Contract 54: Ginnafae Delacor
Marick's eyes studied the woman standing before his desk carefully. Her robes were worn and tattered and seemed to protect her frail looking body, but failed to hide the entirety of the scars she had collected over the years. The Proconsul had read her files, and new all about the accident on Raxus Prime that had lead her to the various unique conditions she lived with. Yet, here she stood, her eyes never leaving him, and the Force radiating freely from her essence.
"You do realize that S-Class mission's are generally reserved for our more..experienced members," The Hapan said as politely as he could. He had grown better at speaking to his members from his time on the Summit, but was still a far reach from the respected elegant tact of his Lord Consul, Wuntila.
"I understand," she replied slowly, her eyes flicking down towards the ground momentarily.
"Your master seems to have faith in you, though," The Hapan replied, locking his fingers together in front of him. "Invictus is one of the best I have ever served with, and I trust his call. I think I have something that you will be able to tackle."
"As you say, my lord-"
"-Marick," The Proconsul cut her off with a raised hand. "Spare me the honorifics, Guardian Ginnafae. Marick will suffice."
The woman nodded slowly and bowed her again. "As you say."
There had been a time when Marick would take no greater pleasure in having a woman bow before him, and acknowledged him superior. He had found a soft spot for the members of his Clan, though, and he truly believed any Arconan was worthy of his respect, regardless of rank or prestige.
"You will find all the details you need in this data pad," Marick explained, sliding the data-pad across his desk with enough force that it would slide off the edge before her. The Guardian's eyes flickered attentively at the action and easily grabbed a hold of the data-pad with her organic arm. "I've added a few contact that should help as well. There is a shuttle waiting to take you back to Port Ol'val in the docking bay 5. Dismissed."
Ginnafae nodded and bowed her head again before turning to leave, her robes sweeping the floor behind her.
://> Undercover, Class-S
>Target: The Sons Of Arian
> The Sons of Arian are a new organization on Port Ol'val. They have been gathering followers at an accelerated pace and are starting to disrupt the careful balance we have worked hard to establish. As you know, the presence of Dark Jedi on the Shadow Port is kept unknown. It is a huge source of income for the House Qel-Droma, and our co-existence in it's ecosystem are tier-1 priority. The Sons believe that the crime and dealings of Port Ol'val are too divided, and that the only way to truly become a power in the Galaxy is for the entire Shadow Port to be ruled by a singular voice, and a singular goal. While primarily former politicans and leaders, they have contracted, bribed, and swayed countless Bounty Hunters, Freelancers, and Mercenary groups to their cause. Every day they grow stronger, and pose a threat to our presence and place in Port Ol'val's ecosystem.
Your mission is to infiltrate the Sons of Arian. Find out who is behind the organization, where they are getting their funding, and who there true leader is. Do what you can to slow their plans without compromising your cover. If you are made, we will deny any existence of your affiliation to Clan Arcona, and you will be on your own until we deem it safe to send in an extraction/recovery team.
As with any contract on Port Ol'val, your identity as a Dark Jedi must be kept a secret. We cannot have an organization like the Sons of Arion to know of our existence or influence on the Shadow Port.
Good luck. I've attached the contact of a friend who should be able to help get you started.
Contact: Djem Karim
Speciality: Security expert, slicer. Known for helping create cover identies, forging documents, ect.
Can generally be found at the Wounded Wompa Cantina, which was his last known location. Code phrase encrypted within data-pad.
“It looks like things are going to plan, my Lord. Revenues from the Plaza are up 18% and we’ve been working our moles in deeper with the various Triumvirate groups,” the large, burly blonde man said, keeping pace with a hooded figure to his left.
“Excellent,” the cloaked man said, no hint of emotion in his voice.
“Also, we’ve taken over the Dripping Udder Saloon through a proxy and it’ll act well as a beach head for some illicit takeovers of some of the other establishments in the Entertainment District.”
With a slight nod of his hooded head, the cloaked figure said nothing. Ralf always felt nervous when dealing with the true leader of the Sons of Arian. While Ralf was the top as far as the rank and file knew, only he knew about Lord Markenin. He’d been doing his bidding now for years and these impromptu meetings always made the normally fearless thug frightened.
“Ralf, you have done very well,” the cloaked man began, his soft voice like black velvet, “so well in fact you have drawn a new player out of the shadows and into the game.”
“Who, my Lord?”
“I am uncertain, all my sources tell me is that it’s a human woman and she’s pretty hard to miss as she has some extensive injuries,” Lord Markenin said, his tone even. “Let her play her game and see what she does. Under no circumstances are you to kill her or even break what feeble cover she will undoubtedly try to wrap herself into. Do I make myself clear?”
“Absolutely, my Lord. What would you have me do with her then?” Ralf asked hesitantly. Normally if he outed a spy, the end result was easy; a quick blaster bolt and the failed spy was mulched into paste courtesy of one of the many mining machines down in the Minefield. Ralf hated asking questions, but he had street smarts enough to know it was better to get clear instruction than try to figure out what Lord Markenin wanted.
“I want you to indulge her,” Lord Markenin said, his voice actually hinted at mirth. “Let her in and find some task for her to do that will earn her into your good graces. Are you still having trouble with that root merchant? The old man?”
“Yeah, we’ve run off two of his managers, but now he’s taken over directly running the place and he’s a tough old bird. He blasted Tolo with that gun of his, took his arm clean off!” Ralf exclaimed, forgetting in his anger to keep his voice down.
After a brief silence, Lord Markenin spoke. “He will be her first target when she makes contact. I don’t want him dead, I prefer him to be a living example.”
