Clan Taldryan Run On Event (HoA Sponsored)
This thread is established for purposes of administering a run-on for members of Clan Taldryan. If you are not a member of that clan you should not post. The story will involve some of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Feel free to research their members before posting.
The run-on will begin on November 22, 2006 with a post by Baron Zarco, the Tetrarch of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Each participant is encouraged to post often but with no double posting except that I will “double post” to start the run-on by posting behind this administrative post. The run-on will last for six weeks, through the end of the year. At the end of each week, posts for the week will be judged by Baron Zarco for writing, continuity and realism. A first, second and third place prize of the appropriate crescent will be given each week. You must post at least two times in a given week to qualify for that award. At the end of the six week period, Baron Zarco will pick the three overall winners for the events.
Participants are encouraged to use this opportunity to develop their characters and write a brief history in time for the Clan generally and the Horsemen as they are currently configured. If you do not participate, you will be left out of the history. Before using other characters, take care to make posts consistent with their character sheets and prior posts. If in doubt as to another character, do not do it. Focus on your character. All posts should be in character.
Do your best to maintain continuity. You are encouraged to get involved from the beginning, though there will be opportunities to jump in along the way. Just be sure to maintain continuity. That means reading all prior posts before posting.
Do not feel as though your posts have to be spectacular. Participate with enthusiasm. You may be surprised how much can come out of you and how much fun you will have developing your character.
Be sure and look back here on 22 Nov 06 US.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
(Admin Note: I moved the topic to the Tal board because the RO is for the entire clan, not just Ekky.)
Are rewards restricted to just HoA tyros or to all who participate?
Andan Taldrya Marshall
It's a clan wide comp, that's why it's in the clan forum, anyone in Taldryan who participates will get rewarded if they win. Anyone not in Taldryan will be spit on by the Holy Llama.
A pair of humans labored under the sun just below a hilltop. They worked affixing barbed fencing wire to cedar posts already in place. Nearby, goats watched and ate from the green grass as the two worked. The male pulled the wire while the female tacked it in place. The two took every opportunity to smile at one another and giggle. The sun glared off their teeth.
“Deet…deet…deet.” An alarm in the males pocket alerted the pair to a message. They finished their work and walked up the hill to sit on the large porch surrounding two sides of the cathedral-like, many-windowed structure atop the highest hill. They sat upon the marbled bench and the man removed the device from his pocket. He activated the device and an image sprung to life, almost imperceptible in the glare of the noon sun.
The sitting man spoke at the image. “Baron Zarco here.”
The image spoke, not in common galactic but in a binary language that Baron Zarco could understand but not speak.
“Yes, this is Baron Zarco.” Zarco’s face changed to a scowl.
Another series of whines and whistles broke the calm breeze.
“How do you know he is alive?”
The response was again the whistling associated with machinery, most commonly R2 units.
“Yes of course I want that technology. Where can I find him?”
The response was a squeaking guttural sound that differed from the prior noises emanating from the still unseen caller.
“No, I will not pay that price…ever.”
Al’Meda Zarco shifted in her place beside Baron Zarco. She pressed herself into him and whispered in his hear. “No, there has to be another way.” Zarco reassured her by gripping her hand.
The high-pitched warbling whistles were all but what would pass for unbridled emotion for a machine.
“I’ll tell you what, you give me information on the location of the bounty hunter and his pretentious employer and I will see what I can do.”
The exhortations of the binary sort exceeded even the prior outburst.
“Well buddy, that’s all you got. Are we through?”
The whistling calmed into what seemed to be a low mechanical growl.
“Then we have an arrangement…”
One beep was the answer.
“…for now,” was Baron Zarco’s response. Just as the conversation finished a cloud passed overhead, blocking the sun’s brilliance which had made the image impossible to discern. The scowling face of what appeared to be a human emitted a series of binary tones once again. Al’Meda stared at the image and then looked at Baron Zarco questioningly. The “man” who had called appeared as though Al’Meda would have imagined Baron Zarco appeared…twenty years ago.
The couple ran through the tunnel to their landing pad hidden under the hollow below and away from their home. As they hurried they spoke.
“So the Trandoshian has a phasing device?”
“Apparently, or he would not have survived the blast that vaporized Cho-Kirai.”
“Who is the thing that looks like you?”
“MU-2. It’s an android that was made years ago. I was promised by its makers that it had a five year life-span. It was created for a mission I did years ago. It apparently wants my memories because it associates its existence with me.”
“He can’t have your memories Jon. They are yours…and ours.”
“No worries there dear.”
“Does he really think you would give him your memories in exchange for information on some crystal that he does not even have? Who is this Darth Nukleuz anyway?”
“I have no idea.”
“Let’s call the Horsemen out on this,” intoned Al’Meda.
“I’m going to tell Crix too,” said Zarco. “And, not a word of MU-2 to anyone, it’s our problem.”
The Zarcos’ ship left the upper atmosphere, leaving the peace of their refuge for another adventure with the Horsemen.
As Al’Meda made the preparation for the jump to hyperspace, Baron Zarco sent a burst transmission to the Horsemen and to Crix.
“Greetings Horsemen. We have a loose end from Cho-Kirai, that and promise of even more. Meet me in the Vergessa asteroids on the edge of Wild Space in three days. Transmit to me using only encrypted signal Tal 654. Anyone not transmitting that signal will be treated as hostile. From there you will receive further information. The signal designation will change daily. Assume that anyone transmitting other than on the channel for the day is an imposter. In the meantime, without alerting anyone of what you are doing, see what information you have available on Darth Nukleuz and the Shii-Gai Shard. I have no idea as to the former. As to the latter, it is a Force crystal. That is all for now.”
“Are we ready?” Al’Meda asked Baron Zarco.
“Yes cap’n. I have alerted the Horsemen and Crix. Crix will alert others of the clan as he sees fit.”
The stars streaked as the ship dipped into the dimensional pathways known as hyperspace.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
Crix sat at his desk, plotting like a good Sith does, when his comm beeped. He flipped it on to see that he didn't have an incoming call as he though, but a pre-recorded message from Zarco.
“Greetings Horsemen. We have a loose end from Cho-Kirai, that and promise of even more. Meet me in the Vergessa asteroids on the edge of Wild Space in three days. Transmit to me using only encrypted signal Tal 654. Anyone not transmitting that signal will be treated as hostile. From there you will receive further information. The signal designation will change daily. Assume that anyone transmitting other than on the channel for the day is an imposter. In the meantime, without alerting anyone of what you are doing, see what information you have available on Darth Nukleuz and the Shii-Gai Shard. I have no idea as to the former. As to the latter, it is a Force crystal. That is all for now.”
Crix frowned, shaking his head. This is big, the rest of Tal should be involved in this... he thought. He tapped a few keys and retransmitted the message to the rest of the clan, adding a short message explaining who it origionally came from.
Getting up, Crix grabbed a bag that he kept in his office with all of the essentials: flight suit, extra robes, his armor, rations and an extra lightsaber. With his bag in hand he made his way down to the hanger level and prepped the One Armed Scissor for flight.
Xerxes had gotten back from the crash landing on Volcanus four days ago and was finally rested up. He sat down to meditate when his comm beeped. Curious as to who would be trying to contact him he switched it on to see who it was. The newly appointed Protector listened intently to the message forwarded by Crix from Baron Zarco.
Xerxes pondered for a minute whether or not he wanted to go on yet another adventure so soon after Volcanus. The Protector decided to help out the Zarcos as they had give him a ride on their shuttle during their survival on Volcanus. Xerxes used his comm and contacted Crix.
