They Didn't Mention This In The Brochure!
0900 Hrs Local time.
Talia stood out on the patio sipping her fruit juice and watching the sea. She smiled. This was heaven. She turned and walked through the door back into the apartment. She put the empty glass down and walked into the dark bedroom. “How are you feeling?”
The dark shape in the bed didn’t move. “Rough.”
She shook her head. “You drank far too much last night Gelden. You need to take it easy we’re here for a week.” she replied. He didn’t reply and she sighed. “I’m going to the market,” she told him, “I’ll get you some tablets from the pharmacist.” She waited for a response, then not receiving any she turned around, picking up her bag, then walked back through the doors and outside, locking them. She slipped on her sunglasses and set off walking.
Half an hour later she returned, putting the bag down on the table. She took the tablets out, glancing at the instructions on the bottle, and then went into the bedroom. “Try some of these.” She looked around, it was still dark. The bed looked empty. “Are you in the bathroom?” She could hear an odd sound and turned around to see a large shape crouched in the corner. As it stretched out into a thin beam of light from the window she screamed in horror, before it leapt forward, silencing her forever.
1000 Hrs Local time.
Patrol officer Gart Joldar studied the ground below as his regulation police speeder flew over the main plaza. He could see people sat eating in an open air café and others sat relaxing by the fountains. It was a nice day and he wished he’d drawn a foot patrol on the roster. He continued to slowly pilot the speeder until the radio. “This is despatch. Is anyone in the vicinity of 15 Strard Place?” Gart clicked the button. ”This is 219, I’m a few minutes away from there.”
“Officer Dolmas has failed to report in for his shift today or contact us. Any chance of you dropping by and checking if he’s ok?”
Gart frowned. Bel Dolmas was an old friend, they’d served together for five years, first in Seng Karash before they both transferred to the island. Bel was a by the book officer, never showed up late, never had a sick day. “Show me on route despatch. 219 out.”
Gart parked the speeder in front of one of the uniform white two storey buildings. He walked up to the door of his friend’s apartment, and pressed the button. He paused and waited for a response. Then he walked over to the window and looked in. The room was dark but he could see what looked like broken furniture in the living room. He turned around and pressed his palm to the doorplate. “Officer Gart Joldar, Dlarit Police. Emergency access.” He drew his blaster and spoke into his communicator “Despatch this is 219. Am entering 15 Strard Place. Possible signs of a struggle.”
“219 do you require backup?”
“No but keep them ready.” Gart replied and entered the apartment and looked around. The apartment was spotlessly clean, but there were indeed signs of a struggle, a chair had been knocked over and broken, plates in the kitchen had been smashed, and there was an odd sickly smell. “Hello? Bel?” There was no response and he moved forward slowly, blaster in hand and ready. He entered the bedroom. It was empty but the bed hadn’t been made. He turned and opened the bathroom door and looked inside. His stomach lurched and he grabbed the doorframe to steady himself. After six years on the Dlarit Police force he’d seen some gristly sights but this was something else. He weakly raised his wrist communicator. “Despatch this is 219, request a forensic team to this location. I think I’ve found Bel Dolmas.”
Maris stood behind the counter of her cafe, half watching the vid screen and half the lunchtime customers. They were a mix of local workers and holidaymakers sat eating at the metal tables. Soft music played from the speakers and the sun came in through the large window at the other end of the café. She looked up as Jevais the student waiter came past carrying a tray. “Where are these going again?” he asked
“Table nine,” she replied studying the plates.
“Gotcha,” he replied with a grin.
Her view turned back to the screen again, then she frowned at a strange noise at the fire door at the back of the café, a banging and scratching sound. Jevais came back towards the counter and followed her gaze. "Sounds like someone’s trying to get in.”
“Don’t they know what a front door is for?” she replied.
Jevais nodded and walked up to the door. “Hey you, use the front door!” he shouted, drawing amused glances from several patrons. The banging and scratching got louder. “Can you hear me?” he shouted.
A second later the door exploded inwards, the metal tearing and Jevais leapt backwards. A second later his body was wrenched through the opening and he screamed in agony, before his voice was cut off.
“What the hell?” Maris gasped in terror as customers leapt to their feet knocking over plates and cups. Then they all screamed as two horrors bound through the door, and looked around, through three pairs of black eyes above a horrific fanged jaw. As the customers stampeded toward the exit the creatures leapt, powerful clawed legs propelling them forward as they crashed into the crowd of panicked customers, blood fountaining upwards as they bit and clawed in a feeding frenzy. Maris ducked behind the counter as the screaming continued as more of her customers met a horrendous death. A second later it was silent, and she sat panting, the smell of blood and sweat filling her senses. Then she felt a burning agony as something grasped her arm wrenching her upwards, and she caught a glance of the head of the creature before its jaws snapped forward.
A few minutes later when four armed patrol officers burst through the door they were met by the sight of a mass of dead and dying humans, and the floor wet with blood. Of what had caused it there was no sign.
Chief Pathologist Delma Jevane entered the room, followed by two of her staff. In front of her was a glittering forcefield, beyond which was a metal table on which was a black sealed container. She checked the seals on her suit were secure then pressed a button and the forcefield deactivated. Once her and her staff were beyond it, it buzzed back into life. “Open the container.” She waited while it slid open and looked inside. “Start recording.”
She took a deep breath. “Examination begins 1301 Hours. Present, Chief Pathologist Jevane, and assistant pathologists Marn and Laever. Subject suspected to be Officer Bel Dolmas of the Refarice Division.”
Suddenly she turned as the door slid open behind her. “Excuse me!” she said angrily as another suited figure entered. “What are you doing in here.” Through his helmet she could make out a tattooed face. The man looked around casually, then regarded her. He reached for his belt and flashed an ID card at her as two black suited soldiers entered behind him, wearing the insignia of the Dlarit Special Operations Group. The man turned to them. “Remove these civilians,” he ordered, “confine them in a holding area I may want to speak to them later.”
“Now just a minute!” Delma protested before the soldiers raised their rifles and deactivated the force field.
The man grinned as the pathologists were herded out, then approached the corpse with interest. “Right my friend, lets see what you are.”
“We’ve got a serious situation here,” the face of Macron Sadow reported on the screen, “I’ve just performed an autopsy on what was a police officer from Lor Zatean.”
Alector shrugged. “What is he now?”
“He’s what appears to be half way into a mutation into some sort of creature. Looks like he died during the process. His DNA is massively altered but still bears traces of his own.”
“There’s more,” Faeril added next to the alchemist, “the local police have reported twenty seven attacks on civilians on the island over the last few hours, the victims are horrendously mauled and shredded, and in most cases partly consumed. There’s no obvious pattern in them but it’s in random locations over both the resorts of Yamfianta and Refarice. They’re trying to keep a lid on it but it’s not easy. I’ve ordered the island sealed.”
Alector nodded. “What are we dealing with. What are these things?”
“I think we can assume whatever is causing the attacks are completed mutations of whatever that police officer was becoming. Could be something naturally genetic but I doubt it, it’s a strain of dominant DNA that I’ve never seen before, doesn’t match anything on the files. Unfortunately that’s all I know. It could be some sort of virus, it could be something else. What I do know is that these things are immensely strong and tough, Officer Delmas was considerably larger and heavier than his file shows last medical, his skin has undergone intense mutation, he appeared to be growing additional eyes, fangs, claws, interesting stuff. Whatever he was turning into is a killing machine, as evidenced by the speed and ferocity of the attacks.”
“The speed worries me,” Faeril added, “the attacks were wide spread, there’s no way a small number of creatures could cover distance in that time. This mutation seems to be spreading at an immense rate.”
Alector nodded. “What do you need?”
Macron replied, “If these mutations continue to spread they’ll overwhelm the local police in no time. At the moment they’re hiding and striking quietly. When their numbers are sufficient they might take over the streets. We need to investigate the source of this, and ideally bring back a live fully mutated sample. Then we can see what we’re dealing with.”
“There’s a time element here as well,” Faeril added, “so far there’s no reported cases in Seng Karash, but we don’t know if this will spread there, or to the fleet, or to Tarthos. We have no way of knowing if infected subjects have already left the island.”
“I’ll inform the Consul,” Alector replied, “I’ll put out a general alert, we need to spread across both resorts and find these things. We’ll assemble at Dlarit Beach, that’s sealed to civilians and has a separate food and water source, so hopefully this won’t spread there.”
“We can’t be sure of that.” Macron replied grimly.
“Well we’ll discern that when we get there,” Alector said firmly, “The sooner we find live creatures the sooner we can work out what this is and how far it may have spread.”
The Deathshead landed on the lawn behind the pool, its engines powering down. Immediatley the ramp lowered and Captain Senth of the Dlarit Special Operations Group came down it. He glanced around. A second later Malisane de Ath, the Left Hand of Justice, followed him. "We are short of time Senth. The Clan will be arriving within the hour."
"Yes sir," Senth responded.
Malisane strode forward across the lawn, his black robes shielding his face from the afternoon sun. Senth followed. He was still coming to terms with the change in the Sith. Malisane was colder, more direct, with any trace of humour or good nature apparently buried behind his new persona. They walked around the pool and through the glass doors into the ground floor of the two storey white marble building. Malisane looked around in distaste at the expensive furniture and artwork, a combination of new expensive aquisitions and priceless antiques from Usharak Keep on Kangaras. Was he ever this vain and obsessed? "Have the droids put all this trash into storage," he ordered, "and clear some space. We need to fit a lot of people in here and equipment.
"Yes sir," Senth replied.
Malisane glanced at the wall display. If Alector was on sheduale he should have kicked the clan members into the shuttles and be loading the final equipment needed to establish a command post here. They had better be anyway. He'd monitored the local police communications on the way here. The situation was stable, though new reports of victims still filtered in. Whatever these things were they were spreading but were still remaining hidden. How long would that last if the mutation continued? At least Dlarit Beach was sealed.The private resort was quiet currently, but if nessesary the area could become a major landing point if this turned into an open conflict. They would have to wait and see.
Commander Alector Isradia was establishing the command post within the De Ath villa, he and the rest of the Clan arrived less than twenty minutes ago to deal with the alarming situation.
“Make sure the network is set up and working, I want constant updates as they come in,” the young man ordered to the group of technicians. The Battlemaster may be the Clan’s Proconsul but he wasn’t Deputy Governor General due to his young age; therefore he was Special Attaché assigned to the New Sadow Palace.
Alector felt this was his trial by fire, so to speak, to show off his talents and quell the rumours that had started to fly about the place after he replaced the Clan Overlord as Proconsul. The young man rubbed the back of his neck as he walked out of the villa towards the beach; it was a lovely hot sunny day and he would rather be in shorts than in uniform.
Isradia looked to his clanmates and the few DSOG troops gathered: old and new members like Bob Atema, Sai Keibatsu, Alexander Anderson, Jade Atema, Joseem Maruuch, Khotaro Fumai and many more standing side by side waiting to know what going on and why they had been rushed to the Dlarit fun in the sun hotspot.
“Good afternoon,” Alector said as he addressed the Clan, “as of this morning as mutagen has been affecting the people of Lor Zatean causing serious mutations. We are unsure how and why, but there haven’t been any signs of this being an airborne mutation.
“At this point I cannot confirm or deny anything about the mutations, it tactically unsound to send in the troops at the moment as we just don’t know what were dealing with and at what scale. Teams need to investigate Refarice and Yamfianta; the command post has been established in Malisane de Ath villa with his consent. Make sure to report anything that looks out of place or suspicious. If you encounter any who have been affected with the mutagen then use your discretion… the situation needs to be contained to this island. Good luck.”
The mission was self explanatory: seek out the source of the infection, report it in and neutralize any infected to contain the outbreak.
"Good god...this seems like something out of a Bad HoloVid...and by bad I don't mean the 'Spank Me' kind..." said Khotaro, looking at some of the vids that were being displayed at Malisane's Villa. Khotaro was amazed at the brutality and finesse the killings had. "I'm amazed...really I am."
"I can't believe you just said Spank Me in front of people, and no one else said anything." joked Alector, immediately getting back to duty. Khotaro smiled, grabbing some of the reports that were documented. Khotaro began to smile. There weren't any survivors. That was clearly planned into the Mutagen's DNA.
"I did just say I was amazed didn't I? Anyway...Alector, I know you are in charge, and congrats, but I find it should be necessary that we have a few people from Dlarit Military dressed in black put onto random buildings with sniper rifles, to maintain maximum security within the city." said Khotaro. He looked at Alector, and then walked away, pointing to a Holomap that displayed the attack sites from the creatures. "Their attack pattern is spiraling out. It's possible that a few creatures stayed behind to grow in numbers. It's also possible that the mutagen is like a Zombie-esque virus, where dead bodies can be attacked and turned into the creatures. Also, if countless hours of Horror Vid's have taught me anything, that no matter what...never go alone anywhere. Immediate pairings of Dark Jedi should be given now, and it should be One Equite with One Journeyman. This ensures that the Journeyman don't get killed, and the Equite's have help."
Khotaro looked at Alector again. The boy was just nodding at the Holo map, but Khotaro got the feeling he heard everything he said, and decided to walk away. "It's your battle though, you are rank is higher to me, but I've seen the whole 'Zombie Take Over of Paradise' thing before." said Khotaro.
"You have?" asked Alector, the wind swaying into the room, causing his hair to flick out of formation. Khotaro whipped around, his hands in open fists, his head pointed upwards, as if he was praying. "Of course. Macron made a movie using Sithspawn called 'Zombies Take Over Paradise' it was good, not gory, but good." said The Krath with a smile on his face, turning around quickly to make sure he had all the background information possible.
Darkness had fallen early for Lor Zatean, an oddity on such a paradise world. Jade had made sure the Night Hawks studied the island while in-route, quizzing them on the pertinent details. They knew the approximate sunrise and sunset for the given season, the local vegetation, the economy, means of dress, even the favored foods. It seemed she planned to make sure everyone lived through this mission. Mal'ari'carun had been tempted to tell her not to bother. If there was one thing he'd learned in his decade with the Dark Brotherhood, someone always died. Still, it was nice, for once, to serve under a leader who cared about how she spent her subordinates lives. It was refreshing. Even if it would break her heart in the long run.
Shaking himself from his reverie, he once more studied the Yamfianta skyline. It was an odd juxtaposition on such a world, skyscrapers brushing the stars above, beautiful beaches to the south, but a quick glance east or north left a far more inhospitable impression. To the east desert reigned the island, a place where not even cacti could survive. North would bring one to a volcanic slate stretching half the length of the island. Yet here, before them, was a near-metropolis. As he looked upon, he assumed the eyes of the hunter, the mind of the predator. When Jade was assembling teams, the Priest has wanted each member to serve a purpose. The other teams had two members as Alector requested, but theirs had a third, since the Night Hawks were short a member. They were the point team, so of course Jade was there. Ekeia was brought along for her cold dedication to logic. Like most of Alaric's own race, Ekeia kept a tight hold on her emotions, preferring passionless examination of facts. Though she had yet to earn her saber, she would be a welcome addition. As for himself? He was the Hunter, and Marked of the Wanderer. He could track anyone, anywhere. Even if he couldn't kill them, he could at least find them. So now he would do what he did best.
Sinking deep within himself, he focused on the skyline of Yamfianta spread out before him. In his mind's eye he saw the narrow walkways between towering buildings, the brightly lit promenades, and the darkened alleys. In his minds eye he walked on all fours, crossing in the darkness between buildings, to large to fit comfortably in the narrow alleyways but unable to take to the light. Somewhere, instinctively, it knew the light would mean a quick death. So it hunted in darkness, striking when least expected, and quickly devouring its prey. So too, did the Krath. He burst through doorways, tore through limbs, felt the rich, coppery blood of innocents spill down his gullet. He saw where he'd traveled, smelled it, tasted it, and he became one with it. He knew it. He was it. Growling, he shook his head and stood. Turning to his companions, he gave an apologetic shrug for his long silence before reporting.
“Okay, the first question is, of course, what are they? They're beasts of some kind, but their genetic code shows they were once human. That's clue one. They started out normal, but are no longer. Still, they've avoided running down the street, or hitting heavily populated areas, so they possess some semblance of intelligence. That gives us something we can count on. They have a nature, and anything with a nature can be exploited. All you have to do is find the right points and apply pressure. That brings us to clue two.
“They've only been spotted in areas of mid-population. We already know they avoid the streets, the malls. But what's gone unnoticed thus far is that they also avoid low-population areas. Everywhere attacked has been a business, or a residential area. Why has no one been attacked crossing the volcanic plate, or the desert?”