“But, what about what that old bastard did to Tolo? Shouldn’t we just kiiii…..” Ralf sputtered, the words coming out as a wheezing choke as Markenin’s gloved hand clenched into a fist.
“Was I unclear Ralf?”
“Good. Get it done. Remember Ralf, you have always done your best work for me when you don’t think, just do.”
“Yes… Yes, my Lord,” Ralf stammered, sitting on his knees while he caught his breath. Lord Markenin continued walking, exiting the small side tunnel and merging into the foot traffic of a heavily traveled street and all but disappearing.
Ginnafae left Marick’s office, her artificial fingers clicking together in rapid succession, a tell-tale sign of her nervousness. She gripped them tightly in her gloved right hand and took a deep breath, exhaling out her fear and doubt; trying to find the clarity her Master always talks about. After a few deep breaths, the young woman limped towards her room, the servos in her left knee locking up halfway through the normal extension.
Pushing the door open, the warm light from the single lit torch set flickering shadows across her cell walls. Being a lowly Journeyman she could not afford any of the more lavish quarters available to the higher ranks… for now the initiate cells would be good enough. Limping to her desk, she tugged off her right glove and with a pale hand caressed her new pet, the semi-sentient Dionaea muscipula she found on her recent trip to Felucia.
As the largest of the living plant’s carnivorous traps snaked down towards her opened palm, a sense of contentment radiated from the creature, which was little more than a sapling, but could grow to almost four feet if the tales were true. Grabbing a small scrap of meat from a sealed dish, she gently laid it in the trap, hitting the fine hair-like triggers. The trap snapped shut and the vines of its body tightened around the small wooden branch she had for its roost. That should keep it for at least two weeks, she thought as she took mental inventory about what she should bring and what she should leave behind.
Going to her bureau, she removed her robes and set them on the edge of the bed. Removing her extra sets of robes, she finds at the bottom of the lowest drawer of her boa wood dresser a bundle vac-sealed in opaque plastic. Holding the small bundle, her mind flashed back to the last time she wore this particular outfit. She had wanted to destroy this, but her former mentor had not allowed it. Once again, she hated to admit that he had been right. This outfit would aid her in what she had planned, although it would not be easy to see it again. Grabbing a set of simple gray pants and turtle-necked long sleeved blouse; she dressed hastily and finished off her outfit with a simple hooded cloak.
The shuttle trip to Port Ol’val was less than pleasant in the beginning. Travelling amongst the rabble, Ginnafae was wedged between a Gammorean and an Ortolan, both obese species yielding little room between them. Her only smug satisfaction was the porcine squeal of pain as Ginnafae shifted her left elbow at an angle, the sharp point of her artificial arm cutting through the tough skin of the Gammorean and pinching the muscles painfully against his thick ribs. Unable to shift because of the Ortolan on the outside, she offered an apologetic look and sat back as the pig faced alien landed a solid punch on the side of the Ortolan’s blue head.
It took 4 attendants to separate the two of them and in the end, Ginnafae had three seats in which to stretch out and relax.
Arriving in the main spaceport, she departed the shuttle wearing her off-white gown, still bearing the stains of Raxis Prime amongst other discolorations; she blended in with the less fortunate indigents and hardly rated a second glance as she limped through the crowded terminal. Marick had given her very little information, so she decided to head to the map terminal and in seconds a flickering holomap of the asteroid appeared. Typing in the Wounded Wampa yielded only one result, the Wounded Wampa Cantina. Memorizing the route, Ginnafae closed down the terminal and made her way slowly down the crowded streets.
The Wounded Wampa cantina was one of the few bars in Port Ol’val that catered to the inhabitants of the colder climates. As Ginnafae opened the door, she was caught breathless as a blast of near freezing cold washed over her body. Wearing only a thin gown of shimmercloth, she felt her skin tighten and erupt in gooseflesh almost instantly. Once again, her spotty information given to her by the Proconsul left her unprepared for the dynamics of this particular mission. With a mental shrug, she resisted the urge to use the Force to resist the cold. Of the sparse information she did have, one thing was made clear, she was not to be revealed as a Dark Jedi, and a frail human woman walking in eight degree weather with little on and not chattering like mad would stand out. Bundling her arms across her breasts, she pushed her head forward and made her way inside.
Limping her way towards the bar, her breath pluming in white puffs from her clenched teeth, she scanned the room for a bothan. The problem was, nearly all the species here had fur, and those that didn’t were bundled in thick coats which hid their species well.
Thoth, the Whiphid owner of the Wounded Wampa, stood behind the bar, his beady blue eyes looking at this foolish human limping around the bar, her entire body shaking. As she approached the bar, Thoth saw that her porcelain skin was already developing red patches on her cheekbones and her lips were turning an unhealthy shade of blue. Seeing her cybernetics and the criss-crossing scars on her exposed flesh, his eyes narrowed, wondering what in the frozen heart of Mother Toola she was doing in here.
Looking down his snout at her, bracketing her frail frame between his tusks, he grunted and put the glass he was wiping aside. “What can I get for you, Maylaxeta?” Thoth said, using the Whiphid word for meat scraps in his native tongue, a fitting name for this broken creature.
‘I… I’m… looking for… s-s-s-s-someone,” the pitiful thing chattered. Thoth was surprised the human didn’t bite her own tongue off when she sputtered out those few words. Something was unsettling about this human however, triggering his old hunter’s instincts. On Toola, Thoth had been a beast hunter of some renown; his bagging of the Blue Tongue of Jaxath, a fearsome beast of the snowcaps, had earned him enough credits to open this cantina, along with four others across the galaxy. Normally a scrawny human female like this wouldn’t rate the frozen drool from his left tusk, but he didn’t survive all those hunts by underestimating anything.
