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My Name is Solomon Crae


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iamthehoyden
12.23.2012 , 10:35 AM | #11
4 - Watchers (this one's new, but uber short)

Askari Magrave. I rolled the name across my tongue. Skari. The leader of this small pack. I smiled as I spotted her watchful eyes tracing my movements as I roamed the ship. I don’t think she trusts me.

None of them do. The doe sticks close to either Skari or her lover, the young Mandalorian who never talks much but is always alert. I catch glimpses of the Jawa out of the corner of my eye, peeking around corners. The Devaronian’s narrow gaze follows me. Assessing.

It’s almost as if I were dangerous.


Quick Note:
Spoiler
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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iamthehoyden
12.23.2012 , 10:39 AM | #12
5 - Night Owls

I wasn't sure what sound had woken me up. The ship was never completely silent. Faint sounds from Torian and Mako's room. Creaks and groans of old metal past its prime. The hum of the engines. Pings and beeps from the control room. Devaronian snores that could level a gundark. Not that I slept much anyway.

I folded the blanket back and got up, tied on my vibroknife. Fully dressed, I thought with a slight grin, walking shirtless down the stairs. Walking silently is an artform. Your foot has to roll from your heel or spring off your toe if you're making some time. The edges of rooms, of stair treads - these are quieter. The center is more worn, more prone to squeaks and creaks and groans. It's easiest in bare feet, hardest in durasteel boots. I never wore durasteel boots.

The metal planks were cold under my feet as I made my way around the ship, leeching the warmth out of the air. I checked the airlocks, fixed a cup of tea in the galley. I'd begun drinking Denovian tea years ago when I filled a few contracts for an Imperial agent and his team. Spent some time with a wily old snake who drank it. A snake? Maybe a spider with his web-spinning. One of the few people I've yet to figure out. I do love a puzzle.

I walked to the bridge where a clear view of the hanger outside was available - orbital stations mostly look the same, although this one above Brunell had a few potted plants. Ah, I thought, spotting the blue hand on the armrest of the captain's chair, that's where my cat got to. In the three days I'd been on the ship while we traveled here, I had yet to see her use the bedroom at the top of the ship. I stepped around. There were those suspicious red eyes.

"Need something, Crae?"

I smiled at the blaster she had resting in her lap and examined the screens that faced her chair, taking a sip of my tea. The screens in front of her featured various views of the interior of the ship, switching every so often to a different view. Two didn't switch. One contained the images and files Mako had compiled of Akko Nadras, everything they had been able to put together without me. The other featured my pallet. I smiled slightly.

"Good girl."

***

Skari watched Crae carefully, keeping her breathing steady, her muscles loose. He left as quietly as he came. On the monitors, she watched him walk through the ship, rinse his tea cup in the galley, and return to his pallet, folding his arms under his head as he settled, stretching out the whipcord-lean muscles that ridged his torso. He looked directly at the camera she had hidden in the corridor and blew a kiss to it. His gold eyes didn't gleam on the screen like they did in person, but they were just as calculating. She tightened her grip on the blaster in her lap and settled in to keep watch, the faint smell of tea still in the air.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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iamthehoyden
12.23.2012 , 10:41 AM | #13
6 - Algorithms & Honor
Ch 1 BH spoilers (they’ve been spoiler tagged)

"So, we discussed it among ourselves and we've decided you're insane," Gault said conversationally, settling into one of the bridge chairs and propping his feet up.

Skari glanced over at him and then returned to her monitors, flipping through files, watching Solomon Crae move through the ship.

"Aaaand you're not talking," he spun his chair a little to the left and leaned into her line of sight, "so, what gives?"

Skari sighed, leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. "I think I made a mistake."

Gault snorted. "Sweetheart, we all make mistakes. This isn't a mistake. It's a full-blown disaster."

Skari scowled at him, "Gee, thanks."

"Hey, voice of reason here, just doing my job."

"I knew it was f**king bad idea when I thought of it, and I still hauled that a**hole back to the ship," she groaned, drinking from one of the cold half-empty kaffa mugs that cluttered the console.

"Maybe it was that handsome face of his. I hear women like that whole dark and mysterious thing," Gault said helpfully.

