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No death, only Wrath: The Helicarrier Chronicles

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No death, only Wrath: The Helicarrier Chronicles

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MilaniGrey
07.11.2012 , 09:18 AM | #21
Loving the Pierce-Kaliyo quasi-love affair. And poor Jaesa..
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bright_ephemera
07.11.2012 , 08:41 PM | #22
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 13: In which Niselle’s apprentice visits Nalenne (I/II)

The slice-of-life and the media consumption just aren’t flowing for me lately. Have more crossovers instead!

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier



In the interests of public safety, Quinn had secured a private room for Nalenne’s crew for their dinner on Nar Shaddaa. Pierce and Broonmark, upon hearing the news, decided to go elsewhere; Quinn, Andronikos, and the girls stayed to eat and chatter.

Andronikos took his drink and lounged against the wall where the entrance hallway let out into the room, which is why he was the first to notice the robed Kaleesh, a broad-shouldered alien who concealed his face behind a long bone mask.

“Xalek,” said Andronikos quietly, so as not to interrupt the room’s conversation. “Long time no see. What’s up?”

“I have come to serve my master by slaying her enemies.”

“Oh.” Andronikos grinned and shook his head. “Oh, no, you don’t want to do that here.”

Xalek moved aside and jerked a thumb over his shoulder as the huge Dashade called Khem Val came around the corner. “I do,” said the Kaleesh.

“Khem,” said Andronikos, “you know how this works.”

“Eeesh hacha dyna,” said Khem Val.

“Hey. I’m not Nis. You ever going to talk Basic?”

“Irrelevant,” said Xalek, and shoved Andronikos to the side.

“Hey,” said Andronikos, shoving right back.

Xalek added a Force push. He leaned his bone-masked face close to Andronikos. “By my lady’s will, you live. Stand aside.”

“You’ve really been working on the pretentiousness. Top marks,” said Andronikos as Xalek stalked past.

Khem Val rumbled some ambiguous acknowledgement of this statement.

Nalenne had caught the last of the exchange, and she pushed away from the dinner table and drew her saber as the two assassins entered. “Huh. That time of year already? We’re only missing Nis herself. And Talos, I guess.”

“And their Jedi,” said Quinn. His hand was on his blaster and he was gliding around the table to a spot from where he could easily step one way into cover or the other way into a prime speechifying position.

“That Togruta slave of hers is still alive?”

“Eees hai nawohl,” said Khem Val, nodding. “Tulak Hord vogashta.”

“I thought Nis would’ve fed Ashara to you ages ago. What else is she good for?”

Khem Val made an angry slashing gesture with one hand. “Roveshk. Cha Chabosh.”

Xalek, rather than participating in the conversation, extended a hand and let his double-bladed lightsaber flare dramatically to bright yellow life.

Khem Val put a heavy hand on the Kaleesh’s shoulder. “Eek yai. Vahashten Tulak Hord yevorrha. Reshtat.”

“Can’t I just stab her yet?” said Xalek resentfully.

“Vosh tai.” Khem pointed to a pale-faced Jaesa. “Vaha padawan, rek khai Yn zentan Chabosh.” Khem took out his own, light-ending Sith blade and started advancing on Nalenne. “Chabaa, nikh’tai Tulak Hord rho’ha.”

“Are there actually words when he talks like that,” said Jaesa nervously, “or are you guys also hearing nothing but ‘om nom nom’ over and over?”

Nalenne ignored her. “Your kid’s never gonna learn if you keep him out of the big fights,” she told Khem Val.

“Rek hai vashteta.” Khem Val advanced on Nalenne.

“Vette, Quinn, fire at will, but give Jaesa a chance to stretch herself before you press Xalek too hard.”

“We are here to kill you,” grumbled Xalek.

“You always are,” replied Nalenne. “My orders stand.”

Xalek turned to Jaesa and charged.

