A House Divided - Contract 4 (Nikola Valtiere)
Nikola, flush from his most recent triumph was disturbed once again as the same distorted figure sprang into existence on the holoprojector before him.
“Nikola, there is no time to enjoy your success as another mission has come to my attention that you are suited for. A smuggler has been hired by a member of the House Summit to deliver war supplies to Port Ol’Val for use in the current conflict, and your mission is to make sure that the smuggler doesn’t manage to land and deliver these weapons, as that would tip the balance irreversibly in the favour of the Summit. It is imperative that the fight continue, so make sure these weapons are destroyed in transit, details to follow. Happy hunting.”
The holographic figure faded to nothingness, to be replaced with a small stream of text that detailed the mission ahead.
Target: Crimson Tide
Location: In transit from Kessel to Port Ol’Val
Specifics: The captain of the Tide is a skilled pilot who has worked for a certain member of the summit for several years, running supplies and helping him out as and when required. His freighter is an old Corellian YT-series (clichéd I know) but he knows how to use it to its full effect. No intel currently available on the specifications and weaponry on the ship, but we advise caution. Or a bomb, bombs work.
The Stealth-X hung in Space, systems at minimal power. Valtiere waited for his quarry. Today, he took on the role of ambush predator. The freighter would have to pass by him to enter Port Ol'Val. Kas Tunnel was the only way in and out. The perfect place for a trap.
Valtiere looked up at the scarred, desolate surface of Ol'Val. He kept level with the opening to Kas tunnel, a small pit in an expansive craggy plain.
He remembered his life in that tunnel, before the brotherhood. For years, his life had been eked out in the airless tunnel as a slave, clearing the debris of those without the skill to safely navigate the deadly channel. He had seen nothing but mangled ships and the tired, drawn faces of his fellow workers, trapped into a life of body-sapping labour.
It had helped him come to terms with death. Seeing the endless corpses of pilots that weren't goof enough smashed into the walls. It was a brutal, simple message. If you weren't good enough, you would have no legacy. All that awaited you was an anonymous death. Slavery built on that. Only the best worked, got food. If you failed, starvation would take you. There was no sympathy, you would simply be dumped into space. It had shaped him, formed the foundation of his actions, of his very being. It had given rise to a deep hatred, becoming the one solid constant to hold onto in his life, to keep him going. To be the best. To live.
After his hatred had become real, pushing him through the endless days, his ascension began. A member of the brotherhood had hunted down and found him. They had taught him to use his hatred as a weapon. Such a powerful emotion lent strength. Before he had begun his path studying the Force, however, he had been taken to be a pilot. It had helped with the rage and hate always simmering in the boy. Discipline and focus had tempered him. Very few could connect with the boy, barring a single flight instructor, a father figure to him. He had managed to help Valtiere overcome his rage, to temper it, and use it as a tool. With tutoring from this figure, he had risen to prominence as a pilot in the Savric flight academy.
Upon learning the ways of the Force, the drive to be the best intensified. Newly empowered, he pushed himself beyond his limits. Pushing himself to be the best had effects on the young man's psyche. He had begun to backtrack, give into the rage. A harsh master who kept him on a tight leash had caused Valtiere to rein in his rage, to control it again. The yearning to be strong had returned.
It's why he was here. A simple way to strengthen yourself was to weaken others, to remove their foundation. Destroying the shipment would fracture the summit. The shipment's existence was known only to an elite, an elite Nikola wasn't part of. The figure that had given him his mission had given the information.
He was snapped from his reverie by the soft chime of a proximity alarm. He looked about, seeing a shape move out in the dark. The only noise was his own breathing, increasing as the prospect of battle loomed. The atmosphere and life support was offline, rendering Valtiere even harder to detect. Void pilots wore the all-enclosing suits of TIE pilots. With such suits on, a pilot could survive without Oxygen or Life support for a significant time. Besides, the StealthX had no shields. A pilot couldn't suffer the distraction of explosive decompression in battle if the cockpit was struck, almost a certainty in the brutal, frenzied skirmish of dogfighting.
Valtiere always thought the YT series were ugly vessels. The huge, rounded aft and tiny cockpit making them seem like an overgrown insect scuttling through space. They were so cheap, however, that their popularity ran unchecked through the criminal underworld.
Valtiere had to be fast. Using the Force, he loosed a shadow-bomb from the bay of his fighter, guiding it towards the unsuspecting ship. The Shadow Bomb was an incredibly powerful munition, packed with Baradium, it would reduce the ship to nothing more than a cloud of unidentifiable debris. It could only be used by force users, it's propellant and guidance removed to make room for more eplosive power. The black missile drifted through space, utterly silent, invisible to all sensors. The ship continued onward, oblivious of the death awaiting it.
At the last moment, Valtiere grinned, thrusting the torpedo forward, detonating in an immense conflagration, the ship breaking apart under the withering power of the Shadow Bomb. Valtiere sat back as the explosion faded, leaving an expanding ball of shattered parts, broken devices, and dust. The smuggler wouldn't have even known his death was coming. He powered up his craft, moving steadily towards the debris to inspect his handiwork. Recovery crews would be coming soon. He would have to be gone.
Nothing there was salvageable. Nothing but inert chunks of metal and plastic. Good. He arced around, heading for the asteroid, landing the StealthX in a crevasse.
Eventually, the salvage crews came and went, unable to piece together the 'accident' as they dubbed it. They returned to their lives, scratching their head, wondering how a ship simply exploded. They would never know the truth.
After they had left, a black shape detached itself from the surface of the asteroid, powering away to a minimum safe distance before jumping to hyperspace. He had to return to the Invicta to update his...work...