Here, he paused, as if waiting for one of the women to answer. While waiting, he admired their ability to blend in. The Tetrarch had donned a fetching two piece number, strapless black shirt over a black ankle-length skirt. Her black leather boots seemed equally designed for casual wear and combat. Ekeia too was casual, wearing a pleated black skirt and dress shirt, with polished black boots beneath. They were the kind of outfits that allowed freedom of movement without attracting unwanted attention. They also stood in stark contrast to his own attire. Dressed in black leather pants, knee-length black boots, and a shirtless black tunic, he'd stand out in any crowd. But as he'd insisted on the flight in, it was the only thing he had to wear! Finally, Ekeia proposed an answer. “Is it inhospitable to them? Possible problems with the temperature variation?”
Before the elder Chiss could answer, Jade spoke up. “Hunger! They don't travel those areas because there isn't enough food. They have to eat, and often, to survive. So they avoid areas where the population density is too low.”
Grinning, happy that they had come to the same conclusion, Alaric nodded his head. “That's what I think, too. Their hunger is ravenous. Its the only thing that could overcome the vestiges of humanity within them. Obviously, they are still human enough to reason out where is and isn't safe to attack. Yet they aren't human enough to feel shame? They must. Their hunger is just too strong. It compels them onwards. So now we know where they'll be. We have an upwards limit on the population density they'll hit, and a lower limit as well. Granted, it still leaves tens of thousands of vacationers at risk, but at least it lets of cordon off a large area of the environment, and saves us time in searching it. Its a start.”
“Well,” concluded the Tetrarch, “Lead on then, Hunter.”
With an almost bloodthirsty grin, Mal'ari'carun did just that, heading deep into the city.
Jade watched as Malaricarun moved forward, her fangs extending slightly, her hand brushing her tummy. She knew all to well the feeling of hunger...no scratch that INTENSE hunger, it came when she didn't feed, or was injured badly. It did nothing but consume her, make her one goal to kill whatever came near her and use its life force to save her own.
She shook the approaching memories of recent times. It would be something that would help her to hunt those who dared go after the Clan. But she couldn't help but wonder how it all started. Never mind the fact that the creatures or things responsible use to be human at one point. If they use to be human then someone must have either come in when no one was looking, there was some sort of virus, or a really bad case of food poisoning, that lead to the transformation.
Her feet fell silent and she stood on the pavement her eyes going black as she scanned the area with her own predatory senses. Malaricarun and Ekeia were both slightly ahead moving cautiously and carefully along a very direct path...too direct. It reminded her of walking through a forest and suddenly hearing nothing, no birds, no streams of water, not even the wind dared to blow because something was laying in wait. She got that feeling now….yes something was near by, watching, waiting…but it was too soon for either side to attack. However the silent wait made her realize that the creatures were possibly more intelligent then they had first suspected. If they waited for the right time to attack that is. Perhaps they were just smart enough to know when a threat was around.
Her com link snapped and buzzed at her side, and small series of codes came through signaling that her team members were alright. She had made it mandatory for them to check in every hour, if they didn’t by the hour and 10 min mark she would go looking as for a good explanation why. She was not about to lose anyone….if she could help it.
The snapping of a branch near by caught her attention, and she saw Malaricarun turn to look in her direction from the corner of her eye. Ekeia crouched low preparing for the worst. Jade took a cautious step forward, her senses flaring out, filling her with a deep sense of survival for flight or fight, but her training and duty kept her to her task. Something warm blowing across the back of her neck caught her attention, her saber snapped to a purple haze, preparing for the worst, and hoping for the chance to take out her frustrations on something…or someone. Jade turned as the force sent a jolt of electricity up her spine, directing her to move now or suffer the consequences. The hot sting of something burned her side as she crouched low and swung the blade around. The cry of the creature rang out as the blade sliced deep. Malaricarun came running up behind her, took one look at Jade and then continued running after the creature. Ekeia came up and stopped in front of Jade.
Ekeia looked Jade over quickly with her eyes. “Are you alright?”
Jade nodded quickly and snapped some orders. “Yes, now follow him! He might need your help.” She could see the hesitation in Ekeia eyes but she did as Jade told her too.
Jade waited till Ekia was further down, before she removed her hand from her side. Dam it! A scratch mark, reveling three claws ran down her right hip. She was glad her kind healed fast, but the wound was fairly deep and bleeding, she would have to feed herself in order to keep her wits about her for the battle.
She sighed and cursed her luck. She was due in a meeting with Alector within the hour, and she had to still find Zaxen. Her apprentice would soon be her shadow. One she always felt honored to have at her side, and to fight with.
Jade moved her belt higher onto her waist to cover up the wound and to put some pressure on it to help stop the bleeding before taking off after her two members.
1200 Hours - Local Time
Raistlin Sadow was truly at ease... here... now... he felt truly lifted from the burdens and cares with which his psyche had been saddled with for so long. His year-long vacation had culminated with this, a trip to one of the last places he would have considered vacationing and his only regret was that he had not decided to visit sooner.
He was swimming in the ocean, one of several on the planet and with clear blue waters that stretched out in every direction and a shoreline with nothing but pink sand, gorgeous weather and most importantly, no distractions. His commlink had been shut off, and other then his current girlfriend, the lovely and talented Shayna Astrillar, he had no outside contact, nor wanted any. Things couldn't be better.
"Raist!" he heard from the shore. "Raist, I brought you your beverage." Shayna said and as he began to swim toward shore, the gorgeous view of his girlfriend came into focus. Though they hadn't been dating long, Raistlin truly enjoyed the singer's company, she was someone he could relate to, and who put him at ease. She also contributed to the easing of his mental stress, her prescence alone was a calming influence, and he was appreciating her more and more with each passing day. To celebrate the successful release of her new album, Raist whisked her away here, to Aeotheran.
The world was not well known in galactic circles as a pleasure spot, and for Raistlin, that was more then fine. Escaping the media circus that surrounded the two of them was often a challenge, and the two joked about who would draw more attention when in public, though she almost always won. This private beach and the spacious home that accompanied it were built by Raistlin during his time as Aedile of House Primus Goluud, when the Clan first occupied the system. He had found some of the primest real estate in its earliest stage, and had it developed, though not for commercial use. Sure, the much more popular resort at Lor Zataen might have had a few more amenities, but for the privacy, the beach, informally called Majerus Beach couldn't be beat. Nearly two miles of peace, and tranquility in a galaxy where those two commodities were in short supply.
As Raist got out of the water he grabbed the drink from Shayna and embraced her briefly. "Thank you very much." he said to which he got a coy smile. "I wanted one too, so don't feel too special" The two clanked glasses and began to drink the mildly alcoholic beverage.
"There's only one way this could be better." Raist said. "Shayna, can you go up to the house and grab some of my remedy?" he asked and the look on her face was all the answer he needed.
"You're out, we used the last of it last night." she paused... "remember?" she asked.
"No... to be perfectly honest I don't. But we'll need more...." Raist trailed off for a moment. "Guess i'll have to go to get some." and he began making his way toward the house to change, but was stopped.
"I'll go." Shayna said, "Just tell your connection that i'm acting as your proxy, shouldn't be a problem no?" she asked.
"I won't even have to call, just say you're with me, that's all the credibility you'll need around here." Raist said, smiling. He moved over to where his personal belongings were by a hammock and tossed her the starter for the landspeeder. "Just hurry back," Raist said, "I don't want to start this day any later then it is already." he said, only half joking.
Shayna shot him an amused look as she went to the speeder "Don't party so hard next time...." and she trailed off shooting her tongue out at him before blowing him a kiss goodbye. With that, she hopped in and took off toward the rest of civilization.
Raist didn't know how long she would be, and contemplated going for another swim before he realized just how tired he was. He crashed on the hammock, downed the rest of his drink and within moments was fast asleep, unaware of what was about to occur.........
*BAM* Raistlin jumped up and his hammock flipped over, sending him face first into the sand. As he looked up he saw 3 armed D-SOG soldiers standing over him. saluting, and as he stood, still incredibly dazed and disoriented, he waved off the salute.
"I... I thought I had left orders not to be bothered, under any circumstances?" he asked as he sat in the hammock, trying to collect his thoughts. He couldn't tell how much time had passed, and at the moment it didn't concern him. He only knew the sun had slipped into the opposite half of the sky, indicating it was past midday by a decent margin.
"Commander, we were aware and were the situation not so..... extreme, we wouldn't have disturbed you. As it is, we need to get you to Lor Zataen, Proconsul Isradia has set up a mobile forward operating point, and our orders are to extract you to there safely. So if you would, Commander?" the soldier asked, and as Raist looked around, there was no sign of Shayna, or his speeder. He reached out in the Force and couldn't feel her prescence as well. Something was definately amiss.....
He waved them off and quickly gathered his things before jumping into their speeder still in a pair of swimming shorts. The troopers formed a quick defensive perimiter, blasters out, before quickly jumping in and leaving
As the speeder coursed toward its destination, Raist remarked as he changed, "I don't know what's going on, but have you heard or seen Shayna Astrillar at the resort?"
"Negative, but with what's going on, the whole area is in a quiet state of chaos, anything's possible." the soldier remarked.
Raist paused... and thought. "You guys are making it seem like we're under attack...." he said increduously, trailing off but becoming slack-jawed upon hearing the response.
"In a way... I think we are." The trooper said, and with that, there was silence until arriving at their destination.
The monorail sped effortlessly over the apartments and bars. This form of public transport was known throughout both the island and Seng Karash as a clean safe mode, the automated trains stopping at the stations along the route every five minutes. The atmosphere inside was relaxed as tourists sat back in the comfy seats and watched the brightly lit streets below. The journey to Refarice only took about ten minutes and many of the passengers were looking forward to a nice meal before either spending the evening in a bar or at one of the many shows and night time attractions.
Suddenly there was a large thump on the roof and the passengers looked up curiously. It was followed by another. They sat quietly hearing something moving across the roof.
“Some idiots are up there,” a man commented, sat with his arm around his girlfriend.
“They’ll get themselves killed,” she replied.
“We’re stopping,” another man pointed out as the brakes applied and the train screeched to a halt, it’s sensors detecting the presence on the roof.
A woman in a straw hat tutted. “I hope this doesn’t take too long, we’re going to the magic show at the Vengers Club at eight.”
“I’ve seen that you’ll like it,” the girlfriend of the first man said.
“If we ever get there,” the other woman replied looking out of the window. She took out an oversized red gingham handkerchief and blowed her nose into it delicately.
A second later there was a scratching at the automated doors. The passengers sat quietly watching them. “Someone’s trying to get in,” the woman in the straw hat pointed out unessesarily.
“We’d better open it,” fhe man with the girlfriend said.
“Why?” the other man asked, “they’re probably drugged up.”
“They might fall otherwise,” the first man said and walked over to the emergency release lever and pulled it. They waited until a light flashed and the lock released. A few minutes later they were all dead, blood and corpses littering the floor.
The train sat on the line, it’s lights blinking. At that point in time a police speeder rose up from the street, two officers inside. One pointed at a shape pulling itself up onto the roof. He grasped the hood mounted blaster and opened fire, shots raining along the roof of the carriage. The shape leapt down and bounded along the monorail track, shots raking after it from the heavy repeating blaster.
“Careful!” the driver said as explosions rocked the track where the blaster hit key components. As the carriage exploded the speeder was buffeted away for a second and the creature leapt down into the streets. It bounded up an alleyway, the speeder still in pursuit.
"Ah, pass me another one of those delightful drinks in the quaint little shell-cup," mused Macron as he waved to a server-droid. The grass-skirt clad droid slid up to him on repulsors as Mac lounged in the comfy beach chair. "Excellent, thank you Colada-7." The alchemist eased back in the chair, thinking about the recent events as he stirred his beverage with an umbrella straw.
"Mutants, here on the beach," he wondered silently. "Not a trace of recognizable DNA in them. Not even Vong. Hell, they might not even have DNA, could be some prion-based lifeform..." He was suddenly jolted out of his reverie by the echoes of a heavy repeating blaster firing not too far away.
A running, stooped human form tore down the gangway headed for the water as a repulsor sled chased it, hammering away with a repeating blaster. The twisted feral form made for the sand and safety of the water as it ran straight toward the reclining alchemist. Macron gaped in wonder for just a second as he stood up from the chair. Could this be one of the muties?
Fortunately, this part of the beach was for high-ranking officials and few civilians were around the southern end. It would not do for this to get out, he thought. Best not to use the saber here. A wave of his hand stirred the loose sand with the force, whipping a cloud of gritty particles up around the small area. With the line-of-sight obscured, the madman moved into action. A vast clutching hand of Force energy enclosed the running figure, crushing it's bones ever-so-slightly with a faint crackling sound that was unheard over the wind. It dropped to the ground with a whimper as the "freak" windstorm died away.
Macron was prodding it as the two officers ran up with restraining cuffs. "Step away from him, Sir..." said one as the other tugged at his sleeve. "Joe- it's the madman everyone talks about," whispered his friend. "High clearance."
Tsainetomo Keibatsu strolled up a moment later, and took both officers by the elbow, whispering words of “job well done” and “security cordon” in their ears; a judicious application of the famed ‘Mind Trick’ sped the confused officers on their way.
Seeing the officers retreat, the Archpriest rejoined Macron by his find. He was decked out, not in his typical battle-garm, but in the spit-and-polish of a D-SOG uniform. His black suit and gleaming boots made a stark contrast to the bleached sands of the beach.
“For frell’s sake, Sai, wipe that scowl off your face,” teased the Alchemist, taking clear joy in his compatriot’s discomfort. He knew that Tsainetomo preferred a stand up fight over a ‘bug-hunt’ any day of the week, but he was diligent in performing his duty, regardless where it found him.
“Gods, I hate doing that to our own, but I know you like your privacy. Man, I feel soiled,” the Keibatsu spat, referencing his earlier influence of the officers. They were all, to a man, good at their jobs, but until the situation gave them more clarity, the Sadowans had to be efficient; and to be that, they needed space.
“Yes, but you clean up nice,” joked Macron, his fangs glinting in the sun as he pointed to his friend’s knee-boots.
“Watch it, bud,” Tsainetomo rejoined, his arms crossing. “What’ve you got?”
“What I don’t have is one of those,” Macron replied, pointing to the MWC Enforcer hanging at the Keibatsu’s hip. “A bit antiquated, yes? You might as well have hung a DL-44 ‘Smuggler’s Special’ there with the sights filed off.”
“Hey, man, it gets the job done; ignores shields, and nobody but you wears body armor anymore. Besides, if we’re going to be 'sheriffs', we might as well look the part; plus, I like the 'boom' it makes. Not to worry, I still have what counts,” he finished with a smile, patting a non-descript bulge in his tunic. Both men were armed with their weapons of choice, but brandishing their 'sabers here would only bring more questions.
"Now, where's that droid I saw you with? I could use a tasty beverage myself. Are you going to examine that thing, or am I to meet Death baked to a crisp? These uniforms are hot!"
Khotaro Fumai stood on what was now a bloodied building. The attacks were become more and more frequent, and were becoming more and more aggressive, at least by what he saw. Blood was caked on the roads, half eaten corpses lining the streets, it was like a beautiful reverie to Khotaro. He found that he could sense the creatures differently then he could other sentient beings.
"Khotaro, where are you?" asked Alector. The Krath only smiled, knowing that Alector had laid out a few rules, one of which was his. No one left alone.
"Easy Alector. Just investigating a small part of town that keeps getting hit. It's almost as bad as martial law down here. The locals are arming themselves with anything and everything." said the Blind Krath, using the Force to see. Khotaro jumped from building to building, trying to get a better view at the activities of the small town meeting going on.
"These people either A, are stupid or B, want to die. One guy is screaming and shouting like it's a rally, multiple people are holding torches. I'd kill them now if I was given the chance." said Khotaro, but as soon as he said that he could hear moaning coming from behind him. "How the hell...they can climb?" he said as he whipped around and lunged into the shadows. He could smell what seemed to be a combination of wet hair and blood, it stung at his nostrils, leading him to snort out the smell. Whatever the creature was, it heard him, and lunged towards the sound. Khotaro had dodged around to the other side of the small column he was near, staying out of sight from the creature.
The creature seemed confused. It began scuffing the roof top, leaving claw marks upon it. It gave Khotaro enough time to get behind the creature without it noticing. He concentrated with all his might, his thoughts reaching outwards to the beast in front him.