Nalenne turned her attention to Khem Val. The hulking Dashade had a few things going for him. One, of course, he was a millennia-old Force-eating assassin specifically chosen, trained, and paid to kill and devour Sith. Two, he had truly impeccable form. He could’ve taught the Soresu stuff at the Academy blindfolded, and then harvested and eaten the students’ souls without taking the blindfold off. Three, he was more than twice Nalenne’s size.

As for disadvantages, he wasn’t Nalenne.

Against someone younger, flimsier, or prettier, she would’ve maintained the schoolyard bullying style that got her through most fights. Here she got to experiment. Nalenne used speed – though he wasn’t slow – and subterfuge – though he wasn’t stupid – and she took a few bad hits every minute, but so did Khem Val. In a brawl with Niselle, he was a serious liability; here he was a playground unto himself.

“Rokh hai Yn – “

“Und Chabosh, yeah, I know.” Nalenne tried another improvised feint-and-attack. Khem Val parried, pushed her aside, never saw her rapid pass-to-offhand saber throw coming. One blinding hit, oh yes. Nalenne recovered her saber, admired the effect of one of Vette’s blaster sweeps across the Dashade’s broad shoulders, and then looked over to see how her padawan was doing.

The Kaleesh was pressing Jaesa hard. He moved with all the speed and grace of a headbanging Nautolan – strikes everywhere at once, no possible way of knowing exactly what he had been doing half a second ago or what he would be hitting half a second from now. Jaesa’s purple saber was shaking as she struggled to block.

“Rok Yn rashta,” yelled Khem Val approvingly.

“Oh, honestly, Khem. You’re not giving him anything new to work with. Jaesa, switch.” Nalenne Force pushed Khem Val against one wall and ran to change places with Jaesa. She took up her guard against Xalek.
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bright_ephemera
07.11.2012 , 08:42 PM | #23
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 14: In which win conditions are met (II/II)

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier


“At last,” said the Kaleesh.

“You looked like you could use the challenge. Come on, show me what you’ve got.”

“As you wish, my lord.” Xalek struck a pose, his yellow saber hissing. “Peace is a lie.”

“It kills me that Nis is raising such an adorable traditionalist.” Nalenne set her feet in Soresu form. “There is only passion.” Even Soresu had its aggressive moves, of course. Nalenne charged.

“Through passion, I gain strength.” Xalek blocked her first attack, then created a creditably dramatic Force Lightning arc between his hands and stretched the non-saber-holding hand well above his head before splitting the shining Force arc into a forked rush in Nalenne’s direction.

Nalenne absorbed most of it with a little concentration and a lot of lightsaber. “Through strength, I gain power.” She twirled, pressed Xalek back with a series of staggeringly powerful blows.

“Through power, I gain victory.” Xalek jumped back and settled in a balanced stance before shooting forth a perfect coruscating blast of Force lightning.

Nalenne paused mid-implacable-pursuit. She kept augmenting her saber enough to hold the onrushing Force current while she stood there. “Wait, you get ‘victory’?”

“Yes.”

“I counted those lines off wrong.”

“Ha.” Xalek intensified the crackling Force rush. “That is why you fail.”

Half a second later, the lightning died. Xalek grunted and fell to one knee.

Quinn stood behind him, fiddling with one glove while keeping his blaster idly pointed toward the Kaleesh’s undamaged leg. “You, on the other hand, fail for a number of reasons,” said the officer. “I’m really not sure where to start.”

Nalenne stamped her foot. “Quinn! I had this in hand!”

“You couldn’t give me an opening like that and expect me not to take it, my lord. Do you wish to subdue him from here?”

“Through victory,” pronounced the Kaleesh, “my chains are – “

“Shut up,” said Quinn and Nalenne. Without having to verbally coordinate, Quinn stepped aside in time for Nalenne to Force push Xalek mid-leap into the far wall. The Kaleesh’s saber bounced and skittered away. The Kaleesh himself dropped.

“How’s Jaesa?” asked Nalenne.

“Do I care?” said Quinn.

“Quinn!”

“Master,” yelped Jaesa.