Skari glared at him and then slumped into her chair, "I never should have put you guys in this position. My mess, my mistake, my problem." She sat up and started tapping out some commands. "Crew has a three week holiday, starting now," she said firmly, "I want you all off this ship and someplace safe. That should be enough time to get this cleared up."

"We could just kill him, you know."

"I killed his brother," Skari said quietly.

"This guy is hardly an innocent rube," Gault pointed out, "Not like the galaxy would be worse off without him."

"If it comes to me or him, he'll go down, but I just want this f**king done. That boy is the last one on my list."

Gault's eyebrows rose, "That list was huge. When have you had time?"

Skari shrugged, "Here and there. Most of them were easy enough."

The Devaronian shook his head, "
Spoiler
and your honor. I will never understand it. But..." He stood and looked at her calmly. "...we're not leaving you to deal with this psychopath by yourself."

"Not your call," she said mulishly.

Gault continued as though she hadn't spoken. "We decided you're insane, but you're our insane. Afraid you're stuck with us."

Skari looked up at him. "Where's Gault and what have you done with him?" she asked with a tiny smile.

"Hah! Don't get mushy on me," he laughed, "The list of people who want me dead is bigger than a Hutt. Gotta keep the few friends I have alive."

Skari swallowed and then nodded. "We need to get this done quick."

"Tell me about it, did you see what he did to those guys?" He shuddered.

Skari's jaw tightened. "Yeah, I saw."

"Have to admit though, the guy gets results," he said, half admiringly.

"Aw, don't tell me you're developing a crush?" Skari grinned.

"I don't go for the kill-you-in-your-sleep types. You live longer that way."

"Mako's started running the search algorithms based off his info. Some weird bits and pieces though: Rylothian kaffa, mountain lakes with a cold season climate, paintings by some Republic rich kid, 32 hour day/night cycles, killik nectar lotion, whatever that is, along with what we had on height, species, associates."

"Think it'll work?"

Skari shrugged, "Maybe. I hope so. Sooner he's off our ship, the better off we'll all be."

"I'll drink to that."
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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iamthehoyden
12.23.2012 , 10:43 AM | #14
7 - Insurance

Lunch conversations, from what I'd observed on the ship, consisted primarily of Gault poking fun at Torian and Mako while the Jawa chattered to anyone and everyone. Mako would either poke back or pout; Torian would raise an eyebrow and go back to eating whatever over-spiced Mandalorian concoction he'd made for the group that day. They seemed to enjoy each others' company, for all that they were entirely different creatures in more ways than species. I could tell they'd been together for quite some time. Enough time to sort out hierarchy, pack dynamics. Enough time to close ranks against anyone who invaded their space.

I smiled slightly at the group around the table when I stepped into the galley and silence fell like a deathshroud. From the chiller, I gathered the raw vegetables and poultry I'd picked up before we left Nar Shaddaa. There is something soothing about preparing food. The key is a sharp knife, of course. A sharp knife solves many problems. Trim the ends. Slice into uniform straws. A confetti of color and texture and taste. Slicing meat is not like slicing vegetables. Long strokes of the knife work best on thick cuts, each cut going deeper. The pan must be hot, searing. I like the scent of meat left tender and juicy, vegetables left with something to bite at the end. The right bit of spice, salt, herb.

"That really smells good," I heard Mako mutter behind me.

"Well anything would smell better than that excuse for third degree burns your boyfriend makes," Gault muttered back.

"Would you like some?" I asked as I tossed the ingredients together in the oil. It is a pleasure to have a real kitchen to cook in.

"Uh, no thanks," she said louder. "Wouldn't trust it not to be poisoned," I heard her mutter.

I grinned at my pan. "Food is one way to administer poison," I said with a nod, stirring the skillet. "You can also add it to the victim's lotion, their soap, even the water in the refresher." The room behind me fell silent. "There are powdered poisons that can be applied to clothing, blankets, hair brushes." I glanced over my shoulder. Mako's eyes were huge. Torian's were narrow. I turned back to my cooking, added a bit more salt. "Then of course you have sprays, needles, and your various darts. Long-range blaster rifles can hit from miles away, but I always liked the close-range dart. Small, easily concealed..." I smiled at the fragrant vegetables.