I need to be far away enough to give me a good reaction time, but close enough so I don't have to strain.
The Rattataki began focusing more and more, the creature still in its dance of confusion, began to lift up, unable to move under the restraints of Khotaro's telekinetic ability. "You're kinda cute. In a...stomach churning sorta way." said Khotaro as he began to spin the creature slowly. "Now how do I turn you off...oh where oh where could that button be." he said as he focused on the neck of the creature, slowly making it lose air and eventually passing out.
"Somebody report to Mac...tell him I got a thing for him to play with." reported Khotaro over the commlink. "Now all I got to do is make sure it stays subdued...thank god for my rage enhancers or I would have never been able to conjure up enough dark energy to lift that thing."
OOC: Before anyone complains about me getting a live one too early, it won't stay under my control for much longer, it'll end up attacking me when I have my back turned, and I'm gonna either A. Die, or B, get severely cleaved. If it is the Former, I'll be possessing someone or something so I can still participate.
Damn, its fast!, thought Mal'ari'carun, struggling to catch up with the creature. He had been chasing the beast for near ten minutes, down twisting alleyways and through darkened parking lots, and had yet to gain so much as an inch on it. Even drawing on the Force to strengthen his limbs, he could barely keep up. Somehow, Ekeia had also kept pace with him, just a few meters behind.
Youth. Its wasted on the young, thought his Leorals at his waist.
Directing a mental growl at them, he retorted sarcastically. Offer something constructive, or keep quiet. I don't have time for this!
But we're always constructive. Just not necessarily to your ends.
Restraining a sigh, the Krath Priest continued after the beast, growing all the more winded. As he summoned his will to draw on the Force, intended to infuse his limbs with their power, he caught a brief glance of the creature's frame of mind. Without warning, he came to a halt and spun, throwing out an arm to catch Keia before she could continue past him.
“What are you doing?,” the female Chiss cried. “Its getting away!”
“Don't worry, Keia, it isn't going far.”
Within seconds, Jade had caught up to them, a puzzled expression on her face as she came upon them standing still. An arch of her eyebrow was all the inquiry Mal'ari'carun needed. Almost apologetically, he shook his head. Sighing, he turned away from the pair to face the direction the beast had gone.
“Its no good, Jade. The creature is baiting us, leading us on. I don't know what created it, but its damn fast. Faster than it ought to be. Faster than it reasonably could be while still being strong enough to do the things it does.”
“What do you mean?,” she asked. “Strength in your legs determines your speed.”
“That's true, to an extent. But it all depends on the form that strength takes. Consider the Krayt Dragons of Tatooine. There's few creatures in this galaxy stronger than they are. Yet they're a lumbering bunch, able to be outran by a quick human, despite the difference in the length of their gaits. On the other hand, consider a lizard. Its a tiny creature, barely any strength in it, yet it moves faster than you or I could hope to. Its all about how the creature is built. The attacks on the vacationers suggest a creature of immense strength. Yet this beast is faster than we are, even with the Force. I'm sure an Elder could keep up with it, maybe even a Pontifex or their like. But us? There's no chance.”
“Then how come we've been right on its tail this entire time?,” asked Ekia.
“Simple. It wanted us to be. Its leading us somewhere, likely into a trap.”
Jade tsk'd, as she considered this. “They haven't shown that kind of intelligence before.”
“No, they haven't. Which is kind of the point. We have attacks of incredible ferocity of strength. We have evasions of astounding speed. And we have planning on their part, some semblance of intelligence. The only possible explanation is that there's more than one caste of these creatures. And this one was sent to lead us into a trap.”
“So what do you suggest?,” the two women asked in unison.
“We ambush it, instead. It seems to be holding position about fifty meters away. It may not be intelligent, but it noticed we stopped following it, and has paused accordingly. You two keep chasing after it, but make noise, as if there were three of us. I'll take to the rooftops and get ahead of it. When I drop down and get its attention, you two take it from the rear. Macron wanted one alive. I may think he's fool for that, but in this situation he's the boss. So what do ya think, boss?”
After a moment of consideration, the Krath Priestess nodded. “Sounds like a plan. Get going.”
Nodding in acknowledgment, the Chiss Priest drew deep on the Force and leaped into the air. Just before reaching the apex of his jump, he tightened his fists, extending the knives from his gauntlets and drawing on the strength of the Force to bury them into the building's wall. Quickly, putting the knives to good use, he scaled the building's four stories. After he reached the top, he crouched down to catch his breath and scan the surrounding area. The beast's presence in the Force was obvious, a growling maw of fury overlaying a subtle core of humanity. So was that of his companions, running swiftly towards it. Ekeia was a tight ball of nervousness, unsure of herself despite her calm outward appearance. Jade, on the other hand, was clearly worried. Not about the assault on the beast. She had the utmost confidence in her people, the mark of a great leader. No, she was worried about something more personal, and she was injured as well. That was odd, as he hadn't remembered her being injured on the inbound flight. Still, there'd be time for that later.
Standing, he squeezed his left fist and the docker's clutch on his gauntlet popped open, throwing his Blastaff free. Catching it with his right hand, he ran forward to the edge of the building, vaulting over the gap to the next rooftop. Able to avoid the twists and turns that the creature below was making, he was quickly able to gain on it and surpass it. When he was about fifty meters ahead of it, he came to a halt on a lower, two story building. Crouching at the edge, he waiting for the beast's approach. It failed to disappoint, as it came bounding down the alleyway on all fours, his two compatriots in tow.
Letting loose an undulating warcry to pull its attention from his companions, he fell upon it, Blastaff in hand. He would have preferred to use his lightsaber, but they'd received strict orders that this was a black op, which meant no “Jedi” sightings. Still, it gave him a chance to brush off the rust of disuse, and bring his quarterstaff skills to bear once more.
Touching down lightly, bending his knees to absorb the shock of the landing, the former Obelisk spun on his right foot, bringing his staff around in a furious swing aimed to smash into the right side of the beast's face. Before he could make contact though, the beast lunged to the left, moving out of the staff's arc. Staying with it, he brought the staff up in an uppercut designed to shatter its jaw. This time it leaped backwards, as he intended, into the waiting fury of the two women behind it.
They too were armed, and their swords thrust forwards into it from behind, propelled deeper into the skin by the beast's momentum. Before it could respond, Mal'ari'carun thrust his own staff into the underside of it's jaw.
With speed befitting their abilities, the two female warriors dropped their own weapons. With a roar, the beast began to turn towards them. Before it could move more than an inch, the Krath Priest pressed the button mid-way up his staff, activating the micro-capacitor within. An immense jolt of electricity spread from the staff throughout the body of the beast, causing it to roar again, this time loud enough to nearly deafen the Priest. Still, he held the staff in place, and within seconds the beast had fallen.
Reaching for his comlink to call in the capture, he was surprised to hear it tweet.
“This is Khotaro. I've got one alive and am headed to base.”
Shaking his head ruefully, Mal'ari'carun shrugged to his two companions.
“Bastard stole our thunder...”
2 Hours Later
Khotaro, previously catching a live creature, was now fighting for his life. The beast he had captured had broken from his power, now seeking revenge on him. The creature, with it's decaying flesh, horrible teeth, and disgusting breath clawed and bit at The Krath, taking bits and pieces out of him, only to soon get the favor returned by Khotaro with his sword.
"I can't win...can't win alive at least." said Khotaro, as he did a back flip off of the building he was on, onto another building, which he then began to run. He could sense the beast was following him, gaining speed and quickly catching up. The Blind Krath had to lose the creature and fast, otherwise he would be killed. Leaping off of one building only to land on another, The Krath began losing the beast.
As soon as he thought he was away from the beast, he stopped to catch his breath. "Good thing this isn't a horror holovid...cause right now there would be two more coming to attack me." said the Krath, and as soon as the words escaped him, two more came out of nowhere to attack him.
"Don't you things ever sleep?" demanded the Krath as he jumped onto one of the beast's shoulders, dodging the others bites as he the worst dance of death he ever dreamed of. One false step, and he'd lose a limb, but one correct step, and one creature's head would be lopped off. He continued to balance himself on the shoulders of the beast as the other one tried to attack him, occasionally Khotaro would shoot at the other creature, only to miss or give a superficial wound to the monstrosity.
The Blind Krath leaped off of the shoulders of the creature, pushing it back onto it's own back, giving him enough time to turn a corner and get on the buildings. He began to do more acrobatics as he tried to evade capture or his own death by the things back there. He could hear them panting as they followed him on the roof tops, he could smell them as they edged closer and closer towards him. "I hate you." was the only words he ever said while on the rooftops.
"Showdown..." said The Krath, pulling out his sword and getting into his stance. "Show me...are you a mindless Zombie? Or a semi-sentient creature with the capacity to feel shame and only attack out of hunger which is so overwhelming that it in fact consumes you?" said Khotaro, smiling as he said the last part. The Creatures both leaped at him, biting as his ankles as he dodged their attacks, bringing his sword down on one of their necks, causing a deep cut, and kicking the other in the stomach. The longer the fight, the stronger the creatures got.
The Krath, becoming a torrent of anger, lunged at one of the creatures, plunging his sword deep within the beast, slaking it with the creature's mutagenic blood. "Your next." said Khotaro, glaring at the other Creature, who was howling at the site of the other beast's death.
Khotaro continued to slash at the other creature, but to no avail, the beast just continued to attack, making The Krath back up slowly, moving himself closer and closer to the edge of the building. Below was the water and rocks, a fall that Khotaro had hoped he wouldn't have to experience. Sadly, his hopes were broken. The Creature charged him with blazing fast speed, spearing him in the stomach, and crashing off of the building, into the air. The Krath had to act quickly if he was going to complete his objective: Extraction of DNA and blood sample of a fully turned Zombieesque creature. He whipped out the syringe, and drove it into the beast's flesh, seconds before he crashed into the rocks, killing the creature, but leaving Khotaro with 2 broken legs.
"Khotaro to base. Sorta broke my legs. Using the Force to suppress the pain at the moment, but hurry. I can only do this for so long. I also have a vial of blood from the creatures." said Khotaro.
"What happened? I thought you captured a live one." said Alector, alarm in his voice at the Krath's report.
"Yea...well, I was sort of blinded by my arrogance when I captured the thing. It led me to lose my focus, causing the beast to slip from my control, casing him to attack me, alerting two more creatures in the area. I killed one of them with my sword, escaped another, and killed another by using him as a cushion, sadly, the rocks thought it would be cool to break my legs." admitted the Krath.
Things were getting hectic and Alector had decided to no long sit in the command post, he kinda had experience with the Undead; in reality his grandfather had told him a lot about the nature of life and dead. The young man sure wished Jonaleth was here now.
No, he thought, come on… you can do this without grandfather’s help… show him you’re a man for gods sake.
It was almost seven hours into the search and no-one had found anything that looked to be the source of it all, the next logical step was to nuke the island but that wasn’t his choice to make. “OK, teams, I’m joining the hunt,” Alector said down the comm links as he holster a blaster, his lightsaber was hidden away and to only be used in an utter last resort.
The young Special Operations Commander moved out accompanied by two DSOG troops to watch his back. “Keep your eyes opens soldiers,” he said to them.
“Yes sir,” the replied in unison.
Lets do this! Alector thought.
OOC: No more time jumping please, leave that to myself, Malisane and the others who are aiding in running of the plot. Thank you.
The police officer holding the blaster cannon shone it's light beam on the alleyway below. "No sign of the thing, get lower."
"What the hell was it?" the driver asked as he lowered the speeder down towards the alley floor.
"No idea," the other replied, "there's been reports of torn bodies, guess we'd better call in a forensic team to check out what's left of that train."
"Got you," the driver replied picking up the communicator and talking into it."
The officer with the blaster continued to shine his light around the empty alleyway."
Malisane watched the fire burning from the nearby monorail. He'd seen the explosion and headed over, but now his and Senth's route was blocked by a wall beyond which was a warehouse. "We need to check that out captain," he decided, "those things must be near."
Senth scanned the area around then pointed, to where two police officers were running towards their speeder. "That ought to do. They seem in a hurry."
Malisane nodded and they ran over to intercept the officers. "Commander De Ath, Dlarit Special Operations Group. We require your speeder."
"We're responding to a call get out of here," one of them replied.
"I don't have the time for this," Malisane said coldly and swung his fist around, smashing it into the officers face. A second later Senth dropped the other one and at Malisane's gesture clambered into the drivers seat and powered up the saber. "Head towards that explosion."
In the alleyway the other speeder was still hovering ten feet from the ground. "No sign of it?"
"No," his partner replied, "backup should be here in a few minutes, they can do a search on foot. Take us up."
As the speeder ascended suddenly a dark shape dropped from the building above, hitting the speeder, driving it downwards as the passenger was wrenched from his seat, his neck snapping in the creatures clawed grip. The driver fought for control trying to both land and draw his blasted as the dead officer was dropped into the alleyway.it was suddenly blasted The creature roared then reached for the driver. A second later there was a loud blast and he creature rocked backwards tumbling towards the ground and landed heavily.
"Take us down Senth!" Malisane ordered quickly, "we need to discern if it's dead or not."
The driver of the other speeder watched them in a panicked daze as Senth quickly landed the speeder, the Sith leaping off and landing half way down. He drew his saber and walked towards the creature, ignoring the dead officer. He leanded down curiously, reaching out with the force. He could sense life.
By now the police officer had also landed. He drew his blaster and with shaking hands covered the Sith. "Hold it there," he told them as the sound of sirens came closer.
Malisane didn't respond. "Senth."
Senth drew his identification, and the officer reluctantly holstered his blaster. He looked sickly at the corpse of his partner then back to the Sith. "What's happening sir? What is that thing?"
"That's what we need to find out." Malisane replied. He glanced up to where a number of rescue craft were heading towards the burning train. "Senth get one of those ambulances down here. Take this thing back to the villa and give it to Macron. He can take it apart, put it back together, whatever he likes. And if you see Sai relaxing by the pool suggest he gets down here and does something useful."
"Yes sir." Senth replied.
Malisane pulled his hood back over his face. "I'm going to take a look around."
Jade looked at Mal'ari'carun then at Ekeia. Her side burned, more then it normally did when it was healing, and it was taking her focus to block the pain. It has been a couple hours since they had gotten the beast and they seem to have been forgotten about.
She looked them both over, sitting there; waiting and wondering when their creature would either wake up or take its own life. Mal'ari'carun looked pretty much unscathed, Ekeia looked a little worse for wear. She hadn’t expected to be thrusted into things so quickly, but Jade could tell Ekeia was enjoying the chance at some action. She cleared her throat. “You guys stay with the creature, I’m going to go and see what’s taking people so long.”
Mal'ari'carun snapped his head to look at her. “You shouldn’t go off alone Jade, it isn’t wise.”
Jade’s eyes went black as she stared at him, cold and merciless, something few saw her do to their face. “I’ll be fine, watch over Ekeia. I’m going to go and see if I can’t find Alector.” Jade turned quickly and started to head back the way they had come, turning around and smirking at Mal'ari'carun. “And don’t forget to check in.” As she left them behind she clearly heard Mal'ari'carun call after her, “nor you.” But that was something she pretended not to hear.
Jade waited until she was way out of sight before ducking behind a building and making sure there was nothing around, inhabitant or creature wise. She slowly took off her belt and rolled down the top of her pants to take a look. The scratch was still clearly evident; it almost looked as though the wound might not close. Normally that part should have healed by now, and it would have bothered her more if it weren’t for the odd rash spreading out from the wound. It was wide and covered most of her midsection by now. Her stomach churned and she felt her daughter kick. Dam! She should have checked sooner, but she didn’t want to worry her team mates, and she’d be on her death bed before she brought this to the medical officers, they always asked far too many questions. Jade shook her head; this wasn’t exactly what she asked for when she woke up this morning.
Taking another look around she quickly covered up the wound putting on her outer robes to help conceal the injury. Jade wondered what would happen if her other side couldn’t heal it, what would she do then? Who would she go to? She already knew she would refuse to go to any medical station. Her mind started to calculate the possibilities as she took off towards her last known location of Alector. He was going to help in the fighting, something she was surprised her “nephew” had held back on for so long, but then again it was his first real fighting command mission. But he was surrounded by old friends of his fathers, something that would work well to his advantage.