Leaning closer, me looked the human in the eyes and was intrigued by the look of them. While she was certainly going to freeze if she stayed in here much longer, the durasteel core he saw in her eyes set the hackles on his back standing on edge. It had been many years since he felt apprehension from another being, and the feeling wasn’t all unpleasant. Baring his teeth in what passed for a Whiphid grin, he reached under the bar and grabbed a thick bundle and with the deft flick of a claw he undid the string of hemp and unfurled a thick snow-white hide blanket.
“Here, take this Maylaxeta, before I have to carry your frozen carcass out of here,” Thoth said, handing her the thick tanned hide of one of the many Wampas he had killed during his long career. Watching the small human bundle herself up in the thick hide, he picked up the thick crystal glass and began wiping it again in what was known in the cantina industry as the Bartender’s Workout. Waiting patiently as the human stamped her feet and her teeth slowed their chatter, Thoth never took his eyes from the prey. Prey! He thought, baring his teeth again. He wondered silently why he would consider this human that wouldn’t even yield enough flesh to make a hearty stew as prey. There’s something unnatural about this scrap meat here…
After a few minutes, the human leaned forward and said, “Thank you for the cloak.”
Thoth grunted, waving his fur covered paw dismissively. ‘Now Maylaxeta, who are you looking for? Must be someone important for you to risk adorning my trophy wall by walking in here dressed as you are.”
“Im looking for a Bothan that goes by the name Cypher.”
With a snort of derision, Thoth straightened to his full 2.7 meter height. The sound of his spine cracking was like planks of wood slamming together in rapid succession. “Now why would you be looking for someone like that?” Thoth grunted. The look of disdain was clear in his eyes as he stared down his long face at her.
“That is none of your concern,” the female said, her eyes hardening. Thoth knew he had earned a small amount of favor by offering her the blanket, but he could sense that if he pressed the issue she’d drop the bundle to the floor and freeze before revealing anything. His respect for her determination almost outweighed the fact that she wanted to talk to one of the sleeziest Bothans Thoth has the misfortune of knowing. This one will bear watching, the Whiphid thought as he simply pointed his index claw towards a booth near the center, where a thickly bundled form sat huddled over a table, a small data terminal in front of him.
‘Thank you,” Scraps said and began to pull the cloak from her shoulders.
Putting up a shaggy paw, he grunted, “Keep it, you can never get the scent of human out of Wampa skin.”
With a nod of her head, the female limped away from the bar towards Cypher’s table. Yes, that one will certainly bear watching, he thought, the drool of anticipation filling his mouth and running along his great curving tusks.
Cypher sat at the booth, his thick cloak helping his fur to keep his body temperature regulated. While he was covered in fur, it did little to keep him warm in this place. Cypher liked the Wounded Wampa however because the nature of the place did make it one of the less traveled establishments. Strangers are easily spotted walking in to the Wampa, like Marick’s newest flunkie.
Cypher had known to expect a visit from one of Arconae’s people, but he had hoped for a little more discretion. Walking her hairless ass into a frozen box was in the Bothan’s estimation the height of stupidity. Watching her as she spoke to Thoth, he had to admit a moment of surprise when the normally brutish Whiphid actually handed her a blanket. From what he had heard about this newest of Marick’s people, she was hideous, even by human standards. Must be pity, Cypher thought, even though Pity and Thoth are seldom used in the same sentence.
He saw the Whiphid point his ebon claw in his direction and the human limped over towards him. As the female sat down, Cypher took a good look at her face and realized that hideous was a poor choice of words… this human was positively mangled! With a wry grin on his furred face, he thought Marick must really be desperate to even accept something this shattered, let alone use her to infiltrate a dangerous gang. He must want her dead, Cypher decided and leaned back, his estimation for the Arconan male raising a notch, putting him at ‘One’.
“You must be Marick’s new friend,” Cypher said before she could even open her mouth. “No need to introduce yourself, Marick said he’d be sending a woman that ‘looked like she fell into a starship engine’, and he’s certainly right!” Cypher said, chuckling to himself.
The female’s eyes narrowed, a steely gaze that cut through the Bothan’s relaxed façade.
“Well, what can I do for you? Marick said you’d need my help,” Cypher said with a bit less bluster.
“I need information on the Sons of Arian,” Ginnafae said, her blue lips compressed against the shudders that threatened to overwhelm her into a quaking mass of flesh and metal.
“Well, I’ll tell you the same thing I told your Boss, they are like a Felt’Pah weed. Overnight they sprang up all over the place, choking off many smaller syndicates,” the Bothan said, his jaws making muffled snapping sounds as he enunciated certain words.
“Where can I make contact? Do you have any idea where I should begin?”
The Bothan barked a series of laughs; high-pitched yelps that dripped sarcasm. “Wow, why don’t I just do your entire fucking mission for you!” Leaning back into his seat, his canine face tightened, his mind obviously working at something.
“Look girl, because I like you,” the Bothan blatantly lied, “I’ll point you towards someone that might be able to give you what you’re looking for.”
Spinning his terminal around to face Ginnafae, Cypher clicked two buttons and the face of an older human male appeared. The man’s face was pocked with scars; not like hers, these were from some type of burn, and his entire left eye and most of the left side of his face from cheek to forehead was hidden beneath black cloth. His hair, a faded purple streaked with shoots of gray-white was pulled back into a tight tail. Overall, the grizzled old man had the look of an old campaigner, one whose remaining eye had seen a lot in his life.
