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Executors of Logistics: The Misfits

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
Executors of Logistics: The Misfits

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
12.30.2013 , 08:28 PM | #1
Executors of Logistics: The Misfits
This story can also be read on Fanfiction.net

Foreword: This is an original story featuring original characters set in the universe of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Events depicted take place a decade prior to events in-game. Story features depictions of violence and violent themes, as well as minor romantic scenes. (This is a followup to 'The Academy: Acolyte Ascension', but follows a new group of characters. Reading the first story is not necessary to enjoy this one, but references are made to past characters and events). Feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

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Chapter One


0 ATC. Dromund Kaas.

The Sith Empire was adapting to the new galactic climate. One of peace. The Great War had ended and, in their minds, they had won. All their years of planning, all their years of waiting to reveal themselves, and in a few short decades, the Empire brought the Republic to its knees. Coruscant burned, and would have been reduced to nothing had their conditions not been met. The Republic's capital was in ruins. The Jedi Order had no place to call home. There were celebrations to be had, but also preparations to be made.

The Empire's borders and holdings had rapidly expanded as a result of the Treaty of Coruscant, the once-tucked away and hidden nation now controlling roughly half the galaxy. But even in victory, their forces had waned, and were stretched perilously thin. It was the fear they had stricken into the hearts and minds of the Republic and the Jedi that protected them. But that fear would not last, especially without a war to propagate it. Thus, it fell to the Empire and its leaders to rebuild, to strengthen, to cement the ideal of superiority in their every facet.

But whilst the Dark Councilors and Ministers planned for the future in the halls of the capital world's Citadel, the common man saw fit to indulge in a bit of revelry. Within a cantina deep in the heart of Kaas City, those who had fought, those who had shed blood, sweat, and tears in their crusade against the Republic finally found a moment of reprieve. Far were the treacherous jungles that surrounded the walled metropolis. Absent were the perpetually dark and storming skies, replaced by gray ceilings and red neon. Distant were the memories and wounds of battle. They were victors, each and every one of them. Lowly grunts who had marched on their enemies in the name of their Lords now celebrated with a hearty drink with their comrades. The decorum and cold efficiency associated with the Imperial Army had been promptly shed. These were men and women whose sacrifices had finally been validated by means other than duty and obligation. They won the war. If that wasn't a good enough excuse to get drunk, there would never be one.

Amidst the loud banter and clacking glasses, the soldiers gathered and boasted to one another, dominating the room and setting the atmosphere. Despite the cold and gray architecture of the cantina fitting in with the rest of the capital city, the inhabitants and their spirits instilled a sense of extravagance amidst the usual Imperial conformity and rigidity. The calls and cheers shared amongst the citizenry were enough to challenge the perpetual storms that filled the dark planet's skies.

But amidst the revelry was a lone figure, a Human, cut off from the celebration as he sat on a stool at the bar. The majority of the cantina's occupants wore loosened uniforms and fatigues, but the lone man looked more like a spacer than a soldier. Thick trousers and a jacket covered his body, black, both lined with pockets and pouches. Despite his rather civilian garb, however, the man appeared to have gone through more than any of the gathered soldiers.

He possessed a rough countenance, not through age but conflict. Scars graced practically every inch of the man's tanned skin, ranging from small cuts to gashes that stretched across his entire face. His hair was unkempt, dark, and short. A thin layer of stubble covered the lower half of his face. As he sat upon his stool, he leaned forward with a cold, dead stare, gloved hand firmly gripped around his drink.

Slowly raising his glass, the man was about to bring it to his lips when one of the celebrating soldiers bumped against his back. There was enough force behind the blow to just knock the glass free of the loner's mouth, sending a few droplets splashing upon his chest. The standing man staggered for a moment before righting his stance, placing a steadying hand upon the loner's broad shoulder.

"Whoa, sorry about that, buddy," he said with a slight slur in his voice.

The loner offered the gentle wave of his free hand, signaling no harm done, maintaining his perpetual forward stare.

"Hey buddy, what's the matter?" the man asked with drunken concern. "Why you moping over here by yourself? It's a time for celebration. We freakin' won, man! We beat those Republic bastards!"

With each word, the soldier's hand tightened on the loner's shoulder, slightly shaking him. But the loner remained stilled, unmoving, unshakable. With a calm hand, he gripped the drunkard's and politely removed it from his shoulder. The loner was now free to enjoy his drink. But not for long.

"Me and my squad, we were on Coruscant," said the soldier, taking a seat on the empty stool next to the loner. "Some of the first with our boots on the ground. And man did they put up a fight. We woulda been dead if not for Hesker. You heard of 'im? Guy took charge. Rallied us to victory. Saved our asses. Now we all got commendations. Hah!"

"Congratulations," the loner muttered, utterly stoic.

"What about you, where'd you serve?" the soldier asked.

The loner took a slow sip of his drink. "I'm not military."

"Well that explains it!" the soldier bellowed. The drunkard gave the loner a hearty slap on the back. "Don't worry, not everyone's got the stones for military duty. I'm sure you served the Empire in your own way. What's your field? Production? Transit? You look like a pilot."

"You make it a point to bother people trying to have a drink?" the loner bluntly asked.

"Whoa, I'm just trying to strike up conversation, buddy," the soldier shot back, noticeably insulted. "Unlike you, I was out there fightin' for the Empire. The least you could do is show me a little respect."

"Respect ought to be earned," the loner muttered. "Somehow I doubt we'd suffer without your gracious contribution."

The drunkard's face churned before finally settling on a harsh scowl. The loner's gaze permanently set forward, he didn't notice the man reach behind the counter, retrieving a glass bottle. Hand firmly gripped around the bottle's neck, the soldier brought it down upon the loner's head with a mighty swing, shattering the glass into countless tiny shards.

The loner didn't even flinch as the alcohol contained within washed over him. The instigator however, released a harsh yelp as he clutched at his bloodied hand, glass shards embedded in his palm. Though the loner showed no emotional response, he was not unaffected, bits of broken glass buried in his scalp, streams of blood flowing down the back of his head.

Preoccupied with his own injury, the drunkard didn't notice the gloved fist heading straight for his face. With a firm left hook, the loner sent the man tumbling to the cantina floor. By now, all eyes were drawn toward the altercation. The floored soldier's comrades had already removed themselves from their seats on the other side of the room, quickly making their way toward the loner with inebriated pride in their eyes.

Taking a single step away from the counter, the loner patiently waited for the soldiers to bridge the gap. One of the uniformed men released a wide swing of his fist, aptly blocked by the loner's raised forearm. Replying with a single strike, now two men found themselves squirming on the floor. The rest of the group tried to swarm the indomitable man, lashing out with a myriad of sloppy punches. Their fists bounced ineffectually off the loner's tough hide, not eliciting a single ounce of pain in the recipient.

Slowly but surely, he dealt with the attackers, whittling them down one by one, as the rest of the cantina watched from a distance, not impeding the brawling space. No effort made against the scarred man proved effective, and the attackers slowly realized they were trapped in a losing battle. Some tried to scurry away, others thought to bring the implacable man down however they could.

Gripping one of the attackers by the collar, the loner threw the man to the ground before delivering a quick blow to the head, knocking him out cold. Straightening out his stance, he turned just in time to see another bottle flying toward his head. A moment before impact, the bottle simply stopped, as if suspended in time, floating loftily in front of the scarred man's face. Near the counter, the thrower stared at his target with wide eyes, frozen with fright.

"Damn…" he muttered, before finding the bottle thrown right back. Not with an arm, but with the Force. The glass bottle remained intact as it struck its original thrower in the head. A loud thud rang out at the first impact, and another when the attacker collapsed onto the floor.

The final aggressor dealt with, the scarred man began patting himself down, wiping off whatever traces of alcohol he could. Panning his gaze across the distant witnesses, the loner gently prodded the back of his head. Seeing blood on his fingertips, the man let out a low sigh.

"Graves!" a voice called out from the cantina entrance. The loner turned toward the source, spotting an impeccably dressed officer standing in the doorway. "You've been summoned."

"The hell is that supposed to mean?" the loner muttered.

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Deep within the black halls of the Citadel, home of the Empire's various governmental bodies and organizations, the scarred man sat in a compact, suffocating chamber. Occupied by a single desk, a single chair, and a single light hanging overhead, the loner sat in the dim glow, still stained with blood and alcohol. His back to the room's entrance, he didn't budge when he heard the door move into its recess. What followed was the heavy sound of boots against the floor, carried with an uneven gait.

"Mr. Graves," a low, raspy voice spoke up.

His gaze still forward, the scarred man watched as a tall figure walked into view. Clad in black robes, the alien was cloaked in the dim lighting of the room, but his features were easily distinguishable. He had rough, leathery orange skin, and two large horns sprouting from his cranium. Curving downward, one came to an end with its tip beneath his chin, the other stopped short with a flat stump, its tip having been severed.

"Welcome to Logistics."
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Adwynyth's Avatar


Adwynyth
12.31.2013 , 07:11 PM | #2
"Come on, men! Get that squee generator secured so we can move it to the new thread!"

The sounds of scurrying intensified within the cramped engine room.

"MOVE IT!"

One of the Jawas spoke up. "Sorry, boss! Generator broke. No parts to fix."

"Awright, we'll have to do this the old-fashioned way." The man in charge starts turning an rusty crank, rotating the stator assembly manually. The Jawas see what is happening and start oiling the assembly, careful not to splash the delicate Squeetronic crystals.

Here we go, boys. I think it's about to...

SQUEE!
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
01.01.2014 , 10:39 PM | #3
Chapter Two

"And who are you?" Graves asked, voice smooth and deep.

"Syrosk," the alien bluntly answered, a contrasting grit dominating his voice. "But you'll come to know me as Executor Zero."

The scarred man narrowed his gaze as he looked up and down the robed figure. The horned alien possessed a strong physique, one masked by his numerous layers of loose robes, as well as his minor slouch. Syrosk kept his hands neatly folded behind his back whilst his shoulders were held forward at a slight dip. His face was rough, seeing its fair share of battle, but it did not approach the Human's overt scarring. His skin was leathery and wrinkled, though whether it was due to age or heritage, Graves did not know.

The alien exuded a subdued presence, but there was no question that the man was a Sith.

"Okay…" the Human muttered between pauses. "I take it you're the one who summoned me."

"If you want to get technical about it, the esteemed Darth Vowrawn of the Dark Council summoned you," Syrosk said with his usual rasp, albeit a slightly more pedantic one. The alien put the bare minimum effort into emoting, offering little more than a cold and heavy stare.

Graves maintained his silence as he looked up and down the man across from him, a peculiarity in almost all aspects. An alien within a xenophobic Order, working for one of the twelve most powerful and influential Sith beneath the Emperor.

"What would a Dark Councilor want with me?" Graves asked.

"I'm honestly not sure," Syrosk answered, slightly dipping his head. "I've read your file. Wasn't that impressed. But Darth Vowrawn thinks you'd be a prime candidate for his new organization. The Executors of Logistics."

Graves paused, looking up and down the alien, almost studying him. "Which, given your title, I take it you're a big part of."

"Astute."

"And what exactly is the purpose of this… organization?"

Syrosk took a step closer, bending ever so slightly to move his face closer to that of the seated man. "To keep the Empire alive."

"I didn't know the Empire was dying," Graves admitted.

The horned alien straightened out his posture, or rather, returned to the slightly less hunched stance he possessed prior. "No. No one ever does. Our purpose is to keep the infrastructure of the Empire intact. A task made far more difficult now that the war is over. Restructuring for peace. Recuperating losses. Overseeing new territories. Logistics now requires a workforce. One supported by the might of the Sith."

"You want Sith doing Logistics work? Like monitoring traffic? Watching factory output?" Graves asked, a hint of befuddlement shining through his stoicism.

"Production and Logistics has always lacked a direct influence when it came to Sith enforcers. The Executors will remedy that," Syrosk explained. "Whilst others monitor traffic, they will go out and destroy anything impeding it. Whilst others watch factory output, they will ensure anyone who lays a hand on that output loses that hand."

"Hmm."

"Ours is the Sphere of Influence upon which all others are built," Syrosk added. "Without us, the Empire ceases to function. And with the Executors, we can finally take an active role. As Sith who desire something more than personal gain."

"And how many people you got in this… organization of yours?" Graves asked.

"Few," said Syrosk. "The foundations have only just been put in place. You'd be amongst the first to join… and possess special privileges accordingly."

"Special how?"

"Executors operate in groups, overseen by handlers," Syrosk explained. "Handlers are typically high-level Ministry bureaucrats. For you and your group, however, I would act as your handler."

"No disrespect, but it's not really jumping out at me why one of those would be preferable to the other," Graves offered with a shrug. "But that's beside the point, because I don't really work in groups."

"It would only be three of you," said Syrosk. "One of whom is already here, and the third is currently on her way. We could go meet them if you wish."

Graves let out a low sigh and shifted in his seat, eyes drawn to the floor.

"What have you got to lose?" Syrosk rasped. "You leave here, you go back to drowning your sorrows, getting into bar fights whilst you slowly waste away. What I'm offering is not perfect. But it is something to put your talents to use. Something to give you purpose. Does that sound like something you'd want?"