"I...think I'm going to go work on that search," Mako said, standing up and quickly leaving the room. Torian followed, as did Blizz who tucked a couple rolls in his robes and scuttled out, leaving Gault calmly eating his meal at the table.

I dished out a serving of the stir-fry and a mug of tea and brought it over to the table.

"That's quite a list," Gault said, watching as I began to eat my food.

I grinned and took a bite, chewed slowly as I watched the sharp assessment in the Devaronian's eyes. I love intelligent creatures. Ones with backbone are even more fun.

"I recently put together a list. You might be interested in it."

"By all means," I said, taking another bite.

"Series of files. Confidential, you understand. All tucked away in different places. Set to be shipped out if something...say, were to happen to us."

I sat back, taking a sip of tea. "Interesting. Where would these files be going to?"

He began to tick them off his fingers. "Havoc Squad. Jedi Council. The Hutts. One particularly vindictive Darth. And then there's the Mandalorians, can't leave them out. Maybe a couple other places. Here and there."

I raised an eyebrow.

"A collection of your...work. Most is real, but I may have embellished. A little. Plus your DNA and every piece of information Mako could pull about you," Gault said conversationally, folding his hands over his stomach, "Girl's got some skills."

The snake was inventive. I smiled. "Let's say, for argument's sake, that I meant your pack harm. Your list wouldn't stop me."

Gault laughed without much humor. "Maybe. But if we don't keep breathing, you're not going to live long enough to enjoy that victory."

"Perhaps. Not that I mean you any harm. Of course." I took another bite. The sharp crispness of the orange roots with the softness of the greens and the tang of citrus tasted as good as it smelled.

Gault's lips curled into a small smile. "Of course. Still, it's good to have insurance."
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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thatghost
12.24.2012 , 05:44 PM | #15
That bit about poisons and the cooking...love it, love it so much <3 I'm now a full-fledged Crae junkie- need more!

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kabeone
12.25.2012 , 04:45 AM | #16
I'm enjoying reading this again. *Crae fangirl*

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iamthehoyden
12.26.2012 , 09:20 AM | #17
Hehe, I'm glad you guys are enjoying this. It's been fun going back through the antics. I'll post more soon. In an airport right now, catching up on my reading
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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thatghost
12.26.2012 , 12:49 PM | #18
This was originally posted in the wrong thread (household mayhem and I was in a hurry to escape...I mean, go to the grocery store):
Hope your flight goes/went well more Crae soon?

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iamthehoyden
12.30.2012 , 11:14 PM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by thatghost View Post
Hope your flight goes/went well more Crae soon?
The flight was good. Vacation was good. Family was good. Life stuff eating up almost all my posting time - well, I guess that's good? Lol. At any rate...more Crae incoming....

8 - Objectives
minor ch 1 bh spoilers (you probably won't even spot it if you haven't done the bh story so I'm not going to spoiler this)

Skari jerked awake - there was movement on one of the screens. She fished a stim out of her pocket and punched it into her thigh. Warmth ran through her body, nerve endings tingling, energy returning to her limbs. Crae was up, again. The man never seemed to sleep for more than four hours at a time. His late night jaunts through the ship had settled into a pattern. He checked the airlocks, took note of everyone on the ship, made a cup of tea, and headed to the bridge. She slid her hand around her blaster's grip and blinked to clear the last of the cobwebs from her brain. Wits functioning? Check.

His footsteps were always silent, even on the creaky metal planks, but she always knew when he'd invaded her space. The skin on the back of her neck would tingle. She'd always had good instincts about danger. Men? Not so much. She turned the chair around to face him.

"Hello, Skari," he said softly, running his eyes over her and then shifting to examine any changes to the bridge. Since he'd come on board, the consoles had developed a steadily growing collection of kaffa mugs, used stimpacks, and blaster clips. Mako cleared them every now and again, fussed at her overuse of stims. It was necessary, for now.

"What do you need, Crae?" He was a handsome man: slanted golden eyes, sharp cheekbones, lean and deadly. Attractive. She scowled at the unbidden thought, feeling warmth hit her cheeks.

