfully into the shadows.

Krayt dipped his head to look inside the door, staring at. . . a fan. The small device rotated on its swivel, releasing gust of air through the door periodically as it moved. "Savrip, Krayt here. Was nothing. Turning back." A sharp crack was heard behind Krayt. "What the hell-?"

Krayt froze as he stared at the back of Hawkbat's head, the front of his torso slumping slowly to the ground, the unseeing eyes staring at the ceiling. "MAN DOWN, MAN DOWN-"

"Run."

"Fall back and report, Krayt," Savrip barked over comms. She edged back toward Manka, trying to shelter him as best she could.

Pressing his back to the wall, Krayt drew his sidearm and edged sideways back down the hall. "Didn't see anything, didn't hear anything," he breathed. "What's fast enough to get the drop on Hawk?"

"Target's a Jedi," Savrip snapped. "We knew that going in. Keep it together."

"Jedi don't snap necks like that!" Krayt gasped, turning back through the door, moving slowly back towards Savrip. "Who the hell is this guy?!"

"He's the target," she replied in a calm, even tone, trying to break through Krayt's panic. "Just keep backing up. There's a desk behind you, take a step left... there you go. Doing good, Krayt. You're almost here."

Krayt finally turned his back to look at Savrip, the panic in his eyes slowly dying down as he approached. "Okay, okay, we'll be fine." His eyes bounced around the room as he took in the lab.

Savrip nodded, smiling encouragingly even though the gesture was all but invisible in the darkness. "Just fine. Huddle up, force him to come to us. We're gonna make it, Krayt, I promise."

"Tsk, tsk. Leaders shouldn't make promises they can't keep." The voice came from every angle at once, Krayt spinning his head around in confusion trying to find the source.

"Ignore him, Krayt. It's just standard psyops sh*t, you know how to deal with this." Savrip motioned him closer. "We can do this, just keep your head on."

"A fascinating choice of words." From the hallway, the shadows pooled together, the darkness peeling away from Arthen as he stepped out of his stealth, his doublesaber loosely twirling in his hand. "My name is Dr. Arthen Kole, head researcher and proprietor of this underground lab. I conjure hypotheses, design experiments, and solve medical problems. And I also slaughter self-entitled little tw*ts like yourselves." The saber activated then, twin lines of yellow bursting from either side of the hilt.

Savrip pressed one of her knives into Manka's hands, then carefully eased an injector from the pouch on his belt. "Prepare to open fire on my mark," Savrip whispered over comms. Blinking against the glare of Arthen's saber, she stood slowly. "We're just here to talk, Doctor," she called, her voice still low and soothing.

"And I'm a Pureblood," Arthen grinned, his stance twisting to battle as his eyes flickered between the two. "Tell me, are either of you wearing microphones? Cameras, maybe?"

"Just closed-circuit comms," Savrip replied, taking slow, cautious steps forward as she spoke. "No recording, no contact with anyone but the fou— the three of us." Krayt edged in beside her, his knuckles cracking as he squeezed the grip of his pistol.

"A pity. I so wished that your superiors could see," Arthen continued, a wave of force pushing all three Agents back as the shadows reached to cover him once again, "just how bad their judgement was."

As Manka was knocked prone, Krayt crouched to protect him. Savrip tucked in tight, controlling her fall into a roll. She sprang up to her feet, holding her arms out wide. "Well c'mon then!" Her accent was thick and mocking as she yelled into the dark. "You gonna yap all day or do we get this sh*t done!?"

"We'll get it done soon enough, agent," Arthen's calm, emotionless tone rang throughout the room once more. "But for now. . ."

Arthen seized hold of Manka's mind from the shadows, words snaking into his mind. "You want to help me. Your allies will leave you for dead to save their own skin. But if you stop them, you will live."

Manka shook his head, tightening his grip on the knife Savrip had left in his hand. "How...?" he rasped as he stood and staggered toward the other agents. "Why would... I trusted you." He threw himself at Savrip in a clumsy tackle, pinning her down as he forced her to the floor.

"What the hell, Manka?!" Krayt yelled, kicking the blade from his hand before ripping him off Savrip, holding him down in a full nelson as the other agent struggled in his hold.

Savrip rolled clear, picking up the loose knife and tucking it back into her boot. She bounced up to her feet and advanced cautiously from Manka's blind side, tranq injector at the ready. As she reached forward to plunge the syringe into Manka's upper arm, there was a sudden crunching 'pop' from his shoulders and he squirmed free of Krayt's grasp.

Manka's free fist crashed into Savrip's cheek, bowling her over. As Krayt reached for him again, Manka headbutted him, breaking Krayt's nose with a sharp crack. "You think you can just leave me to die, huh?! Kriff you!"

"Nobody's getting left behind," Savrip answered, jamming her knife and the injector into her belt. "You can trust us, Batai, you know you can." Holding his empty hands out to his sides, Krayt slowly circled around into Manka's peripheral vision.

"Not anymore, he doesn't," Arthen answered, melting from the shadows behind Krayt, his hilt jabbing into his back. The blade activated.

"One down," Manka snarled as he lunged at Savrip. She yanked the injector from her belt, plunging the needle into Manka's side as he closed with her. He struggled clumsily for a few seconds before sagging against Savrip, who lowered him to the floor.

Krayt's hands clenched around the hole as Arthen once more vanished into the shadows. As Krayt cried out in pain, he slumped to the ground, his legs unmoving.

"Stick with me, Krayt," Savrip ordered as she knelt between him and Manka. "Just hang tight, you're gonna be okay." She searched frantically through Manka's medkit, her hands shaking as she pulled out a kolto pack and squeezed the gel into Krayt's gaping wound. Standing slowly, she drew her knives and tossed them away. "You wanted to send a message, doctor?" she shouted. "Let our wounded go."

"No," Krayt grunted hoarsely. "Can't let you—"

"Shut your hole before he puts you in one," Savrip hissed in reply.

". . . Why?"

"You said it yourself, you wanted to show the folks who sent us that they'd misjudged you." She paced anxiously, trying to pick out the direction his voice was coming from. "Corpses send one kind of message. A prisoner acting as a willing mouthpiece sends another. Let Krayt an' Manka go, and I'll stay here."

A body thudded next to her feet, Hawkbat's unseeing eyes staring straight at her. "Are you sure? My saber cut out his spinal cord. He won't walk again. Perhaps death will be preferable?"

She crouched to gently close Hawkbat's eyes, drawing in a breath and holding it until she was sure her voice wouldn't break. "Just the same, I'd rather he got to make the call on his own, somewhere safe."

". . .Very well. Carry your team outside, signal for extraction. If you try to flee, though. . ."

Savrip nodded gravely, then began the long, slow process of hauling the other three agents to a lift pad. She saved Krayt for last, settling him against her back, his legs dragging behind as dead weight. "It's a bad trade, Sav," he slurred as the lift began to rise.