The scarred man maintained his focus on the floor, glaring at the point between his feet. He unconsciously began tapping his boot, the light thuds echoing throughout the compact chamber.

"You said… the others are here?" Graves muttered, still looking downward.

"One is. The other will be soon."

The scarred man finally lifted his gaze. "Alright. I want to see them."

"Then follow me," Syrosk directed, making his way toward the door without a moment's hesitation. The Human sluggishly lifted himself from his seat and followed. Together, the odd pair walked through the interior halls of the Citadel, the oppressive atmosphere surrounding them at every corner. The government building was equal parts constricting and open, various passageways giving way to either grand chambers or suffocating offices. Every surface was composed of dark and gray metals, polished and angular. Sharp, yet orderly, and adorned with countless flags and banners basking in the glow of red lights. A perfect picture of Imperial aesthetics.

As they walked side by side, Syrosk set the pace, one that lacked all sense of urgency, mostly due to the alien's lumbering, uneven gait. As they traversed the narrower halls of the Citadel, the Human couldn't help but study the horned figure.

"I can tell you've a prosthetic leg," Graves casually stated.

Syrosk momentarily turned toward the Human before resuming his forward gaze. "It was severed on Coruscant."

"Took part in the Sacking?"

"In a manner of speaking."

"Combatant?" Graves asked.

Syrosk nodded. "I fought, yes."

"Who did it?"

"A Sith," Syrosk explained, maintaining his usual calm rasp.

There was a pause in the conversation, but not in the movement as the pair continued their trek through the Citadel. "I see," Graves finally said. "You kill him?"

"One of my apprentices did," Syrosk replied.

Graves turned toward the elder Sith. "You have apprentices?"

"Had. Not anymore."

"I see. How many did you have?"

"Eight," said Syrosk.

"They all die?" asked Graves, not an ounce of emotion attached to his question.

"No. We simply parted ways after the war. Their training was complete."

"Huh," Graves muttered as he returned his focus toward the path ahead. "Didn't know that was possible for a Sith."

"They weren't normal Sith," Syrosk declared.

"Neither are you, as evidenced by that pair of horns. Or is that a Pureblood trait I'm unaware of?"

"No, I'm an alien. And have been treated as such for the past many decades of my life."

"But working with a Dark Councilor… seems you're doing pretty good for yourself now."

"Seems so."

The pair came to stop outside a discretely marked door. They hadn't gone far, and Graves could tell they were still in the same sector of the Citadel despite little time spent within the corridors of the grand capital building himself. The various gray slabs that made up the majority of Imperial architecture had the tendency to blend together, but those who had spent enough of their lives around them had a way of noticing their various subtleties.

"Your prospective teammate trained on Korriban much like yourself," Syrosk stated as he hovered his hand over the controls to the room's entrance. Graves kept his attention focused on the Executor as the door lifted into its recess. "The man's name is-"

"You!" a shrill voice rang out from the room's interior.

Before he could even turn his head, Graves found himself knocked back, the other man launching himself from the room, driving his shoulder into the loner's gut and tackling him into the opposite wall. Graves' back impacted against the solid wall of the corridor with a loud thud, but that was all that would be heard from him, even as the attacker kept slamming his fists into the scarred man's ribcage.

Syrosk watched the rowdy scene unfold from his previous spot, unmoving, offering only a low sigh at the exchange. The aggressor had Graves pinned to the wall for a few seconds as he delivered blow after blow to his midsection, when finally the Executor decided to step in. With a firm hand, the alien grasped the back collar of the attacker's black robes and tore him free, sending him stumbling back into the room he had previously occupied. Graves took a moment to right his stance, crinkling his neck as he patted himself off, no worse for wear.

The Human who had thrown himself at the loner planted his feet, unmoving, a harsh scowl upon his heavily obscured face. The man wore a full set of pitch-black robes, fitted for martial combat so that they contoured to the wearer's lean frame. But wherever flesh might be exposed, none was. Instead, all one could see was the white wrapping that covered the man's skin across his entire head and torso. The cloth strips tightly hugged his flesh, but allowed for free articulation and movement. Atop his head, the errant tuft of black hair would peak through the wrappings around his scalp. Brief glimpses of skin could be seen around the man's eyes and mouth, but it was damaged, having been burned long ago.

The two men stared one another down as the alien calmly passed his gaze between the marred pair.

"I take it you two possess a history," Syrosk rasped, purposely stating the obvious.

"This bastard burned my face off!" the attacker harshly declared.

"Some might consider it an improvement," Graves calmly stated, maintaining his utterly stoic demeanor.

The burned man lunged forward once more, this time stopped by Syrosk placing a hand out, lightly pressing against the man's wrapped chest. He could have continued had he desired, but there was an ethereal feeling emanating from the alien's palm. Whatever force the Executor was exerting, it was subtle, but it spoke of an inner power that its wielder could not even be bothered to display. One capable of doing far more than bringing a man to a simple stop. Still wearing his harsh scowl, the aggressor slowly backed down, but remained poised to attack.

"How's things, Asher?" Graves casually asked. The burned man gritted his teeth, a subtle growl slipping past his charred lips. Ignoring the loner's inquiry, Asher turned his attention toward the alien.

"If you think I'm working with this guy, you can forget it!" Asher declared, his voice significantly higher than the other Sith's.

"I would advise you to withhold your decision until you been given all the details," Syrosk stated. "But if you wish to walk away, you're free to do so. Just know that you'll be on your own again. Without the backing and protection of a Dark Councilor's influence."

The burned man's eyes sharpened as he stewed in silence. From beneath his bandaged facade, he passed his gaze between the alien and the loner. They both offered only cold, blank expressions in response. Asher released a soft grunt as he impatiently wrung his hands, rubbing his wrapped knuckles with some mixture of anxiety and hidden pain.

"Fine. I'll hear you out," Asher muttered.

"Then, if the both of you would kindly step inside," Syrosk directed alongside the gentle wave of his hand. As Asher blocked the doorway, he remained motionless, continuing to stare down Graves, but was eventually forced to concede. Breaking his lock on the loner, the burned man turned inward, heading toward where he had previously waited, Graves following shortly behind. The two prospects now inside, the Executor put a hand to his ear, engaging a compact earpiece. "You can skip the interim. Bring her directly to the conference room."

A word of acknowledgment discretely rang out in the alien's ear. Lowering his hand, the Executor entered the room, the door shutting behind him. Inside, while far from grand, the chamber was sizably larger than the room Graves had previously been in. And in its center rest a sizably larger table. The long table stretched horizontally in front of the entering Sith, three chairs waiting on the opposite end. The fixture could have easily accommodated a dozen seats on either side, but still it featured only those three solitary chairs.

Stepping around the table, Asher and Graves took their seats on the outer chairs, leaving the one between them vacant. Syrosk stood at attention opposite them, placing himself between the table and the chamber's entrance, patiently waiting with his hands folded behind his back. "There was nothing in your files that indicated a common history, aside from both of you receiving your training at the Korriban Academy."

"Had the same Overseer for a while," said Graves. "We were candidates for apprenticeship under Lord Traer."

"I eventually got it," Asher boasted.

"Intriguing," Syrosk muttered as he rubbed his chin. "Overseers aren't known for letting more than one acolyte survive their trials."

"I'm hard to kill," said Graves, utterly nonchalant. "Asher left Korriban with his new master. I was put in another group under another Overseer. Got myself apprenticed to Lord Drath a few months later."

The burned man began to crack up, releasing a steady chortle as he leaned back in his chair. "No way! You got picked up by Drath?"

"There something wrong with that?" asked Graves.

"Other than the fact that he was notorious for going through apprentices, of which he's had at least a dozen… no nothing at all," Asher sarcastically replied.

"Well, I outlived him, didn't I?"

"You totally did. You're the best Sith ever," said Asher, completely deadpan.

"Well, you both must have done something right to earn Darth Vowrawn's attention," Syrosk interrupted.

Asher shrugged. "Don't know why. My master wasn't in his Sphere or anything. And if they had dealings, I sure as hell didn't know about them."

"He believes you both talented and well-suited for the work we have planned," said Syrosk.

"I noticed you weren't exactly forthcoming with what that work entailed in our first meeting," Asher admitted.

Syrosk narrowed his gaze toward the chatty Sith. "I was planning to wait until your third arrived before going into detail."

Behind the Executor, the room's entrance shot open, and the inhabitants quickly turned their attention toward the rescinded door. Beyond stood an intimidating man, a Pureblood, bald of head, Sith rune etched onto his face with black ink. One of the Empire's chosen people, the red-skinned humanoid possessed a powerful and domineering image, one helped by the thick armorweave that encased his sturdy frame below the neck. Looking into the room, he offered only a cold, deadened stare.

"Did you bring her?" Syrosk asked. The Pureblood gave a brief nod before stepping to the side.

A woman walked into frame, and immediately humbled her escort. A Human of superb physical prowess, she stood tall, taller than any of the other Sith. At over two meters, she surpassed even the Executor's impressive height without the aid of armor or footwear. Her hair was long and dark, restrained in a singular braid that reached her lower back. Her body was toned and muscular, chiseled into a strong and dexterous form unburdened by an ounce of excess fat. A fact that was made all the more apparent by her attire. Her tanned arms went exposed and her core was covered by a black, form-fitting shirt. The sleeveless compression garb was tucked into a pair of cargo pants, of which neither it nor its belt seemed to possess an attached lightsaber.

"Fay. Glad you could join us," Syrosk rasped. Extending his arm, he directed toward the two currently seated Sith. "Meet Asher and Graves."

Peering into the conference room, the tall woman saw the two men sitting on the opposite side of the chamber. The two sides stared at one another in silence, neither eliciting the same heated response as before. This time, the parties introduced were unaffiliated strangers.

As the third prospect studied her fellows, they remained stilled and silent until finally, the burned man slowly raised a white-clad hand and offered a gentle wave.
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Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
01.04.2014 , 02:49 AM | #4
Chapter Three

Fay took her first steps into the room, each one echoing through the deathly quiet chamber. Just outside, the Pureblood walked back into view, casting his dulled gaze toward his superior. Syrosk offered a brief, silent nod, relieving the escort of his duties. He replied with a nod of his own, stepping away and disappearing into the halls of the Citadel. The door closed once more, sealing in the four Sith from the outside world.

"Take a seat, if you would," said Syrosk toward the tall woman. She kept silent, making her way around the table, forced to take the middle seat.

As she approached, the others caught a quick but clear glimpse of her face amidst the chamber's dim lighting. She looked to be in her late twenties, same as the other prospects. But the first thing the other Sith noticed was the pristineness of her visage. She wore not a single scar nor blemish upon her face. In fact, she possessed not a single visible mark on her entire body. A stark contrast to the three battered and scarred men before her. But her expression had more in common as she wore a stern facade, slowly panning the room with her sharpened eyes. The peculiarity of the other Sith was readily apparent, especially with the one covered in a layer of blood and alcohol, but it did little to shake her dominating stoicism.

With Fay taking her spot between Asher and Graves, the three Sith had finally been gathered. The Executor passed his discerning gaze between the trio, each completely different. Completely unique. He sensed power within each of them. About as much as one could expect of a set of apprentices with their age and background. Nothing particularly outstanding. If they possessed hidden potential, they were doing their best to keep it hidden. But it wouldn't be the first time a set of motley Sith managed to surprise him.

"Asher. Fay. Graves," Syrosk began. "The Firestarter. The Kineticist. The-"

"What's a Kineticist?" Graves interrupted.

"A type of Force specialist," Asher answered. "You know, kinetics? Motions. Pushes. Pulls."

Graves calmly wafted his hand. "Yeah, yeah, I get it…"

"You asked," Asher snarked.

"You know, I'm sitting right here," Fay spoke up, quiet but not timidly so. Her voice was that of restraint, and yet each word was firm in its delivery.

Asher gave an exaggerated shrug. "Oh, really? I didn't see you there."

The woman offered the stern arch of her brow as she sat in her chair, arms crossed, unwilling to expend the necessary energy for anything close to a response.

Meanwhile, Syrosk released a low, droning sigh as he began to rub his brow. "I do not like being interrupted."

"And I don't like being dragged into the Citadel by people who say their working for people who say their working for a Dark Councilor with nothing to show for it," Asher shot back. As Syrosk continued to rub his brow, he slowly raised his other hand, showing his palm to the burned man as if express a silent 'pause'. "And if you expect me to-"

Asher wasn't even looking at the Executor when he flicked his wrist downward, telekinetically grabbing the burned man's head and slamming it into the cold, hard table. The Sith's bandaged cranium bounced off the solid surface with a thud, eliciting a soft, drawn-out groan from the reeling prospect.

"I bet that hurt," Graves said, completely deadpan.

"What would you know?" Asher barked, clutching the side of his head.

"May I continue?" Syrosk asked, an expediency accompanying his usual grit. The burned man offered a silent wave of his free hand, urging him to proceed. "My name is Algo Syrosk. My boss is Darth Vowrawn of the Dark Council. Not my 'master'. My boss. We are extending an invitation to you three to join a new organization, the Executors of Logistics. You will serve as a specialized task force capable of handling problems within the Sphere that others cannot. Providing security and maintaining order amongst the Empire will be your primary objectives. I will be your handler, serving as your mentor and guide whilst dispatching you on missions. I, too, will be your boss, not your 'master'. You, in turn will be employees, not acolytes or apprentices. Your first and only title will be Executor. You'll remain Sith, but will exist outside the standard hierarchy of Lords and Darths. No more backstabbing. No more power bases. No more spoils of war. You will belong to the Executors. You will follow their rules. In return, you will receive the backing and protection of the institution and its founder. That is in addition to a steady paycheck and benefits. You'll never have to worry about housing or transportation again. But most importantly, this is your chance to help yourselves as well as the Empire."