Hmmm old friends…Her mind wandered back to her second master, Macron. She debated the notion of using him. It had been a while since they had really contacted each other, although he had told her he would show her more of the Alchemy she desired to learn. For a split second she thought about mentally contacting him, something which her past experiences told her he would have noticed. She assumed that with everything going on he wouldn’t have felt the pull and kept walking towards Alector, wrapping her outer cloak tight against her body.
A couple of inhabitants ran by her and her first instinct was to take them down and feed. Jade planted her feet firmly against the ground. With the creatures running around the last thing this planet needed was another predator. Her skin started to crawl with a warning and Jade snapped her head up in time to see one of the creatures head towards her, only to stop about 20 feet away, snarl with its fangs barred and then take off in another direction. Ok that couldn’t have been a good sign…
"This is turning into a mess." Nero thought as he made his way past the blockade to the command post towards a waiting speeder. He had overheard that Khotaro, a fellow member of his Squadron, had been injured while trying to capture some of the creatures.
The guards at the blockade wore a mixture of both annoyed and confused looks. The planet at large had no idea that a Clan of Dark Jedi ruled over them, and it showed in their actions and the stares, as it must have been a collection of freaks walking in and out. Nero ignored them for now; he had no wish to let them know who the Clan was, he left that task to someone with more authority than he.
Climbing into the speeder, he double-checked his equipment: A small blaster in case things got a little out of control, several daggers, and a medkit inside a backpack. He also carried a case to retrieve the blood sample Khotaro had. In light of the stealth aspect of the mission so far, he had decided not to wear his regular clothes, as they made him stand out. Instead, He had opted for a shirt that was too loud for his own taste, the bright green and blue pattern fitting in perfectly with the relaxing vacationers, but certainly not suited to his disposition. A pair of white shorts and sandals completed the outfit. "Damn tourists..." He muttered as he started the speeder and left the safety of the command post. At least the clothes wouldn't restrict his movement. Reaching for his communicator he dialed the frequency used by the Clan. "Pennant here, I'm en route to Khotaro's location for medical extraction. Will report when mission accomplished."
He pondered the situation during the twenty minute journey. These creatures, the 'muties' as he had heard Macron refer to them as, seemed to be opportunistic predators, prefering to stay in the shadows and only hunt prey that was seperated from the rest of the herd. They were highly aggressive and could either hunt alone or in packs. It would only be a matter of time before they grew bolder, as some had done, and attack larger and more difficult targets. They would spread like wildfire and consume the planet.
Nero pushed aside thoughts of his enemy for now and turned his attention to the surrounding area, as he was closing in on his target. He saw a mass of faint shapes, humanoid and not. Vacationers who had either ignored or were unaware of the danger they were in. Their movements seemed smooth, and none were deemed a threat by the Miraluka.
Khotaro had managed with considerable effort to crawl into a nearby alley, away from the prying eyes of anyone. Nero parked the speeder nearby and walked the rest of the way, backpack and case in hand.
Khotaro looked at the young Miraluka. Despite the pain he broke into a grin and started laughing. "What the hell are you wearing?" He asked between laughs.
Nero kept his voice level, "Trying to fit in a little more, at least until everything spirals out of control." Unpacking the Medkit, he continued, "Now quit squirming, and put the blood sample inside the case so we can bring it back." Nero proceeded to put a splint on the leg, doing so in the most efficient way possible, and completely ignoring the grunts coming from Khotaro, who was still trying to use the Force to numb the pain.
The blade of his sword flashed as he neatly beheaded one of the creates which ran by him. Xander turned around and saw Jade standing there, she appeared to be injured. A number of the creatures had been running around and the group had been fighting to keep them at bay.
“Are you ok?” Xander asked Jade as he approached
“Fine..” Jade said bearing her teeth. She appeared to be concealing an injury but he decided it was best not to press. Xander himself had not taken very much damage, thought the activity had been hot at certain times. He looked around and wondered briefly exactly where his BG was. It rankled him a bit that Fenris would completely abandon his post to be somewhere else.
Looking around for any oncoming danger he tried to assess the situation to decide what was needed to be done. The most important thing at the moment would probably be to find out what the source of the problem with. Some sort of investigation would be needed. Xander turned to Jade and spoke.
“Do we have an exact idea of the source of the occurrence, and what way we might have to solve the problem?” Xander asked
As he said this he heard a yell, barely turning around to fend off an attack from another one of the creatures
Khotaro, fashioned with two, new cybernetic legs that made him 8 inches taller, sprinted down the road, trying to find his target: Alexander. Jumping from place to place, zig zagging to ensure he was moving in an evasive pattern, allowing it harder for anything to hit him, he activated his comm link.
"Xander, on my way, don't go dying on me." said Khotaro, still a little woozy from the surgery he just had. He jumped as fast and as hard as he could onto a one story building, and then jumping up onto another building, having to claw his way up onto it. The higher and higher he rose in elevation, the faster and faster he seemed to travel. As he reached his destination, he could Alexander was trapped. Caught in the middle of three creatures, and another one threatening to tear him apart from behind.
"You look like you could use a little help." yelled Khotaro down to Alexander as he dove onto the street, rolling to one side as he knelt beside Xander in a defensive stance with two Verpine pistols out. "Do I have timing or what?" he said as he shot at two of the creatures multiple times.
"Um..blasters only do superficial damage, it appears Swords and Sabers are the way to go." said Xander. Khotaro looked at him with fire in his eyes. His anger was rising, and his rage amplifiers made sure that it was doing so at an alarming rate. The Dark Side began to pour out from Khotaro, literally tainting his weapons with his anger, he lunged towards one of the creatures, chopping off a leg, rolling behind it and stabbing it near the sternum. He used the Force to pick it up, straining a little, and smashed it into another one.
Xander lashed out at the one in front of him, causing it to fall quickly in front of him. Khotaro looked behind him as he saw Xander continually stab the beast in front of him. "Easy there pal, he's dead. You can tell because he has 42 stab wounds." joked Khotaro as he kicked one of the beast's in the groin, doing nothing to it but stopping it briefly. "Aww...how sad...he lost his manhood." replied Khotaro after he sliced the Beast's throat twice, then stabbing the creature in the heart.
"What happened? Where is everybody?" asked Khotaro as the last creature slowly died. Xander just shook his head, not knowing what to say. "Great. Both of us are clueless. I knew I was gonna be clueless from the beginning, but you'd think you'd know something." said Khotaro as he knelt down behind a dumpster.
"Radio main base. Ask what's going on." said the Krath.
Jade looked at Fenris as he arrived to save the day. She wasn’t sure about Xanders BG, sometimes he seemed a little too egger, but that only made him try harder, though she often wondered if it he was over confident. Either way the kid tried and was good at what he did. That aside though, she hadn’t expected to run into anyone and she wasn’t sure it was a good thing. Her fangs itched to sink into something and feed her lust for blood. It was so strong all she could hear were their hearts beating up and down during the battle, racing as they lunged forward and made their strike and then slowly coming down for a moment when their move was done.
One of the creatures gave its last breath and looked up at her with a grin of sorts that she could have sworn said your turn is coming, and she realized that through the entire fight she never moved to attack the creatures, nor did she feel like she was in anyway threatened.
“…Jade?!” She snapped her head to look at Xander and forced her fangs to retract. “Are you ok?”
She nodded. “Yes.” The word was harsh, a little more then she wanted it to be so she flipped her hood up onto her head and nodded. He was her AED after all, and was thankful for the rescue; even if she wasn’t sure she needed it. “I am, thank you.” She motioned one hand towards Fenris, making sure her abdomen was still well covered. “You do like to make an entrance don’t you?” She tried to be as light as she could but she wasn’t sure if it came off as such.
She was glad for the cover of the hood as the pain flashed past her for a moment, distorting her face. “Well what do you purpose we do now?” she was pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to maneuver away from them so quickly, she would have to buy her time before she could get away and seek out Macron.
Xander gave her a once over, he was going to ask her about why she was so well covered when the rest of them were trying so hard to look like tourists, but decided to let that go at her question. “I think we should see if we can help find out just exactly what these….creatures are.” He kicked at the creature near by, the one smiling up at Jade.
Fenris came up beside him. “And how do you suggest we do that?”
“Easy, go find Macron.” Xander looked at Jade but she turned and motioned with her hand.
“After you.” Oh she was definitely going to let them lead, then she might have that chance to hide if her cravings got any worse.
"Well Sai, they appear to be mutating. You see, the extraterrene DNA inserts itself into the target creature's cells and re-writes them, well it's RNA actually, being viral, but anyhow..." Macron gestured as he ran the sonic scalpel under the disinfectant rinse. A recently autopsied body was stuffed into the disintegration unit with limbs akimbo, an ASP labor droid stuffing it in awkwardly.
"Look, I don't need the thing's life history and shoe size, my friend. The important issue is: How do we stop this thing?" responded the Krath as he sipped his tasty beverage. "Nice mai-tai, by the way Colada-7."
"Thank you babe," replied the vaguely female-looking droid as it returned to the icebox to reload. With these two about, ice was an important commodity.
Macron looked confused, and not from the beverages. "Stay cool dude. I don't know," he replied. "They should have given us shotguns for this job anyhow," he mumbled. "Yeah."
"Excuse me?" quipped Tsainetomo. "You babbling again my good man?"
"Nevermind," replied Macron. "I don't know. So far, it looks to be pretty damn lethal to human tissue, even yours from the sample I took," he snickered. "Not effective against mine, however but I'm not exactly human."
"Say what?" asked Sai as he looked at the alchemist in mock horror. "MY tissue?"
"No need to worry. It's standard procedure in a medical treatment. Of course, having a database of everyone's DNA does have it's advantages," the Warlord replied with a toothy grin. "What we need is a volunteer," he mused. "So far it does not seem to bother aliens not similar to humans. No reports of infected ithorians, for example. I do have several confirmed humans, a Chiss, hmmm..."
The comm unit beeped and both men jumped. "Damn," whispered Sai. "This thing is making me a bit jumpy. I like my DNA the way it is."
"Macron here. Go ahead," said the alchemist as he picked up a hand-held comlink.
"This is Jade. I need to see you asap," the voice replied tinnily.
Tsainetomo looked out the viewport. "Looks like we have a meatwagon out there with a speedy delivery for you, sir," he chuckled. "You're popular these days."
Macron sighed and walked to the now-clean gurney with his comlink in hand. "Follow these coordinates and come see me Jade. Macron out."
Leaving the two confused officers in his wake, he drifted through the crowd, weaving between hundreds of ignorant civilians. Getting past the quarantine wasn't easy, these officials were clearly afraid to disobey orders, though a subtle tap in the Force remedied that, it gave away the fact that his clanmates were definitely running the show around here.
He grinned at the thought.
Raven rented a bike style speeder from the nearest vendor, using a Dlarit credit chip. It was a tourist vehicle, excessive upholstery and the like, but he had quite a lot of ground to cover; looks were hardly at the forefront of his thinking. Too bad the vendor would never see the vehicle again, if the Priest's expectations were correct in any way. Engaging the drive, Raven urged the hovering machine forward, cleaving the air in the narrow city streets in the hands of it's Force assisted pilot, avoiding catastrophic mistakes by way of feats no ordinary sentient could achieve.
Aedile Xander was the Krath's first target, he was the closest Sadow to the quarantine edge. Much could be discerned from the comm chatter, but Raven needed to hear of the transpiring events from someone who understood the esoteric phenomenon from a...first hand experience. He shifted the daisho blades, sheathes sewn into his dark coat, out of the way of his elbow, twisting back on the throttle.
A virulent drop of saliva traced a path down the length of the fang, while the beast let out a heavy breath that swirled in barely visible eddies beyond its snout. The slick complexion of the furlike coat donned by the creature was too dark to discern any single colour, but waves across the entire spectrum glided across the beings back as it arched, lungs drawing in another breath. A hundred feet below, Xander, Fenris, followed by Imperial and her battleteam entered an alleyway that led to the designated meeting point Macron had given to the Tetrarch.
Their scent, carried on the wind met the nostrils of the beast, awakening a sense of deliberation that catalyzed its form into action. In a powerful release of muscular energy, it bounded off the edge of the rooftop it had formerly adorned, landing on another across the artificial ravine created by the alley below. Not stopping, it launched itself against a wall across and thirty feet down, bounding off, it extended claws several inches long and bared incisors even larger, gliding a final twenty feet to the flesh and bone below.
Tendrils of presence probing the Force around him, Raven surveyed the area. Within a matter of seconds, he was aware enough of his clanmates to determine an exact distance. Cursing to himself, it wasn't the only thing there.
"Oh hell no..."
Words escaped his lips; drawing the Force to his hands; Raven leapt off the speeder at the end of the alleyway, to the bewilderment of the few civilians still about in the area. Boot gripping the ground, the Priest catapulted himself into the alley, already beginning to release gathered kinetic energy.
The others looked him over in confusion. Raven slowly relaxed his arms, taking in the sight before him. Surrounded by the group of Sadowites, was a flayed corpse of something that looked like a tarred dog.
A priceless expression of embarrassment flickered across Raven's face as he strode to meet his fellows.
Mal'ari'carun sighed and stood from his crouch, turning away from the street and making his way deeper into the alley. A few turns brought him into the secluded parking lot where Keia was meditating. Though originally brightly lit, minor telekinesis had killed the lights, rendering the place a black as the scales of these mysteriously monsters. Walking over, he stooped down next to his fellow Chiss and placed a hand on her slender shoulder. As her eyes fluttered open, he gave a slight shake of his head to indicate failure.
“No sign of her, eh?,” asked the Jedi Huntress.
“None. And she's not answering her radio, either. Looks like we're gonna have to hump this one back to base ourselves, without being seen.”
“How can we possibly carry the bastard ourselves without using the Force? And if we just float the big hunk of meat along, someone will see eventually.” Ekeia seemed on the verge of exhaustion, and obviously needed more rest than her meditation had granted her.
“We don't carry it back. We have more important things to do, like find out why the hell Jade isn't answering her damn comlink, and link up with Xander.”
“Then how does this sonuvabitch get back to base?”
Grinning, Alaric pointed a thumb over his shoulder. “They take it for us.”
Turning around, the Senior Commander threw a nod at the two squads of Dlarit Special Operations Group soldiers who had just entered the parking lot. “I called in my unit when I started my search for Jade. They won't be much good against these big, ugly bastards, but they'll do for carrying this guy back to Macron. Let's get going.”
As Ekeia stood, the Krath Priest spun his Blastaff around and once more sent a gargantuan jolt of electricity into the beast, insuring it would stay down for the time being. Without a second glance he walked away, the female Chiss trailing in his wake.
Time crept by slowly, minutes stretching to hours, as the pair made their way through the now deserted stretch of commerce known as Yamfianta. It was a dismal sight. Where once this city had been abundantly prosperous, where some of the wealthiest citizens made more in a year than the Chiss Ascendancy, now it was silent as the grave. It was a grave. Occasionally they'd pass shops or eateries with the lights still burning, only to find their nostrils filled with the stench of drying blood. Torn flesh covered the floors like carpet and crimson blood painted the walls. The worst, though, was that the Force still echoed with the screams of the dying, clogging their ears whenever they entered such a place. But still they continued searching.
For Mal'ari'carun, the sight of such places tore at the very core of his being. Ekeia was a relative unknown to him, but he found his was different from many of his fellow Clansmen. They were Dark Jedi, as one would expect from the Brotherhood. He had once been such a creature, but his travels had taught him so much more. There were things he had seen, things he had experienced, that had shown him the futility of a life dedicated to darkness. But most of them weren't ready, and he would soon find himself exiled were he to declare that there was no Dark Side, nor a Light Side, except in the hearts of those who, deluded, sought excuse for their actions. For a Gray Jedi, the events transpiring on this plan were a horror. Good people were dying, without rhyme or reason, through no fault of their own. The others may have come to maintain order, and an uneducated populace, but he came for a much simpler reason. These people were under the protection of Clan Naga Sadow, and helping them was the right thing to do. Still, time crept by without sight or sound of the living.
Sighing, the Priest exerted pressure on the palm of his right gauntlet, opening the docker's clutch and withdrawing his lightsaber. Motioning to a nearby alleyway, he led Ekeia into the Shadows and handed it to her.
“I noticed you don't carry one yet. But I assume you've had the basics?” The Jedi Hunter nodded in confirmation, and Alaric continued. “Good. We have to hook up with Jade. I've been thinking about it, and I think I know why our comlinks aren't working. With a disaster of this magnitude, police probably followed Standard Operating Procedure. SOP would dictating the jamming of all communications in the area, to prevent details leaking out before the officials had a chance to provide a statement. Unfortunately, whoever was manning the station has probably been killed, leaving the comm blackout in effect for the time being. Any of our compatriots in the area would have realized the same, and probably moved on to get back in contact with base.”