"Yes Protector Xerxes what can I help you with?" the Battle Lord answered
"I would like to assist the Zarcos."
"Good. I'm prepping the One Armed Scissor right now. Grab your gear and meet me in the hangar"
Xerxes put on a fresh flight suit and grabbed his katana, rations, cloak, robes, and his new training saber just in case the hyperspace travel became boring. After that he headed down to the Hangar where the One Armed Scissor was waiting for him.
Sorrow and a young lady awoke to the beeping of his communicator. It was early in the morning where he was and he was in a good mood for once. The woman next to him, whom he had met several days before and was a substantial contribution to his good mood, stretched out on the bed like a graceful cat.
Casually reaching over, Sorrow activated his communicator to receive the original transmission from the Baron. When the message finished he threw the device into the pile of clothes on the floor and rolled over to face his companion.
She was sitting upright now, eyes wide in surprise at the revelations about her bed mate that were revealed on the communiqué. “Horsemen of the Apocalypse? You’re a Dark….”
The statement was cut short but an audible cracking sound. Her limp body fell lifeless off the bed to the floor, her head lying at an unnatural angle to the rest of her body. The neck snapped apart quickly and cleanly.
“Ahhh. Sorry darling. Some things a pretty girl like you just can’t know.” Sorrow lay in the bed several more minutes, sipping the strong alcohol still on the bedside table left from the night before. Casually he stood up and started to get dressed.
Sounds like I’m going to have to stock up on grenades again. He thought to himself as he place a large sum of money on the table, gathered up his belongings and walked out the door.
The Vergessa asteroids were a fair distance away from his present location. He hoped he would make it time to join up with the rest of the group.
The display on Illian’s holocron lit up revealing the image of his friend Sorrow. Narrowing his eyes, he extracted his gauntlet from the chest of his latest victim and began to clean it on the man’s shirt.
“What is it Rosh? I’m busy.” The image smiled serenely.
“Remember I was telling you about the Cho-Kirai mission I did with the Horsemen? Well it seems there’s some loose ends, and a call has been put out to all Taldryan members for assistance in the clean up. Interested?” Illian tapped his chin, eyes still narrowed. Pushing back his thick black hair, he smiled.
“I’ll wear something nice. Where are we meeting?” Sorrow sent through the co-ordinates and the image disappeared. Sighing, the slender Guardian stood up and walked over to the woman that was bound and gagged in the corner. “Such a shame. I was very much looking forward to getting to know you, especially after your husband proved to be so entertaining.” He paused, watching the tears running down the girl’s face. She couldn’t have been much older than him, her pretty face now pale and terrified. In her eyes he could see the questions, the attempt her mind was making to understand the incomprehensible, all summed up in a word. Closing his glowing green eyes, Illian gently removed her gag, wanting to hear her say the word that encompassed all the pain and suffering in his life.
“Why?” she whimpered before going rigid, eyes wide. Illian stroked her hair, a tear running down his face as he slowly removed his fist from her body.
“Sleep now, gentle soul. You don’t have to fear the darkness of the world any more.” He let several moments go by before letting go of the girl’s corpse and standing up. Before he left he looked around the room and smiled slightly. It looked better in red anyway.
Several hours and a vigorous shower later found Illian en route to the Vergessa astroid field, dressed in a loose black satin shirt, black Kevlar pants, and a black long-coat embroidered with silver. His hair was let down, falling across his shoulders and back with a few braids held in place with gold rings. He smiled as he flew his TIE Interceptor towards the rendezvous point, broadcasting the appropriate frequency so as not to get fried by the Horsemen. This was to be an interesting mission for the Guardian, the first he would be on with his old friend Sorrow. The intercom flashed and Zarco’s voice came through his headset.
“Welcome Syn. We are currently holding position here,” he said as a set of co-ordinates came through. “Keep radio chat to a minimum unless you’re on a secure line. Zarco out.”
Ripping several stools clear off their mounts Fire-Knight tossed them at the men on the other side of the bar. Vaulting over the bar, the Templar landed in front of the two now fallen men. Bending down, FK picked both up and stared them in the eye.
"I said stop talking so loud!" The templar let the anger push through his normally calm voice. Just before the Templar ripped the first mans throat out, his datapad began to buzz in his pocket, telling him he had an incoming call. Dropping both men, Fk let out one last bark and pulled out the pad while the men ran out of the bar.
"What is it!" The templar grunted as he opened the pad.
"Watch your mouth FK," The voice of Crix came over the comm."If your not heading back to Altur anytime soon, think you could give me a hand. We have a small problem, could use some muscle."
"Sorry... Bar fight... I'll be their in a few."
"Good meet me on the One Armed Scissor"
Running to his guest room, Fire-Knight quickly changed into his old Royal Guard armour and threw on more formal robes. Grabbing a spare lightsaber his datapad and a few Dry Rations, the Templar took off to the Hanger.
Minutes Later, the Templar showed up to see Crix prepping the ship for take-off.
"Quick clean up their FK." Crix said as he went over a few last minute checks.
"Yup, need any help?"
Ricco had been having an ornate evening with some powerful friends when Zarco’s transmission came and it had unsettled more than just evening. Ricco had met this Darth Nukleuz before, in fact he had trained his master and on hearing his name Ricco’s heart strained. This was not good news for the Horsemen or Taldryan. He left the room to disapproving grunts and features from the rich men and women huddled round the exotic alcohol and headed to his apartment. Outside the rain lashed down, but Ricco loved it, the cool splashes of liquid falling silently, absorbing into his skin. He remembered home, the water, the cool air this was almost bliss.
He arrived at his room to find a note on the floor.
“Beware the forgotten past which delves into a forgotten world”
The single sentence meant nothing to Ricco but it seemed to stir something inside of him. He gathered his things, some food, water, his lightsaber and his beloved etched Fira, the sword may not be as good as his new lightsaber but it had tasted the blood of Nukleuz’s master, Ricco just hoped he would not need to use it against the apprentice. Once everything was packed he ventured out to the hanger and prepared his private ship, the Tuareg, for flight to the Vergesso asteroids, he had time yet untill the ship was ready and headed back to his apartment.
He decided to contact Zarco on the encrypted signal to share this strange letter and his knowledge of Nukleuz.
Joshman's communicator beeped, barely audible over the crashing of furniture. Surprised, the Wookiee let go of the sofa he had just hoisted over his head. Scanning the destroyed room for any signs of life and finding none, the Wookiee exited through the now door-less doorway, not even needing to stoop his head. Turning back, he decided that the room had needed remodeling anyway, so he had been doing the dead owner a service by doing it for free.
Listening to the message from Zarco, Joshman felt a surge of excitement and adrenaline flow through him. His very first mission with the Horsemen would soon begin. Breaking into a run, he headed toward the nearest spaceport to get, by any means necessary, a starship to head to the Vergessa asteroids.
Ricco’s flight on the Tuareg was not pleasant; his hyperspace failed on him and left him in a predicament. He came out of hyperspace to a barrage of Pirates. Luckily they were busy with another ship which had strayed into their path. As Ricco worked on fixing the drive an explosion shook the ship, obviously the pirates had gotten bored and blown the other ship up. Ricco knew he had to work hard and fast to get the drive up and running before the pirates noticed him. Eventually the problem was fixed and he came back to the cockpit. The scene before him was frightful; seven huge ships loomed over the Tuareg. Ricco knew he was no match with lasers he also knew that he was not the best pilot by any means. His only option was to turn and run, punching the coordinates back into the system and turning the ship at the same time Ricco was able to escape with nothing more than a jolt to his heart.