"Any specifics on the types of missions we'll be carrying out?" asked Graves.

"If something needs fixing, you'll fix it. If something needs breaking, you'll break it," Syrosk explained. "You'll be handling assignments that the other Spheres cannot handle themselves or devote resources to. Pushing back incursions into Sith territory. Destroying threats to Imperial trade, whether they be Republic or independent. If a rising Sith proves to be a threat to the stability of the Empire, it will fall to you to end them."

Asher finally ceased rubbing the side of his head. "How's the pay?"

"Unfinalized and negotiable," Syrosk replied. "It will be comparable to highly skilled, high-risk security work."

"Why us?" Fay bluntly asked, arms refusing to budge from their crossed position.

"Having read your files, you each possess a number of common traits with those we hope to recruit," said Syrosk. "You've displayed a certain level of competence and skill. You've lost your masters and your standing after the war. You've stagnated, with few opportunities to improve your station by yourselves."

"So you just swoop in to give us a new life? Just like that?" Asher asked, unconvinced.

A simple nod from the Executor. "Pretty much."

"And that doesn't sound the least bit shady or exploitative to you?" Asher continued.

"Targeted recruitment to ensure the health and efficiency of the organization," said Syrosk. "You're right, we did seek out those with nowhere else to go. If you think that's us taking advantage of you, then go ahead. But I'm a Force-sensitive alien living in the Sith Empire. I do not make the offer of a new life lightly."

"Alright, but why us specifically?" Fay asked. "You said Darth Vowrawn wanted us three working with you. Why us? Why you?"

"Vowrawn is a very calculative man," Syrosk explained. "Your actions at your respective academies managed to earn his attention. He seems to believe you possess a certain potential. As for me, he believes I have the potential to see that potential realized."

"And why might he think that?" asked Graves.

"Because I recently trained eight apprentices," Syrosk replied. "They were aliens, slaves, and outcasts. Once considered filth just like me. I taught them, lost them, regained them, lost them again. But in the two years of training I provided, they displayed vast improvements, partly due to their inherent skill, partly due to the unique nature of their training. Vowrawn believes my expertise rests in handling Sith while in groups."

"Well, I don't really work in groups," Graves repeated.

"I know. And ironically, you're not alone in that fact," said Syrosk. "My apprentices worked in pairs, not all of them appreciative of the fact. But those that were? Those that embraced the notion rather than rejected it? They became some of the most capable Sith I know. If you choose to stay, I can promise that you will only become stronger."

"What's the point of becoming stronger if we're not actually Sith anymore?" Asher asked. "I mean, if we're 'outside the standard Sith hierarchy', why bother?"

"Your tenure as an Executor is as permanent as you desire," Syrosk replied. "If you want to leave and give up the protection and backing we provide to pursue your own goals, you will be free to do so."

The prospects were silent, stewing in their own thoughts.

"But I'll make this clear. You're not like the other candidates," Syrosk declared. "Vowrawn wants you three for this group. He doesn't seem keen on telling me why, but I will fulfill his wishes and guide you to the best of my abilities. You will be treated fairly and given every opportunity necessary to succeed. I'll give you a moment alone to talk it over amongst yourselves."

With that, the Executor turned and headed out the door without another moment of hesitation. The prospects were somewhat dumfounded as they watched the entrance open and close behind the alien.

Now they were alone. Three Sith, sitting at a conference table under a dim light. The burned man. The tall woman. The scarred loner.

"So. Any thoughts?" Graves began.

"I don't know," Asher muttered. "It doesn't sound like something that should exist. I mean, isn't being a Sith all about unrestricted freedom? Why populate a Logistics organization with them?"

"Because I can measure on my hands how many Sith that 'unrestricted freedom' has actually worked out for," Graves casually stated. "Meanwhile there are probably hundreds of low-level Sith serving someone they hate, looking for an out. This way, they stay within the Empire rather than trying to run away."

"So you think it's a good idea?" Asher asked.

"I think it's an understandable one," Graves clarified. "What about the guy's stories about his apprentices? That'd mean he was at least a Lord before becoming Executor. And they don't typically let people like him become Lords."

"I don't know, he seems pretty old," said Asher. "Maybe he was grandfathered in by some old rule before the war."

"What about his apprentices?" asked Graves. "He said they were aliens and slaves too."

"You know, I heard something about a group of students on Korriban who didn't belong there. Like, secret ones, in the lower halls," Asher declared. "In fact, I heard something about some alien straight up killing a guy on the Academy steps, and no one did a thing to stop or punish him. If that's him, he's the real deal."

"I don't recall anything like that," Graves admitted. "Was it during our time at the Academy?"

"No, afterwards. Like, right before the war ended," Asher explained.

"I thought you left Korriban for good after finding a master," said Graves. "Were you keeping tabs on the place or something?"

"No, just… sometimes you hear some things," Asher replied. "What about you, Fay? Hear anything about that?"

"No," Fay admitted. "Then again, I trained on Ziost, not Korriban."

"I see," Asher muttered, scratching his bandaged chin. "So… do they grow 'em all that big on Ziost?"

The tall woman turned to the burned man, offering only the silent, judging arch of her brow.

A smirk appeared on Asher's lips. "Ah, the strong and quiet type, eh?"

"No. Some people just don't like talking to you," Graves said in his usual stoic manner.

"And yet you conveniently continue to do so!" Asher barked, the playful warmth immediately leaving his visage.

"Now, now, no need to get fired up," Graves calmly offered.

The burned man gritted his teeth. "Don't you even-"

"If you haven't noticed, Fay, he's a bit of a hothead," Graves continued.

"I swear, by the Emperor… gah," Asher muttered before devolving into a series of low grunts.

"You're an emotive little thing, aren't you?" Fay bluntly asked.

"He's just angry because there's nothing he can do to hurt me," said Graves.

"And you're not one for humility," Fay added.

"No. He's actually right. I literally can't hurt him," Asher admitted. "He doesn't feel pain. As evidenced by his apparent lack of a desire to duck."

Turning her head, the tall woman saw the scarred man still wore the aftermath of conflict upon himself. Fresh cuts etched into the flesh atop his head. Streaks of crusted blood he had missed when wiping himself down stained his scalp. All accompanying litany of other partially healed scars from days long passed, barely concealed by the bedraggled hair surrounding them.

Fay slowly bounced her gaze between the two men. "So, I take it you two know each other then?"

"We were rivals on Korriban, both after the attention of same master," Graves explained. "He only wanted one apprentice, so…"

"We were constantly fighting one another," Asher continued. "Eventually, it was just us from the group the Overseer had gathered."

"And who won?" asked Fay.

Asher jut an enthusiastic, boastful thumb toward his chest. "I did. And all it took was taking off one of his arms."

"Our last duel ended with his upper body burnt to a crisp, though," Graves added.

"How'd that happen?" Fay asked.

"Asher couldn't beat me in a straightforward duel, so he had to utilize some tricks to get by," Graves explained.

"Vibrating particles at a molecular level isn't a 'trick'," Asher quickly replied. "It's as genuine an application of the Force as any other."

"Yeah, but other Sith don't carry a flask of combustible fuel on their belt," Graves said.

Asher offered a flippant shrug. "They would if they were smart."

"Says the man who had his face burned off when his own ploy backfired," Graves replied.

"A minor setback," said Asher.

"You're still completely wrapped with bandages," Graves plainly stated.

Asher shrugged. "Kolto treatments took care of most of the damage. The scarring is mostly aesthetic."

"So you simply wanted to look like you just stumbled out of an ancient Sith tomb?" Graves asked.

"Wouldn't you? Better than looking like some random spacer," said Asher. "I evoke a certain image. A good percentage of being a Sith is cultivating a certain look. I mean, just ask 'Muscles' here."

"Excuse me?" Fay quickly replied.

"I'm guessing genetics blessed you with a large frame, but there's little reason to train your body to such a degree, especially if you consider yourself a Kineticist. I mean, at a certain point, additional muscle becomes superfluous when you've got the Force."

"You wanna see how superfluous these muscle are?" Fay asked, almost at a whisper. A harsh, stern whisper.

"Hey, if you're offering me a look…" Asher wisecracked as he reached into the folds of his robes, giving the other prospects the bare minimum of his attention. A moment later, the burned man's hand returned with a slender cylindrical object between his fingers, a paper shaft wrapped around an assortment of dried, packed herbs. Placing the cigarra in his mouth, the burned man snapped his fingers, producing a small arc of electricity between his fingertips and held it near the object's outer tip.

"It almost seems like you actively want people to hate you," said Graves.

"That would imply that I cared," Asher replied, the Force lightning between his fingers setting the cigarra tip aflame. The paper glowed a bright orange, burning further as the man drew in a deep breath. Exhaling, Asher released a plume of smoke into the compact room.

Carefully raising her hand, Fay placed her fingers level with the burned man's face. Holding her index finger and thumb together, she offered a quick, effortless flick. Beneath Asher's eye, the tip of his cigarra fell to the table below, the other half still resting between his lips. Split by some invisible force, the two parts had not been crushed or torn apart, but sliced as if by the sharpest and finest of blades. Looking down, Asher saw the still-lit half of the cigarra lift itself from the table before telekinetically crumbling and compressing into a tiny ball of crushed ash. Not a moment later, it fell, striking the table with a light bounce before settling.

"Nothing about me is superfluous," Fay emphatically declared.

"Point taken," Asher said with a growing smirk, removing the remains of the cigarra from his mouth. "So. A Firestarter. A Kineticist. And a Man Who Feels No Pain. Someone thinks we'd work well together. A Dark Councilor in fact. One who's apparently been keeping tabs on us since our time in the academies. He thinks we're special, but wants us basically doing grunt work for his new organization. We get a paycheck and a chance at retirement in exchange for promising not to try and betray and kill one another. That sound about right?"

"Sounds about right," Graves offered.

"So, who wants to ride this thing until it inevitably comes crashing down around us?" Asher asked.

"You're not one for great first impressions, are you?" Fay replied.

"Nope. But think about it. That just means it's all up from here," said Asher.

"Uphill, more like," Graves commented.

Fay offered the lightest of sighs. "Are you two going to be at each other's throats this whole endeavor?"

"I'm willing to put the past behind me if he is," Graves declared.

"Sure," said Asher, before leaning closer to his scarred fellow. "Just remember. I'm just as capable of taking off the other arm."

"Didn't stop me the first time," Graves stated with a wave of his left hand, its cybernetic nature concealed beneath the numerous layers of black garb.

The prospects were interrupted by the chamber's door rising into its recess. Slowly, Syrosk walked back into the room with his lumbering, uneven gait. Stopping just on the other side of the table, the alien passed his sharpened gaze over each individual one by one.

"Have you made a decision?" Syrosk calmly asked.

The room fell silent. None had an immediate response. The prospects looked around, studying one another, trying to glean some measure of their thoughts.

"Alright. I'm in," Fay eventually spoke up.

"Same here," Asher quickly stated.

All eyes fell to the loner, scarred and stained. Graves kept his gaze affixed to the table, staring in silence as the others did the same toward him. He release a heavy sigh and a noncommittal shrug of his shoulder.

"Fine, I guess," Graves muttered.

"Then let me be the first to officially welcome you to Logistics," Syrosk declared.

"You already welcomed us to Logistics," Asher stated. The alien narrowed his harsh gaze upon the burned man, whom raised his hands in half-hearted apology.

"Then let me congratulate you on your new positions… Executors."
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

ShadowMudkip's Avatar


ShadowMudkip
01.06.2014 , 02:38 PM | #5
I like this one, Im curious to see why Graves is immune to pain.
JediCovenant
The Veir Legacy
Mairick-Assassin Mylius-Sorcerer
Kaidin-Mercenary

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
01.30.2014 , 11:27 PM | #6
Chapter Four

The three new Executors followed their boss as they all made their way through the dark halls of the Citadel. The aged alien set the pace with his hastily sluggish gait. Their destination was unknown, but the three followers offered little protest.

"I will be filling the role of both a mentor and coordinator," Syrosk explained as he walked. "When you aren't on a mission, I will be training you."

"So... we are your apprentices," Asher spoke up.

Syrosk kept his unwavering gaze forward. "If you are so insistent on such a designation, then yes."

"What kind of training?" asked Fay. "We're rather beyond the standard fare of the Academies."

"Yes. You are," Syrosk rasped. "There's little more to be instilled in you that won't be achieved in the field. Your minds, however, will need to be conditioned for your work."

"I think we're ready for the horrors of Logistics field work," Asher joked.

"I'm concerned with security, not mental health," Syrosk curtly replied. "Your thoughts must remain your own. If you cannot resist interrogations and probes of your mind, you'll not only endanger yourselves and your teammates, but the Ministry and the Empire itself."

"Well, we got a guy who can't feel pain, so we'll just let him take our spots in any torture scenarios," Asher stated, jabbing his elbow into Graves' side.