“This guy, Blackavar Fane, runs the Creeping Sundew down in the Entertainment District,” Cypher said, his voice low. “He’s some type of plant merchant, dealing in rare flora and fauna. The Sons have been harassing him lately and the old crow actually got into a shootout with them and blasted one of them to pieces, turning parts of him into dirt which he says he’ll use to grow a new plant!”
Ginnafae studied the face, trying to gain some insight but really getting nothing more than the obvious.
“My advice, if you’re truly as clueless about where to begin as you seem, I’d go ask Blackie about them. I’d do it soon though; the Sons are not likely to let some ancient bastard take pot shots at them for long without going the drastic route.”
Standing up from the table, she looked down at the smug Bothan and turned towards the door without a single word.
Watching the limping female leave, Cypher yelled out “Hey honey, YOU’RE WELCOME!”
As the bar door shut with a slam-hiss, the cocky grin on the Bothan’s face disappeared. Swinging the terminal back around, he cleared the screen and tapped a series of keys with lightning speed. A black screen appeared with a green cursor blinking at the top left corner.
It’s done, she’s on her way to see Fane, Cypher typed, the words glaring bright on the black screen.
Excellent work, I will not forget the service you have done for me, came the typed reply. Not a second after that message appeared, a small red light began to blink on the side of Cypher’s terminal, alerting him to an incoming message. Swapping screens, he opened the message and his black canine lips curled back in a feral grin as he read the message informing him of a wire transfer of 50,000 credits had been deposited into his account.
Flipping down the terminal monitor, he laced his hands behind his head and smiled into the ceiling. When someone from the Sons of Arian had approached him with the offer to turn on one of Marick’s brood, he would have done it for a tenth the price. Teach that hairless monkey to treat me as a lesser! Cypher thought to himself as he ran through his mind all the things he was going to spend his new credits on…
Ginnafae limped through the crowded sidewalk, the many beings moving through the entertainment district crowding her uncomfortably. She walked closer to the edge, near the buildings, fighting the growing sense of panic that was the result of her intense claustrophobia. Her breath began to hitch and sweat broke out on her skin as her heart rate climbed dangerously.
I am in control, I am in control... she repeated in her head as she resisted the urge to succumb to full-fledged terror. Pushing open a door, she left the crowded street and pressed the closed door to her back as she gulped in air, her pale skin glistening with perspiration. Her thin gown already sticking to her body in places where her sweat had bled through. As she calmed her heart rate and slowed her breathing, she slowly opened her eyes to find an older human man pointing the business end of a blaster right at her face.
"I don't get many walk in customers," Blackavar Fane said, his gruff voice carrying just a hint of a Coruscanti accent.
Raising her hands slowly, the fingers on her artificial hand flicking rapidly, Ginnafae's eyes widened in fear.
"Sir, I... I... I just needed to get away from the crowd," Ginnafae said, the tremble in her voice not entirely feigned.
Fane's remaining eye narrowed slightly as he looked her over fully. She did appear terrified, but Blackavar learned long ago not to trust anyone or anything. Lowering the weapon from her face, but still keeping it pointed at her, he asked, "Who're you running from?"
"No one, I just don't like crowds," she replied, "I get... uncomfortable."
"Well, you picked the wrong area to walk into if you hate people, this place is always packed," Fane said, his posture relaxing a bit.
"I actually did want to meet with you," Ginnafae said, looking around at the cases and the rare plants, impressed by more than one unique species adorning the mini-habitat containers used to grow some of the more delicate species.
"Yeah? Why would you want to talk to me girlie?" Blackavar said as he walked behind the counter, the strange looking blaster still gripped in his hand, but thankfully no longer pointed at her.
Deciding not to play all her cards, because his body language clearly told her he didn't trust her, she adapted her tactic. "I recently acquired a rare plant and want to know if you can give me any pointers on how to cultivate it."
"What kind of plant?" he asked, his remaining eye locked on hers. What a peculiar shade of purple, she thought for an instant.
"I really don't know the name of it. I was scouting some seedlings on Felucia and this plant, well... it approached me."
"Approached? As if on legs?"
"Well, not legs exactly, but a bunch of thin vines that slithered the body towards me," she replied, the truth of her finding her newest pet easily lending credence to her story, making it a bit more believable.
"Hmm, what's the body look like? Brown and mottled?"
"No, a vibrant green, no secondary coloring."
"It has a bulbous trap like flower? About yay sized?" he asked, closing his fist.
"Yes, that's it!" Ginnafae exclaimed, "Do you know what it is? I can't seem to find anything on it on the holonet."
"Pfft... Holonet," he said, holstering his pistol and waving his hand. "An electronic collection of dumbasses writing about stuff they know nothing about to make themselves look smarter," Fane said, his voice thick with sarcasm. "Here girlie, sounds like you got yourself a Dionaea muscipula. They're very rare."
"Might want to watch yourself, they eat meat and when fully grown can digest a full grown wookie in a week. Strange though, never heard of one advancing on someone unless they mean to eat you," he said. "You got Force in your blood?"
"Uh, not that I'm aware of?" Ginnafae replied, a bit shocked at his directness.
"Hmm, you got yourself a weird one then. If I remember, the only other time on record where that particular species moved towards another being and didn't attack was a Jedi decades ago before the Clone Wars," he said, looking at her carefully.
"Well, the only thing my mind can do is wander," Ginnafae said off-handed.