Zarco’s voice came over the comlink,
“Where are you we are waiting and we need to work out a plan soon.”
“I had a little trouble with the ship and some pirates but I am on my way” Ricco said breathing heavily.
“Well you better be we need your knowledge if we are to come up with the right plan, Zarco out.”
Ricco cursed at his ship thumping the side of the wall.
He came out of hyperspace to the sight of the Lybeya star, its glare almost blinding him. He followed the coordinates to the exact spot in the Vergesso Asteroids. As he approached he saw many other ships including one he knew well from the Cho Kirai mission, Sorrow’s, this brought a smile to his face. “More grenade attacks, should be fun,” he thought as he flew the ship closer.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
Crix sat in the cockpit of the One Armed Scissor, his personal Assault Transport which dated back to his bounty hunting days and he'd modified quite a bit. One of those modifications was to completely redo the sound system in the entire ship, a change that he was making liberal use of on this longer-then-average trip.
The navicomp beeped, alerting Crix that they were about to drop out of hyperspace. He flipped a switch and smiled at Fire-Knight, who occupied the co-pilot's chair. "Don't worry, if we run into any trouble once we drop we'll be more then ready to take care of it." He said as the targeting computer came online. "That joystick to your right controls the top side quad laser turret, if anyone starts poking around give them hell." FK nodded, taking a look at the controls.
The Navicomp beeped again and suddenly the lines around the viewport collapsed into points of light and they were back in real space. A few ships floated in an area in front of a rather large astriod field. "I think we're in the right place." Crix said to FK, before he punched in the proper encryption code and opened up the comm channel.
"Zarco, this is Crix and FK in the One Armed Scissor, we're here and in one piece. Awaiting further information, over."
Guardian Illian Syn was the first to arrive. The Zarcos were glad to see him. His interrogation skills had been proven on Volcanus. Though they had gotten off to a rough start with the Dark Guardian from Dinaari, the Zarcos were sure that those differences, like many though had and would no doubt continue to experience in the Brotherhood, would be set aside when the interests of all intersected, as they did now. No less could be expected from headstrong, but intelligent, beings.
After twelve hours, Sorrow arrived in an X-Wing he had procured, no doubt at the expense, perhaps dire, of its previous owner. He, like Ilian, transmitted on the designated channel, though the channel had been changed, as Baron Zarco had indicated, by the passage of another “day.”
Another ship appeared three hours later. The beaten Y-Wing was transmitting the proper, updated code and the deep, warbling growl of its pilot was heard. The translator on the Zarcos’ ship informed the listeners of the Dark Wookie Joshman Dyas’ regrets that the vessel was all he could get on such short notice. The Zarcos, though intent on the events that were to unfold before them, chuckled at the apology.
In a matter of minutes, Ricco appeared, the Zarcos’ ship sensors indicated his craft was damaged. “I ran into a little trouble,” were the hybrid’s only words as he floated into the center of the assembled war party.
As the group of ships waited, a modified Kuat Firespray, flanked by two B-Wings, entered real-space a mere ten kilometers from the trio. The craft was transmitting the Taldryan signal Baron Zarco had originally designated, but which was now expired by two hours.
“Baron Zarco looked at Al’Meda Zarco and raised an eyebrow.”
Al’Meda’s hands flew to the controls to prepare for any eventuality.
“It could be a mistake…” mused the former Tetrarch.
“A fatal one in any event,” was the Tetrarch’s only reply. As her hands moved over the ship’s controls, she reached out through the ether to the minds of her allies floating nearby. As she felt the outer orbit of their dark psyches, she left a message they were sure to understand.
The TIE/In piloted by Illian Syn sprinted towards a B-Wing and was halfway there before the larger, less maneuverable ship, could respond. Its laser cannon batteries tore at the B-Wing’s hull, lancing jagged holes into its precious skin.
The X-Wing started as well and sent twin missiles racing ahead of the infamous design. The advanced missiles struck the other B-Wing, splitting it in half. The burning atmosphere dissipated in the emptiness of space, its corpse of a pilot being ejected into the harsh, empty vacuum.
Al’Meda fired two missiles at the approaching Firespray. Baron Zarco had just made his way to the laser cannon battery on the dorsal side of the ship and opened up on the center ship, even as the missiles sped towards the interlopers.
Illian’s ship sped past its damaged target and turned to appear behind it. As he turned, missiles from Joshman’s Y-Wing struck the vessel, splitting it in half. As the TIE/In came back around, it spat raw but focused energy into the glowing aft of the B-Wing. Though it tried to run, it died in a short-lived fireball that produced even less debris than its counterpart moments before.
As the Firespray sped towards the Zarcos’ ship, it dropped two glowing canisters and arced up ninety degrees away from the missiles. The missiles struck the canisters, triggering a massive explosion. Though Baron Zarco’s attack on the ship with lasers was unabated, it suffered only minor damage and disappeared further into the asteroids.
Illian’s TIE/In sped ahead of the Zarcos, closing the gap on the Firespray. Sorrow’s X-Wing was not far behind. The Zarcos’ ship was flanked by the Joshman’s Y-Wing and followed by Ricco’s damaged vessel.
“He’s heading for The Vergesso Asteroid,” announced Al’Meda over the communications channel shared by her allies.
“What?” The voices of Syn and Sorrow were heard in stereo.
“The largest asteroid in the cluster holds the headquarters for the Tenloss Syndicate, specializing in assassination, kidnappings and such. They took over the shipyard once held by the Rebellion during the Galactic Empire Era. In my ‘other life’ I have provided representation for many of Tenloss’ agents, both before the Galactic Empire’s tribunals and in the courts of the New Republic. He will find his welcome there…most curious.” Baron Zarco’s voice trailed to almost a hiss.
As the group made its way after the Firespray, another ship, also announcing the proper code exited hyperspace. “This is Crix. I have Xerxes and Fire-Knight with me.”
“Welcome to the party guys,” voiced Al’Meda. “We’re heading towards the shipyard maintained by the Tenloss Syndicate. The Firespray is hostile.”
A very large asteroid, the size of a small moon, grew larger with each second, greatly overshadowing the size of the Firespray, TIE/In and X-Wing advancing before the Zarcos’ vessel, Joshman’s Y-Wing, Ricco’s craft and Crix’s ship.
Vodo was late, and he knew it. It was unlike him to show up like that, but he’d had trouble acquiring a suitable transport to the rendezvous point. After twisting a few arms of some mechanics, and then the arms of a few flight leaders, the Knight had been able to attain the service of one of Taldryan’s Lambda-class shuttles for his uses. The Twi’lek had a good record of flight rentals and treatment of craft, so the chief mechanic was more willing to give it to him after he’d been coerced properly.
He took off from Taruma broadcasting the frequency that had been designated by Baron Zarco in his original transmission, as time passed, he adjusted the frequency according to the proper Taldryan Protocol. The Hyperspace journey was quick thanks to the Class 1 Hyperdrive in the shuttle.
Upon his arrival, the tell tale signs off a recent battle were everywhere. Shrapnel pounded the shuttle before Vodo was able to raise shields to protect the precious vessel. The assembled shuttles and fighters of those Taldryanites that had shown up were arrayed in formation. His hands flashed across the com system so he could open up a line of communication.
“Battle Team Hex sends its regards! Vodo Biask here, awaiting instructions.”
“Ahh, good. I was wondering when one of you would arrive. We’ve received information regarding the objective. Our search will begin on the Asteroid I’m sending you coordinates of,” Baron’s voice was flat and professional.