Nodding, Ekeia added, “That must be why we can't sense them. Their too far away!”
“Exactly. I don't know about you, but all the death is actually interfering with my ability to access the Force. Luckily, I have another means of finding them.”
“How? Are you going to rig a device to cut through the interference?”
“No, Keia,” replied Alaric, sitting down on the pavement, legs crossed. “Its a bit more...mystical...than that. And remember,” he added, pointing to his lightsaber, “pointy end goes in the other guy.”
Suddenly, the tattoo on Alaric's forehead seemed to open, blood oozing down into the pits of his eyes, and Ekeia's breath caught in her throat.
Sightless, yet everything was visible in the darkness. It was a paradox that he had never learned to accept, not deep down, but it was one he had learned to use. It had been half a decade since the former Oracle had Marked him, but Mal'ari'carun still felt unsettled when he opened the Mark to the world. For a brief moment, after his eyes were closed but before the Mark truly opened, he saw the entire world, filled with colors beyond description, spread out before him. Then it was gone, washed away in a sea of gray, like the Force itself. He knew what he was searching for, and found it immediately. Miles away, in nearly every direction, points of shadow congregated. In groups of two and three and four they searched the surrounding areas, looking for the beasts. But he had known this before, through his own powers of reason. What he needed was the location of a specific individual. That was tougher, but still well within his power.
From each of these points, lines of shadow raced outwards, tangling, and eventually leading into yet other points. The thicker the lines, the stronger the Force User. Unfortunately, with so many Equites within House Marka Ragnos, that did little to narrow down the suspects. Falling deeper into concentration, he found his own thread, and that of Ekeia behind him. While his was solid gray, hers was a darker hue, as if tainted. In a way, it was. Following those threads with the Sight, he traveled across the island, watching as their threads connected with the others. Nearly every thread on the Island connected, and nearly all of them were dark gray to light black. The lines radiating outwards indicated loyalty, and they traced their way from comrade to comrade, and from Apprentice to Master. As he followed their spirals, he found where ten of the threads, most of them – judging by their ephemeral nature – belonging to Journeymen, intersected. They intersected in a point of thickness, that of an Equite. They were the members of the Night Hawks, and that point was their Tetrarch. But there was something odd with her point. Unlike the darkness of her subordinates, or the gray hue of Mal'ari'carun's own, hers was pulsing red, as if filled with a bestial hunger for pure destruction. It was Jade, but not the Jade he knew.
Time was short, and growing shorter.
She screamed his name with abandon, until her lungs ached and she felt she would drown in the blood from her screech-torn throat. But still he failed to respond. And more of them were coming. She had killed two, taking off their arms, then their heads. But now three were stalking down the alleyway, and she knew her knowledge of Banlanth would not be enough. Still, she had been given an order, if an implied one, to guard him until he found whatever he was searching for. And she would do it, or die trying.
The Night Hawks stick together!
With a cry of fury, she leaped over his seated form and charged at the beasts, Alaric's cyan blade waving back and forth before her, in an attempt to drive them back. As the one to her left lunged, she thrust the ligthsaber towards it, piercing its heart. Before she could withdraw it, the one on the far right struck. She kicked out with her right leg, a standard move from the Carinor form she knew so well. It stuck the creature under the jaw and, powered by the Force, drove it back a few feet, giving her room to breath. But then the center one attacked, and she couldn't extricate the lightsaber fast enough. Its bulging, sinewy arm collided with her left temple, and she knew no more.
Entranced by the tapestry unfolding before him, Alaric failed to hear the scream of his companion, or the wet THWACK as she struck the wall head-first. What he did see, though, was the threads connecting her fade, as if being pruned, and he knew immediately that trouble had found them. Through an act of will, he forced the Mark closed and the world swam once more into focus. Minor, unimportant details seemed to assault his mind: the stray pieces of crumpled paper dancing across the ground; the slightly uneven brickwork of the buildings to eye side; the long-forgotten stains of a thousand spilled drinks which marked the alleyway's pavement. But above it all was the newly concave shape of the side of Ekeia's head, the side which had struck the wall, leaving a disturbing splatter of blood across the pale blue surface.
Jumping to his feet, he reached out with the Force and called his saber into his waiting right hand. With his left, he drew one of his Leorals, reversing his grip on both blades as he did so. A low moan from his right, originating from the prone form of his charge, distracted him momentarily.
“Don't worry kid. You got three. Leave these two up to me.”
With a Force-powered leap, he dove head-first at the two monsters. The one on the right, appearing dazed, as if recently struck, failed to move. The one in the center, though, charged to intercept. The two forms collided, and for a moment it seemed the Krath was doomed to the same fate as his companion. Before it could strike, however, the Chiss contorted his body and brought his saber up from below him, digging deep into the creature's groin and bowls. A primal snarl erupted from it as he sank to its knees, releasing its hold on the Priest. Landing on his feet, Alaric spun, bringing his Echani Dagger across the throat of the creature, scoring a deep wound. As black blood bubbled up from the wound, the beast let loose a last, gurgling snarl before collapsing face-first on the pavement.
The remaining mutant, no longer stunned, brought arm across to swipe at this new challenge. The creature was strong, and fast, but Mal'ari'carun was a master with his blades. Fast wasn't fast enough. Twirling his ligthsaber in a reverse circle, the blade easily slide through the beast's elbow, lobbing off half of its arm. As it roared in pain, the Echani master followed up with a strike from his dagger, digging deep in the black heart of the abomination. With a cry, it too joined its companions.
The Priest sheathed his Leoral and deactivated his lightsaber, once more placing it inside the docker's clutch of his right gauntlet. Hurrying over to the still form against the wall, Mal'ari'carun knelt beside his fellow Chiss. Lifting her head to inspect the wound. It was bad, but not as bad as he'd originally thought. She'd live, as long as she received help soon. And judging by her groan, she was still conscious. Despite the pain, that was for the best. Lifting her into his arms, he quietly exited the alleyway.
“Did I do it? Did I buy you the time you needed?
“You did. You did excellent Ekeia. I found Jade, and Xander is with her. We'll be there soon. Once we rendezvous, we'll get you back to base and they'll patch you up in no time.”
“I do,” the Priest replied. “And I never lie.”
Without another word, Mal'ari'carun headed out, making his way due west.
Jade put her comlink back at her waist. Yes Macron would have an answer, or so she hoped. She still wondered what the look on his face would be like when she showed up all hidden in her robes, only to reveal the rash that she could feel spreading. Although she more then hoped she wouldn’t just be another experiment to her former master.
Jade watched Xander and Fenris take a few more steps forward, followed by the new comer Raven. Somewhere in her mind he triggered a bell but she couldn’t figure out why. His entrance had been an interesting one, one she was sure he wouldn’t live down, at least not for a while. She could tell he was of higher rank, could feel it flowing off of him, he should have sensed the dog like creature. She chuckled to herself, the look on his face had been priceless. Still she couldn’t help but wonder where she knew him from. Shaking the feeling off Jade wrapped her outer robes closer to her skin and took a few steps before kneeling in pain. All she saw was red, the red pain of hunger, the red lust for blood and revenge, and the red hues of light that her eyes made while she closed them tightly. She quickly threw the force into it to hold down the pain and stood up just as the three turned to look at her. She said nothing only continued to walk towards them. She debated pushing past them and walking on ahead but that would be against etiquette as well as no longer give her the option of ducking out. So she stopped a few feet in front of them. Her voice held a slight hiss. “Shall we continue?” Standing there waiting for them to move was aggravating and causing her precious time, finally Fenris turned and continued to walk in the direction that they were headed. Raven gave her a look before following. Xander stood there for a moment though, his arms across his chest as he assessed her. She could tell he was about to question her on something, and she had to avoid it. “Standing out here isn’t a very smart thing…Those creatures could arrive any min now.” With that she took a few steps closer, releasing her breath slowly as Xander turned and headed off after Fenris and Raven. Yet he didn’t let her fall far behind him. He was watching her. Her instinct told her he was a threat and should be taken out. The rash burned her midsection as her fangs lengthened, and she crouched lower in her stance, clearly stalking prey…
Thoughts raced through his mind as he followed Jade. The group he was with had radio'd in to their set up base of operations and had been given coordinates to follow. He had heard a crash from behind him, and Raven's entrance had been rather sudden.
"Shall we continue?" Jade had hissed, Xander raised an eye brow. "
Standing out here isn't a very smart thing... Those creatures could arrive any min now." the lady said taking a few steps closer. He eyed her, she appeared to be injured but he didn't want to question her. He turned ad continued afte Fenris and Raven who were progressing towards the coordinates which had been given to them. He was slightly concerned about Jade, and fell back a bit to be able to watch everyone he was with.
Suddenly Jade turned and crouched as if stalking prey. Sensing something behind him Xander instinctively ducked as one of the mutant creature flew through the air where he had just been. The air whistled above him as the monstrosity soared above him landing in front of him. Xander plunged the blade of his weapon into the creature as Jade attacked the creature from the other side.
"Nice instincts sensing that creature behind us." Xander said. "I owe you." he said with a mischievious wink as Jade flushed red.
"Well, let's continue before Fenris and Raven get too far ahead of us. We should try to stay together as a group so we can get to the bottom of this." Xander said before she could reply. The continued on towards the the coordinates which they had been given. As they continued Xander continued to keep an eye on Jade, though she didn't appear to be in immediate. He was also slightly concerned that she was taking on such a dangerous mission, especially with he pregnancy and all.
As the continued Jade received communications as she continued to communicate with her squadron. As this continued Xander pulled up a data pad and quickly pulled up a map which he marked the coordinates on, so he could track their movements on with GPS.
They arrived at Macron's coordinates, as the various members began to assemble to hear what the alchemist had to say. As they did such, Xander began to plot how they would begin to move towards the source of the problem. The problem at hand wasn't simply knowing what the problem was, but also finding out what the source of the problem was and address the root of the problem rather than simply addressing the symptoms. Hopefully they would be able to efficiently investigate everything.
Xander blinked and thought for a moment. As he thought about the creatures he could help but wonder if it wouldn't be in their best interest to figure out a way they could harness whatever was causing this problem so they could use it in some sort of weaponized capacity in the future? The creatures here had done a signifant amount of damage, perhaps in the right hands it could be a tool.
"Macron..." Xander said addressing the Madman. Xander had never really had a lot of interaction with the individual before so he wasn't quite sure how this would go. "Do we have any idea on what is going on, and what we should be doing? What is our next step from here?"
Malisane kept his robe tight around him as he quietly walked through the backstreets. He could hear loud pumping dance music behind him. The evening was beginging to liven up, as people finished dining and began to head towards the bars. He was remembering the design of the resort, it had taken him and Jenna months of planning. Ahead of him was the medical centre, just a few streets away. A theory was building in his mind and he decided to follow it. Suddenly he stopped, and ducked into the shadows, someone or something was following him.
He waited, keeping his breathing shallow and quiet, then leapt out, saber igniting and he slashed it around to meet a second blade.
The two Sith faced each other cautiously, the two sabers crackling as their blades touched. Malisane stared into the face of the battlemaster for a few seconds then switched off his saber. "It's been a while Derev."
Derev grinned and deactivated his saber. "So it has."
"What are you doing here?" Malisane asked.
"Same as you I imagine," the former Quaestor replied, "the map says there's a medical centre near here. Seemed worth checking out."
Malisane nodded. "If people are turning into these things they might go there first."
"That's what I thought," the battlemaster replied, "check it out?"
Malisane nodded. "Let's go."
They approached cautiously. The medical centre was a large three storey building, and was largely for emergencies, more serious long term cases were flown to the main hospital in Seng Karash, but anything from sun stroke to alchohol poisoning to major injuries were dealt with here. There was an identical one in Refarice.
"Looks quiet," Derev commented.
Malisane shrugged. "I expect this is their quiet time," he replied, "too late for beach injuries and too early for drinking ones."
They drew closer, towards the big glass doors. "Still a bit quiet though," Derev commented, "you'd expect to see reception staff drinking coffee."
"Down!" Malisane said quickly, ducking, as a large grey shape passed the doors on the inside.
"I think we may have been right," Derev commented, "we should scout it out."
Malisane nodded. "We'd better use the back door."
"Round the back."
Derev grinned. "Makes sense, let's go."
The duo made their way around the building, hugging the dark shadows of the building. Momentary exposure was unavoidable as the two Sith ran from shadow to shadow, their footsteps silent.
"Look at all the speeders Derev, there are people in there" Malisane pointed out, as they used the various vehicles for cover.
Nodding his head in agreement, he suddenly froze. Malisane stopped mid step and looked in the direction Derev was staring. Not ten meters away there was movement between two speeders. It was entirely too fast to still be human.
"At least there were people here, I have a feeling we're in for some trouble" Derev noted, as his hand slowly moved to his belt, releasing his saber into his hands.
"Should we call in the troops?"
"No" Malisane responded "Lets wait and see what we're getting into first". Derev nodded as the two resumed thier course to the rear of the building. As they approached the final corner, Malisane signaled to stop. With due caution, the Battlelord turned his head around the corner. After waving Derev forward, they slowly approached the door, both of their sabers drawn.
"What in the..hell..is that smell?" Derev suddenly shouted out. Before he could even consider his answer, he realized he'd spoken too loud. The glare from Malisane increased that realization. Derev rounded the door, taking a glance into the doorway while he maintained a safe distance from it.
If it weren't for the smell, and perhaps the body parts strewn about, one might've thought they had painted the entire interior crimson red.
"Do you think they're all dead?" Derev asked, the grip on the hilt of his saber tightening with each passing second. Malisane was not afforded the opportunity to respond. As if warned by some internal alarm, both of the Sith spun around, their blades igniting as they moved.
"I believe we found something" Derev announced sarcastically as he swung his saber at their attacker.
Macron felt a little giddy, his heavily armoured appearance and reputation for macabre insanity was obviously intimidating the Marka Ragnos Aedile. He made it a point to speak in an ever so aggressive manner; it made the Knight squirm.
"What I need, is a live specimen - of someone who's in the process of being infected. I need to see how this thing turns people into more of it's own; and furthermore, if dead people can still become these beasts. I don't want to suddenly find all of the bodies, hehe, springing up, you know?"
Xander cringed, picturing that grotesque sight. Even as a Dark Jedi, some things were still horrific enough to bother him. "Where, Macron, might we find someone in this state?"
"Well, there's still reports of one or more of these things in the Refarice region of the island, that we haven't even begun to investigate, that's where I would look. Now Jade, you needed to see me?"
Jade stepped between Xander and Fenris, gripping her torso, turned herself over to Macron's examinations. Raven noted something about the young priest, she was becoming...more feral. She didn't seem like an ally anymore. It was a feeling in the Force he was picking up on, subtle but there, a hostile air. He looked at his old friend. Macron looked back, nodding. He felt it too.
Ekeia was just barely hanging on to consciousness. The blood which had been pouring out from where her head had connected to the wall in the alley had temporarily slowed down. However the loss of red bodily fluid and the spot on her left temple where the forearm of the creature had hit her had been enough to give her a raging headache which was an understatement to say the least.
~ ~ ~
The day had been interesting. All the deaths had made the day one of morbidness while the creatures themselves who had been doing the killing gave it a bit of mystique. Then there was the stupid. What had Alaric been thinking been thinking giving her saber that was more powerful than the training sabers she was accustomed to using. Ekeia had just not been ready for the sudden differences and now she would have a colorful bruise on her face, though this was not the time to be wondering what colors of the rainbow would be found for they were still in danger and Alaric had trusted Keia enough to let her guard him so that’s what she’d do.
Quickly sinking into a long stance, Ekeia brought her arms into a defensive position. Two of the mysterious creatures circled her. Picking the smaller of the two she taunted it by faking a loss of concentration. Almost immediately it launched towards her head but she dodged the attack by dropping to one knee and performing a shoulder roll under the leaping creature. Standing up she quickly went back down to do a sweeping leg kick to knock the larger beast’s legs out from under itself. Completing the spin while rising she didn’t give the downed monster a moments rest by bringing up her right knee and stomping down on the neck as hard as she could.