"Pain is neither the only nor an effective means of extracting information... Murel," Syrosk rasped.

A cold shiver immediately shot up Asher's spine.

Graves turned toward his burned teammate. "Your real name's Murel?"

Asher folded his arms. "It's the name of an old war hero, shut up. Besides, he probably just read it off my file."

"Perhaps," said Syrosk. "But your file would not have told me that you decided on your moniker when an acolyte said your last name with a broken jaw your second week on Korriban."

Asher ducked his gaze as the walked. "It might have. I've never seen the file."

The horned alien released a low sigh. "Even so, I am not the only telepath in the galaxy. Few may be as effective as I, but they do exist. Amongst the Sith. Amongst the Jedi. You'll be dealing with both and we cannot have you divulging information, whether you even realize it or not."

"Good to know we're planning on keeping secrets from our fellow Sith this early in our venture," said Asher. This time, it was unclear whether the burned man was speaking sarcastically or not.

"Logistics operates on information," Syrosk declared. "Lose control of that information and the operation falls apart."

"Alright, anything else in store besides the mental lockdown?" Fay asked, a hint of curiosity in her voice.

"Darth Vowrawn seems to believe you each possess unrealized potential," Syrosk replied. "It's my duty to see it brought to light."

"Yes, yes, you've already said as much," Asher said, accompanying his words with the flimsy waft of his hand. "We're special. You're special. We get it. But what exactly are you going to do with that?"

"I don't know," Syrosk bluntly stated.

"You don't know?" Graves spoke up.

"What do you mean you don't know?" Fay added.

"Much like Logistics, I operate on information," Syrosk explained. "I cannot properly train you until I know more about you, until you know more about each other."

The burned Sith cocked his head to the side. "So, what, we're all just going to pal around for a while?"

"You will. I won't," Syrosk rasped. "I already have a mission lined up for you."

"Don't missions usually come... you know, after training?" asked Asher, scratching the back of his wrapped head.

"I need to know if you're worth training in the first place," Syrosk declared.

"The word of a Dark Councilor not enough for you?" Asher teased.

"No. It is not."

The motley group continued through the halls of the Citadel. As they headed deeper and deeper, the Executors could feel the weight of the other denizens' passing gazes. They were each out of place, despite belonging nowhere else. The Imperials and Sith of the capital saw only what rest upon the surface. The alien. The spacer. The mummy. The giant. None of them fit with the locals' notions of what a Sith was, but Sith they remained.

Enduring the errant stares and prolonged trek through the halls of conniving Sith and Imperial bureaucrats, Syrosk came to a stop in front of a door that spoke of a far grander chamber than the small waiting rooms the recruits were accustomed to.

"This is our base of operations," Syrosk explained. In response to his presence, the door automatically lifted, granting the group of Sith sight into the chamber beyond. The large door oversold its grandeur.

The room on the other side of the entrance was compact, especially compared with the headquarters of other organizations within the Citadel. No high ceilings. No foyers or redundant spaces. No room for statues or banners. Every wall was covered with consoles and databanks. In the center, a holoterminal displayed a galactic map, small blips firing off at regular intervals. Around it, a small group of uniformed Imperials bustled about, bumping each other's shoulders as they navigated the tight quarters. The men and women, all Human, all 'normals', had their eyes glues to the datapads in their hands, lifting their gazes only if more pertinent information flashed across the screens attached to the terminals around them.

"It's not exactly on par with the Intelligence headquarters, is it?" said Asher, with a healthy dose of snark.

"It serves our purpose... for now," Syrosk rasped. The alien stepped inside, as did the other three shortly after.

"My lord, you've returned," a soft voice called out from deeper within the base. A woman stepped from the controlled chaos that embroiled the chamber, rushing to greet the four Sith. She was a picture of Imperial decorum, clean cut and orderly while still possessing a relative youth. "Operations are proceeding on schedule. No word of complication from X1 or X2."

"Very good," Syrosk replied, a modicum of praise slipping past his usual rasp. "If there's nothing more to report, I'd like you to handle the induction of these three recruits."

"Of course, my lord," the woman said with a respectful bow of her head. Upon raising it, she looked upon the three Sith standing behind her boss. She remained silent for a moment, trying to formulate her own thoughts, before softly biting her lip. Carefully, she leaned in close to Syrosk. "I'm sorry, my lord, but what position are they filling?"

"They are Sith," said Syrosk. "They've been handpicked by Darth Vowrawn to be Executors."

Her eyes widened as she shot back up, stance rigid as the recruits cast their disinterested gazes upon her. "My apologies, lords. I did not realize..."

Syrosk offered a dismissing wave of his hand as the woman bowed her head once more. "It is of no trouble. Just have the applications ready."

"At once, my lord," the woman shot off before ducking back into the organized chaos that persisted deeper in the chamber.

"What happened to 'no longer being lords' and such?" Asher asked.

"Whatever our positions, we will always be regarded as Sith," Syrosk replied. "There's no changing that."

"I'm just surprised they all seem content to work under an alien," Graves admitted.

"I've proven myself, as have they," said Syrosk. "We all serve the Empire here."

"Of course we do," Asher half-heartedly replied. "But I assume we don't all serve the Empire from here, right? I mean, not insulting your base or anything, but, uh, there doesn't seem to be very many amenities. It seems like we'd just be taking up space... one of us in particular."

The wrapped Sith winced at what felt like a fist driving itself into his arm. Turning his head, he saw Fay staring at him, eyes sharpened, but entirely motionless. Her arms crossed beneath her chest, she had either moved at a blinding speed, or not at all.

"No, we're just here to formalize your entry into the organization," Syrosk stated. "As Executors, you'll be expected to operate out of a mobile base."

Before Syrosk could explain further, the woman from before returned with a datapad firmly clutched in hand. "Alright, my lords. I need your full names so that I can enter you into the system."

"Asher."

"Fay."

"Graves."

"Uh..." The woman's hand hovered over the datapad, hesitant to input the information. Once again, she softly bit her lip, passing her gaze between the Sith before settling on Syrosk, eyes silently begging for assistance.

"Those are sufficient enough," Syrosk assuaged. The employee offered a dutiful nod as she entered the recruits' information. "We already have their files, I just need you to confirm their entry."

"As you wish, my lord," the woman stated. "I'll need some time to... oh."

"'Oh'?" the three recruits shot back almost simultaneously.

"It would seem you three were ready to be confirmed," the woman revealed. "But... that usually doesn't happen until we have a handler ready to-"

"I'll be acting as their handler. Darth Vowrawn's wishes," Syrosk explained. The woman puzzled for a moment, but took her boss at his word.

"Then I suppose everything should be in order," the woman said. "Your designations will be Executor Five, Executor Six, Executor Sev-"

"When you said there were only a few of you, I thought you meant lower dozens," Asher interrupted. "Not four."

"The other four were my first picks for inclusion. You three were Vowrawn's," Syrosk stated. "Like I said, ours is a new organization and you are amongst the first to join."

"Well then, shouldn't we be, like, numbers one through three?" Asher suggested. "Especially since we're being overseen by number zero?"

"Everyone is overseen by number zero," Syrosk curtly replied. "But it matters not, your number does not denote your rank nor skill."

"Then there's no reason to not bump us up the list a little," Asher said.

Syrosk released a low sigh as he began to rub his leathery brow.

"You really care about what other people think of you, don't you?" Graves calmly asked the burned Sith.

"If that were true, he wouldn't talk as much," Fay added.

"We cannot alter the designations of Executors already in the field," Syrosk rasped. "But..."

"But?" Asher pressed.

"X3 and 4 have not yet been formally initiated, nor do they have the luxury of a Dark Councilor fast-tracking their progress," said Syrosk, almost regretfully. "Should you succeed in your first mission... then you can have numbers three through five."

"Dibs on three!" Asher called out.

"It would have likely been alphabetical, so the gesture is moot," Syrosk stated, taking some solace in taking the minor victory away from the burned Sith.

The tall woman offered a brief shrug. "No protests here."

"Fine by me," Graves added.

Syrosk offered the Imperial who had been standing nearby, frozen and silent, a brief nod dismissing her to her previous duties. "Then if there are no more objections, we can proceed."

The alien slowly made his way deeper into the headquarters, the new recruits following. Spreading out around the galaxy map, the other Imperials gave the group a wide berth.

"Following the war's end, certain sectors were thrown into chaos as numerous planets turned themselves over to the Empire due to the terms of the treaty," Syrosk explained. "We've managed to keep things controlled for now, at least on the macro scale. But spreading our focus over the newly gained territories has caused certain affairs to slip beneath our notice. A number of Imperial facilities have gone dark. Most were simple ag-settlements and manufactories, but one was a weapons research facility."

"Is there an explanation?" asked Graves.

"Independent parties taking advantage of the current climate," said Syrosk. "The war may be over, but both sides are scrambling to keep their affairs in order, allowing pirates and scavengers to hit lesser targets with impunity."

"Someone got cocky and hit an arms facility," Fay suggested.

"More than that, a particular group is broadcasting their exploitation of the situation to the entire galaxy," Syrosk continued. "They say they've got schematics for something big we've been working on, and are looking to sell. They've invited everyone, the Republic, the Cartel, even us."

A quick chuckle from Asher. "How kind of them to sell our own goods back to us."

"Do we have any confirmation they actually have what they're trying to sell?" Fay asked.

"You three are in charge of getting that confirmation," Syrosk stated.

"Seems an odd job for Sith... or Logistics," said Asher.

"The sellers are operating aboard a large freighter tucked away in a debris field," Syrosk explained. "Not cost-effective to send a cruiser or fighter squadron, so we're sending in a strike team."

"Strike team? I assume that means we won't be negotiating?" said Fay, no intonation for her preference.

"Correct," Syrosk replied. "Every Ministry wants an example made of them. They don't want the rest of the galaxy to think we're unprepared to endure the peace."

"And you're entrusting this to us as our first mission?" asked Graves.

"There's a chance they possess nothing and are using this as a ploy to draw gullible parties into a trap," Syrosk explained. "Either way, nothing about the group shows them to be a threat to the three of you, giving your histories and skills."

"I might take that as a compliment if I knew more about them," Asher admitted.

"You'd probably take it as a compliment no matter what," Graves stoically offered, his lack of tone making it difficult to discern whether that was an insult, a simply tease, or a genuine statement of fact.

"What details do we have about them?" Fay asked. "Their numbers? Their vessel? Their armament?"

"The group operates with roughly thirty crewmen," Syrosk replied. "They've almost nothing to warrant an Intelligence profile. Low-level criminal operation based out of a single ship."

"Seems a bit beneath us, but your wish is our command, master," Asher declared with a mock bow.

The alien released a low grumble beneath his breath. "The sellers haven't moved since their initial announcement, so they'll likely remain until they've accomplished whatever their goals are. We won't rush in, but we won't waste time either. You'll move out tomorrow, so rest up and prepare."

"How exactly are we going to meet them?" asked Fay.

"You recall me mentioning Executors working out of a mobile base? Well, you'll be using it to dock with their freighter," said Syrosk.

"Don't tell me you're planning on shoving us into some dank shuttle," Asher muttered.

"Not exactly."

----------

"Okay... that's impressive," Asher admitted. The burned man and his fellow recruits stood side by side, looking up with wide eyes. Surrounding them was one of the larger single-ship hangars of a Logistics starport. In front of them was a pristine Fury-class interceptor.

The vessel sat its large chassis upon three struts attached to its belly. The thing was immense, dozens of meters worth of dark metals stretching in every direction. Standing beneath the craft's engines, the Sith could not even properly see the other end of the starship. The engines themselves each had a diameter surpassing the height of each figure standing beneath them, even the remarkably tall Fay.

The Fury was dominated by black and gray metals, contorted and folded into sharp designs. The ship possessed a flattened shape, but was still tall enough for its interior to function as an expansive domicile. The interceptor itself was larger than the three recruit's apartments put together. But it was more than an assemblage of rooms given the ability of flight. On either side were large cannons attached to the pronged wings. It was a military vessel through and through. A ship made for Sith.

"Why didn't you tell us you were giving us a freakin' cool ship?" Asher blurted out, unable to contain his excitement.

"It's more than a ship," Syrosk declared. "From now on, it will be your new home away from Dromund Kaas."

"My home's a piece of crap compared to this," Asher admitted.

"Well, you'll be glad to know that as Executors, you now qualify for premium housing adjacent to Kaas City's market district," Syrosk stated.

Asher continued to stare at the vessel, unable to wipe the smile from his face. "A steady paycheck. An apartment that isn't half buried in the Kaas Ravines. A freakin' starship! How in the hell do you only have four other Executors? I'd think you'd have Sith signing up left and right for this."

"We're still in the formative stages," Syrosk plainly stated, enduring the burned Sith's exuberance. "Other groups likely won't receive the same exact boons as you three."

"Their loss," Asher blurted out. "Man, I almost don't even want to go home tonight. Can I just sleep in the ship?"

"You'll get nothing if you aren't prepared for the mission tomorrow," Syrosk coldly reminded. Immediately, the warm Sith simmered down. "Treat your task no different than if you were marching into battle. Be ready for conflict, not a day off. Other than that, you're free to leave. Return to the Citadel tomorrow morning. You'll be given more instruction then."

