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All the world's a stage


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Syart
02.21.2013 , 12:39 PM | #81
Quote: Originally Posted by Beniboybling View Post
Oh and query, is Keeper the same Keeper we see in SWTOR or a different one? I figure the current Keeper might actually be younger than Lokin, so maybe not.
No,it's not the same Keeper, you're right, I reckon the one in game is some years younger than Lokin. This is an older man, (in my head), close to retirement. Short, fat, fit once but gone to seed, blobby face with small eyes crinkled up in rolls of fat, mouth permanently downturned because his cheeks are sagging (gravity is mean to old people). Grey hair but still plenty of it, not balding. Grown old and wise in the job, but mostly conceals it.

Oh damn.... he wants a back story now *argh*
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.

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Syart
02.21.2013 , 12:46 PM | #82
After they finished dinner they went up to the Star Cluster Casino and spent a little while at the pazaak tables. They played conservatively, both winning a little, not enough to draw attention to themselves. After an hour or so, Twelve suggested a drink.

Once they were supplied with what the barman claimed was a fine old Alderaanian brandy, and Twelve and Lokin both diagnosed as a cheap Coruscant ripoff, Twelve led the way out to one of the more remote outside terraces. There was no-one else there. Twelve set a bug scan running and shut the door after casually attaching a small discreet motion detector to its inner side to warn him if anyone approached the door. Lokin got out his little sound damper again.

There was no lighting on the terrace, and although Nar Shaddaa never got really dark, with the looming yellow mass of Hutta above it (or below, depending on how you thought of it), it was close to midnight local time and as dark as it ever got. They leaned on the barrier around the small terrace and admired the lights of the city in silence for a few minutes. Then Twelve started to speak, in a musing tone, almost as though to himself.

"I think it's a good thing that you're not directly working in Intelligence at the moment. It makes you a more independent set of eyes and ears, an outsider's view rather than an insider's. When you're inside an organisation, it's very easy just to accept change, adapt to it, without even noticing it, or realising that it's happening."

Lokin listened without comment.

"From what I've seen, Intelligence is changing now, and not necessarily for the better. The Sith are taking too great an interest, seeking or even demanding influence, using us to further their own personal aims and ambitions, not the Empire's. Some of the recent senior appointments have been direct from the Dark Council, there to protect or spy on their various masters' interests. Some agents have been diverted entirely from Intelligence work, effectively recruited into Sith personal spy networks."

He swirled his brandy round the glass a little, inhaling the aroma. "But to be effective, to protect and support the Empire as a whole, Intelligence must be as independent as possible. I worry that we're starting to lose that. I need you to watch for this, learn about it, work out how to circumvent it if possible. There will be others of you doing this, some of the people I've trained or worked with, and they'll pass it on to more."

Twelve turned his head to look at Lokin. "One of them is my younger brother, incidentally, and I hope you'll meet him some day. You'll recognise him easily enough, poor lad looks just like me." He grinned, lightening his mood. "He was a promising naval attaché, but he wasn't really happy with it. I persuaded him to look at Intelligence instead, and he's doing a stint as a Minder now."

"I had no idea you had a brother", Lokin commented.

"Which of us ever talks about our families? Most of us leave them behind in this job, you know that. You're back home now, based on Dromund Kaas, but do you ever go and have cosy evenings round the fireside with your parents or siblings?"

"Well, no." Lokin rubbed his chin. "I saw my sister in the Kaas City market a few months ago, actually. She didn't recognise me. Although, to be fair, I wasn't completely certain about her either until we spoke."

"Regrets?"

"Only that she said I looked much older. Vanity, you know." He ran a hand over the thinning hair on the top of his head and put on a self-deprecating smile.

Twelve chuckled. "All of us like the idea of eternal youth."

"And I'm an uncle, about which I confess some curiosity. She's married with two children now. Actually, that does make me feel old. She was only seven when I left. She said she'd been upset and missed me for ages." His tone was sceptical.

"It could be true. Children feel things much more intensely than adults, even if they don't talk about it, and sudden big family changes make for a lot of insecurity. Don't you remember being that young?"

Lokin shrugged. "Not really, no. I just remember that they were all wrong about everything, all the time."