~ ~ ~
Alaric struggled to walk along the cluttered ground and keep from dropping Ekeia as she squirmed around in his arms. All had been fine until just recently when she had supposedly decided that he was an enemy. Blocking multiple attempts at punches, he didn’t realize that Keia had twisted into an almost standing position until she had a foot down on the ground and the other leg still twisted in Alaric’s arms. Knowing that if she twisted anymore and fell it would surely snap her leg he briefly let go of the trapped leg. However, by doing this Alaric had let down his defenses and didn’t catch the fist going straight to his jaw in time. Backing away to give his companion time to cool down Alaric didn’t notice her slightly stagger which caused her to trip over her own feet and dive into a broken window face first until it was too late. The good news was that the shock from newest addition to the list of injuries had been able to bring her out of whatever hallucination she had been in.
Xander nodded as he listened to what Macron had been saying. He mulled over the options while he stood there and thought for a moment. He looked around at the various faces around the table, the group consisted of Fenris, Raven, and the newly arrived Mal'ari'carun and Ekeia.
“Ok, we are going to form a sortie to find another specimen for Macron. We are looking for one which has just begun to mutate, or someone who has just been bitten” Xander said, his voice all business like. “This mission is going to be a little bit delicate for two reasons. First of all we are supposed to be doing this quietly, people should not be aware of the fact that there actions being taken by the clan. So this means no lightsabers.
Mal'ari'carun frown and spoke up “Does it really matter? Wouldn’t it be easier to jus simply go in and kill everyone who appears to be infected and end everything that way?”
Xander smiled as similar thoughts had passed through his mind. “Have you noticed how much havoc this infection has caused? Imagine if we could use a weapon like this, to our advantage?”
Mal'ari'carun’s grinned maliciously “Yes, this does indeed have some sort of possibility”.
“Indeed.” Xander said dryly. “Furthermore, we don’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves, so we are going to stay out of sight for this operation.” Xander looked around and pulled out a bag. “Since we are not using lightsabers, and we are looking to subdue, I suggest that we use these.” He reached into the bag and pulled out what appeared to be a stick from the bag.
“Is that..?” Fenris asked
“Yes, this is a Stokhli spray stick. Since we are looking to subdue I suggest that we make use of these. For those of you who know what these are bare with me while I quickly over this. This is a Stokhli spray stick, these weapons were originally created to stun large animals like Gundarks. The way it works is it shoots a mist like substance up to 200 meters, the spray is triggered by this thumb trigger.” Xander pointed out the thumb trigger. “Once you push the button an energy net will form, and surround the being you wish to stun. If this does not work to stun the creatures you can you these stun pads to further shock the creature.”
Xander handed out the spray sticks to everyone. Once the weapons had been handed out, he pulled up a map on the screen and pointed on it.
“We are headed to the Refarice region where hopefully we will be able to find what we are looking for. Try to stay together as a group, we move out in 20 minutes. Any questions?”
Derev spun around as the creature leapt, minimising its target and slashed his saber through it's midriff, and was rewarded by a roar as it's torso fell to the floor, a few feet from it's lower half. He grinned. "Easy."
A second later he gasped as the creatures arm gripped his leg, wrenching him from his feet and he hit the ground hard. Malisane reacted immediatley and drove his saber down into the creatures head, finding the brain and it stopped thrashing. Derev reached down and pulled the dead grip apart, releasing himself and slowly got to his feet. "Resilient aren't they?"
Malisane nodded, then spun around as another entered, ducking and slicing at it as it leapt towards him, this time aiming for the head. The creature fell twitching to the floor. "They're fast as well," he commented.
"We need to move," Derev replied, "they'll have attracted more. We don't want to be overwhelmed in confinded spaces, sooner or later one will get lucky."
The two Sith moved quietly through the back corridors of the medical centre, sabers at the ready. They ducked into a side room at the sound of clawed footsteps, and watched as two of the creatures passed the door. "Wonder how many are in here?" Malisane mused.
Derev shrugged. "Could just be two more, could be dozens."
They waited until the corridor was clear and then continued. "The main ward is ahead, we might find something useful there." Malisane said quietly.
They entered a large room with about eight beds in it. The floor was wet with blood, and several clawed corpses littered the floor, staff and patients. It was deadly quiet.
"There aren't enough bodies here," Malisane remarked, "this place has about a dozen staff."
"Maybe some of them became creatures," Derev replied.
"Maybe." Malisane replied. "Wonder where they are, it's too quiet."
Derev looked around, then glanced up hearing a strange noise above. "Stay very still," he whispered.
"Hmm?" Malisane asked, then let his eyes drift upwards, taking in the dark shapes attached to the ceiling. There were a lot of them. "Ah."
"Back towards the door, very slowly." Derev said under his breath.
Malisane nodded, gripping his saber, as the two Sith slowly walked backwards. Suddenly they heard something behind them, a creature stood in the doorway. It roared before Malisane drove his saber through it's chest. Above them a dozen sets of six eyes snapped open and regarded the two Sith.
"Run!" Derev said, jumping over the twitching creature in the doorway, and Malisane was after him, as behind them creatures began to drop to the floor and pursue.
1800 Local Time
By the time Raistlin and the commandos reached the forward operating point, the place was completely sealed off. Civilians and tourists stood outside a barricade and armed D-SOG units along with local militia vehicles and police kept the place locked down from the outside. The speeder stopped and he left the vehicle, still somewhat oblivious as to what was ocurring. He tried looking around for a familiar face, but found none and instead went to what looked to be the command tent, where he was met with somewhat odd looks, considering his casual attire, but one D-SOG soldier recognized his prescence and immediately snapped to attention, which caused the rest of the room to do so.
"At ease... I'm Marshal Commander Raistlin and I need to be brought up to speed on what's been going on. I..... I wasn't even listed as being available for contact, so I'm almost totally oblivious. You'll need to start slow." he said, and sat down waving the salute off as he glanced around the room. There were about 20-30 people inside who immediately went back to busily milling about, he recognized a few D-SOG officers, and saw many more specialty personnel, doctors and communicaytions experts, slicers and others were all scurrying around.
One of the officers came over to him and sat next to him, extending his hand, whcih Raist embraced warmly. He was a Twi'lek and looked as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders "I'm Captain Mal Dras, head of Intelligence for Aeotheran Police and a D-SOG liasion, what we know at this point is next to nothing, Early this morning we began getting numerous reports of sentients on the island being viciously and savagely attacked and mauled, what started off as a trickly has been getting worse and worse by the hour. If the D-SOG and the rest of the military hadn't come in as soon as they did, I have no doubt in my mind we would have been overrun."
He paused to let it sink in, Raist said nothing, his mind working in overdrive, processing the information and formulating conclusions as the Captain continued.
"What we know about the creatures is simply that, they're creatures. They're fast, they're resistant to some weaponry, they're highly intelligent and they retreat if cornered. We've heard they look like everything from a hideous blob to a large vaguely humanoid-looking insect, so reports are sketchy at best." Captain Mal paused, and turned away from the Exarch
"I need someone to get me Supreme Commander Isradia on the line, on the double." he then turned his attention to Raist.
"I'm gonna have you get in touch with Isradia, he isn't here and I have no idea where he went, but my men are mostly trying to keep the populace quarantined and under wraps, we're having a hard time as it is. We're planning on enforcing a curfew and lockdown if the situation doesn't improve...." he let out a long sigh and then turned away from Raist again, who was left to his own devices momentarily.
He had no clue what to think or expect, he still couldn't feel Shayna through the Force and it had been almost 12 hours since he had last seen her. To complicate matters, his pair of Kylan-3 blaster pistols had been stashed in the speeder that she took, though that was a good sign for her as well, as the pistols were packed a serious punch.
"Raistlin," Captain Mal said pulling him away from this thoughts, "Commander Isradia..." and he was then handed a commlink.
"Raist.... I had no clue you were even around, it's good to hear from you. What's going on?" he asked
"Supreme Commander, it has been some time. I'm here to assist, whatever's going on, you guys could use my help. I was here on vacation, ironically.... this whole day's been kind of surreal." Raist said.
"Tell me about it, I've got all kinds of stuff going on right now, my head's spinning. Listen, I know Mac is having some of the Clan at his place to do some kind of favor for him. I know he's been working on the DNA of the creatures we've been facing, maybe he can fill you in, and i'm sure you can be of use to him whatever is going on. Keep the commlink and if something develops, I'll be in touch. Isradia out."
Raist paused, and for a moment, considered just leaving, heading back to the private docking bay where the Seraphim was stored and leaving. But he quickly decided against it. With coordinates in hand, he headed off to secure some kind of supplies from whatever could be made available. He had a feeling he would need all the help he could get. He needed to go see Macron, perhaps he would have the answers to what was going on. But before that, he had one stop he needed to make.
The non-discreet house in the residential district just outside of Lor Zataen looked like just one of the any other hundreds of houses in the wing. Home to lower-to-middle class people who lived on Aeotheran and who mostly worked in the tourism industry, catering to those who chose to make the resort and the surrounding area a vacation destination. Down the street some children were playing a game of kickball and other then that the street was pretty much deserted. Raist checked the number, then parked the recquisitoned speeder outside.
He hopped out and began to ascend flights of stairs on the 5 floor unit. He stopped at the third and quickly found the number he was looking for. 3107
*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*
Raist heard a scratching around inside and a gravelly voice answered "What's the password?"
He sighed, then responded angrily "The password is you have 5 seconds to open the door before I blow off the frelling lock. Don't play with me today." Raist said before pulling out the blaster pistol he had managed to grab from the D-SOG unit. "One..." he said, taking aim. "Two..."
Raist never reached three, the lock slid off and the door opened, revealling an incedibly dark interior which he entered. As his eyes adjusted to the room he sarcastically remarked, "You know what would really help u Salazar? Some light every once inawhile.... contract with the outside world, you know what that's like, right?" he asked.
"I stay away from the outside world as much as possible... especially when its full of psychos who threaten to blow my door off because i won't open it." Salazar remarked back, his voice dripping in sarcasm
This small apartment was where his remedy connection on Aeotheran resided. And though he had several clients and was known to the authorities, Raist had pulled strings in the past to let him go free, simply to continue his supply to the Exarch.
"What can I do for you?" Salazar asked "Or were you just in the neighborhood and decided to drop by?"
Raist dropped the sarcasm and answered "I need to know if Shayna was here today?" he asked.
Sal shot him a confused look "Uhh, yea? She came and picked up your package? Don't tell me she flaked out on me...." he trailed off and Raist cut him off.
"She's missing.." Raist said, trailing off. "I didn't get the package, and i'm going to need some, while i'm here. Also.."
Sal cut him off beligerently, "Oh no... I don't have very much left for myself buddy, things have been very busy, besides, technically, you still owe me for the last one." Raist shot him a look that stopped him from saying anything else.
"I can only give you half. So it'll be 450." Raist threw 100 credits on the table which were instantly snatched up. As Sal began moving, Raist remarked, "If I were you, i'd get out of here, things are going down. Get offplanet for a few days, go anywhere but Aeotheran." Raist remarked.
"Yea I know," Salazar said, looking up from his work momentarily "Police radio's been nonstop all day. Talk of attacks and murder and all kinds of gruesome details I don't care to hear. Maybe I will take off for a few...." he said.
Raist said nothing a minute later he had what he came for. He thanked his friend and was quickly back in his speeder on his way to Macron's. He hadn't gotten what he had came for, only more questions... no answers.
Raist parked the speeder a small distance away and began walking toward Macron's villa. The real estate was prime, much like Raist's and he commended the Sith Lord for his excellent taste. The fact that the Sith managed to have a rock grotto pool as part of the natural formation for his private beach also intrigued the Exarch. Something he would have to have added later to his own. But for now he let the frivolous thoughts leave him
He ascended the stairs to the door, much of the light coming from the lit interior as the sun was beginning to set in the sky, giving it a deep red hue that over in the horizon was creeping toward black. He opened it and saw several Jedi inside whose attention all turned toward him. He recognized one or two, but they regarded him quizzically. However, his old friend, Macron Goura did not, his expression immediately turning Jovial
"Raist... what a surprise. It is good to see you," The two clasped hands and smiled
"Likewise old friend, it has been some time. We have much catching up to do." Raist said.
"Indeed, and you still owe me a rematch, one that has been a long time coming. Right now though there are much more grave matters at hand. Surely you've been briefed on what's been going on?" Mac asked.
"As best as everyone knows yes, there is a ton of disinformation apparently as well." Raist added
"Exactly what these Jedi were up to," He gestured toward the assembled. "They were going to attempt to retrieve a live sample for me in the Refarice region. I'm going to stay here and continue to analyze their DNA, it truly is unique. You see, it contains a unique amount of Dytreptothalmine, which makes...."
"Later Mac," Raist said, cutting him off. "I'll accompany them, if they don't mind. I'm trying to get to the bottom of this myself." He turned toward them and none voiced an objection. "Then its settled.." Raist trailed off and turned to leave.
"Good luck to you all. I have no doubt you'll succeed. If anything comes up, I'll be in touch." Mac said.
With that, Raist went to get ready.
As Raist excused himself from the assembly, Mac called over his shoulder to a non-descript dark corner of the room. “So, what do you think, Sai?”
Heads swiveled as the Clan Rollmaster emerged from the shadows, his arms crossed and his own head bent in thought. Mac had fought, and bled, with Tsainetomo on countless occasions, and there was none in the Clan whose analytical mind he trusted more.
Xander gave a start. “Where in Sadow’s name did you come from?” he asked, voicing what had been on the other five Force-users’ minds. “The Ninth Circle of Hell, if you believe the latest rumor that’s going ‘round,” the Keibatsu replied with all seriousness. He continued. “I’ve been here watching and listening, and Mac, my friend, I think several things, but we haven’t the time to have me list them all. So, for brevity’s sake, I’ll stick to what’s important.”
Tsainetomo crossed the room in measured steps, his long braid swinging at his back in time with the Enforcer bouncing at his hip. He began to count off a list he’d been forming in his head. “Firstly, I think that it’s suicide for any number of us to stay in any one place for an extended period of time. We know that these...things...are multiplying at an exponential rate, and the more time we spend planning and acting sporadically, the better chance we have at getting overrun.
“Secondly, I think that, by your examination of Jade, her unique physiology notwithstanding, we should definitely avoid getting bit, scratched, or otherwise breathed on by these things. We don’t know what’s causing these mutations as yet, and by extension, we don’t know if the condition is communicable.”
By this point, the Archpriest had reached one of the room’s windows, and he stood with his back to it. “Thirdly, I think that if these folks” – here he regarded the five warriors – “couldn’t even sense me in the corner, going out in packs will increase our chances for survival. Sons of Sadow excluded of course.”
“Of course”, came Raist’s voice from another part of the villa.
Sai continued. “These things are dangerous alone, but in packs they’re even more so. Group outings will enable us to keep an eye out for one another.”
At this, the Rollmaster turned to the window and drew back the shade a measure. “Fourthly, I think that, instead of going out with sticks, we should put up some ‘Fire Sale’ signs, get on the first thing smokin', commence orbital bombardment, and scour this place down to the bedrock.”
“Wait a minute, we’ve got to get some live samples, and this is a good way to do it!” Xander vehemently went on the defense, hefting the Stokhli spray device.
“Hold on, I didn’t say it wasn’t a good idea, I merely said what I think should happen,” Sai turned his head from the window, his teeth gleaming in a big smile. “But, I’m just one man, and the mission is paramount, after all.”
Turning his head back towards the window, Tsainetomo noticed several flitting shadows moving among the larger ones the creeping darkness created. “And lastly, Mac, I think we should definitely have shotguns for this kind of job.”
Jade looked at Macron as Xander spoke to him. She wanted to run but at the same time felt the urge to rip all their throats out. She shook the thoughts from her head keeping the hood covering her face and her cloke wrapped tightly around her body. She closed her eyes and took a much needed breath to calm her sudden and rash urges, opening her eyes just in time to see Macron and Xander nod as if they had some agreement going on.
Xander turned and gathered a group together and started talking about their plan to find someone who was just recently infected, Macron gave her a quick look, about to ask her questions when suddenly the door opened and a casually dressed man walked into the room. Everyone could tell his was one of them, and each one she sensed which they had some sort of recording device to get his choice of outfit use for another black mailing time.
Macron moved to greet him and Jade quickly fell back to the shadows waiting for everyone to leave. She heard the stranger’s name come from Macrons greeting “Raistlin,” and was surprised at how egger Raistlin was to join the party going out to catch a newly infected individual.