"Yeah, prob'ly, but it's the only one we got. I told you you'd make it outta there, and I'm not gonna let you make a liar of me."

"You know he's not going to hold up his end. Manka would—"

"He'd do the same damn thing for any of us, and you know it," she snapped. The lift lurched to a halt in an abandoned warehouse. One by one, Savrip carried her teammates through the building and out into an alley, then activated her beacon and handed it off to Krayt. Without a word, she went back into the warehouse, waiting in silence as the lift carried her, alone, down to the lab.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

meanken's Avatar


meanken
03.13.2013 , 10:43 AM | #73
Rakatan cave, Hoth

Serlynne sighed. Agent Mean clearly lacked subtlety and therefore was leaving her no choice other then immediately start Arnn's interrogation.

"I suppose you are right, Agent" - said the assassin, and pointed both of her blasters at Specialist Arnn. "Now tell me, Specialist Arnn, who you are really working for?"

"What?" Arnn asked shocked. He was indeed surprised. While analyzing the Rakata device, for a short moment, he had forgotten about their mistrust.

"Cut the crap, Arnn," - pressed Serlynne. "Unless you think we are stupid enough to believe you were so interested in our mission just for curiosity's sake."

"You think I am... some kind of spy or something?" Arnn said, pretending a sudden realization. "No, no. I am a loyal imperial soldier. You want to know why I was interested in this mission? Because Hoth is kriffing boring. I've done nothing except riding around and checking sensors for two years now. And I will be checking sensors for three more years and maybe a second term and a third term."

He looked down: "When you guys came along, I thought this was my only opportunity to do something interesting. The only opportunity to do something that matters."

"bullshi*!" Mean stormed over and grabed Arnn by the throat, and stared him right in the eyes. "See, I have been with you imps for a while now, and if there is one thing that will get you killed faster then anything else, it is curiosity. No imp in their right mind would be so eager to get involved with a secret intel mission. So...." He drew his knife "Start talking, or I start cutting"

"Please, believe me, I am loyal," Arnn begged. "I am from Belkadan, a proud ally of the Empire. I served with the Belkadan Planetary Forces artillery during the war. I was stationed on Balmorra, and then transferred to the scouts on Hoth. I even applied for Imperial Intelligence once, but got rejected. Please, check my files. I asked for special missions several times, it never got me into trouble."

Serlynne wasn't moved by Arnn's pleading speech. In fact, she would like nothing more than to shoot man in the head and then dispose of his corpse - just in case. However, on a very small chance that Arnn was exactly who he claimed to be, his murder would make her look bad in the eyes of the Empire. And since the Republic very soon would be looking for Serlynne, and giving the fact she had already killed more than a few Imperials on its behalf, the assassin just couldn't risk alienating another ally any further. So Arnn would live...most likely.

"Very well," - said Serlynne. "Let's say I believe you. You are still a security risk that needs to be contained. Now head over your weapon and your comlink."

"You what?" Mean flipped around to glare at Serlynne "You are just going to buy it? Without any conformation he is not pulling Shi* out of his as*? How stupid are you?"

"So stupid, that I decided to save us both some time and leave him to Hoth to deal with," - retorted Serlynne, looking at Mean with clear contemp. "What, you want to torture him? Well, go ahead; nobody's stopping you, Agent."

"No, you can't do that! I'll hand over my equipment!" Arnn said desperately. He hadn't received really anti-torture training, only some basic instruction.

"About time." Mean knocked Arnn to the ground and grabbed his wrist. "Let's start with the fingers. Then we will move on to more.....painful parts." He snapped the pinky finger. "Tell me everything. Who you really are, who you work for, why you are on hoth. And don't you dare lie to me."

"You are kriffing stupid! Torture doesn't work!" Arnn screamed. "With enough pain, anyone would confess anything...!"

"Oh, torture works plenty well in my experience. The reason it fails is usually because it is not made painful enough. Put the fear of the emperor into a guy, as the imps would probably say, and they will be too afraid to lie. Now then...." Mean rams his knife into the back of arnn's hand "TALK! OR IT ONLY GETS WORSE!"

Arnn screamed. He tried to think about his minor injuries he had received and survived in the war. He could survive this. But the pain...

"I... am... loyal! Dammit!" He said under a heavy breath.

"LIES! TELL ME THE TRUTH!" Mean moved to the other hand, choping off Arnn's pinky finger completly, then moving to trace his knife up Arnn's arm, slowly cutting it open.

"Arhhhh!" Arnn screamed. "Okay, I'm a Republic agent."

He felt Mean stopping, but not removing the knife.

"Is that what you want to hear?!?" He shouted into Means face. "Or do I have to say I am send by the Hutts?! Or this Dr.-whatever-guy who sent you?!"

"A good start. Now, why are you here? What is your mission? How were you able to fool the idiots back at Dorn base? Tell me everything!"

"Do you seriously want to hear made up stories?" Arnn asked flabbergasted. "I'm here because you showed me the coordinates. I was sent to locate and retrieve a Rakata device from Hoth. Some superiors at Dorn base don't ask questions if you pay enough. Are you pleased now?"

"So, you admit to being a traitor and you admit to bribing superiors to stay quiet." Mean made a mental note to have the base locked down and call in a team from HQ to figure out who was guilty of that. "Well, I see no reason to leave him alive. You have any objections back there?"

Serlynne, who until this moment was silently watching Arnn's torture, finally spoke: “The only thing you managed to accomplish here, Agent, is to waste our time and prove that people are willing to say anything to make the pain stop. Now, take his weapon and comlink and let's go. I'd rather not participate in murder of a loyal servant of the Empire, so just leave him here. I'll take care of his speeder so even if Arnn will eventually return to the base, we will be long gone by then."

Mean turned around to face her, and whispered so Arnn would not hear "Perhaps you have forgotten, so let me point this out. You are not in charge. I am the agent here, you are just some assassin we hired cause apparently we don't have enough in reserve for this mission. I call the shots, and I say this guy is too much of a liability to live. Understand?"

"I think it's you who need to understand something, Agent," - answered Serlynne, without lowering her voice. "First, I am here to assist you on your mission, not to carry out blindly your stupid orders, and in any case exposing traitors is not part of it. Secondly, you have no real proof of Arnn's fault because your favorite method is useless here, and we have no time for a proper investigation. Finally, killing a fellow servant of Empire without valid reason is just plain stupid and unprofessional. I thought members of the Imperial Intelligence are aware of such things. Besides, nothing is stopping you from returning here after you finish our assignment."