"You always ask me that," Crae said, leaning back against the console, taking a sip from the tea cup he cradled in his hands.

"I keep hoping if you get what you're looking for you'll leave me in peace," she growled, stacking the blaster clips that were scattered in front of her into a neat pyramid with one hand, her other still on her blaster.

He smiled slowly. She could see it out of the corner of her eye and hated the little blip her pulse did. Figures. Completely pointless attraction to completely, absurdedly, f**ked up guy? Standard operating procedure in the Askari Magrav handbook on relationships.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked.

She paused a moment in her stacking, raised an eyebrow at him. "Cause the blaster clips are a mess."

"You know what I mean. This. Hunting down an old employer like a cape lizard tracking a wounded quarry."

She raised both eyebrows. "A cape lizard? Really, Crae?"

"A cape lizard isn't a fast predator," he said with a tilt to his head, his sharp eyes on hers, "It rarely kills its quarry immediately. Its prey retreats, thinks it has escaped, but the lizard is patient. It tracks the blood trail, for days, even weeks if necessary, until it makes its final kill."

Skari snorted, "You obviously don't know me, Crae, if you're coming up with that boneheaded comparison. I don't let my targets go. This isn't some f**king game, no matter what you may think. I have my reasons for going after Akko Nadras. Ones you wouldn't understand."

"Try me."

She frowned at him and then shrugged. What did it matter? "Used to not care. Took jobs. Any job from anyone who could pay. Killed innocent wives and husbands so their cheating spouses could collect their money. Hauled slaves back to owners I knew were going to kill them. Killed accountants who'd had the bad luck to stumble across their boss's spice habit." Crae's eyes sharpened a little. "Didn't care. It was money in my pocket." She fell silent, watching the stream of faces in her memory.

"What changed?" She looked up at him, eyes narrowing. Even his voice was dangerous: a rich, smooth tenor, the kind that asked for your secrets.

After a moment, she answered. "An old Mandalorian started lecturing me about honor as he was dying. I tried it out." She looked Crae dead in the eye. "I liked it."

He chuckled, clearly amused. "So now you hunt bad guys?"

She shrugged, refocusing on her growing pyramid of clips. She could feel those golden eyes on her. "I put together a list, of the jobs that really bothered me, after that. I've gone through them all, fixed what I could. Killed more than a few pieces of scum the galaxy won't be missing. It's not enough, but at least the dead have some justice. Your brother is the last one on my list." She looked up at him and then tilted her head. "Why are you doing this? You don't strike me as the brotherly type."

He took a drink from his cup, his eyes on hers. He set down the cup. "Malek wanted to join the SIS, use his skill with numbers to analyze intelligence. It was too dangerous for him so I…stopped him. Set him up with a little mining company on Kasnee 8. Took off for the Tabrel Sector. Seven years later I find out that he's dead, been buried for five. Should have found him a safer place."

She raised an eyebrow. "So now you hunt bad guys?"

"I hunt those who hurt my brother," he said quietly, chilled menace replacing the slight warmth. He smiled slowly. "Good night, cat," he said, picking up his cup and leaving the bridge.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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iamthehoyden
12.30.2012 , 11:20 PM | #20
9 – Some Assembly Required
The weight of my knife was off. I flipped it into the air, balanced it on my palm. Yes, the hilt was slightly lighter than it had been. The barest of markings around the butt. I pulled out my second favorite knife, the one with the thin blade, and carefully pried the bolster off. A space had been hollowed out and a chip inserted. Someone had been busy. I smiled at the chip. The doe would have been too timid. The bull too straightforward. Perhaps the snake? I crushed the chip with the tip of my second favorite knife and reattached the bolster. The weight was still off.

***

Blizz hummed as he reassembled Torian's techstaff. Improvements to the grip, durability upgrades. Would make fighter happy happy. He paused as a blip sounded from one of the datapads piled in the corner. He scuttled over, pulled it out, chittering with interest as his tracking signal went dead. He watched it for a moment longer. "*Blizz hide it good,*" he said proudly as the second tracking signal stayed steady. He tucked the datapad back in the pile with the others and continued his reassembly. Blizz make sure boss safe, he thought, Blizz make sure.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box