“And the wreckage?” Vodo mused
“A minor disturbance”
“Understood. I would also like it to be known I’ve taken the liberty to load several supplies to this shuttle. I’m sure they will come in quiet useful if anyone were to require their services…” Vodo closed the line of communication and took formation behind the fighters.
The Knight had in fact taken a great liberty in loading food stuffs, potable water, and weapons of the blaster nature aboard the Lambda Shuttle before taking off. He figured a combat operation needed a resupply source, and he would fulfill that role.
Xerxes was strapped in the One Armed Scissor looking out the nearest view port. He could see an Interceptor and an X-wing closing in on the Firespray. This was the Protector's first time being in the Vergesso Asteroid field and was still shocked at the size of the Vergesso Asteroid itself.
Bright green laser fire caught Xerxes' attention as the Interceptor had come into range of the Firespray. The Firespray tried to avoid the laser fire by performing zig zag manuevers. It's pilot however was no match for a pilot aided by the Force. Xerxes noticed two blue dots streaking towards the Firespray attack ship and recognized them as proton torpedos.
The TIE Interceptor visibly backed off as the Firespray tried to avoid the incoming missiles. There was a bright explosion as the proton torpedos hit the attack ship.
"You may land at these coordinates." Al'Meda's voice said as it came over the comm.
Crix and FK made the appropiate adjustements to the controls as they headed towards their landing point. As they landed on the appropiate landing pad Al'Meda's voice came over the comm.
"Wait until I contact you before you get out of your ships. Tenloss agents tend to kill first and ask questions later. Plus we don't want the whole base after us the minute we get out."
Xerxes changed out of his flight suit and into his Brotherhood robes and sheathed his katana. Whatever was going to happen he was going to be ready.
Ricco sat in the Tuareg preparing what he was going to tell the rest of the group about Nukleuz, he did not want to make the younger and newer Jedi feel alarmed by what he was going to say, but he wanted to prepare them for the Alchemy Master. Al’Meda’s voice came through the speakers again;
“Ok the first few of us will go out and scout the area, Crix, Ricco, Xerexes and FK get your things ready and leave on my mark. The rest of you stay tight and wait for the second signal we do not wish to rush this.”
The transmission ended and Ricco gathered what he needed, his lightsaber and his Fira, hopefully he would not need either. He waited for the signal and proceeded with discretion to where Al’Meda and the rest were situated.
Sitting in his pirated Y-wing, Joshman readied himself for the upcoming mission. Changing back into his Brotherhood Robes, he wondered how much of an asset to the team he could possible be as just a Dark Jedi Guardian. Then he remembered that it was he that had delivered the killing shot to one of the B-Wings. Deciding that any help would be appreciated, he reached into his weapons compartment and pulled out his trusy weapons, his vibroknuckler and his Ryyk Kerarthorr, stowing both of them inside his robes. Awaiting the signal to exit the ship, the Wookiee leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, opening his mind and letting it wander through the expanses of the Force.
As they had neared the asteroid that bore the name of the entire belt, a large blast door yawned open to receive the combined Taldryan force. All saw the nine E-Wing fighters fly out in groups of three to meet the party. They burst forth from three of four smaller ports surrounding the big bay. As the Taldryanites had drawn closer to the gigantic opening all could see the many turbolaser batteries and missile pods hidden in the rough surface of the asteroid.
Al’Meda had considered leaving their fighter craft in space to cover any possible hasty getaway but the presence of the overwhelming firepower in the form of fighter and emplacements made her want to keep the party together. She conferred with Baron Zarco who agreed and advised asking Crix his opinion. She spoke with the Ektrosian Aedile on a closed, encoded channel to find that he had at first felt as she did then change his mind as had she. Whatever their fate, they would face it together.
The craft landed in the immense bay. All who cared to look would see the bay littered with personnel appearing to perform this service or that. There was no military precision to their motions but they were too well armed to be mechanics and laborers, without more. A “welcoming committee” consisting of five members, one human and four outer rim species, waited at a short distance from where the Zarcos’ ship came to rest.
The shipyard even had a rack to accomodate the TIE Interceptor piloted by Illian Syn. All manner of vessel and craft could be seen though none of them were kept in any manner other than first rate.
Baron Zarco and Al’Meda Zarco walked down the ramp of their craft straight to the waiting group. Baron Zarco walked to the human in the center, a tall, lanky man who seemed somewhat out of place, if only slightly, with his diverse brethren.
“Greetings Zarco,” the man eyed the Horseman, though he did not know him as an Ektrosian, then turned his gaze to Al’Meda to linger over her form and then look questioningly back at Baron Zarco. In the meantime, Crix, Fire Knight and Xerxes were arriving from where their ship had landed nearby.
“Baroness Zarco left her physical form almost four years ago to the day. Al’Meda has my heart and my full confidence,” Baron Zarco said in a tone that gave no insight into the absolute seriousness of what he had just said.
“My apologies,” he said looking at Baron Zarco. “Does she understand the complexity of the hive within which she has entered?”
“She is my conscience,” Baron Zarco said blandly, again giving no indication of the depth of his thoughts.
The other members of the Tenloss representatives jabbered some comment or another that anyone could interpret as impatience and aggravation. The human silenced him with but a look.
By now, all of the Taldryanites had arrived. The Wookie Joshman-Dyas, the Chiss hybrid Ricco, the humans Illian Syn and his comrade in arms and partner in crime Sorrow, and the Twi’Lek Vodo all stood around in a semi-circle facing their Tenloss counterparts.
“We are seeking the location of the hunter Karrsk. As I recall he has worked for you from time to time…”
“Only,” interrupted the human Tenloss, “as an independent agent on…”
Baron Zarco interrupted in kind, “nonetheless, he has…”
The two locked eyes and the silence descended. The Taldryanites all stood ready to spring into action. The various Tenloss “technicians” and “mechanics” scattered around the bay had moved closer.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
“My apologies, does she understand the complexity of the hive within which she has entered?” Crix heard the human opposate Zarco say as he walked up and stood to the side of the group. Although Crix's rank and position gave him the ability to override Zarco's leaderhship, this was Zarco's mission and Crix was simply helping where he could. Standing close to the center would draw attention away from Zarco, which is what Crix was trying to avoid. In addition, if it came to blows then Crix would be able to work his way to the center of the group rather easily from his current position. He glanced over to Fire-Knight, who seemed to have the same thoughts as he moved to the opposite side of the group.
As the last members of their party joined them Crix took a quick look over their formation. There was a lightsaber on each end and in the middle of the group, with the space between each of them filled by Journeymen with their blasters and swords. The formation looked solid, but Crix expected nothing less from Taldryanites, many of whom he had helped train himself.
“Only,” interrupted the human Tenloss, “as an independent agent on…”
Baron Zarco interrupted in kind, “nonetheless, he has…”
The silence that followed grabbed Crix's attention, his very experienced combat sences told him that a fight was about to start. He casually reached up to his neck and unclasped his cloak. Many people missed the significance of a cloak in battle, they simply threw it aside when the fight began. When thrown at your enemy, however, the cloak becomes a distraction and a blinder and this was exactly what Crix was planning. As the cloak resettled on Crix's shoulders after being opened he noticed a few pairs of eyes fixated on the lightsaber on his belt. These people knew that he was a Dark Jedi, but they had no idea of the extent of his skills, this would be fun.
Just then, Crix noticed that many of the people who had been working in the hanger bay were making their way to where the two groups stood playing a silent game of chicken. Let them make the first move, do not provoke Crix said, telepathicly, to the rest of the Taldryan group.
