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Syart's Avatar

12.15.2012 , 05:41 AM | #21
Part 17: In which the original message is finally sent

The bar droid had just brought their drinks to them when a door across to the left slid open and the woman who'd called Corso in the docking bay appeared, followed by Cademuir.

Deuchar had taken a mouthful of her spiced nerf milk and promptly choked on it. Standtrae froze with his Corellian Sunburst half way to his mouth. Taberon hadn't yet touched his water, but he stood up, which was pretty much a shout of astonishment from him. Timmns, who hadn't been privy either to the holo image of Cipher Nine from Zier's ship or the description circulated by Deuchar, looked at them with surprise.

Deuchar coughed and spluttered a few times then looked accusingly at Redsike. "You never told us you found her!"

"That's 'cause he didn't", said Cademuir, looking resigned. "Risha, go sort that stuff out, I'll see you later. And no monitorin', this is strictly private. I've got the dampener fields up anyway."

Risha nodded, without changing her sulky expression, and left via the turbolift.

"What's going on?" asked Timmns. "Someone explain, please."

"That is Cipher Nine!" said Standtrae. "I'd swear to it in front of the Senate! Perfect match, even the scar."

Cademuir eyed Redsike coldly. "I'm guessin' you didn't exactly tell 'em, then?"

Redsike grinned jeeringly. "My line of work, you kinda get used to surprising people. Call it habit."

"You little rat", grumbled Deuchar. "I swear you'll be lizard food before I'm done with you." Redsike only grinned again.

She looked at Cademuir. "So what exactly is going on? If you aren't Cipher Nine, who are you?"

Cademuir joined them at the table and Taberon sat down again. She signalled the bar droid, who brought her a bottle of something which quite clearly had the Imperial symbol on it, and then retreated into a niche behind the bar and shut down.

"All right, what Red didn't tell you ...", she paused and glared at him again. "I'm not Cipher Nine, I'm her sister. Twin. That's all you're gettin' until you tell me everythin' 'bout what's goin' on." She cracked open the bottle and took a drink from it. "No, wait ... just one thing. Is there a Sith called Jadus, Darth Jadus, he's on the Dark Council, involved in this?"

Deuchar looked at Standtrae and Taberon. "Not a name you mentioned."

Standtrae shook his head. "Nope, it's a problem with a Darth Baras and it's a Darth Drumelzier, also known as the Emperor's Wrath, that's looking for the agent."

Cademuir nodded, but didn't drop her pr1ckly suspicion. "If it turns out Jadus is involved, none of you ain't leavin' this room alive. Just so you know."

"Captain Quinn did mention that he had suggested seeking out Darth Jadus to find Cipher Nine", said Taberon. "However, Darth Drumelzier stated that neither she nor anyone else knows where Jadus is."

"Heh. Jadus is the last person who'd find her", said Cademuir cryptically. "She might explain, if you meet her. Get on with the story then." She leaned back in her chair and took another drink from her bottle.

As before, Standtrae did most of the talking, giving a concise and straightfoward military-style report, laying out Quinn and Zier's suspicions, their reason for wanting to find Cipher Nine, and the abortive search history to date. Taberon, Timmns and Deuchar contributed a few extra comments and clarifications occasionally.

Cademuir listened without interruption or any change in expression, just sipping from her bottle occasionally. When they finished, she sat still for a moment longer, then leaned forward and put the now empty bottle on the table.

"So, let's say I can get a message to her. It'll take a while, she ain't easy to get hold of right now, but I can call in a few favours. It don't sound to me like you're makin' this all up, and if a Sith can convince the Jedi and Rep military to help her, there's got to be somethin' in it."

She leaned back in her chair again. "But, I ain't puttin' all that stuff in a message, however much I encrypt it, and I ain't callin' her into a meetin' with Sith straight off either. You can explain all this to her yourselves, convince her that she's got to talk her doctor sidekick into helpin' here. Got it?"

All of them nodded. "But," added Standtrae, "got to say it's not the Jedi and Republic Military involved. It's just us here, doing a favour. No-one else knows, all strictly unofficial at the moment."

"Not my choice", said Timmns. "I still think the Jedi Council needs to be warned. By extension, you should be informing your military superiors too."

"You agreed to the necessity for secrecy, Master Timmns", said Taberon. "Remember, "there is no ignorance, there is knowledge". But as yet we are still ignorant, we cannot act before we have knowledge."

Timmns eyed him. "I wonder how your Padawan copes with having a Master who is always right. I found Master Karr's mistakes reassuring occasionally."

"Apart from the last one, I guess", Standtrae grinned a little meanly. "Falling to the Dark Side, losing that nice young Padawan to a Sith, nothing reassuring about what happened there."