Jade’s stomach twisted and her daughter kicked out at the pain. It was all Jade could do not to scream or lash out at anyone. She glared through the cover of her hood and nodded once to Xander who gave her an odd look before slipping behind a half wall to wait for everyone to leave.
"I don't like this." said Fenris as he walked out the door with the equipment he was just given. He didn't like the idea of bringing an infected individual into a room that was filled with, what could only be described as, deadly and harmful chemicals that were brought by Macron.
"I don't think anyone asked if you did, Fenris." said Xander, giving Fenris a smile as he brushed past him. Fenris's fists tightened. Each moment they stood within the building twiddling their thumbs, they wasted valuable time trying to exterminate the creatures around them. Xander wanted to use the creatures as a weapon, and the Blind Krath thought him a fool for thinking that was possible.
"And I doubt you'll be able to procure a weapon from these beasts. You'll be the Harbinger of Death if you try, and when the entire planet has died and turned into the beasts, you'll unleash a flood of chaos upon the Galaxy. Within Days, this planet can fall, and if they got onto a ship, it'll be a few more weeks before half the galaxy falls. The only way to control these things is if we brought the Necromancer's from Clan Tarentum, and I don't think anyone wants to do that." said Fenris as he left the building, jumping onto rooftop and leaping from one building to another.
"Where are you going?" asked Xander over his commlink.
"Leaving. Either gonna kill or capture one of these newly infected or turning individual. We'd cover more ground if we split up." said Fenris, flipping from one roof to another, contorting his body to gain more distance.
"I think it would be more wise if we stayed together. This way no more people get..." said Xander as he was interrupted.
"Injured? Who is injured? Jade? She'll be fine." said Fenris, gaining more and more distance away from the rest of the Dark Jedi.
"Just come back. As my Black Guard I order you to co..." said Xander as Fenris shut off his commlink.
"As your Black Guard...I'm doing you a favor by not being around you." said Fenris as he climbed a ladder, leading him towards another building which would give him an excellent view of the entire city.
Raven grumbled. Sai's comments had annoyed him, however, he didn't make it a habit of letting people know he was aware of them. But now this. Khotaro's attitude worried him. The young, but elder priest turned to Raistlin.
"I'm going to follow him. I'll keep my distance, he won't know I'm there. Someone needs to look after him or we'll have an infected jedi on our hands. And I personally don't like the idea of one of these things wielding the Force."
Raist look doubtful, "Raven, it's been a very long time since I've even seen you. Are you sure--"
"Don't worry, I can take care of myself," Raven interrupted, "Oh, and by the way, Ekia..."
He reached into his coat and from his belt released one of a dozen lightsabers, and placed it in the Chiss' cerulean palm.
"You might need this."
Raven cast Raist one last reassuring look, and gave himself a running start before performing a spectacular leap onto the nearest rooftop, gliding on the winds of the Force.
Xander looked at Raist, who's gaze still followed Raven's silhouette. "You think that was smart? Now we might just lose two of them."
Raist turned back in the direction of the Yamfianta - Refarice tram. "You heard him. He can take care of himself," he shrugged, "Besides, if he can't, he'd of been dead sooner or later anyway."
Raven's swift leaps led him quickly to a building two blocks across from Khotaro, whom the Force granted him clear perspective on. He obviously didn't know Raven was there, the Priest carefully masked his Force presence from the Knight, and hugged the shadowed corners of the the cities buildings. However, surface thoughts revealed that Fenris was anticipating and event, and Raven reasoned he expected someone to come after him.
The Priest didn't much enjoy that prospect. Knowing he was here only meant Khotaro was even more likely to blunder into an impossible situation.
Khotaro allowed his gaze to drift across the Yamfianta region. Now, out here, alone, self-doubt played its part. Well, not completely alone, he reminded himself, there was however many of his companions that were following him. Whatever the justification for his actions, he assured himself, he wasn't turning back now. His eyesight came to rest on a particularly shadowed building in the distance in the midst of his thinking. It captured his attention, whilst he pondered where best to find one of the beasts' victims. When he finally brought himself to begin looking closely for such a place, he realized the shadows across the building were moving.
Wondering how long Fenris would stand there, motionless, Raven relaxed. Keeping thoughts doubting his own actions at bay, he continued his watch of the Sadowian Knight. Moments later, Khotaro was gone. Seconds passed before Raven realized it, and he cursed himself to hell for his laxity when he did. Several accentuated lunges carried him across the gaps in between the buildings and to the perch Khotaro had previously occupied. A hundred feet below, and several hundred out, Raven had Fenris centered in his Force-assisted vision.
Not even taking the time to get a particularly good view of the Knight's objecitve, Raven bounded across durasteel plated rooftops with little noise, cushioned field boots and Force assisted landings eliminating any sound, in an attempt to stay within a hundred feet or so of the Knight.
Allowing his mind to drift, while his physical moved on, the Krath reached out in the Force to see the point at which Khotaro had made his objective. The Yamfianta Medical Centre, crawling with every manner of the creatures, swarming into the interior.
Using his old master's favorite curse, Raven breathed a single word, "FRACK!"
Jade sat behind the little half wall listening to the conversations, her other side making every sound clear and distinct, even those white noises that humans so often forgot about. But it was the rise and fall of each heart beat in the room that was driving her mad and her fangs itch to extend and sink into flesh taking the precious gift of life from…every single one of them!! What the hell was wrong with her?! She had to get out of here, she’d just have to come back and visit Macron when he was less busy. Looking around the private villa she spied a back entry that not many were around. Throwing the hood back over her face she silently and quickly moved along. One of the near by younger journeymen turned to look at her as some light caught the tip of one her fangs. She was half tempted to take him down in less then a heart beat but there were too many witnesses, and someone, whoever his master was most likely, would go looking for him and his killer. Something she didn’t need to deal with at the moment.
Pulling her lips down in a frown to cover up her fangs she walked out the door and quickly found some cover outside, and waited, she couldn’t believe her luck when the masses of groups poured out of the villa. She was tempted to go back and find Macron but when she didn’t see him walking around behind the windows her new nature dug deep into her darker half and she went hunting…following those who just left what they deemed to be a safe house.
Jade followed far behind, mixing in with the group in the back. The younger journeymen not knowing any better, thinking she was being reprimanded and sent to stay with them to watch over them. Her skin crawled with the urge to attack, she even sent out a vibe from the force, a shock wave of sorts, practically calling a victim to her. She realized that it had happened when the leaders stopped and turned around. She ducked behind a tree and did her best to hide her energy signature from them, as the etiquettes scanned the area for the odd threat, one that was sent through the force, one that was not expected or planned for.
She waited till the group was further ahead and grinned wide, her fangs growing long as Fenris took off alone, laving Xander and the group to themselves. Oh this was going to be fun! Her tongue ran along her lips and she felt how her other teeth had suddenly become pointy as well, no longer used for both meat and plants, these were strictly predators teeth. And she intended to use them. He eyes went straight black, only the rims showed a small red colour as her lust for blood grew strong and nearly overwhelmed her. She had to think this though, as much as she wanted too she couldn’t let her instincts to kill take over. Fenris was a Dark Jedi, so where those around her. They were smart and had skills. It was not an easy prey, but it was available.
She took a look around. Things started to get dark around the edges, it was hard for her to see peripherally, only things in front of her came clearly. It alarmed her a bit, but she was more interested in taking out her new lonely prey. As she started out stalking low, jumping from roof to roof, following near by, she crouched to the top of one of the buildings and watched as Raven suddenly started to follow the Black Guard. Dam that threw a wrench into her plans. But no matter she would just have to buy her time. Besides Raven was further back, all she would have to do is loop around and take her weaker prey when the opportunity struck. She could feel other creatures were near by, but she risked using the force long enough to send them a message to flee the area, at least for now. This was her prey alone; nothing was going to get in her way….nothing!
She grinned and nearly laughed out loud when Fenris jumped down between to buildings, oh this was going to make it so easy!
Fenris jumped down from one of the roof tops. He had looked behind him and noticed Raven following him. He wasn’t very happy about the fact he had a follower and they had been sent to keep an eye on him, but figured it would happen. Hoping to lose Raven he ducked down into a corridor and ran smack into Jade. “Jade? Where did you come from? I thought you were with Macron!?”
Jade kept the hood up as she answered; a hiss was clearly in her voice. “I was…”She could feel Raven getting closer, she would have to act quickly. “And now I’m here.” The hood fell back on its own accord as she lashed out and grabbed Fenris by the shoulders sinking her new found teeth into the flesh of his neck, as deep as she could go, swallowing fast and tearing at the surrounding flesh. Her darker side also slipped in and began feeding off of his force energy making her stronger and easing the pain she felt. Something suddenly hit her from the side knocking Fenris lose. The force hadn’t been a strong hit but it was enough to take her from her meal. She looked up quickly her new found vision starting to clear as Fenris’s force energy and blood renewed her cells, and she saw Raven giving her this odd look. Not wanting a fight she took off before he could get any closer, running as fast as the force would carry her, she was fairly certain he would stay and tend to Fenris, but she wasn’t taking any chances.
Jade stood panting against a building, her legs ached from the effort of running so fast. A near by voice made her stand up and draw the hood back over her face. Her tongue ran along her lips again, reminding her to be careful of smiling near anyone. She stayed there waiting until she saw Xander and the group coming up towards her, she grinned and walked towards them. A couple trigger happy journeymen drew weapons until Xander waved them down.
“Hey Jade. Did Macron give you the all clear?”
Jade kept walking until she was only about 3 feet away, and cleared her throat to get rid of the hiss. “Yes actually, I was on my way to find you to see if I could help somehow.” Noticing how most of the members of the group kept heading towards their target she felt pretty safe in using the force to gently lift Xander’s comlink from his side. She couldn’t risk Raven calling him to warn him of the situation that just occurred. “So…”She walked around to his side and brushed part of her outer cloak away from her hips. “Consider me at your service Aedile.”
Fenris felt woozy, but at the same time a little empowered. His sight was blurry for only a moment, but he could swear he could feel everything in Jade's body as his life force, his plasma, was being forcefully sucked out of him. Jade's own heart beat strangely slowed down as she drank his blood, and as soon as his attacker came upon her, she was gone. The only thing next to Fenris was Raven.
"See what happens when you go by yourself? You get attacked. You get attacked and you make a mess. You make a mess, and...you get the Dark Council crawling up your Port Exhaust Pipes pretty damn quick." said Raven as he helped Fenris up.
"I let her bite me." he said as he began to walk away.
"You...let...her bite you?" asked Raven. "Come on, how could you've sensed her? I couldn't even sense her." said Raven as he gave a dirty look at Fenris.
"I couldn't sense her. But...her daughter. She might've masked her presence, but she ONLY masked her presence, she isn't strong enough to mask multiple presences. Not yet. Especially with her condition." the Krath said, swinging around to look at Raven.
"Her condition?" asked Raven, staring at Fenris blankly. Fenris rubbed his bald head as he began to explain.
"When she bit me, it was like we were one...being..one person. I could feel her pain, I saw through her eyes, I tasted life for the very first time. She opened my eyes to the Galaxy we live in. Maybe it's the loss of blood causing me to be light headed, or maybe she really did open my eyes. But anyway, she has a huge gash on her side. She's been hiding it, but as I'm sure you have notice, she is getting more and more irritable by the hour. That ain't pregnancy causing it either." said Fenris. "Look...we got 2 options. You continue to follow me, allowing Jade to cause more damage to an unsuspecting victim, OR, you find her, bring her back to me, let her bite me again. I'm willing to let her heal herself via me. If it kills me and saves her and her child, then at least Clan Naga Sadow has a better chance at stopping these creatures. Now, if we don't help her, and you follow me and protect me, which I can sense is your plan, then it's possible that Clan Naga Sadow will be fighting on two fronts. Stopping Jade, and Stopping the Beasts. Now, fighting the Beasts is hard enough. Fighting a Pregnant Dark Jedi...who knows what her mood swings could do."
"I'll find Jade on one condition. You stay in radio contact." said Raven pointing his finger. Fenris nodded, and using the Force, glided towards the rooftops as he disappeared into the night.
"It's knifework in here" Derev yelled above the commotion, his lightsaber impaled in one of the sickly looking creatures and his dagger stabbing another in an eye. Malisane didn't bother responding, his saber producing music only a Sith could love.
"They're gonna get lucky Mal" Derev yelled finally, realizing eventually they would sucumb. "Lets get the hell out of here" he added as he flipped over one of the beasts and impaled it from behind. Malisane only responded with a grunt as the Sith put their backs towards each other, spinning towards the door slowly.
As they made their way through the door, the flow of creatures stopped, their beedy eyes visible deep into the hallway.
"We should be safe out here for a spell" the Battlelord huffed between breaths "I'm getting out of shape" he added, before disengaging his saber and returning it to his belt. Derev's blade vanished, but the hilt stayed firmly attatched to his hand.
"Any thoughts why they're lingering in the hospital?" Malisane asked, contemplating the situation.
"Yah..it's full of sick and helpless people" Derev retorted, his anger at the situation coming out through his voice.
"Right" Malisane said matter of factly "We need to find a radio in one of these vehicles, we've gotta call this in" he added as he scanned the speeders.
"Over here" Derev shouted, standing near a police speeder. As Malisane approached, he grinned as Derev starred at the radio.
"I, uhh, don't have my access code and channel freqs yet" Derev stuttered. Malisane laughed as he keyed in the right codes and frequencies, the static of DSOG's channels coming to life.
Tsingtao filed away the last of the paper work from his desk. He finally was caught up with all the activities in the Cenota Facility. Luckily for him not much happened while he was away on Lehon. Still healing from his wounds, Tsingtao made his way to his bed when his comm link beeped. Sighing heavily, he made his way to the device and activated it.
"Tsingtao, here, what is it?" he said sharply.
"Commander, you have an urgent message from Aeotheran. Priority Red."
"Patch it through to my workstation's private channel, Lieutenant"
Tsingtao looks at his workstation as the communication was being routed and to make sure the channel was secure. He noticed that the frequency being used was from the Lt Govenor of Tarthos.
"Lt Governor Anderson, what can..." Tsingtao said before his was cut off.
"Tsing?" echoed through his speaker.
Puzzled, he replied, "Jade, is that you?"
"Tsing, I need your help, I'm....." the transmission ended abruptly.
He jammed the button to the Communication's Officer, "Lieutenant, what happened to that transmission!"
"We lost the signal, Commander. We did pinpoint the transmission from Lor Zatean."
Tsingtao turned away from the station and made his way to his closet. He quickly put on his gear and made his way to the door. On his way out, he grabbed his comm link.
"Lieutenant, prep my ship for take off. I want to up in 5 minutes!"
The shuttle landed on the grass next to the others, just inside the walled grounds, and the ramp lowered. Immediatley two D:SOG guards came down and stood either side, rifles raised. A few seconds later Faeril Munlear, Quaestor of House Ludo Kressh and Governor of Aeotheran came down it and glanced around at the villa. The patio doors behind the pool were open and she strode towards them, her guards in tow. The guards at the doors saluted as she approached. She turned to one. "Where is the Pro Consul?"
"Just inside maam," he answered.
"Is that you Faeril?" Alector's voice called out.
She nodded and passed inside, blinking for a moment at the change in light. The interior of the villa had been changed since their arrival, a hologramatic display had been set up and several computer banks in the main downstairs room. Alector looked up. The Rollmaster was stood beside him. Sai smiled as she entered.
She walked over to them. "I have good news. I have been monitoring the situation in Seng Karash and liasing with my chief of police. There have been no reports of unusual alien activity in the city. Some unrest at the cancellation of flights to this island has been dealt with without incident."
Alector nodded. "What about people who've left the island in the last few days?" he asked.
"Six hundred citizens have been checked at their place of work or education. They're not showing any change from their last health check."
"Good," Alector replied, "we can monitor any developments there. So far it seems this is confined to Lor Zatean. The military high command have tested service personell who have returned from leave and also have shown no results."
"We still can't be sure of that," a voice said from the doorway, and they glanced up to see the alchemist enter. "we still do not know what is causing this, and until we get adequate testing we still won't."
"Well we can continue to monitor the situation," Alector replied calmly.
Sai looked up. "Incoming verbal transmission."
Malisane's voice filled the room. "Derev and I are at the Yamfianta Medical Centre. We have a problem here."
Alector glanced at Sai who clicked a button and the hologramatic map homed in on the location. "We're hearing you Malisane. What is the situation?"
