The Gate Warden was pleased by the praise. His ambition demanded that he continue to impress his superiors within the Shadow Clan. However, he knew that any success you had yesterday is only good for twenty-four hours after it, and now that today has dawned, he had to get back to work and continue to churn out results.
Focusing again to the task at hand, the Knight grabbed the briefing report about the safehouse compromise that was still hot off the press, so to speak. The Sith quickly runs through it, making sure his darting eyes caught all the pertinent details. Experience allowed the spymaster to set aside his emotions to be dealt with later, and the loss of a valued agent will be mourned after the matter as hand was resolved. The fact that stands out the most in his mind, was the report of the damage caused, the initial report stated that the safe house was fire-bombed with a lot of collateral damage. The Qel-Droman allowed himself a glimmer of hope that all of the information might have been destroyed in the blast, but he was well aware that he would have to see the scene for himself before he can be sure. The Warden did wonder, though, how this devastation could have been wrought without attracting the attention of the local authorities.
He spent an extra half hour making sure his gear was in good, working order. There was no question in his mind that this particular assignment had a much greater chance for conflict than the previous one. It also occurred to the Knight that there was a much greater chance of being seen or having to mix with the general public on this job, so he decided to eschew his normal black trench coat in favor of a neutral-toned short jacket that still concealed his blaster holsters, without making him stand out as much in a crowd.
Happy that everything was ready, Tyros Rahl(his DCA on Port Olíval) set out for the Plaza and the scene of the crime. It was some distance away, and he was starting to sweat from the exertion by the time he arrived over an hour later.
Rounding a corner, Tyros was confronted with his first glimpse of what had been a safehouse of Shadow Gate. His question from earlier, about the scope of the damage was instantly answered, as the outside facade of the building was miraculously intact. There was no indication at all that anything had happened inside. As soon as Rahl crossed the threshold, however, it was as though he had stepped into a whole other world. The difference was as stark as night and day. The interior didnít look like it should be able to support the weight of the building. Support columns had been sheared off, all the furniture had been reduced to toothpick sized fragments, and rubble lay like a carpet on every square inch of the floor. The only item that seemed to have survived the devastation was the fireproof safe that was designed to serve as the dropbox for the safe house, protecting the datapads and other devices that the agents would use to store intelligence and sensitive files.
Still amazed by both the extent of the damage and the difference between the inside and outside of the building, Rahl moved to evaluate the box and its contents. At first glance, the safe appeared to be intact, and the Warden issued a mental sigh of relief...but it was quickly cut off as his seasoned eye caught the telltale signs of tampering around the inside of the locking mechanism. This, coupled with the fact that the safe was still here when it could easily have been moved to another location, immediately set off a red flag in his mind.
A sound behind the Knight made him freeze for just a second before a tickle in the nape of his neck persuaded the spymaster to dive to his left. The movement was not a second too soon as hot bolts of plasma tore through the air where the Sithís head had been the moment before. As soon as the Qel-Droman landed, his own weapon was in his hand, and he returned fire. Of course, he didnít stand a snowballís chance in hell of hitting a bantha, let alone his target. That didnít stop the Gatewarden from cursing himself mentally, both for missing and for letting someone get the drop on him. With the recriminations flowing like a river, he leapt to his feet and rushed for the door. The human hadnít gotten a good look at the attacker so he had no real idea of whom he was looking for.
Once he hit the doorway, he knew that he was in trouble. There was no way to pick out an unknown assailant from the crowd that was moving along the thoroughfare outside. So now he had managed to get ambushed and lose either the person who stole the intel or the one who knew who did.
ďWell, if you are going to bollocks something up, no point in being half-assed,Ē Tyros chided himself as he leaned on what was left of the door jam.
He immediately recoiled as a movement caught the corner of his trained eye. Upon closer inspection, the Qel-Droman saw that his enemy hadnít been very well trained...he was actually running down the street in the hurry to get away. Knowing that this was a stroke of luck, and praising the Dark Side for stupid enemies, the spymaster began to lope in pursuit of the attacker.
Of course, spotting the foe was only the beginning, and the unknown assailant had manage to open a considerable gap between the two of them. The best that the Knight could do was to keep up as fast a pace through the crowd as he could...which wasnít going to be easy.
It was slow going as he predicted, but he eventually made it to the spaceport, with only a couple of collisions with hapless passersby. Looking around the Qel-Droman tried to pinpoint his foe, and was able to spot him almost right away. The problem was that the target was getting into their starship, and there was no way that the Knight was going to be able to reach the ship before it was able to take off.
Cursing to himself, the Warden wracked his brain for some way to solve the issue, before the intel and the target escaped beyond his reach. The only solution that the Sith could think of was a long shot, but it seemed to be the only one he had left.
The whine of the engine warming up made it almost impossible to concentrate but Tyros made himself redirect all his mental energies into a last ditch effort. Reaching out with tendrils of the Force, Rahl sought the mind of his enemy and latched on to it, starting to plant the seeds of fear. The Knight continued to build upon the vague concept of terror and unease brick by mental brick. The next step in the plan was the most desperate, as it would force him to break the concentration required to maintain the fear image. What was even worse, Tyros would be doing it to use another power that he had yet to manifest...the fabled Arconan Force Wraith. The Gatewarden couldnít see any other option though, so he had to give it all his effort.
Sweat beaded on his brow from the intensity of his concentration as Rahl strove to put all that Socorra had taught him into action. Slowly and with excruciating effort he began to feel the beginnings of the shadows coalesce into solid form. Now the human had to fight the distraction of exultation at the first taste of victory. Redoubling his focus, the Knight was able to push past the hurdles and knew that he had accomplished his goal of manifesting a shadow cobra.
His hard work seem to pay off as the shuttle veered off course and crashed into a nearby, empty landing pad. The vessel exploded in a rolling inferno of spilled fuel that obviously obliterated the occupant and any cargo it contained.
Rahl made a quick mental picture of the identifying marks on the vessel before making tracks back to the Gilded Credit. He immediately set to work at his computer terminal scouring his resources and contacts to track the ship back through its various owners and shell corporations until he was finally able to place it on the doorstep of House Scholae Palatinae. Satisfied that he was able to uncover the truth, Tyros reported into the Hapan, Marick.
ďMy lord, the mission has been accomplished. The intel was destroyed, and I have ascertained that Scholae Palatinae is responsible for the attack.Ē
With his duty done, the Gatewarden proceeded to notify the next of kin of his fallen agent, being sure that her sacrifice was immortalized in the annals of Shadow Gate and House Qel-Droma. In the meantime, Scelestus was able to mourn her in his own way, thereby guaranteeing that he could restore his emotional balance to allow the Qel-Droman to carry on in the service of the Dark Side and Shadow Clan.
Grade: Satisfactory. 2 pts.
Comments: Whilst there was nothing technically wrong with this, other than a sloppy tense confusion at the start, there was nothing that stood out, either. No beginning or end, just a middle with a brief bit of action which seemed more forced than anything. Don't be afraid to spend longer working on your contracts - the rewards will pay off on the grading, as this felt rushed and I know you can do better. Nice touch with the fear and the wraith, though. Always love seeing Arcona's Force Power in play.