Timmns bristled. "You know very well I wasn't referring to that. In any case, what happened with Padawan Jaesa was complex, and it was Darth Drumelzier who was responsible, not Karr. On Baras's orders, of course."

"You can finish your arguing later", said Deuchar, looking slightly exasperated.

Cademuir abruptly stood up. "No worries. I'll send the message then, let you know when I get an answer. Meantime", she looked at Deuchar, "get the Jedi and Trooper out of here, please. No offence, they seem decent enough, but this ain't where they're wanted. Next time, make 'em take the uniforms off."


After they'd all gone, she went back into her office and thought for a while. Eventually, she switched on the holo and made a number of calls. When she'd got all the answers she wanted, she set the holo to record, and began: “Hey sis, bet you were never expectin’ to hear from me like this....”
Control, passion, diligence: these three principles shape your world.

Lord Scourge: To repeat a mistake and expect a beneficial outcome is a sign of insanity.

Syart's Avatar

12.17.2012 , 02:14 PM | #22
Part 18: In which the Agent meets the Republic and they don't kill each other

Corso ushered Deuchar, Standtrae, Taberon and Timmns into the room where Quave, Kaliyo and Cademuir were waiting.

Cademuir, dressed as usual in her casual leather jacket and slacks, was sprawled in one of the chairs around the meeting table. Quave, however, was standing stiffly next to her, wound up tight as a spring. She was dressed in very nondescript semi-camouflage, dull green and grey basic-looking armour, no insignia of any kind, as unnoticeable as it could get. Unnoticeable,that is, if you didn't observe the extremely high quality of the armouring and modifications, and ignored the lethal-looking knife at her belt and the top-of-the-range precision model sniper rifle slung on her back. Kaliyo lounged against the wall behind them, blaster pistol in her hand but hanging relaxed at her side.

The four newcomers stared at the two Human women. Quave stared back, cold and defiant, but Cademuir only grinned.

"Now I see you together, there are a few differences, but apart it would be impossible to tell", commented Deuchar.

Cademuir chuckled. "Yeah, we traded on that a lot, up 'til we were 15 and I got this fallin' out of a tree." She ran her finger down the old scar crossing her eye.

Timmns tilted his head. "If you, Captain got the scar falling out of a tree, how did you, Madam Cipher, get the same scar? I've heard of a lot of strange things happening with twins, but that seems unlikely."

"Lay off the personal questions, green man", said Kaliyo, raising her pistol slightly, though still leaning casually against the wall.

Timmns raised his hands in apology. "Forgive me, it was purely curiosity, nothing more. Allow me to introduce myself, Master Somminick Timmns, of the Jedi Council. My colleague, Jedi Knight Taberon, his brother Major Standtrae of the Republic's Special Operations Havoc Squad, their sister Deuchar, Captain of the Mistrunner, a smug..." he coughed "a free trading ship in the Core Worlds."

Deuchar eyed him, but decided not to comment.

"I know who you are", said Quave. "I came for explanations, not introductions. I don't take kindly to being hunted." Her voice, like her expression, was cold, and she had a clear and precise Drumond Kaas accent, which made Standtrae widen his eyes briefly.

"Aww, come on sis", cajoled Cademuir. "You can't blame them for wantin' to know stuff about us. Relax, sit down, listen up, and then clear out if you want. I ain't told them nothin', they don't even know your name, it's up to you if you want to explain the whys and wherefores."

Quave looked at Cademuir, and obviously some sort of communication flickered between them. She sat down, but without any of Cademuir's relaxation. "Talk then."

They all sat down, except Kaliyo, who continued to lean against the wall. Standtrae looked at the Rattataki, who winked impudently at him. "Name's Kaliyo. We can talk later, big boy, if you're interested", she drawled.

Quave turned a glare on her, and Kaliyo affected innocence. "What, Agent? It's not fraternising if it's on neutral territory."

Quave stared a second or two longer, then reluctantly grinned. "All right, you win." She looked back at the others, still wary but with the coldness gone. "Talk away then, and if you convince me, maybe I'll do a bit of explaining." She rubbed her finger over the implanted microphone in her jaw, sending a message to the ship in the simple code she'd set up with Lokin: Are you getting all this? The tiny double buzz in her earpiece confirmed: Loud and clear, Agent.

"I think it would be best to go right back to how I know Darth Drumelzier, and then go on from there", said Timmns, looking questioningly at the others. They all nodded.

"Very well ... I met her during an investigation I was performing on Belsavis, a planet which is, I regret to say, one of the Republic's guiltier secrets, but ..."

"I know Belsavis", interrupted Quave. "You can leave out the attempted justification of Republic crimes."

"As you say", agreed Timmns, without further comment. "It happened that my interests coincided with Lord Drumelzier's, and we made a temporary alliance. She was not what I had expected from a Sith, she was both honest and honourable, and we parted as reluctant friends. I reported all this to the Jedi Council, of course, which caused considerable debate." He rubbed his chin.