Although space combat was Crix's speciality, he had picked up more then a bit of tactical knowledge about ground combat, which accounted for the group's current formation as Crix had a hand in training more then a few of the people present. Looking out over the hanger, Crix smiled. This would be fun.
Sorrow stood next to his comrade Illian, both of them stood lazily, bodies slack and un-threatening. It was a perfect stance to fall into any shadow fist style fighting or simply to pull the blasters that their hands casually avoided touching.
Although paying intimate attention to the conversation going, they too carried a conversation with each other in hushed whispers.
“…. You see Sorrow that’s what’s wrong with you! Not enough protein in your diet. All those instant noodles and take out ramen… It’s just not healthy. Now me I get a good feeding of fresh meat as often as I can. Take that one for instance.” Illian pointed casually off at one of the armed deck hands that was ever so casually edging closer to the group of Dark Jedi.
“Thanks but no thanks Illian. I prefer real food.” Sorrow gave a twinge of disgust as what Illian was suggesting created a vivid image in his mind.
Still paying attention to the other situation, Sorrow noticed the human Tenloss tense aggressively as the Baron interrupted him aswell.
“nonetheless, he has…”
As the Tenloss tensed, Sorrow casually scratched an itch in his back, his hand hidden underneath his jacket brushed up against the plasma and frag grenades he had attached to his belt. The bulge they created under his coat was hidden by the pack he was carrying over his shoulder.
The look in Illian’s eyes as his and Sorrow’s met was that of exited anticipation and Sorrow could see that Illian was having a difficult internal battle to not just run off and start pummelling the crap out of as many people as he was able.
Crix had impressed upon the party the need for vigilance and caution to each member of the party through the force. But by Crix's own training, Vodo had already detected the men slowly gathering around them like a pack of lions slowly circling the herd. The Knight was standing erect, casually, and deceptively. His saber hand rested peacefully on his hip, on the verge of his cloak as though he were impatiently awaiting something.
The Krath however knew the value of patience better than most, and was only annoyed by the minute fusing of the two guardsmen. Though it was mostly a show, their lack of combat experience only frustrated Vodo's own haughty demeanor.
Vodo attempted to not appear as though he were sizing up the mechanics and those in the hangar, but he couldn't help but notice that under a couple of the heavy work coats that a few wore, there were slightly noticeable lumps, that in all likelihood were not your average spanner, or tool. They appeared to be shoulder slung, concealed small blaster rifles.
The Zarco's spoke quietly with their acquaintance, but none of it made sense to Vodo. It didn't matter. What ever were to come of this meeting, the Twi'lek would react in kind. He awaited the cue from his Queastor, the man he instinctively looked to for orders.
Illian was agitated, shifting uncomfortably as he threw glances at the deck hands and mechanics slowly moving in around the group. He could hear their feeble heart beats and wanted nothing more than to silence them. He closed his eyes and grit his teeth, a small semblance of his former sanity reminding him that this was not the time for one of his episodes. Looking over the group of Tenloss that were conversing with the Zarcos, Illian was hit by a feeling of de ja vue. One of the representatives, a round fleshy male, obviously from the outer rim, stood quietly watching the Dark Jedi and Illian was aware of a similar scene being played out before, a long time ago, the last time he had lost his mind.
“Clearance code three three four dash two gamma epsilon.” Both the Baron and Al’Meda spun around to glare at Syn’s outburst. He ignored them, too lost in memories to be aware of the kind of peril he may have landed them all in. Sorrow placed a restraining hand on Illian’s shoulder but he was already walking towards the Tenloss group.
“Syn, get back here you moron. This is not a game dammit!” Sorrow hissed as Al’Meda moved to intercept the young Guardian while the Baron turned back to the Tenloss agents.
“Apologies gentlemen. That one is prone to moments of madness and is best ignored. If we can get back to business…?” Al’Meda had blocked Illian’s path, and he looked at her pleadingly.
“I know this place. I was here before. I can get us inside…” he trailed off as she looked at him coldly before moving out of his way. Illian returned his focus on the Tenloss he recognised, its black eyes now watching his warily. “Three three four dash two gamma epsilon. Returning for de-brief.” Now all the Tenloss eyes were focussed on the Guardian. The leader stepped forward.
“You are Tenloss? Doubtful. If you are returning to the fold present your log for scanning.” Illian nodded and took off his ornate black long coat and unbuttoned his silk shirt, revealing a black sun tattoo in the centre of his chest. One Tenloss stepped forward and traced it with a strange device. The tall human looked at the machine and threw a glance at the Baron who was staring at Illian in surprise. “You still keep very odd company Zarco. I can’t say I expected you to be here returning one of our agents. Still it seems things have changed somewhat. We may be able to do business. Come.” With that he strode off towards the entrance to the complex. The baron looked at Illian briefly before grunting and following the Tenloss, as did the rest of the group. Only Sorrow remained behind, picking up Illian’s coat and handing it to him.
“Seems this is going to be an interesting mission after all. One day Syn you’re going to explain all this to me. Let’s go.” Illian nodded, his eyes glowing faintly, the memories that had been so clear moments ago already fading, leaving only the voices and the aching throb of madness.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
To say that Crix was confused would be an understatment. Thirty seconds ago, Crix was sure that he was about to kill but the situation had radicly changed. Crix wasn't sure that the fight he expected wouldn't happen, but now it seemed as though that fight wouldn't happen right away.
Crix took a good look at Illian, wondering how the Brotherhood's background checks had missed this organizational affiliation. Members are required to give up membership in any and all other organizations when they join the Brotherhood. Crix knew people who had given up titles of nobiliy for the allure of the Dark Side.
I need to have a chat with Anshar about his screeners... the Aedile in Crix thought, but the warrior in him snapped his attention back to the current situation.
"We may be able to do business. Come." Crix heard their Tenloss host say and the Taldryan group began to follow the Tenloss further inside the base.
Zeroing in on Zarco's mind, Crix telepathically said We need to watch Illian, I want to know what his relationship is with these people and why the Shadow Academy's screeners didn't pick it up. Zarco's resopnce was the telepathic equivelant of a nod, indicating that he understood Crix's concern. This may be a non-issue, but on the other hand it could lead to a serious security breech that may have to be plugged.
Crix pulled his hood up and made his way further into the base with the group. I'm going to have some stories about this trip... Crix thought to himself
Xerxes boggled mind tried to sort through what had happened as they walked through a narrow hallway that opened up into a circular room with four doors not counting the one they entered through that appeared to be some sort of reception area. The Tenloss leader approached a desk and had the Tenloss there retrive some key cards.
"Here. These key cards are for your rooms. Since you have returned one of our agents and it seems you wish to do some business you will be treated as guests...for now. My assistant Anami will show you to your rooms. I will meet with you in five hours over a light dinner to discuss business matters, until then I have other matters to take care of." and with that he exited the room.
"If you would follow me please." the assistant said as she lead the way through one of the five doors.
There was a stony silence as the assistant lead the way through a series of narrow halls and rooms with multiple doors until they arrived at their destination.
"I will be back in four and a half hours if you require anything there is a comm inside each room that will connect you with an assistant. Do not try to leave the rooms as anything that does will be treated as hostile." she said and waited until all of the Dark Jedi were in there rooms and then left.
Vodo had been deeply disturbed by Illian's action. Though it had kept the fighting at bay for now, it would only get worse, it seemed to the Knight. He could feel the concern around Crix, and searched his own mind for the source of this concern. Of course! Every Brotherhood member was required to take renounce all allegiances and titles to take up the mantel of the Dark Side. Did Illian get past the Shadow Academy's process?