Nalenne turned and leaped in the same motion. It took a rapid midair correction to get her saber deactivated and her feet set safely on the floor next to a thoroughly unconscious Khem Val.

“I did it, master,” panted Jaesa.

“Wow! You’ll have to show me how!”

Jaesa’s eyes widened. Her lip quivered. “You weren’t watching?”

Nalenne gestured helplessly. “I was fighting Xalek, and then Quinn did his thing. You know I can’t function while he’s doing his thing.”

“You threw me into that knowing it was life or death, and I prevailed. It was the greatest battle of my life.”

“He was straightening his gloves out. You know the glove thing. And he was sneering at the fallen foe. What was I supposed to do?”

“He definitely only shot Xalek and did his sneering thing to keep Nalenne’s attention on this side of the room,” reported Vette. “In fact, he specifically put his gloves on for that maneuver. But I was watching, Jaesa. You did awesome.”

“We’d better get these two home.” Nalenne shook her head and looked to where Andronikos was still leaning against the wall of the entryway. “Oh, and you. Whose side are you on?”

Andronikos gave her a lopsided smile. “Check the scorch marks on old Khem Val there. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been dreaming up excuses to do that.” He nodded at Jaesa. “Doesn’t detract from your work, Jaesa. You did good, for a Jedi.”

“Thank you for your assistance, Andronikos,” said Jaesa.

“Thanks for not shooting her and Nalenne in the back,” added Vette.

“Vette, most days I would call you smart. Were you really expecting me to side with Nis’s two most abject toadies over you guys?”

“Our side has Quinn.”

“Fair point. If I’d’a thought of that to start with this might’ve gone down differently.” Quinn scowled, and Andronikos grinned at him. “I know your girl doesn’t stand for friendly fire, but it ain’t friendly fire if I'm the one shooting.”

Vette nodded. “Now can we either leave, or dispose of them? They’re not gonna be any more cheerful when they wake up.”

Nalenne considered. “But if we could set Khem Val on Jaesa again once he’s awake, she could demonstrate…”

“No!” said Jaesa.

“Fine. Let’s go. I’ll let Nis know her pet acquitted himself very Sithily.”

“I’ll let her know her other pet got whipped by a twentysomething Jedi.” Andronikos picked up an unfinished glass of wine, smiled broadly at it, and drained it before heading out the door.
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bright_ephemera
07.12.2012 , 06:04 AM | #24
I figure if Khem Val does the Legacy speech, the first Inquisitor follower he's in a good position to train is, well, Xalek. Kind of a private-coach thing. And Xalek is just so enchantingly serious about his studies. That d'aww factor, plus the prospect of a good apprentice either offing his master (Niselle) or dying spectacularly in the attempt, keeps him on Nalenne's good side.

By the way, Nalenne had to expend some serious effort to recall the Code. She's lucky Xalek was handling half the lines. But again, when Enthusiasm McEarnestStudent gets like that, how can you not play along?

There is a definite personality trigger in some people that causes them to hear the Dashade's language as 'om nom nom' instead of words. I'm not sure yet whether it's a function of one's Jedi-ness or self-confidence or what, but Jaesa and possibly Ashara live in terror of this guy from his words (all two of them) alone.
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MilaniGrey
07.12.2012 , 06:04 PM | #25
Hahaha. The "Am I the only one hearing om nom nom here?" was hilarious. Khem probably could've taken them by surprise if he didn't have to launch into his "I served Tulak Hord and I'm gonna eat you blah blah" speech every time. I think you should make Jaesa a more skilled fighter, cus I imagine her (or at least my Jaesa) being able to seriously go toe-to-toe with Xalek, and more than likely win.
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kabeone
07.12.2012 , 07:14 PM | #26
I liked Quinn better dead. But I guess coming from me that goes without saying

also, I love your Pierce+Kaliyo matchup.