That elicited a laugh from the former mercenary. Reaching under the counter, Blackavar pulled out a thick tome, its cover some type of stretched leather. Opening the book on the counter, he flipped through the pages rapidly. Stopping at the one he was looking for, he spun the book around to face her. On the page was her baby, the image hand drawn but incredibly detailed. Around the border of the picture and flowing down the page in even rows of neat, meticulous script were details about the species, history and even notes on care and feeding.
Momentarily losing her focus on the mission, she read about her new plant. Looking up at Blackavar, she gained a new respect for this merchant. As she continued reading however, there was something wrong. The information contained in the book was accurate, but something was nagging her, something she'd felt or seen or heard before. Pulling back from the book, her confusion was clear on her face.
"What is it?" Fane asked, clearly as confused as she was.
"Nothing, just processing all that information. That book is incredibly detailed. Where did you get it?"
"Get it?" Fane chuckled, "Girlie, I wrote it!" Slapping the cover shut, he took the book from the counter and placed it back out of sight. "Took me decades to compile everything in that book, years of campaigning through every backwoods mud hole in the known galaxies. Whenever I found a new species of plant life I'd try to grab a sample and if I couldn't I'd take mental notes and come back if I could when the fighting was done."
Ginnafae smiled, effectively masking the unease she was feeling. Something was wrong here, something she should be able to spot. She resisted the urge to use some of the Force techniques she'd learned to try to sense what was causing her distress, but Marick's warning about revealing her powers kept her from doing so.
"Well, I appreciate all your help, Sir," Ginnafae said politely, eager to get some privacy and meditate.
"Hey, I'd love to see your plant," Blackavar said, "Do you have it with you?"
"Um, no, I left it at home. I got a branch of Spiritfir, it seems to like perching on that."
"Spiritfir eh? Interesting," he said, scribbling something on a piece of paper on the counter. "I'll have to add that." Looking up, he locked eyes with her again. "If its not too much trouble I would love to see it sometime," he said, sounding genuine.
"Of course, I'll bring it by next time I'm in port, probably next week," Ginnafae lied.
"Excellent, I'll look forward to it... Miss?" Blackavar asked.
"Oh, right," she said, chuckling lightly, "Dulcimara. Dulcimara Wyngarde," she said, her right hand going out almost involuntarily. Blackavar grabbed her fingers politely and gave them a single shake, clearly as uncomfortable with proper etiquette as she was.
Limping out of the store, Ginnafae's mind went instantly back to that book. She was determined to figure out what was unsettling about it. Maybe after a couple of hours meditation I'll...
She never completed the thought, the lead weighted sap finding the sweet spot behind her left ear and dropping her into unconsciousness.
A stinging slap across her face pulled her out of unconsciousness. The heat on her cheeks told her that it had taken more than one to wake her up. As she opened her eyes, the room was spinning and rocking as if the whole world was on the tip of a gyroscope. Focusing her eyes on the man directly in front of her, the wobbling and swaying of the world slowed and finally stopped. She quickly counted five men in the room, all on the larger end of the human scale.
She was bound in a chair in the center of a large area, probably a warehouse of some kind. Her arms were restrained behind her back and her feet tied to the legs of the seat. Looking at the men in the room, she noticed one similarity, they all had short cut blonde hair. Looks like I found the Sons of Aryan, she thought.
The man who had slapped her awake stood two meters directly ahead of her, his eyes never leaving hers. His thick arms crossed in front of his barrel chest, she marked him as dumb muscle; no one important. Three other men were clustered in a tight group, talking in low voices. They had similar looks to her Prince Charming here, so also unimportant to the mission at hand. Number five, standing across the room, was talking into a comlink, his voice too low to be overheard. Shutting off the mic and clipping it to his belt, he walked towards her with the arrogance of someone that's in charge. Bingo, she thought. Trying her best to look terrified, Ginnafae let tears well from her eyes, her lips jutting out, bottom lip quivering.
"I'll do whatever you want, just don't hurt me any more," she cried, her voice trembling in terror.
The newcomer slapped her Prince on the arm and he turned crisply on his heel and walked over to the others. "And what could you do for me huh?" the Leader said, a cruel look in his eyes and a smile more feral than charming on his face.
Turning her head to the side, her girlish habit letting her hair cover her face, dropping thick strands of her pale hair to block her view. A rough hand grabbed her by the face and pulled it up to look at him fully. His other hand grabbed a handful of her hair and yanked back painfully, eliciting a small yelp of pain.
"I asked you a question... what could you do for me?" his voice softened to a whisper. Leaning in close, his cheek brushed against hers, the stubble of his scruff scraping her sensitive skin painfully. Still holding her hair, his other hand left her face and slid down her cheek gently, the tips of his two fingers tracing the outline of her jaw and caressed gently down her neck to her chest. "Tell me," he whispered almost lovingly, his free hand sliding over her her left breast with the gentle touch of a lover.
"Anything..." she moaned pitifully, tears straming down her face, "just don't hurt me."
Pulling back, he looked her in the face, his pale blue locking hers, his gaze piercing. He smiled gently now, lips pulling back over straight white teeth. In an instant, his gaze hardened and his free hand recoiled back. With blinding speed he punched her square in the chest between her breasts, the force of the blow blasting the breath from her lungs. Ginnafae pitched forward as much as possible, nearly blacking out from the force of that punch.
As she fought to catch her breath, he released her hair and stood to his full height, looking down on her with contempt.
"Have you actually taken a good look at yourself? I'd rather fuck a Hutt than something that looks like it was shit out of one!" he said with a harsh laugh.
Snapping his fingers, the leader took another step back as one of his gang brought a cart, it's wheels squeaking loudly in the empty warehouse. The glittering instruments on the cart's top surface brought back horrific memories of the Doctor and what he did to her on Raxis Prime. Her eyes widened in terror.