The assistant led them to rooms, one each for the party of Dark Jedi, "Do not try to leave the rooms as anything that does will be treated as hostile."
Vodo slid up next to Crix and leaned in close so his hood covered their heads from any glances from the assistant or the group, "Master, I find this development disconcerting. Would you like me to remain close to the Guardian?"
Al'meda took the keys from the Assistant and kept one as she passed the remaining few back to the party. Each member took one key and passed the rest on till two remained, and one went to Crix and Vodo respectively.
Before parting the Knight added, "It may not be so conspicuous if as a Journeyman, I remained near Illian, rather than yourself..."
'.. Dont like this Crix' Fk continued, their telepathic conversation had been on going since arrival and the recent events had agitated Fire-Knight. 'Last time I was locked up like this, people payed to watch me fight.'
'Stay calm for now, let Zarco handle the situation.'
'Agreed, its best we let our abilities remain hidden for the time being. They don't yet know who their really dealing with. But we need to make sure Syn doesnt let anything slip.'
'I wouldnt be too worried about that.'
Walking carefully around his room, Fire-Knight took in the surroundings carefully.
'Crix, theirs vents on the ceiling... I dont like it.. These rooms look air tight.'
'Let me think for a few mintues.'
Pacing back and forth in impatience, Fk knew he couldnt keep his patience much longer. As an obelisk he'd been programmed to kill, diplomacy wasnt his 'thing'.
'Fk do you feel that?'
'Reach out to the force, near the centre of the asteroid what do you feel'
Calling upon the force FK, groped for what Crix was talking about. Suddenly he felt it.
'Their is something in the base....'
Sorrow sat idly in his room casually tossing a thermal detonator from hand to hand.
It had been quite the surprise when Illian had popped up and spouted all that operative nonsense and gotten them so politely invited to stay for a while.
Sorrow had also noticed the looks on some of the others faces. When you join the brotherhood, you forgo all previous loyalties. That was one of the most stringent of rules. So now there were all these people doubting Illian’s loyalty.
Sorrow knew better. This was just one of Illian’s random memories popping out at a convenient time, or possibly an inconvenient time. Before Illian and Sorrow had met. Before either of them had joined the brotherhood. Illian was possessed only of madness, insanity. What had happened to him in those years was any ones guess, not even Illian knew.
'Let them think whatever they want. This could be fun.'’Thought Sorrow. Sorrow was no tactician, no Krath hiding in the shadows, but this was one mind game he’d be happy to let them fret over.
To Sorrow it didn’t matter anyway. Illian had saved his live and Sorrow had saved Illian’s so many times that they were bonded, like brothers. Where ever Illian went Sorrow would be there to back him up.
Sorrow stopped tossing the detonator as the door to his room slid open. “You’re free to move around on this deck as a privilege of Agent Syn. The others will have to remain in their rooms a while longer.”
The thin creature turned briskly and walked away without another word.
Nonchalantly walking into the corridor. Sorrow reached out with his mind and found Al’Meda’s. 'Tetrarch, I have some limited freedom is there anything specifically you’d like me to look for?...'
Al'Meda's voice came back as if a message in a bottle floating on the ether.
"Get information on Tenloss personnel on this floor, weapons, numbers, etc. Use you code cylinder to access a dataport and get a map of the facility. Better yet, use someone else's code cylinder. Check for any access hatches on this floor that connect to other floors. Be on the llokout for the presence of any Force users other than us. Good call Sorrow. Al'Meda out."
The room to the Zarcos’ door opened without the courtesy of a knock to reveal an armoured guard. He carried the Tenloss disruptor weapons, pistol and rifle, that the Zarcos favored and that had been declared illegal in almost every system either Zarco could recall.
“The Reeve will see you now,” was all that the man said. He did not wait. He expected Baron Zarco to follow.
“Crix…” Baron Zarco reached out with his ethereal tentacles to wave at his Aedile. “We are going to the see Reeve Sharhurte, the man who greeted us.” The silent call was over almost as soon as it started.
The Zarcos followed the man to a turbolift at the floor lobby at the end of the hall where the party stayed. They passed Sorrow who was chatting idly with someone attached to the Tenloss. The guard and the Zarcos entered the lift. The guard looked at the Al’Meda and huffed as if her presence was not welcome but he was unsure of whether he should challenge the man that the Reeve had obviously known for some time. The lift descended and Zarco felt his Aedile following them with a consciousness projected.
The lift doors opened and the guard pointed with the end of his rifle. “Two doors down, on the right.”
The Zarcos left the lift. They walked down the hall and entered the room. The Reeve sat at a large desk with the Guardian Illian Syn. He was tied to the chair and had wires of some sort attached over his body. Two guards stood behind a medical droid that quietly ministered to the Guardian.
The Reeve gestured to the Guardian. “We were interrupted by this…”
“Wham!” Baron Zarco slammed his fist on the table. “This is an outrage! You have harmed a member of a party traveling under my auspices.”
“Calm down friend,” the Reeve’s voice was but a whisper through this lips and even thinner, trimmed facial hair. “This man was keeping a secret from you, unless he told you of his past in which case he broke an oath to us. Either way, why should you care? He has proven his unreliability.”
“We care because we take care of our own,” intoned Al’Meda Zarco.
“And just who is “our,” asked the Reeve.
“Anyone that travels with us, that’s who. Release the man now.”
The Reeve hesitated for a moment and then motioned to the guards. They unleashed him from his restraints and the medical droid revived him.
“We had to debrief him. So I see your life has changed.”
“Let’s dispense with the pleasantries Reeve. Though you have been a good client for many years our relationship has always been just that…just business.” Baron Zarco was not agitated, just direct. “We are looking for a bounty hunter…”
“Yes, I know…Karrsk.” The Reeve flipped a disc at the Zarcos. “All the information I have on him is on that disk.”
Zarco sat back, surprised at the ease with which the information had been achieved in light of the complications. “Just like that?”
“No, not exactly,” the man smiled disingenuously and looked away. “I am smart enough to know that I will need you from time to time but, more pressing than that, I need the information you have on the unknown regions.”
“Well, that information is…unknown.” Zarco suppressed a smile. Then the two erupted in laughter. Zarco continued, “As soon as I see that this information is reliable I will see that you receive the data I have compiled on the so-called Unknown Regions.”
Xerxes was sitting at a dejarik table planning his next move when the door slid open to reveal FK standing in the doorway.
"Come on Xerxes, let's go." the Templar said. Xerxes left the dejarik board and followed FK through one of the many narrow hallways.
"Where are the others?"
"The Zarcos, Joshman, Vodo, and Ricco are at the landing platform verifying some information. You, Syn and I are going to go find Sorrow."
Puzzled by the situation Xerxes queried the Templar, "Why don't you just contact him telepathically?"
The Templar stopped and turned to the Protector. "Neither I nor the Zarcos have been able to contact Sorrow. There is something at the center of this asteroid that is blocking our connection to Sorrow. That is why we are going to find him." and with that the Templar started walking towards a destination unknown to Xerxes as the Protector hurried to catch up.
It had been one of his less dignified falls from grace, down a long dark and damp air vent.
Sorrow had managed to procure a code cylinder from one of the workers in the corridor. His light fingered techniques had not diminished over the years. He had even managed to access the bases computer and download a copy of the base schematics onto his holopad. He had been just about ready to go and free the others, giving them copies of the map as well as all the intel he had gained on the armed guards and security devices on the his current level when part of the map drew his attention.