Mean started laughing uncontrollably for a moment. Eventually, he got a hold of himself "Stupid and unprofessional? That’s what you call the killing of your own men? Nice, you just insulted about 90% of the sith order. I hope you know that? Cause this?' He pointed at Arnn "This is tame compared to what I have seen some sith do. They don't need a valid reason to kill most anyone, unless they are sith or protected by a sith higher ranked then them. So, ya, better get used to this if you intend to work for the empire. Cause if you try to stop a sith the same way you just did to me, they will rip your heart out and force feed it to you." Mean, amused by that image, resumed his uncontrollable laughter.

Serlynne shrugged.

"I fail to see how Sith traditions or politics have anything to do with work of Imperial Agent, unless you are also the member of the Order, which I strongly doubt. Admit it, you are just looking for a reason to slit his throat, aren't you? I wonder what Zero would say about it..."

Meanken stared her right in the eyes. "Carful woman. The scout is not the only person who's death could be explained away by a pirate attack or the elements. I will be waiting outside, hurry up and finish with the idiot." Mean stormed off without another word.

Arnn had tried to hear them talking, but it was difficult to concentrate on it over his pain. So he hadn't understand anything. He wasn't that afraid anymore. More angry about his on stupidity to accompany them on this mission. If he hadn't been there, they might have drowned. And if not, at least he could have reported them to SIS.

"Are you going to kill me?" he asked.

"Normally I would have already," - responded Serlynne. "But fortunately for you, right now you are more useful to me alive"

"Thank you," Arnn said with a sigh of relief.

Serlynne moved closer to Arnn and leaned towards him.

"I want you to give a message to your Republic friends," - continued the assassin. "Tell them I've done working with them. If SIS wanted my cooperation, they should have used carrot instead of the stick. Got it?"

Arnn paused for a moment. Then he said:

"I got what you try to achieve: If I am not a spy, you don't want to kill a loyal asset. If I am a Republic spy, you want me to get a message to the Republic." He smiled slightly, his face still twisted by pain. "Either way, you win. Now, I am not a spy, but I guess trying to convince you I would only waste your time, mercenary."

"Exactly." - stated Serlynne, right before knocking Arnn out with one precise blow to his neck. Then she quickly searched the body, relieving the man from his comlink and weapon in process, gave the ancient Rakata machine one long last look and headed towards the exit from the cave.

Mean was outside, searching the dead white maw pirates to see if they had anything good on them. He heard Serlynne coming and turned around. "You done? Can we get off this damn planet now?"

"He is finished," - replied Serlynne and jumped on her speeder. The engine howled, but it didn't lift from the ground.

I guess "Failbike" is an accurate name, she thought and went over to Arnn's speeder. "No reason to leave his equipment behind though. Let's go."

She activated the engines and darted forward, away from the cave and back to Dorn base, not bothering to check if Mean is following her.

Mean put some credits he had lifted off the pirates in his pocket and jumped on his bike, driving off after her.

meanken's Avatar


meanken
03.14.2013 , 05:57 PM | #74
Dorn Base, Hoth


Meanken drove into the hanger and shut off the bike, looking behind him and waiting for Serlynne to pull in. The assassin parked Arnn's speeder and joined him. A voice spoke up from a dark corner of the hanger "About time you two got back. I was starting to get worried."

Serlynne almost drew her guns on the owner of the voice, but then she recognized it and only shrugged: "Well, Agent Zero, between a bunch of White Maw pirates, a scout who may or may not have been a Republic spy and the fact that we were looking for one single cave on the whole planet, I can't really explain to you why it took us so long to finish our job here."

Zero's eyes narrowed at the word spy "A spy? Where are they? They need to be properly prosessed, interviewed, a team will need to investgate them. Mean did tell you this?"

Mean rolled his eyes "I tryed to tell her when we left that we should have just turned him in and been done with it, but no, she wanted to do her own thing. I will let her explain" Mean smirked at Serlynne as Zero crossed her arms and waited for an explanation.

Serlynne started to smile, while slowly clapping her hands.

"Well played, Agent Mean, well played indeed," - she said finally. "Now, how about we all take a trip back to that cave, so I could try to wake up poor tortured Arnn to see if any part of his story will actually match whatever ******** you think you can come up with? By the way, here's a tip for you - next time you order to kill someone, better do it yourself, or at the very least check if that someone is really dead."

Zero raised her hand "Quiet! I will not have this bickering between the two of you! Now, Banshee, did he or did he not advise you of the proper way these things are handled? If he did, then whatever he did is a result of on the spot desision making steming from a failure on your part to follow protical. And....you had better have a good explanation as to why you left the spy alive if you knew he was not dead after Mean was finished with him."

"I left him alive so he could be handled in "the proper way" later," - explained Serlynne, no longer smiling. As for Agent Mean, he failed to obtain any solid proof of treason via torture but nonetheless seemed bent on killing the suspect despite my numerous objections. And he most certainly didn't advise me anything, instead ordering me to kill the man."

"BULLSHI*! I told you to leave his *** at base the second it became clear there was something up with him! You were the one who wanted to take him with us, not me!"

Zero rolled her eyes "Shut up! Banshee, I expected you to be smarter then this. The moment you thought you had a spy, you should have contacted me, and I would have told you what to do. Now, he is out there doing who knows what! Tell me you at least left us a way to find him?"

Serlynne sighed wearily. If I knew sparing Arnn would cause me so much problems with these two, I never would have done it in the first place

"I thought he can be of some use " - she said, "Agent Mean, you may want to remember Arnn was the one who figured how to turn on the Rakata device in the cave and stopped it from collapsing. As for his current location, Agent Zero, I left Specialist Arnn in the cave unconscious. He is wounded, missing a finger, doesn't have a weapon or a comlink, and the only speeder I left him is broken, so he is going nowhere. Here are the coordinates."

Zero waved over a man standing guard "You, I want you to take these coordinates to your superior, instruct them to send a team and pick up the man in the cave, he is a suspected trator and is to be treated as such. Understood?" The man nodded and ran off "Ok, moving on. the cave, what did you two find? Was it a device of some sort you had to turn on? That's what we found on Taris and I assume Ilum, so chances are that it was the same here."

"It was similar," and Serlynne and Meanken started to tell Zero what happened.

Later, Rakata cave



"Specialist!" Arnn heard. He still couldn't keep his thoughts straight, while slowly waking up. His arm hurt.

"Specialist!" The voice repeated.

Arnn slowly opened his eyes. There were two men in white armour. Soldiers. He stared at them, not able to respond right now. They seemed to realize that he had woken up.

"Specialist Arnn!" one of them said determined. "You are suspected of treason against the Empire! Raise your hands over your head while we take you in to custody."