"I'll tell you what you can do for me gorgeous," he said, grabbing a knife from the cart, its serrated edge catching the light wickedly. "You talked with the old man in his shop for a good bit... whad'cha talk about?"
"Um... uh.. a plant, a plant, a plant I found on Felucia," Ginnafae stammered.
"A plant? Feetal's Gizz! You're as boring as you are fugly!" he said, spinning the knife around easily.
BEEP BEEP BEEP interrupted him as his comlink chimed. With a sigh, he turned and walked out of earshot. The other four men talked quietly in a language she was unfamiliar with; a harsh, guttural language with hard consonants.
Walking back over, the leader had a look on his face that was a mix of disappointment and annoyance, with a hint of fear. "Hantz, watch the door, I'm expectin' a package."
"Ya, Ralf, I'm on it," her Prince had replied. So that walking tower of meat has a name Ginnafae thought absently as she stared at Ralf, his punch to her chest making it painful to breathe.
"Ok sweets, since you and that dirt shit gardner like to 'talk about plants', you're going to do something special for me," Ralf said, still twirling the knife. At the end of the warehouse, a small shaft of light shone bright as the door was opened, then winked out quickly as it was shut. The click-click of boot heels on the hard floor echoed the length of the empty area. In Hantz's meaty paw was a small bundle wrapped in black cloth.
Handing it to Ralf, Hantz gave Ginnafae a cold look as he rejoined his comrades. Opening the bundle, Ralf held in his hand a small vial of clear liquid and a piece of yellowed paper. Reading the note quickly, he folded it and put it in his pocket. He the smiled that same sweet smile and straddled Ginnafae, sitting on her lap face to face, his weight pressing the junction where her artificial leg met the remaining stump of her natural leg, causing the metal to grind into the stub of her thigh bone. Tears ran freely down her cheeks and small white spots winked in her vision. Teeth clenched in pain, she held her composure for a few seconds then let out a shrill scream of agony. Jumping up, Ralf grinned and swept his leg over her, his crotch brushing against her face, as he moved to stand to her right.
"Now that I have your attention, here's what you're going to do for me," Ralf said. Holding the vial in front of her face, he said, "This is poison. Had it brewed special from some of the old man's own plants," he said, pride in his tone. "I want you to poison him with it."
"Please, don't make me kill him," Ginnafae begged, her tone pathetic.
"Aww, sweetness," Ralf said as he backhanded her across the face hard, "you'll do as I tell you to do." Across the room she heard the other four men laughing quietly at her. Ginnafae began to sob, her shoulders hitching.
"All you have to do is get him to touch it, it absorbs through the skin," Ralf said, putting the knife down and removing the rubber stopper from the vial. "It won't kill you, but supposedly its supposed to cause so much pain you'd wish it did!" He sniffed the vial then looked at her, his eyes narrowing. "Hey guys! Let's see what this shit does before we send her out! Whaddya say?" Ralf yelled, his men cheering him on. Pouring a small amount on the tip of his gloved finger, he smeared a long line on Ginnafae's face, tracing the scar that runs from her eye across the bridge of her nose.
Instantly the nerves in her face went haywire. It felt like the scar tissue had turned to a thick plasma that was going to eat through her face down to the bone. Pain like nothing she had ever felt blasted away everything else in her mind. Her body arched, the plastic cords binding her to the chair cut into her flesh but snapped when tested against the artificial limbs. She flopped out of the chair and began rolling on the floor, agony blinding her to everything around her. Then just as suddenly as it began, she felt the pain subside and knew she had just broken one of the rules of her mission, to mask her Force abilities, involuntarily using the Force to suppress her pain. Rage quickly replaced pain as she stood up and thrust her left hand out, her fingers in a knife shape. The poor quality fingers might be useless for most manual dexterity tasks, but they can make one hell of a spear tip when locked, as her hand plunged into Hantz's chest up to her wrist.
Feeling the Force flowing through her, she quickly spun around, pulling her hand free of Hantz's already falling form and lunging at the other three men, the Dark Side fueling her reflexes. She grabbed one of the men by the shirt and twisted him in front of her, feeling his body jerk as his companion's knife, that seconds ago was aiming for Ginnafae's heart, plunged into his friend's back instead. Pushing the body forward, the Force enhancing her strength, she heard a solid thump of meat on stone as both bodies fell to the floor. She spun around, the Force warning her of the approaching stun baton a second before it would have connected. Grabbing the third man's wrist, she twisted and yanked, the baton falling from limp fingers as she broke the man's wrist. All the third man managed was a startled yelp before Ginnafae's artificial elbow caught him square in the face, shattering the facial bones of his skull, killing him instantly.
Dropping the limp form, she faced Ralf and froze, his cocksure grin beaming at her from behind the barrel of a blaster pistol...
Edit: Oops, missed a typo
Fuck! Ralf thought as he aimed the blaster at the wild female in front of him. Just as his finger tightened on the trigger, clear amethyst eyes appeared in his mind along with a whispered warning… Under no circumstances are you to kill her or even break what feeble cover she will undoubtedly try to wrap herself into. His eager grin belied the sheer terror he instantly felt. While he was sure he could blast this crazy bitch before she could reach him, his fear of Lord Markenin’s wrath was absolute. For the first time in his life, Ralf understood the expression about a rock and a hard place.
“Enough of that girl,” Ralf said, trying to sound calm and in control. “Just back up, nice and slow.”