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bright_ephemera
07.16.2012 , 08:44 PM | #27
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 15: In which two veterans catch up

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier
And I am totally finding him more amusing than live Quinn, even if live Quinn makes Nalenne happy
Maybe I'll just kill the weasel again



Andronikos stopped by the cargo bay. Broonmark stood alone at the workbench, processing the day’s haul of biochemical samples.

“So Hoth,” Andronikos said after a while. “I worked there, back in the day. Saw a lot of Talz units come and go under their deal with the Republic.”

“This is so,” said Broonmark.

“Never thought I’d hear the language again once I left. Interesting times, Hoth. White Maw, all that. Fun crew.”

“White Maw are vultures and honorless thieves. Their blood was sweet.”

“Vultures, honorless thieves, and a very fun crew. I know one White Maw sub-gang that never lost to the likes of you,” added Andronikos, “and that’s the one I ran with, about ten years back. Were you in the neighborhood of Dorn Base then?”

“The Little Maw you speak of stole many of our kills.”

The pirate chuckled maliciously. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess we did.”

Broonmark set down his tools and swiveled to face Andronikos. “Now clan spitfire seeks trouble again.”

“Yeah. Yeah, I guess I am.”

Broonmark inclined his head. “We will oblige.”

Several minutes later, the sustained furious blaster fire and clattering from the cargo hold dragged Nalenne out of her comic book. She came to the door to see Broonmark grappling furiously with Andronikos in the midst of a small explosion of toppled and broken storage boxes. At the moment Broonmark was gripping both of Andronikos’ arms and forcing the pirate slowly to the ground.

“Andronikos!” cried Nalenne.

“I’m fine,” he grunted, “no worries,” and slipped one hand free to grab the blaster from his other, pinned hand and fire on Broonmark’s torso. “I got this.”

The Talz twisted and slapped at Andronikos’ hand, sending the pirate’s shot astray.

“You don’t ‘got’ killing my Talz!” said Nalenne.

“Lightning clan spitfire cannot threaten us,” clucked Broonmark, slamming Andronikos’ legs out from under him and putting a huge hand to the pirate’s face to force his head back to the ground.

“Don’t kill him, Broonmark.”

“What’s with the referee?” growled Andronikos, placing a precise kick to a nerve in Broonmark’s leg and slithering away to draw a vibroknife and recover a blaster. He flicked the knife to keening life and started circling while Broonmark twisted and shifted, trying to keep his defenses up while he recovered his footing.

“I have very strict rules about killing my crew,” said Nalenne.

“Oh, yeah, Nalenne, you’re famous for that.” Andronikos let off a flurry of blaster bolts. Only two of them hit the charging Talz before Broonmark slammed Andronikos off his feet again.

“Sith clan not to worry,” panted Broonmark, grappling in an effort to bring his superior strength to bear against the lithe Andronikos. “Lightning clan spitfire will fall soon enough.”

“You two…just…okay. Have fun. Winner cleans up the blood.”

Andronikos spared her a disgusted look. “That’s just basic manners. What kinda houseguest you think I am, anyway?”

“Dead houseguest,” said Broonmark.

Some time later Andronikos staggered through the holo room on the way to the medbay. Once he had a medpac out he limped over to the reading nook and plunked down on the leather couch opposite Nalenne.

“He’ll live,” said the pirate. “Because I like you.”

“You all right?” said Nalenne.

“Oh, yeah. Good workout.”

“Yeah, he’s learned a lot since the last time I personally had to beat him up. I’m proud of him.”

“You should be.” Andronikos sealed the last major leg wound and tugged his shirt collar open to get to the next worst of his injuries. “I’ll take care of the mess once I’m done patching up.”

“Nah, don’t sweat it. I’ll have 2V clean up.”

“Nice. Thanks.”

“What was that all about, anyway?”

“Eh, I was bored. Talz are jerks. He was up for it.”

“Fair enough. It’s good to see you boys having fun.”
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bright_ephemera
07.19.2012 , 09:39 AM | #28
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 16: In which Quinn is nice, for Quinn

Healthy relationships: We sure don't have them!