LogicLoup's Avatar


LogicLoup
03.14.2013 , 11:32 PM | #75
Refitted freighter, en route to Taris


After signing off with Quintus and checking to see that his files had transferred properly, Soleta sat down with her datapad and eased herself into a meditative trance. Her fingers danced over the pad’s input surface, sketching out the runes she had memorised from the underground facility on Ilum. Without her conscious mind getting in the way, she was able to recall and reproduce the images perfectly, filling screen after screen with the ancient symbols. Once she had emptied her Force-etched memories into the datapad, she came back out of her trance, peering studiously at the designs she had drawn before feeding them, along with the images from Taris, into the ship’s computer for comparison to the dictionary Quintus had sent.

While she waited for the computer to complete its translation, Soleta displayed both sets of images, highlighting areas that caught her attention. As she had expected, the now-familiar collection of four runes figured prominently as a repeated motif in both sites, sometimes in a map-like configuration, with three symbols ringing the fourth, sometimes in a simple line of text as part of a full sentence — Purification, the unknown fourth symbol, void, Force. The emphatics designating runes for proper names were scattered over symbols from both installations. “Clarifying the site list, most likely,” Soleta murmured to herself. “Let’s hope the chronicler was kind enough to include an instruction manual, as well.”

A chime from the console interrupted Soleta’s musing. “Ah, wonderful,” she said as she overlayed the images with the translated texts. “Let’s see what we have here. . .” Her attention was drawn first to the unknown rune from the map — life. With that mystery unravelled, she looked for the largest block of text with names included, and began to read.

It matters not where the journey begins: On icy Hoth, or crystal-shrouded Ilum, or Taris of the shimmering sea. These are but gates, opening conduits for the upwelling of energies needed to empower the final work of the Array, the instrument of the Infinite Empire’s resurgence. When these three have been enabled, then and only then may the Last fulfill its purpose. Unbound by worldly clay, the Last hangs amid stars dying and dead in the galaxy’s heart, drawing on power and Darkness as did the Forge of old.

Soleta scowled. “What is the point of you?!” she demanded. “Tucked away in the Deep Core... might as well be jammed straight up the Emperor’s arse for as accessible as that is.” She reread the passage in a thoughtful murmur. “But it must be impressive, and dangerous, if it’s so well hidden. And to be compared to the Star Forge. . . There must be something here that explains what the bloody thing actually does.” Muttering as she skimmed over the rest of the engravings, sorting the relevant from the merely interesting, she isolated another long passage.

Generations have lived and died since the great plague, and still we are no closer to taking back what is ours by right. The Mother Machine’s creations, though useful slave fodder, have provided no useful insight. We have no other choices left to us. Even as we find ourselves pushed now to our last resort, only I understand what must be done. If the Force denies us, what can we do but deny it in turn? We can allow no weapon which we cannot wield. Life must be purified of the void of the Force. Our Empire will be truly Infinite, exerting power even over Power itself.

She began to pace, turning the words over and over in her mind, trying to sift some meaning from the rant. The plague had to be the one that had led to the demise of the Rakatan empire, decimating the population and stripping the survivors of their connection to the Force. In its wake, the Rakata had sought desperately for some way to reclaim their lost power, driven to distraction as their empire collapsed around them. But this... denying the Force? For an individual, certainly such a thing could be done, but to do so on the scale this seemed to imply jumped straight past challenging into bloody miraculous. The Rakata were magnificent scientists and innovators, that much was beyond dispute, but could they really build a device capable of severing all ties to the Force for everyone?

Could she risk finding out the hard way?

Her mind made up, Soleta put in another call to Quintus.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

LogicLoup's Avatar


LogicLoup
03.16.2013 , 06:41 PM | #76
Refitted freighter


Soleta keyed in the Veil's frequency and paced anxiously in front of the ship's holocomm as she waited for Q to answer. As soon as his image resolved from the opening burst of static, she snapped, "Is this channel secure?"

"No, the entire holonet can hear everything," Quintus returned the snappy tone with a snide retort of his own.

"I'm..." she paused, making a visible effort to calm down. "I'm very sorry, I do trust your discretion, but it is exceedingly important that this conversation not be monitored. Could you please make certain we're secure?"

Quintus examined the encryptions on the holoterminal intricately. Spotting nothing compromising there, he checked the room for further bugs. Finding none, his image nodded, "We are."

"Alright. Good." Soleta started pacing again. "Have you determined precise coordinates for the fourth installation? We need to get there in rather a hurry, and all I've been able to determine is that it's in the Deep Core."

Quintus shook his head. "Yes, and no. No navigation chart has anything on the installment. However, the charts determined that there is a somewhat significant empty space of planets in the Deep Core. My best precise guess would be in these coordinates." He forwarded a chart with triangulated coordinates.

"Well bugger." Soleta frowned in dismay as she examined a side monitor with the coordinates displayed and superimposed onto a nav chart. "Gravitational effects are going to be an absolute mess that far in. Can we get there in one piece?"

"It is going to be a longshot, I'll admit," Q replied. "The Veil should be able to handle it, but then again, it's unheard of to come out completely unscathed."

"We're just going to have to manage it somehow." She raked her fingers through increasingly disheveled hair. "We can't let this thing go active. We just can't."

"What does it do?" Quintus' image offered an intrigued glance.

Soleta froze suddenly, staring at the projection with a look of complete shock. After a long moment of tense silence, she finally responded, "No one else can know about this. Not the agents, not the mercenary, not Thanaton or Ser— oh no. How much have you already told them?"

"Very little," Quintus replied. "They only know what is necessary for us to maintain our heads."

"How much do they know?" she demanded, panic in her tone.

"Only that our hunt for the artifact they seek ended up spanning the galaxy, and that we would need more time. Nothing more." Quintus sighed. "You know... if you would rather not discuss it on holo, by all means, wait until you return here."

Soleta slouched forward, leaning against the edge of the projector. "No, it's not that, it's just..." She shook her head. "Never mind. I'll worry about the rest of it later. The Array, it... as best I can determine from the information we recovered, it..." There was a tremor in her voice as she continued. "It cuts off access to the Force. For everyone. Everywhere."

Quintus profoundly froze, taking a while to take in what Sol has just said. Can what she be said true? I mean, if this device is activated, the Sith will lose their status, and with that, their outright pompousness... but at what cost? At the same time, Soleta is not so bad for a Sith. I truly don't know what to think anymore... He then spoke, albeit still taken aback. "I... I don't know what to say, Soleta."

"I know, it sounds absurd," Soleta replied, "but surely you understand why we can't let this thing be activated, and why we can't allow anyone to know what it's capable of."

"Because it will deprive the Sith of all the Force... I wonder... what if we simply go back to Taris, Ilum, Hoth, and deactivate the machines, would it prevent it?" Quintus mused.

"In the short term? Yes, if we deactivate any single device, then the Array as a whole will fail to function." Soleta threw her arms wide in a helpless shrug. "But in the long term, what's to prevent Kole from sending more mercenaries to undo our work?"

"You have a point there," Quintus nodded. "So our plan merely amounts to rushing there and hoping we beat Kole and his kriffer of a mercenary?"