"Ah well, maybe you started your teenage years early. Born adolescent, or something. That would explain quite a lot, like why you were so good at being a pain in the neck." Twelve grinned.

Lokin tried a mock glare which turned into a rueful smile. "Possibly. But we're getting off topic. What exactly do you want me to do? Have you some particular target in mind?"

Twelve looked back out at the view. A particularly garish holo-ad with headache-inducing glaring flashes of rainbow lights had just started playing on the building opposite, and the patterns of colour on his face made him look like a harlequin, or some weird chameleon-like alien.

His voice was remote again. "Nothing specific, really. Just keep your eyes and ears open for odd things. Use your instincts. The ISB has close contacts to Intelligence, maybe try looking at those, if you can do it safely. I may be wrong about what I suspect, I hope I am. But there are definitely things happening which shouldn't be. When I know more, I'll tell you."

They finished their drinks in silence, watching the passing speeders, the lights glowing and flickering and flashing, everything in endless, restless motion except the two silent men watching high above the city.
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.

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Syart
02.23.2013 , 06:03 AM | #83
(Another two years later)

The internal holocom on Lokin's desk buzzed, and he pushed the button to answer it. One of the med droids from the trial unit in the hospital section appeared.

"Assessment required: Subject VII-18. Multiple seizures experienced. Protocol followed: 30 milligrams phenymazepine administered. Result: No effect at 12 hours post-administration. Changed to valproacetam and titrated from 2 to 10 units hourly over 5 hours. Result: After 6 hours maximum dose subject still experiences seizures at average interval 19.7 minutes. Query: increase valproacetam beyond maximum recommended dose?"

Lokin scratched at his newly-grown beard which still persisted in itching - he persevered because he thought it made him look older and more imposing, and might distract from his sadly receding hairline - and pulled up 18's record. "Increasing the dose again is pointless. Terminate him, standard procedure." He entered his authorisation code and confirmed it.

"Acknowledged. Termination protocol activated for Subject VII-18. Post-mortem results will be received within 12 hours. Complaint registered regarding unacceptable delay of report on Subject VII-57."

"Thank you, ME-04." Lokin pushed the button again to end the call.

He called up the full current trial records on his terminal and frowned gloomily. That pushed it over 50% with serious adverse reactions, and only 7% with no reactions at all at 3 months post-administration of the SLV activating treatments.

He ran through the figures. Nineteen uncontrollable seizures which, from post-mortem results to date, were directly attributable to cortical invasion of excess activated SLV. Still undergoing full analysis, but it seemed likely that there was an unexpected synergistic interaction between one of the activators and the adjuvants administered with the SLV serum which kept the virus dormant.

The other serious reactions were due to the activating treatments themselves rather than the SLV, but that didn't help the figures, and in any case made the treatment useless, since a large part of the objective was that the entire thing be covert and unknown to the future intended subjects.

On the other hand, the success rate was markedly better with this activation series, with 92% of the test subjects exhibiting a full or partial response. They were on the right track, definitely. So far the Neuropsych unit was reporting that the imprinting and psychological modifications appeared stable in the survivors to date, and the virus itself was stable with no important mutations and no spontaneous SLV activations or unexpected psychological effects in the control group.
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.

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Syart
02.25.2013 , 01:24 PM | #84
Pushing a call button, he waited a few moments until his senior assistant, Benmore Coigach, came in. "Morning Benmore, I'm going to talk to the Head, but you can expect to move trial VII to observation phase. Then we'll have to start getting VIII set up, same initiation protocol."

"Sure, no problem", Coigach replied. "I was expecting it already after we terminated four more yesterday."

"I just signed the order for VII-18 as well", Lokin interjected.

Coigach nodded. "It's not bad timing, actually, we're just processing a new batch that came in from Military Security. A bunch of criminal thugs from the Exchange, captured Republic troops from various places, a few runaway slaves. Looks like they'll all fulfil the inclusion criteria, but they've already been given the SLV serum and the test protocol is ongoing at the moment."

"Excellent", Lokin replied. "Then once you have that number confirmed, put an order into the usual places for the rest. In some ways I regret that it's so easy to get hold of experimental subjects. We live in troubled times, Ben."