"We've been inside. There are a large number of the creatures present. They have massacred whoever didn't mutate inside. We'll need backup to clear the place out. I do not feel the local police force have sufficient resources. We have a number of them maintaining a watch over the entrances.
Alector frowned. "What do you suggest?"
"If we go in we're going to need D:SOG." the Battlelord replied.
Alector paused, then replied. "Not at the present time," he replied, "once armed marines turn up it will alarm the civilians. We do not need wide spread panic."
"These things are multiplying rapidly Alector," Malisane replied, "that may be inevitable."
"Xander is leading a team to Refarice," Alector replied, "once he returns with a specimen we'll have a better idea what we're facing. Keep the police around that building."
There was a pause. "Very well. By the way you should have a specimen by now."
On cue the doors at the front of the room opened and Captain Senth entered and saluted. "Sir, I have brought one of the creatures back, unfortuntley he sucumbed to his injuries before we arrived, the medics do not understand the alien physiology."
Macron shrugged. "I will take a look at him anyway. It might shed some light until Xander brings back a live one."
Alector glanced at Senth"Return to Battlelord de Ath Captain, and thank you."
Lor Zatean Shuttle Port
"This is a public service announcement on behalf of Dystopian Leisure and the Dlarit Corporation. As of yet all shuttle flights to Seng Karash remain delayed while we deal with technical problems. We thank you for your continued patience at this time. Refreshments are still available in the cafeterias and restaurants, and selection of tobbacos, perfumes, soulvenirs and wines and spirits are on offer in the gift shops."
Two hundred tourists stood around or sat on suitcases groaned. They had been here over five hours now, most had expected a short shuttle ride back to Seng Karash and their own home hours ago. The security were relaxed but puzzled by the delay as much as anyone. Several people got up to head for more coffee or for a smoke on the balcony.
Outside the shuttleport it was quiet, a line of speeder taxis had taken several disgruntled passengers to try and book back into their rooms again for another night. The area on the other side of the checkin desks was empty as those who hadn't already passed through had left. No one noticed a sudden movement as dark shapes slipped through the shadows and inside, and a more clambered up the side of the building.
The initial screams startled most of the tired tourists to the feet and the security guards glanced around as a number of hideous creatures bounded over the checkin desks and into the room. As the guards drew their blasters terrified tourists stampeded over each other towards the balcony as the creatures leapt on hapless victims, teeth and claws ripping and blood soaking the floor. The guards tried to aim past the terrified citizens and one got a shot off knocking a creature onto its back in mid leap. The second shot missed as it shook itself back onto it's feet and leapt on him, bearing him to the ground before he could fire a third shot, silencing his horrified cry. A more tourists died as the number of creatures entering grew the mass of people joined those on the balcony, several attempting the twenty foot drop to the ground below where the shuttles waited. A second later more crashed to the ground as creatures dropped from the roof above the balcony biting and clawing driving those on the balcony back against the others pushing to get onto it.
Several of the creatures had died to persistant fire from the security guards who desperatley radioed for police backup, before they joined the dead on the floor. The creatures were persistant, over twenty of them now ripped through the shuttleport searching for fresh victims, the scent of blood and sweat driving them into a frenzy that was now more about hunting and killing their prey than filling their stomachs. Despite the best efforts of the guards fighting to the last man nothing could stop the slaughter.
Gamuslag, Sepros Orbit
The Fosh sat slumped against the back wall of the cell. Or was it the front wall? They were all the same. Vallen had given up remembering which side was the door. He had been stuck there for weeks now. Months. He had given up counting after the first thirty days. Apart from the guard who came once every day to bring him food, if you could call it that, the only sign of life was the screams. Vallen had almost taken to plucking out his feathers in his boredom. Thankfully it had not come to that yet.
They had never even asked him any questions. Not since his arrest. He hadn’t even done anything! The Fosh slouched nearer to the floor. Thinking about it was useless. He was going to die here, Vallen knew it, and all because he had allowed his greed get the better of him. The Fosh snorted. Got what he deserved, he did, Vallen thought, thinking about how at least Darth Vexatus had been killed. The guards had taken it as a perverse pleasure to be telling him that, as if Vallen would have actually shed a tear. Served him right, kriffing lying kath hound, he was.
Vallen started when the Universe suddenly went white. He hated when that happened. They did it every time. Every time. It took the Fosh a moment or two for his eyes to adjust to the light, then he realised the special ops trooper standing above him in the open doorway.
“Get up,” the guard grunted. Vallen was still trying to take in what was going on. This never happened. Before he could work it out he felt a sharp burning sensation where the guard had rammed him with the butt of his rifle. “I said get up!”
Vallen muttered something inaudible as he pulled himself to his feet. His feathers were a mess. Usually they coincided with his mood, right now they were just grey. He half wondered if he was already dead. Better than this, dead would be, Vallen thought. “Going where, are we?”
“Karking bird!” the man said, jabbing Vallen again. “Speak properly.”
Vallen suppressed a noise. He wasn’t going to give the guard the benefit of knowing he was in pain. “Perhaps properly, you do not speak,” the Fosh said, his keratinous beak doing its best to impersonate a human sneer. The guard got the meaning well enough. Vallen grunted slightly when an elbow shoved him harshly out the cell. “Going where, are we?” Vallen repeated.
The guard looked down at the diminutive alien for a second. Even with his full face visor on Vallen could tell he was trying to come up with a witty retort. He didn’t manage much, “You’re going on a little trip.”
Vallen rolled his eyes as his feathers rippled an amused shade of green. Fortunately the guard wasn’t versed in Fosh colour language. His feathers brightened slightly as he was led away.
OOC: I'm posting as my alt Vallen'dere. Darth Vexatus is dead, so don't get confused by my sig and mention him. Vallen'dere was locked up as a traitor during the Lehon events and is still considered one. I've no specific plans with where to go from here.
I figure maybe some of the prisoners might be used as live bait to lure the creatures out or something, justifying why he is taken to Aeotheran. Vallen is probably facing the death penalty anyway, so he'd be a prime candidate to be thrown out to the wolves with no regard for his wellbeing.
Maybe Vallen will use it as a chance to escape, maybe he'll save someone and prove his innocence, maybe he'll just live long enough to be hauled back to his cell. I'm not too worried about the outcome, just so long as he actually survives the story.
Feeding on Fenris had helped to quench her thirst and incredible hunger, making it easy to stand near enough to take Xanders com link and not let the beating of his heart or the ebb of his life force taunt her into action. All strange thoughts in her opinion, after all she did know these Dark Jedi and worked with them often, but now she was beginning to want to tear them apart, and for no good reason. She could try and chop it up to being a pregnant Dark Jedi on mood swings, but part of her knew it had to do with something else.
Xander nodded at her offer of assistance but gave her a weary eye. She knew she would have to be careful around him, he was already suspicious that something was up with her, she could tell in his body language and the way he would casually look over his shoulder in her direction. She waited till one of the soldiers walked up to speak to him about where they were going, before taking out the com link. “Patch me through to Tsingtao.” The voice on the other end was silent for a moment before actually answering, she didn’t quiet know what she snapped back at him but it was enough to made the call go through.
“Lt Governor Anderson, what can..."
Tsingtao had started but she cut him off knowing her time was short, any second now Xander would be sure to either send someone her way or enquire what she was doing on the outskirts of the group. "Tsing?"
There was a long pause and she hoped he wouldn’t ask her to explain why she was on a different com link then her own. "Jade, is that you?"
Jade breathed a small sigh of relief at his lack of questions, but the pain started to return to her stomach and spread outwards, making her fangs itch once more for someone’s life force to ease it. "Tsing, I need your help, I'm....."
“Jade…” Jade turned and looked up at Xander. He was still with the officer but he had that look she had been worried about. She quickly ended the transmission, gave a wave and went over to talk to a couple of the journeymen hoping that would satisfy Xander’s curiosity. Whether it did or not she couldn’t tell as the soldier grabbed his attention one more time.
Alector had been brought up to speed with Jade condition as he arrived; he looked at Xander and motioned him and the rest to move away from the Krath Priestess. The young man looked at her and said, “Jade, are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” hissed the woman in reply as her eyes turned black.
The Proconsul could see she wasn’t fine, he could sense a struggle within her and it was putting her unborn daughter at risk. “You trust me don’t you?”
The Equite hesitated in response for a moment, “Yes… I trust you.” Isradia wasn’t sure of that reply but stepped forward anyway and said, “I need to get you to a Macron, he can help with what’s happening with you.”
The vampire side of Jade snarled at Alector, she could hear the steady beat of his heart, his lungs rise and fall and his slow rhythmic breathing. Her last feed was still fresh in her mind and she could do with another one.
“Are you doing to bite me, Jade?” He asked.
Part of her wanted to attack Alector and sink her fangs into him feeding off his blood, his power, but something snapped inside her and she could do it. Her eyes changed back to normal as she dropped onto her knees, “help me.”
The Battlemaster walked up to Jade, help her up and hugged her, he then (being the crafty Sith he was) reached into Jade’s mind and forced her fall asleep. He picked her in his arms and looked at Xander, “I’ll take care her Macron and stay with her. Carry on with the search for these mutant zombies, try night clubs or any popular venue where as crowd is likely to gather, this is a holiday resort after all… think like your on vacation.” He then turned and walked off with Jade in arms towards the base.
"I think I may have something," muttered Macron as he peered into the proton-microscope. "These things are almost like a virus. They can actually transmit themselves through water... the life-form is active in the blood and other water based substances. Thus the reason why certain aliens are not affected."
"Well they say not to drink the water in strange places," remarked Sai as he ate his roast beast sandwich. "Talk about a serious case of tourista."
"No doubt," giggled Macron. "I'll pass."
A loud scream alerted both of them to a ruckus outside the villa. "What the hell was that?" asked Sai as he stood from the chair and knocked over his drink. "Damn."
"That's alcohol abuse," laughed Macron as he grabbed his saber and stun-stick. "Let's go see, shall we?"
"Sure man," said the Archpriest as they opened the door. A raving human outside moaned and drooled on the ground as several bystanders looked.
"Nothing to see here," remarked the Krath as he waved his hands vaguely at the crowd. The mind trick on so many was difficult, but not beyond his power as most of them had been drinking.
"Move along," ordered Macron as he repeatedly applied the stunstick to the fallen man's writhing flesh with sizzling sounds. "Remarkable," he commented as the man finally fell. "He took enough juice to stun five normal people. Might have some neural damage, but that can't be helped," he commented while the two dragged the man inside the villa. "Looks like we got a live one here."
As the door closed behind them, the sounds of a com-channel opening could be heard. "This is Alector, I'm on my way to your location with Jade," he stated. "She may be starting to regress."
Tracking Jade was simple. The priestess was enduring such an emotional turmoil that she stood out as a beacon when one attuned himself to the Force. Moving quickly across the rooftops, Raven noted the presence of the original group the Tetrarch met up with. What surprised him was the lack of action from Xander. He had simply assumed he was unable to answer after hailing him multiple times over the comlink without reply.
Not wanting to alert Jade, obviously preoccupied with masking her condition, to his presence and risk her attacking someone to escape from him, he stuck to the buildings, carefully watching.
When Alector stepped up to take hold of the situation, the Priest halted. Tension was noticeably in the air. As she collapsed, he relaxed at first, but even as the Proconsul carried her away, he probed her mind, breaking through her collapsing mental defenses as she fell to unconsciousness, and found something eerily still very much awake...and hungry.
Raven burst into action, intent on making it to the Isradia before the figure he held protectively struck out at him.
Jade fell to her knees as she looked at Alector. She couldn’t attack him, she had promised to take care of him, and begun work trying to find his father, being sure that Ashura was not truly dead. Yet here he was in front of her and all she could think about was sinking her fangs in deep and draining him both of the force and his life blood. He had asked if she was going to bite him and every instinct in her screamed to yell yes and do it, but she couldn’t.
She looked up at him from her knees, shaking as she pushed back her vampric nature and tried to calm the pain from her wound. “Help me.” Her voice was soft and barely audible, she couldn’t believe she had even said it. What got her though was the sudden grasp on her mind, she went to fight it but it had come so quick. As she fell into blackness she couldn’t help but think about how the power that put her there felt familiar.
She could feel the ground pass by as Alector took her somewhere, and her heart began to pound. Where was he taking her? What was going on?
Her fangs began to itch, and she wanted to attack something, anything… but she couldn’t move. Oh she tried. She envisioned kicking out and falling and rolling away, even levitating off the ground, but something dark wrapped itself tight around her…Until she felt a creature was near by.
Her instincts flared and the pain erupted from her wound forcing her eyes to open. She looked at Alector. Panic took her first; she didn’t want to attack him. He looked down just as she managed to roll away and crouch low looking at him. The tips of her fangs just barely showing, and her black eyes reflected like a cats at night.
She felt the same dark power try and take her down, but she couldn’t pay it mind, she saw the creature heading for Alector. Jade jumped up, pushing herself off the ground and summer saluting into the air landing just behind Alector. She was glad he never raised his blade to her, but she found it a little funny how he ducked.
Her violet blade snapped to life as she ran forward towards the creature, when it stopped and looked at her she stopped dead in her tracks. Her hands moving slightly on the hilt of her blade…something wasn’t right, and they weren’t alone.
Before she knew it Raven appeared from behind the creature and struck hard and fast. The creature screamed in anger and went to lash out at Raven. Jade stepped in front of the Dark Jedi, a test of sorts, and sure enough the creature stopped its attack. However it was to her advantage, and the creatures’ utter lack of having any luck, that Alector came up from behind and cut its head off with an easy swipe of his blade. The body and head fell to the ground and Jade stood stunned for a moment. She jumped as Raven placed a hand on her shoulder. She half expected to feel the hot sting of a light saber go through her midsection.
“Jade?” She opened her eyes not realizing she had closed them and looked at Alector. She placed a hand protectively against her stomach as he got closer. Raven’s grip tightened as if in warning. Alector held out his hand and looked at her saber. Oh hell no! He wanted her to give up her light saber? Jade glared and made a small growl and immediately felt something in her lower back, she guessed a dagger. Sighing she reached out and handed Alector the blade. “You know I’ll give it back Jade.” She nodded. “Good, now let’s get you to Macron.” He looked at Raven. “What are you doing here?” Jade felt Raven release her, and as the three started walking towards the villa, she hopped he wouldn’t say anything about Fenris.
“After a little incident, I came looking for Jade. When I saw you leave with her I figured I come lend a hand.”
Jade was more then happy to be standing at the backdoor to the villa, and kept from hearing Raven’s answer as she continued walking in. “Hello?” The place felt eerily quiet.
Zaxen had been a shadow in the past several hours since the outbreak had occured. Unassuming, unrecognizable, and unobtrusive save for those who knew how to look for him. He was a ghost, he was the wind and yet he was in plain sight watching faithfully over his ward, the Heir to the Ageless Throne, Alector Isradia.
Zaxen in the better part of the past year had been much like a phantom in the Clan and House and only those who were privy knew where he had been spending much of his time. His training was all but complete in the Dark Brotherhood even to the point where he carried his own Lightsaber, his rank of Hunter was all but a formality at this point.
Unusual circumstances had found him in the service of the House Isradia where he had obtained new and very different training. This also led to special loyalties. It was these loyalties that now plagued him with internal conflict.
He had stayed with Alector though his heart was with his mistress. As matters progressed he began to feel the guilt of not being with Jade when he had discovered her condition. His special connection being her apprentice had told him something was amiss but it was not until he had seen her first hand that he had felt the cold twist of regret in the pit of his stomach. He had known that Jade was looking for him when all this began, but his orders had been clear, Watch over Alector, let no one, enemy or friend, take advantage of him.
Zaxen had nearly acted in the street twice. He had hesitated on striking down his own mistress to protect Alector and thankfully so as Alector was able to take control of her. In an almost instant later he nearly struck out at the approaching Krath Priest Raven whose intent was exactly the same as his only a moment earlier.. to strike down Jade before she could harm Alector. Once again Alector had taken control of the situation and Zaxen remained a shadow, always there, not speaking, unrecognizable even to his comrades.
Now as the group gathered at the villa where Macron was supposed to be, Zaxen was allowing the sting of emotion to take its toll and he reached out for a moment to touch the mind of his mistress with an apology before slipping his mind back to its shadowed state. As all entered the villa he placed himself in such away to defend both Alector or Jade should the need arise. But he realized that he would only be able to defend one or the other if both were attacked or one attacked the other. This troubled Zaxen as he did not know which he would choose to defend if such a scenario played out.