A big black hole where a big black hole shouldn’t be! The schematic had topography and geological information for the entire asteroid so why was there a big section of… well nothing in the middle?
The schematic did reveal one thing of interest. Several lines of nothing heading towards the big ball of nothing. And one of them passed right next to the corridor he was in.
‘Ahh. An air vent!’ He had thought to himself and sure enough it was.
After sticking his head into the vent… well that’s when everything went… funny.
A strong sense of foreboding overcame him, a sense of danger and of extreme power. So powerful his head swam with it. Then there was the force. He could sense its use.
Acting quickly he tried to respond to it but he wasn’t quick enough. Next thing he knew he was falling through the vent, deep into darkness.
It took all of his strength in the force and every ounce of sheer force of will not to be flattened on impact as he his fall terminated at the bottom of the tunnel.
And now… He stood in darkness.
Unable to contact the others, his force mark around his left eye shone with a blue hue as he used the force to sense his surrounding.
He was in a large room with ventilation shafts leading out in several directions. One of which he knew was towards the place where this ominous energy was emanating from.
After a brief check of his faculties he found his left arm to have been dislocated and his small finger to be broken.
Relocating his shoulder he headed towards the energy and emerged from the shaft into an equally dark corridor. Pausing briefly to get his bearings the sense of danger came back stronger then before and he could sense something moving. Moving through the corridor at an alarming speed!
“Oh shi…!” Something large impacted his body and sent him flying down the hall, knocking him unconscious.
Two armoured guards escorted Illian into a large room decorated only by a desk and a chair. The Reeve pointed at the chair and the guards quickly tied the guardian down before bowing and leaving the room. A medical droid entered and began running diagnostics while the Reeve just sat, staring silently at Illian. After a while the droid finished and the Reeve spoke.
"Well well well operative. It seems you have had quite the detour returning to us. Sith tattoos, sabre burns, even the some sexual activity over the past few years. What to make of all this... Care to help me shed some light on this?" Illian only looked at him blankly. The Reeve grunted and pulled out a device like a mechanical octopus with far too many legs. "Very well, if you will not speak, then the debrief will have to explain for you." Illian watched calmly as the device was placed over the log tattoo on his chest, two of the arms clipping around his chest, another two over his shoulders. Then darkness, with only the last words of the Reeve echoing in his mind, "Welcome home, brother..."
Somehow this sensation seemed familiar, floating in a void, aware but un-aware. All around, lines of energy were flowing and crossing, and something at the back of Illian's fractured mind told him they were important. Before he knew it he was floating towards one of the lines, reaching out with an ethereal hand to touch the white light. Disorientation followed as he was swept into the flow. Suddenly he knew what this was, a memory from his past guiding him, as he saw a huge matrix of the energy lines appear before him as he was catapulted out of his current stream. The Tenloss databank, all the security cameras and information banks were here. Memories of being here before, but somehow he was not supposed to be. Operatives were atached to the system to download their mission files before the new ones were uploaded, yet he had always been able to access it activly. Maybe it was his force powers, maybe not.
As he flew towards the matrix he felt a tug towards one of what he instinctivly knew to be a security line. changing his course he reached out again, letting the flow absorb him entirely, putting his conciousness inside the cameras all over the base. Images flashed before his eyes of different sectors slowly being filtered out by Illian's mind till only three remained. The first, a room Illian was not familiar with (either recently or from memory) that held all kinds of scientific equipment and a techno-pedastal in the center. The second was an image of several armed guards walking down a corridor with long purposful strides. The final was an image of his old friend Sorrow standing in darkness, directly below the research sector. Illian tried to see more but he was being tugged back out of the network, back to conciousness. To his suprise he saw the Zarco's standing over him, talking with the Reeve. He groggily stood as the three shook hands and made their way to the door.
"Zarco... Zarcos... i have information. Lots of pretty lights doing pretty things, but one of the highest interest," he said in a whisper, like a child talking about somehting he shouldnt know. The Zarcos exchanged a look, before guiding the mad guardian back to the rooms where they were staying.
"Pull yourself togeather Syn. What information?" the Baron was aware that the man before him was a far cry from the arrogant youth he had encountered before, madness now a permanent state in the journeyman. Still it was worth a try, and seemed this time it would pay off. Illian's face became sombre and he spoke as if every word was an effort inconentration.
"There is a room. A bad room. Lots of bad things have happened there, and it contains a device. Sorrow is near, but he will soon be occupied with other things. The Tenloss must not have this device..." his eyes glazed over as he tried to hang on to clarity, but to no avail. The Baron turned to his fiancee.
"Well then, this is getting interesting. Seems the hunter is not our only business here. Get in touch with Sorrow if you can, I will meet the Reeve with the information he requested. Take Syn with you. He may provide some invaluable insight. Dark speed my love." With that he left, leaving Al'Meda and Illian standing face to face, new objectives on both minds.
Al'Meda Zarco tried to contact Sorrow but the mental connection they had established earlier was, for some reason, severed. Sorrow had not reported back.
Just then, the door opened and Fire Knight entered. Al'Meda informed him of the message she had previously sent Sorrow and her current inability to make contact. He informed her that he too was unable to reach him and had passed Baron Zarco in the hall and suggested that all meet in the hangar bay within the hour. He then spoke to Illian Syn.
"I know that of all of us your connection with Sorrow is the greatest. We must find him. We will go get Xerxes and find Sorrow together. Al'Meda, go to the hangar and prepare the ship for a possibly fast exit."
The Tetrarch left the room and Fire Knight and the Guardian soon followed.
The Twi'lek's hand thumped against the Shuttle Comm panel. It was obvious now that the signal he was sending was being jammed. The Lambda-class shuttle was equipped with Taldryan's latest transmitter and and communication devices, but it was unable to pierce the space around the Asteroid. He had tried several times to work a signal that would suddenly change frequency and confuse a Jamming Device, but as of yet, the Tenloss were winning; for every time he tricked the jamming signal, a new one replaced the former and continued the work. Even encrypted signals were being jammed. This did not bode well for the party.
Vodo downloaded all the information he could from the shuttle onto his personal data pad and wiped the ships memory cores clean using a technique Master Katarn had once taught him aboard a Tarentum Cruiser. He brushed aside the pleasant memory, and focused on his task at hand. Baron Zarco would love to hear of this, for sure. But furthermore, he could not shake the ubiquitous feeling of impending doom.
Vodo, while tuned into the subtle vibrations of the living force, he had trouble sensing the future without deep concentration. His superiors assured him it would come with time, and more power as he grew into the Dark Side, further, but the Twi'lek was concerned it was more than that. When the Knight did chance to sense it however, it tickled his Lekku head tails. It started at the very tips, and spread warmly across the surface as they shivered so slightly an onlooker would not notice.
It was a nuisance that could not be shaken off. And now, with the news of the missing Guardian, Vodo felt reassured in his feeling. The Data pad finished downloading, and he disconnected it. From the storage locker, he took eight Bryar Pistols, thoughtfully donated by the House of Dinaari, into his backpack. He also loaded several supplies that could be used by those in the know to cause some pretty explosions if need be.
His work done, Vodo left the shuttle, ignoring the obvious glares of the workers around him and meticulously sealed the shuttle. The corridors of the asteroid were long, and turned abruptly, but using the small pen and paper map he'd drawn on his way out, the Knight found his way to the Zarco's room. There was no need to knock as he'd warned the inhabitants of his impending arrival, and just as he turned to face the door, Vodo was greeted by the not so cheerful face of Baron.