"Indeed we do, sir. By the way, there's an interesting write-up on the new Quesh venom samples that Dev's been investigating. Looks like dimalium might have potential in the activation sequence, replacing the trimalium. They've found some way of combining it, a benzoyl compound I think, with some hydroxylation and an amine group. Absorption is satisfactory and it increases the biochemical behaviour to a therapeutically active level but lower than trimalium. Still waiting on full multi-species pharmacokinetics but it should be a lot more precise and controllable."

"Thanks Ben, I'll take a look when I get a moment, but I leave formulation to experts like you and our Development colleagues. For now, I need to go and talk to the Head and then I'll be over in Harvest for the rest of the day. My spliced horranth-akk dog combination looks like it's bred true to the third generation. They're eight days old now, I want to start the physio tests."

Coigach chuckled. "You've been pushing your genetic research a lot. Horranth plus akk dog – you know, it occurred to me the other day, you could sell them as house guards. Their ugliness alone would scare off most intruders."

"As it happens, my female lab assistants persistently tell me they're 'cute'“, said Lokin with a disparaging expression. “Probably because I used a mouse horranth, so they're miniature and manageable and don't eat much. You know what the ISB is like on budgets."

"Protective lap dogs for high class ladies then - always a market somewhere, never hurts to think sideways." Coigach winked. "Better get going, I'll see you later, sir. Have fun with the puppies."

After he'd left, Lokin frowned thoughtfully, scratching at his beard again. He'd not thought about commercial potential for any of his genetic manipulation work. He did it mostly because he was genuinely interested, but also because it gave him a way to keep an eye on the eugenics programs which he'd discovered buried in the secure ISB datanets. Twelve had been right, there were some very fishy things going on behind the scenes between Intelligence and the ISB.

But it was true that the ISB always liked commercially viable things to back up their already sizeable grant, and made a lot of credits from out-licensing experimental technology and drugs produced by their various research divisions. It would also contribute to sorting out his animal housing and feeding budget problems, and besides, another source of income would always come in useful on a personal level too.

Finally, it would give the perfect cover reason for his constant intensive work and research, otherwise known as snooping round the archives. It was always easy for people to assume that you were pursuing things for your own personal gain, and then it was less likely to occur to them that you were spying on them.
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.

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Beniboybling
02.28.2013 , 07:02 AM | #85
Haven't checked this for a while, story's still great - I especially like the references to 'galactic events' if you will.

Syart's Avatar


Syart
03.01.2013 , 01:25 PM | #86
Quote: Originally Posted by Beniboybling View Post
Haven't checked this for a while, story's still great - I especially like the references to 'galactic events' if you will.
Thank you, glad you're still enjoying it
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.

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Syart
03.01.2013 , 01:34 PM | #87
This section can be entirely ignored; it's not part of the story, it's just my thinking on SLV and the various versions you come across in game, the most important obviously being the Castellan restraints with SLV-15. I wasn't sure whether to post it, then I thought I've written it, might as well include it, but you can choose to read it or not

Spoiler
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.

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bright_ephemera
03.01.2013 , 01:42 PM | #88
...Love it. I don't even read med journals but I love the citations, the tie-ins to known serum usage elsewhere in the galaxy, and the methodology/sample data provided in the text. And yes apparently I'm a huge nerd, but then, I'm betting I'm not alone in this. Thanks for deciding to post this!
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iamthehoyden
03.01.2013 , 04:48 PM | #89
Interesting to see where Lokin's career has taken him
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
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Syart's Avatar


Syart
03.04.2013 , 01:48 PM | #90
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
...Love it. I don't even read med journals but I love the citations, the tie-ins to known serum usage elsewhere in the galaxy, and the methodology/sample data provided in the text. And yes apparently I'm a huge nerd, but then, I'm betting I'm not alone in this. Thanks for deciding to post this!
Thank you, I think this is one of the nicest comments I've ever had, and now I know I'm not alone in my nerdery either *feels all warm and fuzzy* One reason for not being sure about posting it was hesitancy about exposing myself as someone who would waste several days writing a detailed medical monograph for something that doesn't exist outside a game

Quote: Originally Posted by iamthehoyden View Post
Interesting to see where Lokin's career has taken him
Good
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.