"I don't know," she replied, hanging her head dejectedly. "I'd only just figured out what it does when I called you, I haven't had time to come up with a proper plan." She looked back up at Quintus, wide-eyed and pleading. "I need your help, Quintus. I don't know what to do."

"You're honestly the first to say that to me in a while..." Quintus mused with some emotion in his normally stoic tone. "We... can certainly plan something. You left Kole's base on relatively good terms... I wonder if he would be amenable to discussing this."

She nodded slowly, a thin, weak smile on her face. "I suppose it can't hurt to try. Thank you, Quintus."

"Anytime, Soleta," Quintus allowed a smile to crease his face. "You know... Soleta. You aren't like most Sith. I... meant that in a good way."

Soleta's smile widened, becoming more certain. "Thank you. You're quite... unqiue, yourself." Her smile turned down into a look of puzzlement. "Are you getting a call request, too?"

"I am." Quintus' smile faded into an annoyed demeanor. "Seems like the blueberries have something to say."

"Maybe they'll have learned something on Hoth that will shed a bit more light on the matter." She tapped in a few commands on the comm console, adding the new caller. "Good day, Agents," she said in an even, professional tone. "I trust your mission was successful?"

Zero nodded. "Indeed. There was a small issue with a spy, but that has been handled, and the object has been turned on. How goes things on your end?"

"Well enough," Soleta replied, "though there are still some rather unfortunate gaps in the information we've been able to collect. I don't suppose you have any recordings or still images from the site on Hoth?"

Mean spoke up. "Between the hordes of White Maw pirates and the traps in the cave, I had no time to get any recordings."

"Such help you are," Quintus chastised.

"So, does the holocron tell us what the next step is?" Zero asked. " "The devices had to do something, I am sure."

"Perhaps," Quintus answered, "we all know by now that the three devices are linked, like a puzzle."

"And that includes the... the user manual, if you will," Soleta added. "Each site reveals a little more about the intended operation of the devices, so I can't draw any certain conclusions without information from Hoth. My best guess, though, given what Q and I have discovered, is that we're dealing with some kind of communication and observation network."

Zero frowned. "That doesn’t make much sense from a practical standpoint. If these devices were powering a communication network, then why hide them on such out of the way planets like Taris and Hoth? Hoth, in particular makes no sense to use for any kind of communication or observation system, given the natural weather conditions." Zero looked at Soleta as she said this, looking closely at her. She's hiding something. She can claim it is a communication system all day, but her body tells a different story. Movements of the eyes, hands, even something as mundane as blinking can give away whenever or not someone is lying. In this case, it is the eyes. So the question becomes... what does she not want me to know?

"Then by all means, offer your own insight. I'm sure you have something absolutely brilliant to share, what with your extensive understanding of Rakata culture and technology." Soleta crossed her arms, leaning back a bit as she glared expectantly at Zero. "Go on, then. Don't be shy, let's hear it."

Mean rolled his eyes. "Oh, now you have done it." He pulled out his knife and started sharpening it, knowing that she was going to take a while.

Meanwhile, Zero had pulled up a map of the galaxy and put marks on Hoth and Taris. "Okay, first I need to know where your device was at. Also, if we have the location of the fourth device, I will need that as well."

"It seems that you and I have rather sharply divergent definitions of 'need', Agent Zero," Soleta replied as she transmitted a set of coordinates. "The third installation is on an abandoned colony world that's been uninhabited since the collapse of the Infinite Empire. I could give you the ancient Rakata name for the planet, but I rather doubt you could appreciate the historical significance." She paused, sending another location marker. "As you will see from playing connect-the-dots, the three known locations describe an equilateral triangle centred on the site of the fourth device: Tython."

Mean stoped sharpening his knife a moment to comment. "Oh, that will be an interesting mission." He resumed sharpening.

Zero plotted the points on the map, showing said triangle "I see... there are a few factors we need to take into account." Zero started pacing back and forth as she thought out loud. "Firstly, whatever this is has to be of sufficient interest to convince the good doctor to spend considerable resources to go after it. That alone makes a simple communication system unlikely. Second is the considerable effort the Rakata devoted to defending the devices. The Hoth device was well defended with traps. Taris was not, but the Jedi had already built a temple in the location. Look in their archives, and you will probably find a few records detailing them disarming traps of some sort. I assume the third device was guarded as well. So, whatever it is has to be worth the bother of extensive defensive systems. Then we have the Rakata themselves, who were advanced beyond our wildest imagination.

"So, we have something valuable, something worth tons of defenses and millions of credits spent by the doctor going after it. My guess? A weapon, something that works on a galactic scale. As you said, the first 3 devices form a triangle around the fourth. My guess is that the fourth, when turned on, transmits a signal to the other three, which, when turned on, activate and fire whatever they have into the segment of the galaxy they are located in, while the fourth fires it into the center. As to what it is, I have no idea; there is not enough data to guess.

"What I am guessing happened is this. Arthen found evidence of this weapon on Tython, probably in the holocron we now have. He told the Jedi Council, who told him something along the lines of it was immoral, or impractical, or something — depends on what it does. Anyway, the details are irrelevant. He got turned down, and they took the holocron into a secure location. Arthen, angry at the Jedi, left the Order. He somehow got his hands on millions of credits, not sure where it came from, but there are ways. Arthen then found out the location of the holocron, possibly using contacts in the Jedi or the Republic. Then he sends out the request for people to steal it, and the rest is history." She stopped pacing and looked at Soleta. "What do you think? More likely than a mere communication system, and the facts fit, no?"

"Bravo. Well done, indeed." Soleta clapped her hands in slow, mocking applause. "The only 'fact' you have is that the Hoth installation was trapped. You suppose that Taris might once have been, but have no evidence to support your supposition, and I can state for an absolute certainty that the colonial site was not trapped at all." She shifted her weight onto one leg, tapping the other foot. "Intelligence may deal in fairy tales, Agent, but Q and I are in the business of facts. Take your story to Jadus, see if he's entertained by it."

Zero looked unmoved by Soleta's mocking speech. "Jadus is not a fool. He, like Intelligence, understands that one cannot rely on facts when there are few to be had. Sometimes, you must assume things based on what facts you do have. Perhaps if you had done your job properly, we would have more. But, there is nothing to be done about it now. You asked for my opinion, and I gave it. Now, do we have a plan for how to get to the last device on Tython?"

Soleta's hands clenched into fists. "I'm sorry," she said, her tone icily calm and perfectly formal. "Did the woman who allowed her teammate to be near-fatally injured, and whose partner is incapable of collecting information from his surroundings, just accuse me of being negligent in my duty?"