"Describe her", commanded Quave.

Timmns looked a little surprised, but complied. "Well, she is Zabrak, small with a round cheerful face but fierce yellow eyes. Red skinned with sharp jagged black tattoos. Her hair is dark, cut short, with some of it drawn up at the back into a jaunty little fan shape. She seems very young, but appears confident in her strength. She carries a single red lightsaber which she most certainly knows how to use, and has more Force power than I would care to face alone."

Taberon nodded. "The power radiates from her. I think even non-Force sensitives would feel it if she did not hold it in."

Quave nodded. "We've met. All right, I accept that you do know her. Go on."

Timmns went on to describe how Zier had contacted him asking for a meeting, and how he and Taberon had met her at the Elysium. He told how she had explained to them about being the Wrath of the Emperor, and how she now had political power which she wanted to use.

Quave listened intently, and at the mention of Zier being the Wrath, scratched a message back to the ship: Look into that. The acknowledgement buzz came back.

Timmns finished, and gestured to the other three. "I will now hand over to my young friends here to explain the rest."

Deuchar looked at Standtrae. "Going to do the honours as usual, Trae?"

He grinned. "May as well, I've had plenty of practice." He proceeded with the now familiar recounting of Baras's plans and the reasons for hunting Cipher Nine. Quave asked a few questions about Zier's hunt, some of which Trae could only shake his head to. "All we know is, Darth Drumelzier couldn't find a trace of you, so she thought of us. Well, Duke really, being a free trader and having contacts." He winked at Deuchar, who shrugged.

Quave produced a small brief smile. "I was intending to vanish completely, it's nice to know it worked, more or less."

"So ...", she looked at the four Republic people. "You can consider me convinced, but I need to talk to Lokin before anything else happens. However, on the basis that he will cooperate, go ahead and set up a meeting with Lord Zier and her people." She scratched at her jaw again, telling the ship she was turning off the transmission, and got the double buzz confirmation in her ear.

She tapped a brief note into her datapad and showed it to Cademuir and then Kaliyo, who both nodded. "See Akaavi", said Cademuir, and Kaliyo peeled herself off the wall and left the room.

They sat in silence for a couple of minutes, then Cademuir's holocom beeped. She answered it on audio only and Akaavi's voice came through: "It is done as ordered, Captain. And the Rattataki has gone to join Ivory and the bounty hunter."

"Thanks Akaavi", said Cademuir, and shut off the holo again, looking at Quave.

"Brief explanation then", said Quave, looking a bit resigned. "You can start." She looked at Cademuir.

Cademuir grinned. "Fair enough." She cleared her throat a couple of times, then spoke in a lower pitched voice with a perfect Drumond Kaas accent, sounding extraordinarily similar to Quave, apart from her irrepressible cheerfulness.

"Once upon a time, twin girls were born into an long-established military family on Dromund Kaas, up in the north country. Naturally, both were expected to follow the family tradition of service to the Empire, and both were quite content with that, not knowing anything else. They were a happy pair, very mischievous and much given to playing tricks involving substituting for each other."

"Usually with the older one starting them and the younger one following along", interposed Quave.

"Bah, you had as much fun as I did." Cademuir grinned mpishly. "Anyway, they did well in school, and were both initially picked for Imperial Intelligence. Imperial Intelligence quite liked the idea of having identical twins, but unfortunately the older twin had a scarred face. So they put the younger twin in for plastic surgery to make an identical scar, and that's how that happened."

Both of them simultaneously ran their fingers down their scars in weird synchronicity, then Quave took up the tale. "The younger twin took to Imperial Agent training like a duck to water, but the older one wasn't so happy. She didn't like slow and careful covert operations and information gathering, she wanted action, pure and simple. So after a while, she put in for a transfer into the military and went for pilot training."

"At which she was pretty damn brilliant", interjected Cademuir with a grin.

Quave nodded. "There isn't much more to tell, really. I carried on with Agent training, graduated with high marks in everything, was assigned to field work, and ended up as a Cipher. I was hand picked by Darth Jadus, and served him directly as his representative in Imperial Intelligence for several years, until it came to an end. I'm not going into any more detail than that."

She looked back at Cademuir, who carried on, reverting to her usual voice. "As for me, I won all the pilotin' awards I could find, got my first postin', didn't get along with the Moff, faked my own death, ran away. That's all you're gettin'."

"More than we expected", said Standtrae.

"Or deserved", added Timmns.

"Thank you for your trust"/"Thanks for trusting us", said Taberon and Deuchar at the same time, then looked surprised at each other.
Control, passion, diligence: these three principles shape your world.

Lord Scourge: To repeat a mistake and expect a beneficial outcome is a sign of insanity.