The alien curtly turned his back on the younger Executors, silently making his way for the hangar's exit. Eventually, the elder Sith had disappeared, leaving the other three alone in the shadow of their new vessel.

"I guess he's not much for goodbyes," said Asher.

"You make it a habit of trying to piss off your superiors?" Fay bluntly asked.

"Only when appropriate," Asher replied, no guilt on his part. "The guy came to us with this dream offer. I had to make sure it was genuine."

"I wouldn't consider being an enforcer for the bureaucracy a dream of most Sith," said Fay.

"What I mean is, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is," Asher explained. "Honestly, we were handpicked by Darth Vowrawn? One of the twelve most influential Sith in the entire freaking Empire? Can any of us explain that? Because I sure as hell can't. But if Syrosk were lying to us, he would have been far less tolerant of us."

"Of you," Fay corrected.

"Whatever," Asher dismissed. "But he's genuinely following the orders of a Dark Councilor. One who wanted us to be a part of this thing. He specifically chose the three of us. Now we just need to figure out why."

"Considering how quickly we agreed to join his organization, I'd say that was reason enough to choose us," said Graves.

"Sith don't start groups and not fill them with their own lackeys," Asher stated. "We aren't the only down-and-out Sith after the war ended."

"Maybe we're that perfect mixture of directionless and skilled that he wanted," Graves suggested.

Asher's head dipped. "It sounds rather depressing when you put it like that."

"Whatever the underlying reasons, not having to deal with another 'master' makes it more than worth it," Fay declared.

"Now, that's not a very Sith thing to say," Asher teased. "You can't become the strongest warrior without a master trying to undermine you all the time."

"One, you can. Two, what makes you think I'm interested in being the strongest?" asked Fay.

The burned man arched his brow, passing his eyes up and down the tall woman's developed, muscular arms. "Oh, no reason."

Fay offered a quick shrug. "I'm done for the day. I suggest you two get some rest. I'd hate to have this ruined for me because one of you dies tomorrow."

"D'aww, I'm hurt," Asher replied alongside an exaggerated pout of his burnt lips.

"I'm not," Graves added.

The burned Sith shot his gaze toward his scarred cohort. "Was that a joke, or were you just stating the obvious?"

Graves raised his hand before giving it a little wobble, denoting a little of both.

Turning his head back, Asher saw Fay already making her way toward the hangar's exit. Even from a distance, the definition of her back was noticeable through the tight black shirt that hugged her torso.

"You know, she's kind of cute when she's pouty," Asher casually said.

Graves paused. "I'm usually not one to advice caution, but..."

"What? I'm not intimidated by women bigger than me," Asher declared.

"That's good, considering most women fall into that category," Graves replied. Asher cast his sharpened gaze toward the stoic Sith. It wasn't the words that upset him, but the constantly dry delivery. "Besides, I'm not referring to her size."

"Then what are you referring to?" Asher asked, entertaining his fellow.

"Tell me, when was the last time you met a Sith that managed to survive the Academy without accruing at least one scar?"

Asher arched his brow. "I know it may be a strange concept for someone like you, but most acolytes make it a point to try and dodge at least some of the blows sent their way."

"Someone as large as her would have a target painted on her back the moment she stepped foot in the Academy," Graves suggested. "And she doesn't seem the sort to make it by through favors. She had to fight. A lot. And to walk away unscathed after years of conflict... she's something else."

Asher offered a half-hearted shrug. "Maybe Ziost works differently than Korriban. Why, are you afraid of her or something?"

"I'd just advise not doing anything to piss her off, " said Graves. "Unlike Syrosk, she doesn't have a Dark Councilor she's trying to appease."

The burned Sith remained silent, head slightly dipped as he briefly scrunched his face beneath his bandages. "Well, I guess I've always got you to vent my frustration on."

"I guess you do," Graves replied, completely deadpan. Asher let out a low sigh at his inability to provoke an adequate response out of the scarred Sith. With nothing more to converse about, the burned man made his way toward the hangar's exit, eventually returning to the streets of Kaas City.

Graves stood alone for what felt like minutes, staring at the starship that sat before him. Slowly, he took first step toward the hangar's exit, followed by another. With a heavy gait, the scarred man began his patient trek home.

----------

Passing over streets of dirt and pavement, Graves made his way through the capital's interior. In every direction, gray buildings rose from the ground, stretching toward the darkened skies. Darkened not by night, but by the persistent storm that made up the planet's atmosphere. Nature itself had become a reflection of those who presided over this world, twisted and unburdened by the light. As the chaotic skies churned, the numerous spires that populated the capital diverted whatever lightning may have been cast its way. Within the city walls, the streets were safe. The Empire had established control amidst the chaos of the jungle planet, and that fact was apparent in every facet of its structure.

Using only his two legs, Graves passed through district after district of the grand metropolis, eventually arriving before an apartment complex hours away from the starport.

The Sith walked with a determined gait, legs untiring, eyes unwandering, perpetually driven forward without a second thought. Entering the complex, he ascended numerous flights of stairs, walked down constricting halls, before finally stopping in front of his home. Unlocking the door, Graves made his way into the compact abode.

No Sith of actual worth would have been content with such a measly domicile as their home. All that greeted the apartment's owner was a sparse living area with an attached kitchenette and a shadowed hall leading to the other half of his home. It conformed to simplistic Imperial designs, dark, uniform materials composing much of the walls and furniture. The walls themselves went completely unadorned and unoccupied. In fact, the only piece of extraneous decoration was a framed picture sitting on the counter separating the living room from the kitchenette, a photo of a diminutive feline resting behind its pane of glass.

Slipping off his heavy jacket, Graves tossed the alcohol-stained garment onto the nearby couch. Without his outer layer, the Sith's asymmetry was revealed. His right arm of flesh. His left arm of cybernetics. The prosthetic resembled hardened musculature, as if the outer skin had been removed, leaving only sinew and underlying bone. The entire arm was composed of gray materials and ended at a graft point around the Sith's left shoulder.

Removing his gloves, his hands matched the arms that preceded them. One of flesh. One of skeletal metals and plastics encased in protective plating. Under the cover of standard garb, the cybernetics were adequately hidden, filling the same dimensions as their natural counterparts.

Journeying deeper into his home, Graves navigated the one brief, unlit corridor. At its end, it branched into two rooms. A bedroom and a restroom. The Sith entered the door on his left and was greeted with a sink and mirror. Looking over his reflected visage, he saw some dried blood still graced the fringes of his head. Running his organic hand under the sink, he began dabbing himself down, trying to clean the effects of the day's earlier confrontation.

Dipping his head, he began examining his scalp, searching for any shards of glass still buried in his flesh. Combing over the surface, he had trouble discerning new indentations from old ones, discerning organic from inorganic material. When he finally saw a piece in the reflection, he would hover his hand over the spot, and the shard would be telekinetically plucked out with the Force.

After a few minutes of trial and error, a few red-stained shards of shattered bottle rest on the sink's edge. The Sith didn't even give them a second thought as he shut off the light, leaving the bathroom in favor of his bedroom.

Sitting himself down on the edge of his meager bed, Graves did nothing but stare at the opposite wall, resting his weight upon his thighs as he leaned forward. For minutes, he simply continue to cast his gaze forward toward the blank, unadorned surface.

Eventually, his eyes left their spot, passing over to the nearby closet. Lifting himself from the bed's edge, the Sith walked over and swung open the doors. Inside, a deconstructed suit of armor lay upon the floor in a disorganized heap. Thick, black armorweave protected by heavy plates. Every single piece possessed countless scratches and scars earned in battle. Gauntlets. Boots. Pauldrons. Chestguard and greaves. The attire of a warrior.

Graves knelt down, staring at the disheveled suit. Extending his hand, he began parsing and separating the pieces before finally reaching behind them. When his hand returned, he held in his grasp a gray hilt.

"It's been a while..."
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
02.04.2014 , 07:41 PM | #7
Chapter Five

The sun had begun to rise above Kaas City, as unapparent its journey was behind the ever present dark clouds that consumed the sky. In the early hours of the morning, the new Executors had returned to their cramped headquarters, ready for instruction from their handler, boss, and master.

Standing around the galaxy map that graced the center of the compact chamber, the Sith looked upon an image focusing somewhere in the Outer Rim. The group's targets had placed themselves amidst neutral territory, just beyond the borders of Imperial or Republic space. Drifting amongst the void, the sellers positioned themselves away from any worlds or space stations. Instead, they surrounded themselves with nothing more than asteroids and debris.

Syrosk remained garbed in the same attire as the day prior, loose-fitting black robes covering him from the neck down. The other Sith however, had prepared themselves for the inevitable conflict.

Graves' was the most drastic change. Trading in his plainclothes attire, he now resembled a proper Sith warrior. He was practically encased in battle attire, armorweave beset by hardened, heavy plating. The black and gray ensemble featured scratches etched into practically every visible surface. Within the suit, the cyborg had retained some measure of symmetry, his prosthetics wrapped and encased in the same armoring as his organic parts. Meanwhile, his scarred head remained completely on display, the suit's protection ending at his neck.

Asher's garb was a set of black robes much as they had been the day prior, albeit with a few alterations. The tight, form-fitting attire had been exchanged for a more baggy set. His pants were tightly fastened around his waist, but hung loose around his legs, puffing out before being constricted beneath the tops of his boots. The burned Sith's torso was covered by multiple layers, a set of black under-robes beset by a heavier, baggier outer coat. The coat was worn loose, apart from the lower extremity secured to his waist via a belt. Its baggy sleeves ended at the Sith's wrapped wrists, and its hood was raised over the wearer's bandaged head, casting it in some modicum of shadows. The ensemble bloated the Sith's frame, hiding the dexterous figure beneath.

Fay's attire had changed the least. Her upper body was still covered only by the black form-fitting compression garb. Her arms still sprouted from the sleeveless shirt, proudly displaying their honed musculature. Her long legs were still covered by a pair of thick cargo pants. Her feet were still encased in a pair of sturdy boots. Her hair was still worn in a singular braid that dangled toward her lower back. In fact, the only difference was the addition of a pair of fingerless gloves. While far from thin, the article possessed little in the way of extra padding or plates, merely serving as covering for the Kineticist's palms.

As the three Sith stood side by side, they were prepared, in both body and mind. They all looked upon the display in front of them with some measure of discipline and duty.

"Our target hasn't moved for the last six days," Syrosk began, his unwavering gaze affixed to the holographic image. Though his voice was neither booming nor domineering, it managed to fill the chamber, equally gracing the ears of all who surrounding him. In his stilled stance, Syrosk stood with his usual upright hunch, arms neatly folded behind his back. The horned alien offered a captivating presence even as he remained motionless, holding the attention of the Imperials, as well as his fellow Sith, by voice alone. "From a defensive perspective, the spot they've chosen puts them at a firm advantage. The surrounding debris field prevents ships from dropping out of hyperspace too close, as well as providing natural cover from aggressors. Can't swarm them. Can't overpower them. Not without them getting away."

"So we play by their rules," Asher suggested, noticeably more level-headed than the day before. "At least, until we can get onboard their ship."

"Precisely," Syrosk replied, eyes still glued to the terminal's image. "You'll show up on their sensors long before you begin your approach. Don't give them any reason to flee."

"What do we do once we're onboard?" asked Graves.

"First priority is determining whether or not they actually have what they say they're selling," Syrosk replied.

"The whole ruse of us being buyers might be hard to maintain once they actually see us," said Asher.

"It falls to you three to figure out how to handle things," Syrosk bluntly stated. "This is your test. How you perform here determines your future as Executors."

"Great, so you're sending us in blind," Asher muttered.

"On the contrary, you'll be given all the information you need," said Syrosk. "It's just up to you to figure out how to use it."

Asher offered an exaggerated roll of his eyes. "Oh, well, in that case…"

"In all likelihood, this is just some ploy to scam interested buyers out of their credits or their ships," Syrosk admitted. "But there's always the chance it's not."

Asher head dipped. "Great."

"We can handle it," Fay declared, firm and direct in her tone.

"I expect you to," Syrosk replied. "You can review the mission aboard your ship. Any questions?"

"We going to stay in contact?" asked Asher. "Or is this a 'radio silence' kind of thing?"

"You can always reach the base through your ship's communicator," Syrosk explained. "But barring any emergencies, you won't be receiving additional support."

Asher cocked his head to the side. "What qualifies as an emergency?"

"Don't know, we've not had to deal with one yet," Syrosk plainly stated.

The burned Sith arched his brow, even as it lay hidden beneath a layer of wrapping and shadow. "Is that a good thing… or a bad thing?"

"Neither. It's just the truth," Syrosk rasped. "Though I'd prefer it to stay that way for the time being."

"Makes sense," said Graves.

"Anything else?" Syrosk asked of the three Sith, some level of insistence in his voice.

Asher perked up. "Yeah, who gets to fly the ship?"

"I'm sure that'll be sorted out once you're onboard," Syrosk rasped. The other three Executors shared a series of passing glances.

----------

"Damn…" Asher muttered.

"Greetings, masters," an overbearingly polite voice spoke up. "I am Astromechanical Logistics Droid 512. It is my duty and privilege to provide you transport wherever you may desire."