"I accused you of nothing. I simply stated the facts. You claim to be in the business of facts, I should think you would be able to identify facts. While we are on facts, it is a fact that I cannot mind control my partner, which is probably what it would take to fix him at this point." Mean glared at Zero when she said this. "It is also a fact that I cannot be everywhere at once, and that in the field, even the best get injured. It is a fact of life."

"Allow me to add another bit of information to your gathering collection, Agent," Soleta replied. "Your partner's incompetence has cost me information, but more importantly, your own negligence has harmed one who is dear to me. When this mission is done, and it is no longer in the Empire's best interest to coddle you along, I shall find you, and I shall ensure that you are both made fully aware of the consequences of displeasing a Sith."

Mean shoved Zero out of the way before she could respond to look Soleta in the eyes. "You want me? Come and get some. But I warn you, don't think your fancy Force powers will save you. Even Sith bleed."

"You will be dead before you even reach her, maggot," Quintus warned with another death glare.

Zero usually would have reprimanded him for that kind of thing, but in this case she was willing to make an exception. "If you want to come after us when the mission is done, that is your choice. For now, we need to complete the mission. Now, do one of you have an idea of how we are going to get onto Tython?"

Soleta nodded to Quintus. "Q, I believe you had that planned?"

"Nearly," Quintus spoke. "It must be a covert assault. It is the homeworld of the Jedi, after all."

Zero nodded. "Of course. Tell me what you are thinking so far."

"It is a well-protected world, so our best bet is to run deep into Flesh Raider territory. The Jedi will seek us out, in which case, we need a distraction. Your... rather brutish partner will suffice."

"As for getting to the surface in the first place," Soleta added, "we can't risk heading down in anything larger than an escape pod. Unless you two have Republic identification codes that you haven't told us about?"

Zero chuckled. "Even if we did, the Jedi would notice something was up the moment we stepped off the ship. Escape pods it is."

Mean grinned. "I can give you your distraction and more. Let's see how big a massacre I can cause."

"I'm sure we will, Agent Meanken," Soleta replied, smiling. "All in good time, though. I'm afraid my transport leaves a bit to be desired, so it will take me some time to catch up to the rest of you. Q, when and where would you recommend we rendezvous?"

"My ship will take a while as well, but not as long I estimate," Quintus replied. "As I said earlier, Flesh Raider territory is our rendezvous point on Tython, let's say the sooner the better."

Soleta nodded. "Agreed. Agents, can you make landfall in twelve hours?"

Zero nodded. "We will be there. We will move as soon as we tell the merc the plan. Is there anything else we should know before we go?"

"You know as much as we do, at this point," Soleta said. "I'll see you all in twelve hours." With that, she closed her ship's comm, Quintus doing the same. With the channel dead, she burst into giggles as she headed for the bridge to lay in a course.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

meanken's Avatar


meanken
03.17.2013 , 04:30 PM | #77
The Deathbaron, in transit to Tython


After starting up the ship and making the preperations for the jump to hyperspace, Zero went to the holocom and called Serlynne, as Mean still leaned on a wall nearby, grinning with anticpation.

After she parted ways with the agents, Serlynne returned to her ship. The assassin has just finished plotting course to Nar Shaddaa, when she received Zero's call.

"Agent Zero," - greeted her Serlynne. "So, did you get your spy?"

"Not my assignment anymore. We have bigger issues at the moment. We know where the forth device is. How does a trip to the jedi homeworld strike you?"

"As a risky one," - replied Serlynne. "And I am afraid I can't go there right now. I don't know where or on what planet it is, besides if I won't return to Cole he may get suspicious"

"We have the location. But.....yes, return to Cole. Assuming you are able to convince him to keep you on the payroll, he will probably send you there, possably with the other people he has hired. You can serve as the mole, feeding us information about their actions and such. That would be better in the long term then another gun on the ground."

"My thoughts exactly," - nodded Serlynne. "Speeking of information, Agent Zero, were you able to find out the purpose of the device or the reason why Cole would want to activate it? I could have handled the man better if I knew what is it he after."

"I wanted to talk to you about just that" Zero sighed "the sith claims that the device is a communication or a surveillance system of some sort. I don't see it. you see....." Zero went on for several minutes, giving the same speech she had given earlier to the Sith. When she finished, she paused a moment "The Sith did not believe me when I told her this. But I could tell she was hiding something. They had a noticeable lack of new information, despite the fact that the sith has a vast background in archeology. They know something, something they don't want us to know."

There was a brief moment of silence as Serlynne thought about Zero's words.

"You are right," - she said at last. "A communication or a surveillance system isn't worth all the money and trouble Cole went through to activate it. It is probably some ancient weapon of Rakata. Naturally, the Sith wouldn't want anyone to know about it. But Cole definitely knows something. Perhaps I will be able to learn more from him. Still, just in case, give me the coordinates of the Jedi planet."

Zero transmitted the location. "If you come to meet us, you will have to use an escape pod to get onworld. The Jedi are not exactly going to just let you walk in. We will be in an area known as Flesh Raider territory. The relevant location is also being transmitted. That is where you will find us."

"Thank you, Agent,"- said Serlynne. "My ship is ready for hyperjump back to Nar Shaddaa. I'll contact you as soon as I'll have any new intel regarding the device or Cole's plans. Good luck."

"You as well." Zero hung up, and made the jump to hyperspace

meanken's Avatar


meanken
03.19.2013 , 12:50 PM | #78
The Deathbaron, Tython orbit

“We will be exiting hyperspace in 2 minutes. Are you geared up Mean? We won’t have much time once we exit hyperspace to act before someone notices us.” Zero asked while she finished putting her sniper rifle together.

“Ya, I am good. What are we doing with the ship? Can’t just leave it in orbit.”

“Well, we can’t leave it outside the planet, for a number of reasons. Where is the protocol droid?” A droid walked into the room and waved his hands wildly, being unable to speak after mean had gotten mad at it one day and permanently disabled the droids voice. “There you are. You are to take the ship once we leave, take it to….Alderaan. Keep it running; don’t even park it in the hanger. We may need you to come pick us up at a moment’s notice. Understood?” The droid nodded as the ship left hyperspace. Zero quickly checked to make sure the pod was aimed at the correct area of the planet “Ok, let’s go.”

Zero and Mean walked over to the pod got into it, and launched it. The ship left a moment later. The two sat in silence for a minute till the pod started shaking. “We are entering the atmosphere. Be ready.” Eventfully, a bang signaled the pod had landed. A moment later, something starting banging against the door. Mean rolled his eyes “Oh, don’t tell me there just happened to be a damn jedi right where we landed!”

Zero pressed a few buttons, turning on an exterior camera, seeing a flesh raider. “No, that’s not a jedi. I have never seen something like it before. I can only assume it is a flesh raider. It seems to be alone.”

“Works for me.” Mean opened the door, firing the moment he saw the flesh raider, and killing him “Let’s get this over with. Plan?”