The only sounds in the warehouse were ragged breathing and the steady ‘drip-drip’ of blood falling from the woman’s artificial hand. She crouched, her torso and posture one of a wild beast ready to pounce. Gone now was the façade of a frightened beggar girl, Ralf noticed uneasily. In its place was something far more deadly, and Ralf was completely at a loss as to how to proceed from here.
He’s afraid, Ginnafae thought, … but not of me. Keeping her eyes locked on his, she stretched out with the Force, touching his mind.
Ralf felt the probing, a slight pressure in his head that made his vision blur for a second. Shaking his head, images came unbidden to his mind; memories and thoughts, ambitions and desires. Trying to stop the flow of his innermost secrets, Ralf bit down on his bottom lip hard enough to feel the skin split between his teeth, the salty taste of his own blood filling his mouth.
“Stop it!” Ralf yelled as he pulled the trigger of the blaster. The bolt came nowhere close to the mark as Ginnafae now had her claws deep into his mind.
Images flashed like a holovid before Ralf’s eyes. The first time he met Hantz as they were both on the same mining crew on Kessel; beating up some poor Aqualish who owed Boss Sleeth a few hundred credits and refused to pay; stabbing a whore that was not earning enough as a lesson to the others; the first time his mother kicked him out of their apartment because she had man-friends over; 6 year old Robbie Kilroth beating him up and taking the three credits his mom gave him for food, and on and on and on. Ralf fell to his knees screaming as his worst crimes and experiences continued to flash faster and faster in front of him.
Then suddenly they froze on an image that he feared more than anything he’d ever known… a slight human male, features hidden in the depths of a thick black hood, two bright purple eyes blazing from the depths of the void where a face should be. Black zeyd-cloth robes covered the figure from head to toe, the human appeared to be shorter than the average male, but an aura of fear surrounded him… fear and power.
Gotcha! Ginnafae thought grimly, Now to dig out who you are… Ginnafae concentrated harder, twisting and tightening her grip on Ralf’s mind, trying to wring the information from his brain much like one would squeeze water from a sodden towel.
No longer in control, Ralf went limp, unable to fight the vice-like grip this mangled bitch had on his mind. A split-second of awareness was enough for him to know he had no chance against someone like this. If he could have shot himself to deny her what she was looking for, he would have. His last emotion before she twisted his psyche some more was one of smug satisfaction knowing that when Lord Markenin caught up with her, he would shred her mind after he shredded her body.
A whoosh of hot wind hit the back of his head and the last thing he felt was sand falling on his shoulders as his world went mercifully dark…
Just as Ginnafae was starting to get a sense of Ralf’s mysterious boss, her connection was broken with a searing blast of heat, like staring into the exhaust of a starship engine. She shut her eyes as something which felt like sand in a strong wind struck her face, thousands of stinging prickles hit every part of her skin, knocking her back on her ass.
Ginnafae shook her head, sand cascading down her face, sliding down inside her gown and rubbing against her skin. Looking at what remained of Ralf, she saw his body face down. Where his head should be was the cauterized stump of his neck and a pile of powder-white sand spread out. Gazing up, she saw Blackavar Fane standing in a shooter’s stance, holding that strange pistol of his.
“Mr. Fane, I appreciate you coming to my aid, but I wish you’d not done that… I almost had who was really behind all this,” Ginnafae said, trying in vain to hide the frustration in her voice.
“I know my child,” Fane said, in a voice that didn’t match the gruff former mercenary she had met only a few hours ago. Getting to her feet, she noticed with unease the pistol was still aimed at her. Looking at him again she noticed the heavy set to his frame was gone. He was wearing a dark hooded over cloak and his hair, still the vibrant purple streaked with shoots of gray, was tied tight behind his head.
With his free hand, he removed the half-mask covering his missing eye and revealed a clear amethyst orb matching the other, but this one was covered with a hook-slash tattoo that began over his brow and terminated in the middle of his cheek. “I won’t be needing that any longer…” Lord Markenin said with a shrug. Pulling his hood up over his face, he holstered the strange pistol and folded his hands into the thick folds of his sleeves.
Ginnafae’s surprise was clear on her face. While the revelation was unexpected, what shocked her most was the tattoo on Markenin’s face. She had seen that mark before, in a book she had found in an abandoned structure on a desolate ice-bound world deep in the remains of a system whose name had long been erased from the galaxy. Suddenly the pieces fell into place, where she had seen the handwriting from Fane’s book and why she felt uneasy around him despite everything to the contrary.
“If you could only imagine my true joy to discover that the ignorant wretch that broke into my home those months ago was the same one that sub-moron Marick would send here… truly the Galaxy does have a sense of irony!” Markenin hissed, his eyes never leaving Ginnafae’s.
“I have to congratulate you however, I never thought you’d get this far,” Lord Markenin said, his voice smooth as grease over transparisteel. “I guess I overestimated Ralf, or underestimated you, or a combination of the two,” he said, waving his hand dismissively.
“Glad I could disrupt your plans,” Ginnafae said with false bravado. Sweat broke out, small trickles running down her spine beneath her robes. Having read some of that strange tome she took those months ago, she instantly realized she was far outmatched against this Lord Markenin.
“Yes, you truly do not stand a chance against me, so please relax,” Markenin said, reading her thoughts easily. “And you haven’t disrupted my plans; simply caused me to tweak them a bit,’ he said with a wink.
Walking right over to her, their faces inches apart, Lord Markenin gazed into her eyes and asked simply, “So… where’s my book?”
“Um, I don’t have it here,” she stammered, unprepared for the straight-forward question that was really unrelated to the entire situation here.