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier


Nalenne hadn’t taken her mandoviol out for practice since Quinn had moved back into her quarters. The last thing she wanted was Captain Practical condemning her again for enjoying frivolous things.

She touched the strings and waited to let them tune themselves, then started in on her favorite Sith folk song, about the increasingly violent retribution of a Sith who encountered a mouthy villager. As more villagers complained about the previous verse’s murders, the Sith killed and burned more and more of the village, and eventually just extinguished all life on the planet.

Villagers were, in Sith folklore, pretty dumb.

When the door to her quarters opened she was too slow in hiding the instrument behind her. Quinn stepped in and gave her a funny look.

“You were playing?”

“No. Yes. Um, no.” She tucked it the rest of the way behind her back.

“There’s no need to hide it. Unless there is some compellingly good one that even I can’t guess.”

“I just didn’t want you yelling at me for it. You do that with the fun not-killing-our-enemies things I try to do.”

He settled next to her on the edge of the bed. “I won’t.”

“You won’t?”

“Well, it’s infinitely more productive than reading comic books.”

“Ah, thank you. I was afraid you were about to be supportive about one of my hobbies or something.”

He leaned over and kissed her. “I am given to understand that some people perform their work better when given time to devote to leisure activities. I’ll never understand it myself, but it plainly works in your case.”

“Why are you being so…oh, wait. This is about that space op out by Sullust, isn’t it.”

“My lord?” said Quinn innocently.

“That fleet action you wanted to hook up with three days from now, with us probably having to pull a boarding action on that wacky shielded whatsit of theirs? The one where I pointed out that I hate space combat, I hate being bundled into boarding pods, and I would rather not be stuck on another enemy ship that you’re ordering full-rate cannonades on? (*) You’re being nice to me so I’ll reconsider that enormous NO I gave you.”

He smiled slightly. “If you keep this up I may have to actually try to be subtle with you. I do love it when you work these things out. It reminds me why I married you in the first place.”

“…So you’ll have somebody around at all times to feel smarter than?”

His smile slipped. “I’ll definitely have to start trying to be subtle with you. Ah, getting back to the fleet action, is my previous niceness going to change your mind? It is an extremely difficult target of profound importance, my lord. And it would mean a great deal to me.”

“I don’t know. Maybe my will has weakened slightly, but you’re still going to have to convince me.” She edged closer and raked her fingers through his hair.

Quinn frowned. “That line of argument has been tried, and has failed to convince you, multiple times this week.”

“So? It can’t hurt to try again.”

“I have numerous bite marks that say otherwise.”

“Hey. You want your bad*** Wrath rampage for your big tough battle or not?” She grabbed his uniform jacket.

“Stop.” His tone of voice arrested her before she could pull him down to the bed. He reached over, pulled the mandoviol from where she had been about to crush it, and set it carefully back in its case on the floor. “There.”

“…thank you. You really do care.”

“I told you. Far preferable to comic books.”

“Oh, very nice. That attitude will convince me to do something incredibly un-fun for your sake.”

“You’re going to withhold approval on that operation just so you can enjoy another three days of making me do whatever and act however you want in a doomed attempt to change your mind. Aren’t you, my lord.”

“I love it when you work these things out. It reminds me why I married you in the first place.”
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MilaniGrey
07.19.2012 , 03:37 PM | #29
Yaaay you started posting again!
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bright_ephemera
07.20.2012 , 05:42 AM | #30
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 17: In which an old friend makes trouble for the team (I/II)

Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier


A Republic mining facility on Ilum. It had been rebuilt and reinforced after each of Pierce’s last two visits to the neighborhood. Nalenne’s crew had split up to sabotage multiple objectives before meeting up at a central control room to start blowing the works.

Andronikos, Vette, and Pierce met Broonmark and Quinn on the way back from their respective targets. Together they approached the heavy durasteel door to the big controls room.

The team stopped dead when they heard the shrill feminine shriek from inside the chamber.

A second female voice added a long “Aaah” a moment later.

There was some thumping around, and a long dual moan.