“We need to find a defendable position, in case anyone saw the pod. A cave, maybe, or some sort of cliff where we will have a good view of the area. Come on.” The two walked away, walking for several minutes till they came on a cave “This should work. We will need to check it for these flesh raiders or any other predators, but it will serve our needs.” Several minutes and dead flesh raiders later, the cave was empty. Zero set up overwatch at the entrance while mean leaned on one of the walls and sharpened his knife. In silence, the two waited.

meanken's Avatar


meanken
03.23.2013 , 09:52 AM | #79
Flesh Rader Cave, Tython


Zero and Mean were still sitting in the cave, waiting for something to happen. Zero started talking while still looking into her sniper scope. “Mean, since we are not going to be doing anything for a while, I wanted to talk to you about something.” He grunted, signaling he had heard her “I wanted to ask you to reconsider….”

Mean interrupted her “Please tell me you are not asking me to agree to that damn transfer request again. I said no, what part of that did you not understand? Besides, the fancy higher ups did not approve it either. If you want to be rid of me that badly, there are easier ways. Assuming you can pull it off, of course.

Zero ignored the last part “It’s not that I want to be rid of you. I want to help you, and so do the people in the Chiss Ascendancy. I have no idea what happened to you that made you the way you are, but whatever it is, we can help. We can help you overcome your violent urges, your disrespect for authority, all of that. If you would agree to it, then it may help the transfer get made. Just let us help you.”

Mean chuckled “You say those things like they are a bad thing. I like myself just the way I am. See, unlike a particular ice queen I know, I enjoy myself. I have a life beyond the job, I have fun. If I ever ended up anything like you, I would shove my knife up my nose. So, no. For the last damn time, I am not going to agree to transfer to the Chiss. Why do you give a damn anyway? Beyond the fact that you are stuck with me.”

Zero shook her head “As hard as it may be for you to believe, I have no ulterior motive. I genuinely want to help you. Nothing else. But, I wouldn’t get too hopeful. You never know when the power structure of the empire will change. Darth Jadus will not be around to block the transfer forever.

Mean rolled his eyes “No, but the next guy will.” The two lapsed into silence. Well, at least I tried, Zero thought.

drfumblez's Avatar


drfumblez
03.24.2013 , 07:59 PM | #80
Nar Shadaa, Somewhere Underground


Dredd breathed out in relief as his ship touched down, and took a moment to lean back in his seat. Closing his eyes, his hand ran over his new scar stopping a moment as a familiar voice came over the comm.

"Master Dredd, so glad to see you've returned in one piece." Juris' sardonic greeting emitted from the speakers, drawing an eye roll from the hunter.

"Not even you can ruin this moment for me, Birdboy." He replied, standing up from his seat and exiting the ship quickly, only to find Juris waiting for him at the rear of his ship.

"You've missed quite a bit while you were away." The odd man twitched, squeaking out the words.

"Like?"

"Well, for starters, the facility is just now recovering from an incursion from a team of Republic agents."

"What?!" Dredd looked at him incredulously, his eyes searching the man's birdlike features. "You're kidding."

"Dead serious."

"No way."

"They attacked, Master Kole activated the security measures and managed to force them out by himself, and it is my understanding that he's taken one prisoner." Juris relinquished this information with a certain amount of pompousness, reveling in the fact that he, for once, knew more than the hunter about his employer's recent actions.

"I do not envy his position." Dredd shook his head, knowing how extreme Arthen could be.

"Her."

"Excuse me?"

"The prisoner is a woman."

"Oh come off it, Juris." Dredd waved him off, removing his armor from his shoulders. "It makes no difference."

"Very well." Juris scrunched up his nose at the Mandalorian, turning to walk away, before pausing for a moment. "Would you like me to set up a de-brief with Master Kole?"

"Do that." Dredd replied with a shrug, before turning and spitting into the ground.

The birdlike man twitched uncomfortably before walking off, his air of pompousness leaving with him. Dredd pointed his finger at him as he walked away, feigning a blaster shot and casually blowing away the steam before he turned back to his ship, awaiting a call from Kole.

He didn't have to wait long, for after a minute the words, "Dredd? It's Kole. Can you come to my study?" appeared on the hunter's datapad.

The hunter wasted no time in his response, and was in the study within a minute.

"Cole?" The hunter called, looking around for the scientist as he slowly entered the room.

Arthen lifted his eyes from the datapad he was typing in, his gaze focusing on the hunter. "Dredd, excellent work activating the device. Your droid forwarded me most of your data while you healed. How's your scar?"

"Alright." Dredd rolled his shoulder. "It's not the worst scar I've got."

The hunter leaned up against a bookcase, crossing his arms.

"I hear I'm not the only one who had some excitement while I was away." The hunter smirked at the former Jedi. "I take it the pubs didn't give you any new scars?"

"Ah. That mess. No, the Republic agents didn't harm me. The battle was one-sided from the start," Arthen answered, shrugging. "I've talked briefly with the agent, but she isn't keen on handing over information."

"I wouldn't expect any less." The large man sighed, slightly disappointed.

"Can you go pry some information out of her? I'm waiting for the other two assets to arrive before I begin," Arthen remarked, turning his head back to his datapad.

"I suppose I can try," Dredd shrugged. "Don't know what I can get out of her that you couldn't."

"She knows what I can do. But she doesn't know what you can do."

The hunter exhaled sharply as he stood straight, glancing at the doorway.

"Guess that makes two of us." He shook his head and turned to leave, before pausing as another thought struck him. "You really need to keep Juris away from me; he makes my trigger finger itch."

Without another word he exited the room, intent on getting the business in the cells over with.

Savrip sat at the end of the bunk in her cell with her back straight and shoulders squared. At the sound of Dredd's approach, she moved immediately to stand facing the door at full attention, her severe, military-precise demeanor sharply at odds with the sloppy tourist's outfit she still wore. "Does the doctor have a message for me to deliver?" she asked as Dredd entered the cell.

"I'm just here to talk," he responded, raising an eyebrow at the woman's sharp discipline. "You're lucky to be alive."

"The doctor's wasted your time." Her voice was tense as she replied with quick, clipped syllables. "I promised I would make a statement of his choosing to SIS, and I will. Beyond that, I have nothing to say."

"I expected this." He smiled at her, but the scars on his face marred the gesture. "I'm no interrogator. Relax."

She shifted slightly to stand at parade rest. "You'll forgive me if I don't believe you."

He shrugged and pulled up a chair.

"I wouldn't either." He kicked his legs out, sprawling out in his seat. "It's in our nature."

"Our nature?" she repeated, her tone indignant. "We have nothing in common."

"What makes you so sure?"

"I'm not for sale." Savrip eyed Dredd up and down with a look of mocking appraisal. "How much do you charge for an hour, cutie?"

Dredd snorted at her comment, shaking his head in amusement at her assumption.