Waiting to greet the Sith aboard the Fury was a droid, its humanoid chassis resembling the other protocol and factotum droids used by the Empire rather than the waist-high rollers that typically accompanied starships. Matte gray finish, lanky metallic limbs, a pair of bright red 'eyes' upon its large head.

"Huh, never had a droid before," said Graves.

"Well, I assure you, master, your life will only be enriched by my presence aboard your ship," ALD passionately stated. "Every fiber and circuit of my being is dedicated to serving you in whatever capacity my programming allows."

"What are you programmed for?" Graves patiently asked.

"It has the word 'astromechanical' in its freakin' name, I'm pretty sure it's our pilot," Asher blurted out, voice tinged with disappointment.

"I am capable of more than that, masters," ALD declared. "Since you will be living aboard this vessel, I will gladly maintain your new home and do whatever I can to ensure it is up to your discriminating standards. If you would like, I could give you the tour before we lift off."

Asher let of a brief sigh. "I think we can figure it-"

"Sure," Grave's interrupted

ALD joyfully raised its metallic hands. "Wonderful. If you would follow me, masters." The droid turned its back on the Sith and began making its ways deeper into the vessel.

"Well, go on, follow the droid," Asher muttered, offering a flippant wave of his hand.

"I'm sure if you ask nicely, the droid will let you fly the ship," Graves said, completely deadpan.

Asher released a low huff. "Very funny."

"Wasn't a joke," Graves stoically replied before following the droid deeper into the vessel.

The burned man muttered an inarticulate word beneath his breath, gritting his teeth. Looking up, he saw Fay looking down on him with a firm arch of her brow.

"What?" Asher barked.

"Nothing," Fay calmly replied. Not a moment later, the tall woman made her way deeper into the vessel, leaving Asher standing alone atop the ship's entrance ramp.

The burned Sith released yet another grumble before tapping a nearby control panel with his clenched fist. Slowly, the ramp raised itself, eventually locking in the ship's occupants. Hearing the sounds of the chamber sealing itself, Asher finally made his way deeper into the vessel, passing through a compact passageway before standing side by side with his fellows, ALD patiently waiting in front of them.

"This is the comm room," ALD warmly stated. "It also serves as the ship's shared living space."

The Sith looked with wide eyes at the open chamber. In its center sat a sizable holoterminal, capable of intragalactic communications, but surrounding the device was a sparsely populated floor, little more than the occasional couch lining the nearby walls. The ship's interior possessed the similar aesthetic as the outer chassis. Black and gray metals. Simultaneously sharp and smooth. Angular and domineering. From the red lights to the exposed pipes beneath grated floors, there were touches of Sith and Imperial designs etched into every visible surface, all capitalized by the banners that hung from the chamber walls. And this was all just a single room.

"Thing's bigger than my entire home," Asher muttered.

"Same," said Fay.

"Yup," Graves added.

"Attached is the ship's medical bay, cockpit, and primary bedroom," ALD continued. "From here, the left and right wings are separated by bulkhead doors. If you'll follow me." The droid led the Sith through the open door to the right, walking down the unconstricting passageway beyond. "The right wing is dedicated to storage and engineering."

The corridor emptied into two rooms. The one closer to the ship's rear featured a mechanical console as well as direct access to the Fury's right engine. The turbine of energy and metal churned as the room was bathed in industrial sounds even as the ship sat idled. The second room that extended forward into the right wing was a storage bay, home to lockers and bins as well as a number of panels built into the floor and walls, hiding even more empty space beyond them.

Reentering the comm room, the droid led the group toward the left wing. Before reaching the next bulkhead door, two rooms sat adjacent to the shared living space. Nearer the ship's entrance was a compact medical facility, home to a couple of beds as well as a standing kolto tank, large enough for the full submersion of any injured person. Nearer the ship's cockpit was a bedroom, home to a bed more than capable of comfortably containing even the largest Sith.

"The left wing features more living space, as well as a conference room," ALD stated as he passed through the open bulkhead.

This ship's left corridor mirrored its counterpart, opening into two rooms. The one nearer the ship's rear featured a number of stacked bunks inlayed with the wall, storage panels built alongside them. The room that extended deeper into the left wing was a meeting room featuring a number of chairs situated around a large table.

"Of course, this ship has not yet been fully stocked or furnished, but I assure you, masters, it will far exceed your expectations in time," ALD declared.

"It already has," said Graves.

"The only question is, who gets the luxury bedroom?" Asher asked.

"Best choice would be no one. Better to gut it and turn it into something more practical," Fay plainly stated before a pause. "But I don't think I'll be fitting any of the bunks."

"Hey, if you want to share a living space, I'd be happy to oblige," Asher brazenly replied.

"It's a ship," said Fay. "We're sharing a living space no matter what."

"How modular are these rooms?" Graves asked of the droid.

"Modular?" ALD repeated, processing the inquiry. "I suppose nothing in the left wing is truly unchangeable."

"Any meetings can be held in the comm room," Graves suggested. "How about we gut the conference and bunk rooms, turn them into private quarters. That'll give us three bedrooms that we can change to suit our preferences."

"Not a bad idea," Asher admitted.

"Fine by me," Fay added. "Of course, none of this matters if we fail our mission."

"Then let's not waste any more time," said Graves. The scarred man turned toward the droid. "Has our boss sent you the details of our task?"

"Yes, master," ALD declared. "Would you like me to prepare for launch?"

Graves nodded. "Go ahead."

"At once, master," ALD replied with a dutiful dip of his metallic dome. The droid made its way toward the cockpit, leaving the Sith alone with each other once more.

The three Executors looked to each other, locking eyes with one before turning to the second.

"So I guess we're all roommates now," said Asher, no intonation in his voice. "Weird."

"That's the weirdest part of all this for you?" Fay asked.

"Is this where you saw your life heading a few days ago?" Asher replied.

"Fair point."

The ship seemed to come alive around the Sith, the sounds of the engines priming and roaring filling the vessel's chambers.

"I guess we're taking off," Graves stated. "About to pass the point of no return."

"Were you planning on turning back?" asked Asher.

"Not at all. You?"

"Eh. I wanted to get a good look at the ship first," Asher admitted. "I think I can stand to bust a few pirate heads for Logistics if this is what they're offering."

"A man of simple tastes," Graves stated.

Asher gave an exaggerated shrug. "What can I say? I like what I like."

"Are you two done?" asked Fay. "We have a mission to prepare for."

"She's right, let's go over the data from Syrosk," Graves suggested.

"What's to go over?" Asher asked. "All he's given us is a target and a destination."

Fay gave the burned Sith a stern arch of her brow. "Since we're working with so little, it seems prudent to have a plan of action then, doesn't it?"

"Plans only work when you've got a foundation to build on," Asher explained. "If we had more information, sure I'd be all about making a plan. But with what we've got, chances are it'll just fall to pieces the second we step off this ship."

"Kind of a defeatist attitude," Fay replied.

"It has nothing to do with defeat, it's merely statistics," said Asher. "Too many variables to account for, especially aboard an enemy ship. Did you know that a majority of Sith fatalities that aren't low-level grunts occur in space?"

"And that fact makes you not want to formulate a plan?"

"It's because things never go according to plan in space, so why bother with a plan? Keep your mind so focused on sticking to some arbitrary guidelines you've set for yourself and you die, plain and simple. Being somewhat prepared for everything is better than being totally prepared for one thing."

"Is the ability to set things on fire your way of 'being prepared for everything'?" asked Graves.

"Considering the amount of flammable things in the galaxy, yes," Asher stated.

A quick sigh from Fay. "If you're going to set anything on fire, please warn us ahead of time."

"I can do that much," Asher replied, gently rubbing his chin.

The vessel shook as its engines kicked into action. Moving beyond the threshold of the Kaas starport, the Fury propelled itself into the sky, soaring above the capital city and the surrounding forests. Higher and higher it ascended, passing through the dark and crackling skies, not ceasing until it was past the planet's perpetually chaotic atmosphere.

Within the ship, the three Sith maneuvered themselves toward the cockpit. Inside, the droid had positioned itself in one of the three seats situated around the vessel's main console. Beyond the central viewport, the starry veil of the endless void stretched out in front of them. Even as the mechanical pilot had connected itself to the console via a cable, its metallic hands darted across the ship's controls. From its single seat, it controlled every aspect of the vessel's being. Always monitoring. Ever regulating.

The cockpit was a dazzling array of readouts and lights as seemingly every surface was occupied by some console or terminal. The displays presented their readings, information firing off like the ship's nerves. Within the cold blackness of space, within the cool grayness of the cockpit, there was a warmth. A sense of fulfilled purpose. Every individual piece was working in tandem to drive the vessel forward. Each light a spark. Each sound a cheer. A display of function.

And standing amongst it were the Executors. Three misfits in the eyes of the Empire. In the eyes of the Sith. Three individuals defined by their physicality. Three individuals of differing mentality. Three individuals, individuals no longer.

"Masters, shall I make the jump to hyperspace?" ALD asked, still manipulating the ship's controls.

The Executors looked to one another, each sharing a confident nod.

"Hit it."
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
02.06.2014 , 08:27 PM | #8
Chapter Six

Beyond the viewport of the Fury's cockpit, the swirling tunnel of hyperspace surrounded the vessel as it covered the distance of star systems in a matter of minutes. As the ship's mechanical pilot guided the interceptor toward its destination, the three Sith remained close by, patiently waiting for their return to realspace.

Asher and Graves had planted themselves in the two unoccupied seats of the cockpit whilst Fay stood resolutely behind them, arms tightly crossed. As the armored warrior and the Kineticist remained utterly stilled, the burned Sith couldn't help but fidget in his chair.

"Trouble, Asher?" Graves asked.

"Can't get comfortable," Asher muttered. "Seat needs padding or something."

Graves stared as the burned Sith continued to jostle. "You want to make a request when we get back? As long as we're making modifications to the ship…"

"You could always just stand," Fay bluntly stated.

"How are those high ceilings treating you, Fay?" Asher deflected.

"Just fine, thanks for asking," she replied, deadpan, still maintaining her rigid upright stance.

The burned Sith shifted in his seat, accompanied by the sounds of rustling robes as well as a few subtle clinks. Finally the hooded man released a low growl as he pushed himself up and out of his seat. "You know what? Standing's fine."

Asher maneuvered around the now empty seat, standing beside his towering teammate. Side by side, there was a remarkable height discrepancy between the pair, the hooded man's head not even reaching above the Kineticist's shoulders. The discrepancy slightly grew as Asher slumped where he stood.

"Now what's wrong?" Fay asked, more inquisitive than concerned.

"Oh, nothing," Asher muttered, before turning toward the droid. "How long until we arrive?"

"A matter of minutes, master," ALD answered, exuberant as ever.

Asher's head dipped further as he rubbed his brow. "I'd prefer actual measures to niceties."

"The nature of hyperspace makes accurate measures difficult, even for a droid," Graves stated.

"I suppose one emotionless machine is enough for this team," said Asher.

"I'm not emotionless," Graves stoically replied.

A brief chuckle from Asher. "Not going to deny the machine part?"

Graves raised his left arm. "I literally have machine parts."

"Got me there."

"Technically, you 'got me there'," said Graves, waving his mechanical limb.

"Am I the only one who finds it weird how friendly you two are?" Fay asked. "I mean, you cut off his arm. You burned off his face."

"Well, we have to work together now, so it's not really worth fighting anymore," Asher declared. "You weren't there yet, but we weren't exactly cordial when Syrosk introduced us back at the Citadel."

"It's just that I've seen Sith start vendettas over far less," said Fay.

"I guess we're not normal Sith," Graves plainly stated.

"Don't get me wrong," said Asher, "if Syrosk came to me and said I'd get a ship if I killed him rather than worked with him, I'd agree in a heartbeat."

"I can't question his logic," Graves admitted.

"Would that extend to me as well?" asked Fay.

The burned Sith began scratching his chin, smirk growing wider. "That depends, could you offer me anything better than a ship?"

"You really want me to hurt you, don't you?" Fay muttered.

"Given your size, I think I'd be hurt regardless of my wishes," Asher warmly said, not backing down. "But what is pleasure without a little pain?"

Fay released a single chuckle. "What makes you think you'd stand any chance with me?"

"What makes you think I wouldn't?" Asher snarked.

"Weak men don't rank high on my list of potential mates," Fay declared.

"Is it the 'weak' part or the 'men' part?" Asher teased. The tall woman simply offered the silent arch of her brow. "Or maybe you're one of those 'beat me to bed me' types of Sith?"

"If that were true, I'd wind up dying alone," Fay replied, wearing a smirk of her own.

"Humble."

There was a subtle shake as the hyperspace tunnel collapsed around the vessel. The Sith watched as the streaks of light across the astral void shortened, until finally returning to starry dots upon the infinite black canvas. Ahead of the Fury, a debris field of asteroids and scrapped warships weightlessly drifted amongst the vacuum.

"Nothing puts the mind at ease like seeing a field of wreckage in front of you," Asher snarked.

"Our sellers didn't cause this, or rather, they didn't destroy these ships," Fay suggested. "The amount of Imperial and Republic vessels suggests they're casualties from the war."

Graves leaned forward as he stared out the forward viewport. "Seems like an odd place to have a battle."

"There might not have been one here," said Asher. "With enough time and effort, all you need is a tractor beam and you can create your own debris field."