“Hmm, that’s a shame,” Markenin said, turning from her to walk around, head down in contemplation. “That particular tome has many of my alchemical recipes; I hope you haven’t destroyed it.”
“No, I’m still trying to decipher… it… actually…” Ginnafae said, realizing she had said more than she should have.
“Well, if you had just followed along with my plan, in 40 or so years you might have had a chance to read it more. Sadly however, since you poked around more than you should, your odds of surviving this encounter have just dropped to zero,” he said, mock sympathy in his voice. His eyes narrowed and his lips pulled back over perfect white teeth in a grin that would have frozen a Krayt Dragon’s blood.
Outside, Ginnafae heard the sound of repulsor vehicles stopping. Heavy booted feet stomped around, approaching the door. Any feeling of relief that the calvary had arrived was stolen a second later when Markenin said with that sly grin… “Right on cue.”
Raising his hand, Ginnafae felt her entire form lifted from the ground. “Enjoy the show,” he said as he flung her up to slam face first into the roof of the warehouse some 50 feet in the air, the impact shattering her nose and cracking her bottom jaw straight down the middle. Her collarbone snapped from the upwards impact, her flesh arm flopping limply downwards. With a swift reversal he slammed her down to the permacrete floor with enough force to snap three of her ribs and push her cybernetic arm and leg in far enough to crack the bones of her hip and shoulder blade.
A hiss of escaping air was the only indication she still lived. Crouching down, he grinned at her, his eyes full of hate and malice. “I hope you live long enough to see what you’re going to do to these poor fools!” Igniting a lightsaber, she heard a number of boots stomping towards her, shouts, then the hum of a lightsaber blade and the reports of blasters coupled with the screams of the dying. Within minutes, the warehouse was silent as a tomb.
Laboring to breathe, her body going into shock from the pain, Ginnafae knew she was dying.
Well, I’ll see Mother soon, she thought to herself, picturing the woman who died trying to protect her. Feeling her lung fill with fluid she knew to be blood, she gazed forward, watching the soft black boots approach, the tip of the red lightsaber blade just in view. With a vacuum sound, the blade disappeared into the ornate handle. Markenin bent down and Ginnafae felt the handle being pressed into her hand. She also heard the rustle of clothing and felt the heavy weight of what could only be Markenin’s over cloak being put on her.
“Be proud young one, you single handedly slaughtered over a dozen of the Triumvirate’s best peacekeepers,” Markenin said, his eyes blazing in evil glee. “Sadly one of them got you in the end though,” he said and Ginnafae heard the blaster report twice, two lances of energy blasting her in the side and the chest.
Crouching down, he smiled at her, wicked evil dancing in his purple eyes, he said, “Your failure here will set back Arcona’s efforts to take control of Ol’Val for a long time. Now that the Triumvirate knows that Dark Jedi are running around killing their troops and citizens alike, it should be a loooong time before Marick gets his pauper’s mitts on this asteroid!” Markenin said, his mocking laughter echoing in the silent warehouse.
Ginnafae woke in a drug induced haze. She could feel pain, and knew she was shattered as bad as she was in the shuttle crash that claimed her arm and leg, but the pain seemed attached to someone else. She knew it was there, and she knew it was hers, but it seemed like the pain was in the chair next to her instead of inside her where it should be. Her right eye would not open and something was preventing her from opening her mouth. Her right arm was pinned down, but the fact that she could at least feel it told her she hadn’t lost that limb too. Looking up, she could see three forms standing above her, but had difficulty focusing enough to make out their features.
Ginnafae tried to focus her thoughts, but the medications and sedatives she was on kept her thoughts a disjointed jumble. She could feel the Force, but focusing on it was like trying to pick up a grain of sand with shock-boxing gloves on.
“Can you hear me, Jedi Hunter Delacor?”
That voice seemed familiar, it sounded like how the Proconsul would sound, if he were speaking underwater.
“She can hear you, Proconsul,” said another male voice, one she easily recognized as her Master, even through the distortion.
Marick and Invictus are here… she thought, now if only the third form would speak.
“You two… find out who was ultimately responsible for this mess,” said the third voice, another male and one speaking with authority to the others which could only mean Wuntila was here as well.
When they care enough to send the very best, Ginnafae thought to herself, knowing if all three were here, the odds she was successful in her mission were slim. She saw the form of Wuntila and Invictus withdraw, leaving only Marick.
“Well young one, I gave you a mission with clear directives and while you managed to find out who was in charge of the Sons of Aryan, you managed to make a mess of the rest,” Marick said, his voice even.
“The rest of the gang was wiped out by the Triumvirate guards after the massacre at the warehouse. There has been a state of martial law declared and our efforts to increase our position at Ol’Val have been set back probably a decade.”
It wasn’t my fault! Ginnafae wanted to scream, frustration causing her blood pressure to rise slowly.
“We know it wasn’t you, and it seems that this Lord Markenin clearly intended to use you as the patsy. The surveillance video of someone about your size and shape cutting the soldiers down with a red lightsaber was leaked to the media,” Marick continued, if he’d heard her thoughts he wasn’t letting on.
“It appears you were supposed to be found there by the recovery team dead, with the murder weapon in your hands, but you seem to have made a new friend. Your pal Thoth from the Wounded Wampa found you first and got you out. It seems he had a chat with my friend Cypher and found out that he set you up,” Marick said, grim amusement in his voice. “Apparently he skinned Cypher and ate him according to some strange tribal law on Toola. He left you a note and Cypher’s skin, tanned and cured into a rather fine blanket.”
“As for your first ACB mission, after careful consideration, I have decided that I will count it as…”