"I don't want Kole's money."

"Oh sure ya don't, sweet cheeks," she replied, exaggerating her accent till it was almost a parody of itself. "Just like ya don't come when he calls for ya."

"You don't know anything about me." It was his turn to laugh, a smug grin creeping over his face. "You don't know anything about what's going on here, do you?" The large man sat forward in his chair, his arm coming to rest on his thigh. "What'd they tell you in SIS?" The Mandalorian continued in an amused voice, not waiting for a response. "Kole is hoarding weapons of mass destruction? We're terrorists out to cause as much death and destruction as possible?"

Her stance stiffened back to full attention. "Callsign Savrip. Field Operative. G 045-020."

He laughed hysterically as her demeanor adjusted back to her burnt-in military discipline.

"This is too good!" He stood up, taking deep breaths between heaves of laughter as he attempted to regain his bearings. "They really have no idea do they?"

"I know that Kole killed one of my unit, crippled another, and turned our CO against us. Because he wanted to play," she replied. The mocking drawl was gone, replaced by icy hatred. "I don't care if he's knitting booties for orphaned puppies, he's still the enemy."

"I promise you, lady," Dredd cleared his throat, the laughter ending with her cold words. "If he wanted you all dead, you would be."

"And what, I should be finding some kind of comfort in that?" she snarled. "Oh, how kind and generous is the great Doctor Kole, that at least he only ruined two men's lives instead of ending them outright. What a kriffing saint."

"You came here." His tone dark, uncaring. "You walked in here, weapons drawn. You would have done the same to anyone in your way. So don't moral code me, agent. No one on your team was an innocent, no one on your team didn't know what they were walking into."

"Why are you here, merc?" She tilted her head back to glare directly into his eyes. "If you're not here to interrogate me, what's the damn point?"

"It passes the time."

Savrip shrugged and turned back to her bunk. Bracing her heel against the frame, she pushed off in a leap at Dredd, scrambling in an attempt to wrap her arms around his neck.

The attack took the hunter by surprise, and he automatically sprawled, throwing his lower body backwards as she latched onto him. With a violent head throw he threw her off of him and lunged after her, his right hand reaching for his blaster.

She rolled through the throw, coming up in a ready crouch. As Dredd advanced, she leaped up and grabbed his forearm with both hands, pushing his hand away from the blaster.

His left shoulder crashed into her stomach as she pushed his right arm away, the force of the blow knocking her back against the wall. The hunter followed up quickly with a hard haymaker that crashed into the wall as Savrip flowed around him, dancing away from his brutish attack.

As Dredd spun to face her again, already pulling back for another swing, Savrip bounced back to the edge of his reach. He lunged, the momentum of the punch drawing him forward, while she ducked low under the sweep of his arm, making a grab for his blaster.

As she pulled the blaster from its holster, Dredd brought his arm back into her shoulder, using the leverage to land a devastating knee, the impact of it causing the blaster to fly across the room and out of the gasping woman's hands.

Knocked sprawling to the floor, she rolled onto her back, narrowly avoiding Dredd's foot as he kicked with the side of his boot at her head. The agent lashed out with her own foot, aiming to slam against Dredd's kneecap to reverse the joint.

She narrowly missed her target, her attack landing on his shin, sending him sprawling on top of her. As he reared back to strike she pulled his head down, into her body, so that his strikes would be ineffective. With a gigantic heave he pulled away from her, and launched a full-force forearm directly into the side of her head. The thud of the impact reverberated off of the enclosed walls of the cell, but Savrip still fought back, grasping for the knife on the hunter's belt, and burying it in his ribs. With a gasp he stood back off of her, pulling the knife from his side and discarding it across the cell.

Taking advantage of the opening Dredd's retreat had provided, Savrip skirted around the hunter, hopping up onto the bunk to stay out of his reach as she scrambled toward his pistol. She felt a hand clasp around her ankle as she reached for the blaster, her reach falling just short as she was pulled away. She rolled her body to face the hunter, and launched a futile kick at the hunter's head as he pulled her to him.

"Bad move, girl." The snarling man growled as he straightened her leg and drove his knee into it, shattering her femur.

Savrip choked back a scream of pain, the noise escaping as a strangled groan as she collapsed, still glaring defiantly up at Dredd. "Had to try," she rasped.

"Stupid." The hunter muttered as he kicked his blaster up into his hands, leaving the girl looking down his barrel.

She drew in a breath and released it in a long, shuddering exhale before holding up a hand. "At least let me go out standing."

"I'm not going to kill you." He laughed weakly as he leaned against the wall, his off-hand covering the wound in his side. "But you're delirious if you think I'm helping you up."

"Should go get that looked at," she muttered, nodding toward his side as she let her hand drop back to lay in her lap. "I won't go anywhere till you're ready for a rematch."

"I've had worse." He pulled the bloodied hand away, the blood now soaking through his shirt. With a shake of his head he flopped down in the chair, still keeping his blaster trained on her. "Plus, I don't think a rematch is happening anytime in the near future." He motioned to her leg, and let loose a pained chuckle.

"Come on. Best two out of three." Using her hands to push herself along, she slid back to rest partially propped up against the far wall, wincing as her leg was dragged along. "Unless you're afraid of gettin' your *** beat by a girl." She gave a hoarse snicker.

A short exhale came from the seated man, and he holstered his weapon once more. He was more than confident in his ability to draw the weapon faster than the hobbled prisoner could get to him. "Call me when you're all healed," he breathed, reaching down and grabbing the knife that was sitting near the foot of the chair. "Wouldn't want anything holding you back."

Savrip gave a short, tense nod. "You're on." Her eyes closed as she let her head tip back to rest against the wall.

*******************

Arthen sighed as Dredd hobbled back into his study, hand pressed over his stab wound. "Really?"

"She had a bit of fight in her left." The hunter gave a halfhearted smile as he met the doctor's look of disbelief with a shrug. "I got the better of the situation, if you can believe it."

"If you hadn't, you wouldn't be alive," Arthen shook his head again. "Go to the Med-bay and get all that sorted out."

"I will," The hunter responded, a twinge of annoyance in his voice. "But not yet."

"Please do so before you bleed out today," Arthen sighed, returning to his datapad. "And Dredd?"

The hunter just scowled at him, a flush rushing to his cheeks as he was brushed off again.

"Go on."

"Good work on the interrogation," Arthen smiled, holding up a miniature listening device.

"We didn't learn anything." Dredd shrugged, unimpressed.

"What is unsaid is often as important as what ha been said. Nevertheless, I believe I have a very good idea of how to extract the information that I want from her," Arthen continued with a smug grin. "A certain callsign, I am certain, will be our answer here."

"I'll have to trust you on that one." Dredd sighed as he turned to leave, grunting in pain as he took his first few steps towards the door.