"So they've surrounded themselves with scavenged corpses," Fay stated. "Seems like a lot of effort to scam potential buyers. But also a lot of preparation for a simple handover."

"Maybe we really should have come up with a plan..." Asher muttered. The other two Sith stared down the burned man, Graves turning around in his chair to do so. Asher let out a light snicker. "Kidding. We've got nothing to worry about."

"Masters, we have an incoming communication," ALD sounded off.

"Well, that was quick," said Asher.

"Let them through," Graves directed. The droid went to work opening up a channel with the unseen sellers.

"Unidentified vessel, state your name and purpose." The gravelly voice filled the cockpit, pouring out from a number of speakers. The three Sith looked around, scanning the surrounding walls and consoles.

"Uh, do we even have a comm in here?" Asher asked. The droid extended its metallic hand, pointing toward a nondescript panel on the wall behind them. Moving himself closer, the burned Sith readied himself to reply. "Alright, let's do this."

"Is he really the one we want speaking on our behalf?" Fay asked.

"Too late," Asher blurted out as he held his finger on the panel's switch. "We're agents of the Sith Empire's Ministry of Production and Logistics. You know why we're here."

The Sith spoke firmly and directly, not wasting a moment between words. There was a pause on other end of the communicator.

"Smooth," Graves quietly said before receiving a hushing wave from Asher's hand.

The gravelly voice returned. "If you were looking to make a deal, you wouldn't have arrived in a warship."

"Every ship in the Empire is a warship, it's kind of our thing," Asher bluntly stated. "We can power down our weapons. We just want to keep our schematics ours."

There was another pause. "Alright. We're transmitting a vector now. Follow it, and prepare for further instruction."

Asher lifted his finger from the panel and greeted his compatriots with an flourished bow. "And done."

"Impressive," Graves admitted.

"Be too nice to pirates and they know something's up," Asher explained. "Gotta be firm, but accommodating."

"Of which you're usually neither," Fay sternly replied.

"I'm all about putting on a face," Asher said with another dip of his hooded head. "You ready to move, droid?"

"I've received the seller's instructions," ALD stated. "Moving out now."

The engines pushed the vessel forward, over and around the numerous pieces of debris that were scattered in front of the ship. The pieces of rock and metal floated and drifted, threatening to crush unwary travelers, but the trajectory provided by the sellers guided them through the field with ease. After a few short minutes of sublight flight, the target was within their sights.

A single vessel sat comfortably in the middle of the debris field, none of the surrounding pieces nearing the safe haven around it. Idling amongst the void, the ship was larger than the Sith's, but far smaller than anything nearing a capital ship. The vessel's boxy frame and utilitarian design suggested its function as a heavy duty cargo freighter, but the aftermarket turrets affixed to the various surfaces spoke of something more than simple trading.

The Sith watched as the droid guided them ever closer, but as they neared the other vessel, they realized it didn't possess anything resembling a hangar.

"I wonder how they expect us to dock," said Graves.

As the Fury slowly drifted closer to the freighter's side, the interceptor aligned itself parallel with the sellers, only a barely measurable gap resting between them. Breaking the silence was a familiar voice sounding off over the cockpit's speakers.

"Have all occupants exit the ship and be prepared to surrender any weapons you might be carrying," the gravelly voice instructed.

"Are we actually going to do that?" asked Asher.

"We have to," Graves declared.

"Not really, we can just storm the place now if we wanted."

"Just do what they say for now," Fay suggested.

Asher shot a sharpened glance toward his teammate. "Easy for you to say, you don't need a weapon."

"You're Sith, you shouldn't either," Fay replied.

Asher released a huff as he made his way out of the cockpit. "Whatever, let's just go."

"There's still the matter of getting on the ship," Graves stated. "We haven't latched onto them yet."

"Actually, master," ALD spoke up, "the ship is showing a seal around our exterior hatch. It should be safe to exit."

"Should be?"

Graves slowly lifted himself from his seat. Together, he and Fay made their way toward the rear of the ship, rejoining Asher. Passing through a bulkhead door, the trio of Sith found themselves standing in the rear chamber of the Fury, which was occupied by nothing more than a series of stairs and a raised entrance ramp.

"Surely there are safety overrides that wouldn't let us lower the ramp in a vacuum, right?" Asher hesitantly asked, hands hovering over the ramp's controls. He received no reply. "Oh, well. Here it goes."

Punching the panel, there was a soft squeal as the ship's pressure released and the entrance ramp slowly descended. As the exit cracked open, the Executors were relieved at the distinct lack of all the air rushing out of the chamber and them being sucked into the void. As it descended further, the Sith caught a glimpse of the endless blackness that was space between the two ships.

"That's… new," Asher muttered. Taking a careful step down the ramp, the burned Sith saw that as close as the two ships were, they were not physically connected. At the bottom of the ramp, as he felt himself being less controlled by the Fury's artificial gravity, it was as if the Sith was standing in the vacuum of space. Examining his surroundings, only by focusing his eyes could he see the slight shimmer between him and the surrounding void. Opposite the lowered ramp, a single hatch lay open on the freighter's exterior hull. A walkway slowly extended itself from the opened hatch, stopping just short of contact with the Sith's ramp. "Rather ingenious."

"What is?" Graves asked from the top of the ramp.

"They've raised a forcefield between the two ships," Asher explained. "You know the barriers hangars use to keep in atmosphere? It's like that, only a bubble instead of a wall."

"So we can get over?"

"Yeah, just… watch your step," Asher called back. The burned Sith attempted to step onto the thin walkway that bridged the two vessels, but the weakened gravity make it troubling to do so. Instead, he pushed himself off of the ramp, gliding over and into the exposed hatch of the freighter. Graves followed, making his way down and over with an uncoordinated stumbling. As Fay made her way down the ramp, however, she kept her feet in full contact with the solid surface below. With the power of the Force, she was able to push down on herself, securing her boots to the walkway as she calmly walked into the open hatch. Rejoining her fellows, she found Asher shooting her a sharpened glare.

"Show off," Asher muttered. Suddenly the hatch began to close behind them, effectively cutting them off from their vessel. "Pretty well-organized operation they got going on here."

"I think we may have trouble returning to the ship," Graves stated, absent any emotion.

Asher cocked his head as he starred at his scarred fellow. "Oh, really? You think? All they have to do is lower that field and we're stranded here."

The three Sith now found themselves sealed within a compact chamber. The walls lacked the Fury's sleek designs, instead possessing an industrial feel. Unsymmetrical panels, exposed pipes and wiring, brown and gray metals dominating every surface. The boxy room had two reinforced doors opposite each other. One opened into the emptiness of space. The other connected the chamber to the ship's interior.

The Sith readied themselves as the interior hatch slowly parted, revealing a small group of armed men. Garbed in mercenary attire, the roughened figures lacked heavy armoring, but were outfitted with tactical gear. Thick clothes, bandoliers, rifles shouldered and at the ready. Three men to match the three Sith, as oddly matched they were.

One of the pirates stepped forward.

"Who in the hell are you?" the lead pirate sternly asked.

"We're from Logistics," Graves answered.

The pirate sharpened his gaze. "You're Sith."

"We're Sith from Logistics," Asher clarified.

The pirate was visibly, and soon audibly, upset. "Why didn't you say you were Sith?"

"You didn't ask," Graves plainly stated.

The pirates remained silent, keeping their weapons trained on the stalwart group of Sith. As the lead pirate sharpened his gaze, one of his cohorts leaned in close, whispering something into his ear.

"Shut it," the pirate quietly shot back. The group leader's eyes passed over each of the Sith one at a time, pace increasing with each individual. "This doesn't change anything. Sith, surrender your weapons."

Graves was the first to comply, almost immediately reaching for his weapon. As the armored figure's hand drifted toward his belt, the pirates pointed their rifles toward him, cautious of his every movement. The scarred Sith proceeded slowly, making sure not to startle the gunmen. Extending his hand, Graves offered the plain hilt to the greeters without any fuss.

"Now, you two," the lead pirate barked. With a heavy sigh, Asher reached into the folds of his robes and retrieved the black hilt that was his lightsaber. With the two men holding out their sabers, the pirates focused on the tall woman who remained stilled, her arms crossed. "Give us your weapon."

"I don't have one," Fay declared.

"Raj, pat her down, make sure she's not hiding anything," the lead pirate said to his subordinate. The gunman to his left bounced his gaze between the woman and his boss. Fay's eyes sharpened as she stared down the hesitant pirate.

"Uh, I don't know, boss…" the underling muttered.

"Do it!"

The underling lowered his weapon, taking a hesitant step toward the towering Sith.

The powerful figure looked down upon him, making him shrink under her equally powerful gaze. "Lay a hand on me… and I'm keeping it."

"Uh, I think she's clean, boss," the underling said, turning back toward the group's leader. "I mean, she's got like, four pockets, none of them big enough to hold a weapon."

The pirate leader released a hardened grumble beneath his breath. Lowering his weapon, he stepped forward, taking the lightsabers from the Asher and Graves and clipping them to his belt.

"So, you have what we asked for?" the group's boss asked the Sith.

"We're here to negotiate," Asher declared.

"Well, we're not," the pirate sternly replied. "Do you have the credits or not?"

"We do. But they stay aboard the ship until we know you have the schematics," Asher explained.

"Anyone else aboard your ship?"

"Just our droid pilot. Kind of annoying," Asher admitted. The pirate sharpened his gaze, letting the silence consume the room. "Look we're in a hurry. Believe it or not, we're needed elsewhere."

The pirate's face contorted, bordering on a snarl. "Fine. Follow me. Don't do anything stupid.

Lowering their rifles, but keeping them firmly in hand, the pirates slowly backed out of the chamber. The group's leader continued walking down the connecting corridor, whilst his underlings took pause. Only after the three Sith moved inward did they begin to follow. Pirates to their front and back, the Executors offered no protests as they were guided down the rustic passageway.

The six figures journeyed toward the freighter's core, surrounded by the unsophisticated designs of the neutral vessel. The corridor was tight and constricting, Fay almost having to duck to comfortably maker her way through. Though the freighter was larger than the sizable interceptor the Sith had arrived in, it wasn't grand enough to allow long treks within its halls. Soon, the pirates had led the trio to the vessel's primary cargo bay.

Passing through a set of parted, reinforced doors, the group stepped into an open chamber filled to the brim with storage containers. A square panel the size of a starfighter graced the floor, warning stripes gracing its borders, the primary means of loading and unloaded cargo. Surrounding it, crates were stacked upon each other, forming walls and towers just shy of touching the bay's high ceiling.

"Oh, I wonder which of these crates contains our electronic schematics," said Asher, oozing sarcasm.

As if on cue, a number of pirates emerged from the shadows. Stepping from behind the stacked crates, more than a dozen gunmen walked into view, each outfitted with the same garb and armament as their brothers. Soon, the Sith found nearly twenty barrels pointed toward them, ready to release a flurry of bolts at a moment's notice. The chamber went quiet, until the silence was broken by a series of calm, steady footsteps.

Stepping from the shadows on the opposite side of the cargo bay, a lone figure made himself known. Unlike his fellows, he did not possess the same uniform appearance. Instead, he was garbed in a reinforced longcoat that dangled to his knees. The Human's head was shaved, his face grizzled and home to a barbed tattoo that covered his left cheek and descended beneath his neckline. The handle of a heavy blaster pistol peeked up from his belt.

"I am sorry to say… but I'm afraid there are no schematics," the figure declared. He spoke with the sardonic charisma befitting the captain of a band of pirates.

The three pirates that had led the Sith into the chamber circled around them, never letting them out of their sight as they joined their fellows near the stacked crates. The Executors were now staring down a firing line, overseen by a longcoat-wearing, tattoo-having, pirate-leading captain.

"I'm starting to think this was a trap," Graves calmly stated. The others remained silent, Asher opting only to rub the brow beneath his hood.

"A Fury-class interceptor. Now that's what I call a get," the captain spoke up, every word tinged with a smugness and superiority. "Raker, board their ship. Make sure there aren't any surprises waiting for us."

"Well, we can scratch ship-thieves off the list," Asher muttered.

The pirate that previously led the first group the Sith encountered broke away from his fellows, following his captain's command. The Executors' weapons still clipped to his belt, he calmly made his way toward the chamber's entrance whilst the rest of the pirate crew maintained their positions, keeping their rifles drawn upon the Sith.

Stepping past the trio, the departing pirate almost reached the connecting hallway before stopping dead in his tracks. Tilting his head to the side, the captain puzzled over his stilled underling. He stood frozen, as if in mid-step.

"Raker, what's the hold up?" the captain shouted.

There was no answer. And as the cargo bay slowly became consumed with silence, the subtle sounds of a man struggling to draw breath filled the chamber. As the pirate was slowly being asphyxiated, he could not even clutch at his throat as an invisible force enwrapped every fiber of his being, slowly crushing him.

Their focus drawn to their suffering compatriot, no one noticed the tall woman's eyes growing sharper as they maintained their forward focus, her fists clenching tighter and tighter.
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Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
02.08.2014 , 08:38 PM | #9
Chapter Seven

Amidst the shadows of the crate-laden cargo bay, the pirate underlings struggled to contain their brewing panic as they watched their compatriot slowly buckle under the crushing weight of the Force. Eventually, the hardened criminal collapsed, hitting the metallic flooring with a heavy thud, utterly stilled. Even as they stood shoulder to shoulder, their weapons raised and at the ready, fear began to creep into the pirate crew as they focused on their now lifeless compatriot. Their grips faltered and their legs shook, all the while the three Sith maintained their unfaltering stances, wearing faces of stone.