Vette snickered. “I knew it,” she stage-whispered.

“Of all the places to go at it,” said Pierce, frowning suspiciously.

“I’m sure there’s an explanation,” said Quinn, but Vette and Pierce grabbed his arms before he could reach the door.

There was a long, rising, heavily punctuated feminine yell, a few grunts…and then bright masculine laughter.

“What the hell?” said Vette.

“Wow,” said Pierce, grinning down at Quinn. “She invited a guy who isn’t you.”

“I wouldn’t have accepted with Jaesa in the mix anyway.”

“I would,” said Andronikos. “Nis never allowed two girls.”

A pair of very loud crashes.

“One way or the other, I’m joining in.” Andronikos readied his blasters, slammed the door open, and charged.

A tall cyborg stood in the center of the control room, reaching out, laughing as he suspended Jaesa in the air in a brutal Force choke. Before Andronikos could get two shots off, Nalenne slammed into the cyborg from behind, knocking him off balance and very nearly severing his hand with her saber.

An arc of Force lightning from the corner briefly stunned both melee fighters.

“Andronikos?” said Niselle from the corner, letting her hand fall.

“Uh, Nalenne?” said Andronikos.

“Jaesa,” said Nalenne, hurrying to make sure the collapsed Jedi was okay.

“Lord Draahg,” said Pierce, strolling in with his rifle at the ready.

“Yes,” sneered the cyborg. “I – “

Pierce’s first shot hit him square in his metallic jaw.

“Good show,” said Nalenne. “You boys, nail my sister. Jaesa, Vette, with me on the big guy.”

Draahg fought hard with lightsaber and a respectable level of Force power. Not as good as Nalenne, but respectable. Niselle did her usual lightning-shielding nonsense. But the two were badly outnumbered. It wasn’t long before Nalenne forced the cyborg who called himself Draahg to his knees.

“Hold,” called Nalenne.

Pierce turned to train his rifle on Draahg. “Permission to melt his face, milord?”

“Denied. I want to chat first.”

Draahg smirked. “I knew you couldn’t resis-“

Nalenne whipped him hard with the pommel of her saber. “I chat. You listen.”

“I was going to gloat.”

“You don’t get to.”

“Got ‘er down,” yelled Andronikos from his side of the room.

“Only because I won’t lower myself to kill you,” yelled Niselle as she glared up at Andronikos.

“Nis. Sweetie. You drop in out of nowhere with this bucket of bolts and start zapping. Explain.” Nalenne pointed at Lord Draahg.

“I picked him up on Dromund Kaas. Isn’t he pretty?”

“He was prettier when he had all his body parts. Is this really Lord Draahg?”

“Yes,” said Lord Draahg. “You see, after you – “

“Shut up,” said Nalenne, and hit him. “I worked with him once, sure. Killed him once. Killed him again after he got all cyborg-ified.”

“And yet you let him go. Your loss, my fun.”

“You are not using that tone of voice, Nis.”

“Oh, I really am.”

“But…but after…how did you even…he didn’t have any organic parts left after my last fight with him!”

“Not necessary. Ever considered the possibilities of a built-in vibrate setting?”

“No!”

Quinn spoke into the awkward silence. “My lord. You didn’t kill him?”

“I did! Twice! You were there for one of them!”

“I was unconscious at the time. I didn’t see him die, as such.”

“I tore him to pieces the second time. And threw every piece into a fire!” Nalenne glared down at Draahg.

“Is that my cue to gloat?” said Draahg.

“No,” said Nalenne.

“It would seem that was insufficient,” said Quinn. “Have you ever successfully destroyed a major threat to your life?”

Pierce answered. “Since you weren’t a major threat, and Baras, Nomen Karr, and a few dozen other actually significant players were, I would say yes, she has. I saw Draahg die both times. Maybe I shoulda taken the headshot that first time, but in any case, I can safely state that she did all right.”

“Are you going to give me time to gloat here?” said Draahg.

“No,” said Pierce, Quinn, and Nalenne.
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