Just as silence threatened to devour the chamber once more, the cargo bay was filled with the sounds of a single man's slow clap. Stepping forward, the pirate captain possessed none of the trepidation or fear that had been instilled in his crewmen. Instead, he wore only a smarmy smile upon his grizzled face, continuing to petulantly clap his hands together.

"Well done, Sith," the captain spoke up, each word painfully drawn out. "Color me impressed. Fortunately, none of us liked Raker that much. Unfortunately, you've still got a score of rifles ready to cut you down. I know you Sith like to think you're the greatest thing this galaxy has to offer, but you're not blasterproof. I should know. I've fought my fair share of your kind. You see…"

Whilst the captain captivated his crewmen with his stirring monologue, the Sith remained less than enthused.

"Asher," Graves whispered, keeping his head forward facing. "I notice you don't have a flask on your belt."

"Stopped using the flask a while ago," Asher whispered back. "But I take it you want some fire?"

"We could use a distraction," Graves quietly suggested. "Fay, can you get us our sabers?"

"They're already unhooked. Just need the signal."

"Can you handle gunmen without a weapon?" asked Graves.

"Not an issue," Fay quietly, but firmly, declared.

"…and for that one, I didn't even have my trusty blaster," the pirate captain prattled on, blissfully unaware of the Sith's musings as he paced and pontificated. "Only had a knife. Guy had a freakin' laser sword, and he couldn't stop me from plunging my blade into his neck. And as I watched him fall, as I watched him squirm…"

"Are you still talking?" Graves interrupted, a slight bite to his usual stoicism. The pirate captain stopped his pacing, shooting a harsh glare at the Sith. They stood unmoved, unimpressed, standing as they always had with their arms crossed. But even as dozens of eyes fell upon the Sith, none of the gunmen noticed the hooded figure's fingers slipping beneath the folds of his outer coat.

As the captain's face twisted into a snarl, he forced out a harsh cackle. "If you're so eager to die, then so be it. Men! Ready... aim..."

"Fire!" Graves shouted.

On cue, Asher removed his hand from beneath his robes holding a small ampoule between his fingers. The thumb-sized casing was clear, cylindrical, and contained within it a dark, murky liquid. Winding his hand back, Asher flung the container toward the pirates. Time slowed to a crawl for the Sith as the ampoule flew through the air with a precise arc. Focusing his mind, the burned Sith drew in a quick breath as he clenched his fist.

In an instant, the ampoule shattered, the liquid inside expanding into a cloud of mist guided by the Force. The scattered droplets of fuel moved in accordance with a mixture of gravity and the Sith's pressing will. The reaction was already underway, fumes from the concoction supplanted the surrounding oxygen. In a matter of moments, the cloud had spread amongst the pirates, even as their fingers still sought out their blasters' triggers. The first to release a bolt would have ignited the cloud, but the burned Sith would not let another steal that privilege.

His eyes closed, his mind focused, his hand extended, only now did Asher exhale. And alongside his exhalation, came the quick snap of his fingers. A spark originated in the center of the cloud. Not lightning. Not something connected to the Sith's digits. A spark willed into existence by Asher, ready to ignite its surroundings. The conditions were perfect for the flame to spread, and the conditions were perfect because of the creator's calculating mind. The point of origin, the size of the cloud, the fuel-to-air mixture, all born from Asher's subtle manipulations. It wasn't a storm of dark energies or moving the unmovable, but it was a display of the Sith's Force prowess.

No more than three seconds had passed since the burned Sith released the ampoule and already the other side of the cargo bay had been overwhelmed with flame. The fireball lacked the concussive force of an explosion, and the fuel would soon be consumed, but the intense flash of light and heat forced the pirates to shield their faces from the blast.

Unfazed by the display, the other Sith had made their move. Holding out her hand, Fay secured a telekinetic grip on the lightsabers still gracing the nearby corpse. With a precise sweep of her arm, she flung the hilts through the air and toward their respective owners. Hands held high, Asher and Graves took a firm grip on their weapons as the sights and sounds of two red blades of plasma leaving their hilts filled the chamber.

By now, the fiery plume had run its course, leaving little more than light singes in its wake. But now, the pirates were staring down three primed and ready Sith. Gone were the upright, stoic beings that stood before them prior. Now, three powerful figures had their weapons and hands raised, eager to put them to use.

"What are you waiting for? Kill them!" the pirate captain shouted, wrapping his hand around the heavy pistol tucked beneath his belt. Before the first gunman squeezed their trigger, the Sith were already on the move. Launching themselves into the fray, Asher, Graves, and Fay went to work cutting and knocking down the pirates nearest them as yellow bolts of energy left the pirates' weapons.

Asher moved in accordance with his smaller, slighter frame, ducking and weaving his way forward. His saber movements utilized dexterity over raw power, precise jabs coupled with flowing arcs that allowed neither an opening nor a wasted motion. Saber in one hand, the other moved in tandem with the Sith's rhythm, disrupting and offsetting the pirates for the ensuing blow. The burned Sith's fingers would grace the barrel of a rifle, shoving it out of the way and clearing a path for the beam of plasma to effortlessly plunge itself into the gunman's torso.

Graves, by comparison, was a sluggish brute, but no less effective. He bridged the gap between himself and his target with a lumbering charge, raising his weapon high before bringing it down with a heavy swipe. His wide open swings would have been criticized by anyone considering themselves a proper duelist, but they served the scarred warrior just fine. Whilst he dodged most of the bolts sent his way, those that did manage to strike the Sith prompted no response. No signal of pain, not even an altered step of the charging warrior.

Fay proceeded with a remarkable mixture of physical power and grace. Without a weapon, her only tool was her body and the Force, both of which she put to expert use. Gliding along the floor as she approached her target, she aptly dodged the first blaster bolt sent her way, deftly moving her large frame out of its path. Reaching out with her hand, she took a firm grasp of a pirate's shirt, effortlessly lifting him into the air. A moment later, she single-handedly threw him toward his compatriots, her first target having been turned into a projectile. The flung body found itself propelled by a mixture of muscle and the Force, slamming against its fellows with deadly impact.

The first members of the pirate crew had already fallen at the hands of the Sith and more would soon follow as they methodically made their way toward the other end of the chamber, dodging or enduring blaster fire, cutting down or crushing their foes.

With a snarl, the pirate captain held out his pistol and took careful aim at the sloppy warrior that was slowly cutting a path through his men. The marksman directed the barrel toward the scarred Sith's unprotected head and released a single bolt.

As the shot flew toward the target, Graves saw only the approaching glow out of the corner of his eye. But before he could even react, another light had interceded. Stepping between the armored warrior and the blaster bolt, Asher deftly deflected the shot back at its source. The bolt surged back across the chamber, striking the weapon that had released it. The ensuing blast destroyed the captain's weapon and almost blew off his fingers.

The sounds of hearty cursing filling the background, the armored Sith cut down the pirate in front of him before looking to his savior.

"Thanks," Graves calmly called out.

"Don't mention it," Asher shot back, returning to the fold with a quick step.

Lifting one of the many stacked crates with the Force, Fay sent the heavy box crashing into another grouping of pirates. As she sought out her next targets, she saw the pirate captain slinking out the back of the cargo bay, clutching at his injured hand.

"Captain's making a run for it!" Fay declared.

"I'm on it," Asher shouted back, pulling his blade out of an impaled gunman. Keeping his head low, the hooded Sith made his way toward the back of the cargo bay with a series of quick, yet calculated, steps. Ducking and weaving through the pirates in his path, the dexterous Sith effortlessly made his way across the chamber, ready to follow the retreating captain.

Less than half of the pirates remaining, Graves and Fay continued without Asher, taking down the still-standing gunmen. Through Force pushes and waves, the Kineticist sent anyone who stood in her way flying across the cargo bay, slamming them into the nearby walls and stacks of crates. As her final target rest within her sights, he pointed his weapon not toward her, but the armored warrior. Thrusting out a hand, she focused on the rifle's barrel just as its wielder pulled the trigger. Manipulating the gun rather than the gunman, a bolt of energy tried to leave the barrel but found itself impeded by an invisible blockage. With nowhere to go, the energy dispersed outward, causing the rifle to malfunction and explode. Shaken but narrowly avoiding injury, the pirate dropped the shattered heap of metal to the ground. As the tall woman slowly made her way toward him, the unarmed pirate threw his hands into the air, trying to suppress the fear readily apparent on his face.

"I give up!" the pirate wailed. As Fay came to a stop in front of him, she towered over the pirate, casting upon him her stern glare. Not a bead of sweat gracing her brow, the Sith's visage seemed utterly unaffected by inconvenience.

"I'm sure you do," Fay calmly stated. Before the pirate could react, he found the back of the woman's hand lightly striking his forehead. Despite looking like nothing more than a simple tap, the blow sent the pirate crumbling to the ground, unconscious. Turning toward her companion, Fay saw the last of the pirates had been dealt with by Graves. As the armored warrior righted himself, his attire was home to a new batch of scuffs and scorch marks, but the scarred man seemed unaffected, calmly shutting off his saber and returning it to his belt.

Looking around, Graves surveyed the cargo bay. More than a dozen pirates lay stilled upon the metal flooring. Some had been cut and pierced, others lay crushed against the wall or beneath a disrupted pile of crates. The chamber had returned to a state of silence.

"Do you think Asher got him?" asked Graves.

----------

Stopping at a branching path, the hooded Sith hastily looked down each hallway, wrapped face basking in the red glow of his lightsaber. Almost missing it, Asher saw the tail of the captain's longcoat as he turned a corner deeper into the vessel. Rushing after him, the Sith ran down the constricting corridor, the tip of his saber sparking against the nearby walls.

Rounding the same corner, Asher saw the captain running down a straight. Following him, the hooded Sith was slowly but surely bridging the gap with his superior speed. Before he could catch up, however, the pirate leader passed through a door at the end of the hall. Sealing it behind him, the captain had cut himself off from his pursuer in the freighter's cockpit. Unable to halt his stride, Asher slammed into the locked door with a solid thud.

"Damn it," Asher muttered, clutching at the shoulder that had absorbed the impact of the metallic surface. Looking up and down the reinforced door, the hooded Sith remained calm as he carefully inserted the tip of his blade into the barrier. Molten metal surrounded the beam of plasma as its wielder slowly carved a man-sized circle into the door.

After a minute of cutting, Asher kicked in the heavy slab, gaining sight and access into the freighter's cockpit. Backed into a corner near the ship's controls was the pirate captain, eyeing his pursuer with a mixture of hatred and trepidation. As the Sith carefully maneuvered through the still-molten hole he had cut out of the door, the pirate released another of his trademark cackles.

"You're too late, Sith," the captain snarled.

Asher offered a dismissing scoff. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. I'm sure I can undo whatever it is you think you've done."

"You think you can come onto my ship? Kill my crew and get away with it?"

"Hey, you invited us," Asher replied. "You don't want the Empire knocking at your door? Don't go around saying you stole from the freakin' Empire!"

The captain's lips curled into a knowing smirk. "You weren't the first people we lured here, and you weren't the last."

Asher offered a curious arch of his bandaged brow. Before the Sith could inquire further, the captain reached behind his back, returning with a blade in his hand. Brandishing a top-of-the-line vibroknife, the pirate readied himself.

"Someone else will deal with your friends," the captain muttered. "I'll take care of you myself."

Asher released a low sigh, lowering his saber, holding it at his side. The pirate puzzled as the Sith seemed utterly disinterested. In one deft movement of his free hand, Asher reached beneath the folds of his coat and returned gripping a holdout blaster. Panic washed over the pirate for a single moment before a red bolt released from the compact pistol planted itself between the captain's eyes. The pirate fell back against the ship's primary console before slumping lifelessly to the ground.

Just as quickly as he had brandished it, Asher returned the blaster to the holster hidden beneath his baggy robes, simultaneously disengaging his lightsaber. Behind where the pirate leader had been standing, the hooded Sith noticed a blinking light. Nudging the pirate's corpse out the way, Asher began studying the vessel's controls. Everything seemed in order, nothing out of the ordinary. The Sith suspected the captain might have attempted to cut him and his group off from the Fury, but every display showed the fields connecting them were still raised. In fact, another had been raised on the opposite side of the freighter.

Looking over the nearby terminal, Asher saw a transmission had been recently made. More recently than the communication the Sith had received upon their drop into realspace. Studying the console, the Sith's eyes widened when he saw that a guiding vector had been just been transmitted to a newly arrived ship. One currently making its way toward the freighter with intent to dock. The terminal displayed an electronic model immediately recognizable to the Sith. Light corvette. Defender-class. The ship of a Jedi.

"Crap."
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LaxKnight's Avatar


LaxKnight
02.09.2014 , 03:16 AM | #10
I would just like to say you are doing a great job so far and...S*** IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN!!!
LaxKnight
"I'm not blind, I just see from a different perspective." - Serenity Williams, Miraluka Jedi Apprentice