Vodo entered, slapping the data pad into his hand and dumping the heavy backpack on a nearby stool, "Zarco, you will find in there evidence to suggest that our hosts do not wish us to contact home. They were running fairly sophisticated programs to jam me back there, and though my technical knowledge is sub par, I believe this is something we may need to look into if our welcome runs out."
Andan Taldrya Marshall
"Zarco, you will find in there evidence to suggest that our hosts do not wish us to contact home. They were running fairly sophisticated programs to jam me back there, and though my technical knowledge is sub par, I believe this is something we may need to look into if our welcome runs out." Vodo said as Crix walked into the room. He'd changed from his robes into a black flightsuit that looked almost exactly like an old TIE pilot's flightsuit. The obvious difference being the substituion of the shoulder patch; the Imperial patch had been switched with a Taldryan one.
"Of course they don't want us contacting Karufr." Crix said, standing in the middle of the group. He looked around, too many others here... he thought. "Follow me, it's too open here to talk." He walked over to the One Armed Scissor and, using the Force, unlocked the hatch. The group followed Crix into the ship and he sealed the hatch behind them.
Addressing the reassembled group, he said "Of course they don't want us contacting Karufr. They have something that we want and they know that we want it. Their mistake was that they weren't expecting a Battlelord or Templar to be in the group; Zarco is leading this little party so they thought he'd be the highest ranked member present." Crix paused for a moment and smiled at the puzzlement on the faces surrounding him.
"I'm not supprused that the rest of you haven't felt it yet, it's being shielded very well. FK and I were able to get a hint of it earlier. You have no idea what I'm hinting at, do you?" Crix asked, smiling. "Force Crystal."
With these two words, the eyes of every Dark Jedi in the room light up. They'd all been introduced to the effects of special crystals which had been attuned to the Force in the Shadow Academy and while none in the room save himself and possibly FireKnight had any experience working with one of these crystals, they all knew that one of these crystals had the power to greatly augment their own Force powers.
"There is a Force Crystal being used somewhere in this astroid. I'm going to step in for a moment and assert my authority as the highest ranked and positioned member of this party to alter our purpose for the moment: We will be taking this crystal home with us." He paused for a moment and looked at Zarco, "Although I don't believe this to be a major deviation from our origional mission. The Force brought us to this juncture for a reason, us finding a Force Crystal on this astroid is much too convenient when we're already looking for one."
"Our first priority, however, is to get the rest of our team back togeather and supplied. I want everyone without a lightsaber to be carrying a ranged and melee weapon, I don't care if it's a katana or a dirk as long as you can use it effectively inside tight spaces, and of course you'll all have extra ammo for the ranged weapon. Anyone with a lightsaber I want carrying a backup, you never know when your charge will run out or the saber will be damanged and a small ranged weapon would be advisable also. Anything beyond what I just said is fine so long as you can use it in a hallway or tight room without damaging yourselves or other Taldryanites." He paused for a moment, then added "I also want a few people carrying explosives in case there are doors or walls that need to be...persuaided...to open, but I caution against using grenades. We're inside and grenades have a nasty habit of hurting the person who threw them in this kind of situation."
"Nobody, for no reason, is to go off by themselves. I want everyone traveling in teams of at least two, preferably more. We are going to be at a major disadvantage numerically so we're going to have to make up for it with exremely good tactics. There will be at least one lightsaber per group, also. I have more weapons on my ship then any system will let any non-military person own in their lifetime, so if you need anything feel free to take it. I also have a few extra lightsabers hidden away if anyone needs a spair."
Crix looked around at the group, who indicated that they understood his orders. "Nobody leaves until we get Sorrow back with us." Crix nodded towards Zarco "My appologies for userping your command, Zarco." Crix said as he took a seat.
The force crystal did explain some of the sensation Vodo had been feeling, but it was not that. Specifically anyways. The Twi'lek had been very near some force crystals during his many trips to the Shadow Academy. He knew and recognized the feeling now that it had been revealed, but a deeper, more sinister presence lingered.
"May I offer my services for the weapons?" Vodo dropped his bag on the deck of the ship and opened it. He handed out the Bryar Pistols to those present. He also withdrew a couple thermal detonators for Taku. He handed these specifically to the Son of Taldryan because of the excitement he'd sensed from the Sith Battle lord.
"When the others return with Sorrow, I'll take him as my partner", Vodo placed the bag back on his shoulders, still fairly laden with equipment he'd deemed useful to the party.
The Twi'lek could sense the other's minds racing at the news of the Crystal. Of course everyone wanted a piece of it. With that crystal, it could be infused with the Dark Side, and be made to be put into use as a Light Saber crystal, a decorative element on a piece of jewelry or an award, or even the centerpiece of lavish dining hall. But of course this crystal must be large, large enough to worry the Equites. Vodo was intrigued to see what would come of this.
Baron Zarco spoke up after taking some time to consider the consequences. He was very hesitant to reveal the existence of MU-2 or, for that matter the nature of much of any of his past. Yet, he could see that events were conspiring to lead the Taldryanite group astray. He wondered if Darth Nukleuz was so powerful that he (or she - he was not sure) was manipulating events from afar, or perhaps even from right under their very noses.
"The crystal that started this mission is not here. I know that for sure. Doubtless there is another crystal here if you sense it but, make no mistake about it, it is not the one we seek from Nukleuz."
All present looked at tha male Zarco. He continued.
"I hypothesize that the crystal you sense is one that the Tenloss use to cloak their location. That is why we sense an undefined blackness at the center of this base. Such a crystal would be a feather in Taldryan's hat as a cloaking device for it's major capital vessel, or perhaps the fleet centered around it. This, of course, is consistent with the Tenloss obsession withs secrecy and the reason our transmissions are being jammed. They jam everyone's transmissions, even their own are sent on a navigational beacon that jumps through hyperspace to a random location before transmitting. They hold no particular animus towards us, unless, of course, we decide to take their cloaking crsytal."
Crix replied, "We are going to take the crystal."
"Then let's do it and get out of here and after Karrsk. Only he can lead us to Nukleuz and the crystal we seek."
In light of Crix’ decision that the party’s focus should shift to capturing the Force device responsible for cloaking the Tenloss’ base on the Vergesso Asteroid, the party went in search of Sorrow for the two seemed to be in the same place, the center of the asteroid.
Baron Zarco decided to go and keep the Reeve occupied while the party delved into parts unknown. He could keep Crix and Al’Meda apprised of any information pertinent to the mission for the cloaking device by communicating with them telepathically while staying right next to the Reeve who would undoubtedly be consulted if the party’s efforts were discovered.
Those up for a “treat” went with Crix, Al’Meda and Illian Syn. Baron Zarco had already provided the information to the whereabouts of Karrsk to the hyperdrive computers of all concerned. In case their exit from the asteroid was hasty, a rallying point had been set.
Al’Meda Zarco had a DX-2 pistol on each hip and a B-22 blaster in an ankle holster. She had extra energy magazines and grenades in a belt held by combat suspenders. She was also carrying Prax Arms AXM-50 with an underslung MGL-1 Locris Syndicate micro-grenade launcher. She also had a breathing unit with thirty minutes air supply and a pressurized flight suit as did Crix.
As the party walked behind Crix to a turbolift that would taken them down into the asteroid, Al’Meda Zarco spoke with Guardian Illian Syn. “Do you know how to get to the cloaking device? I believe Sorrow has already gone there. Be sure and speak up with any information you have. Retrieving Sorrow is my priority.”
Sorrow awoke with a dizzy head and a pain in his chest. The dizzy head was easy enough to explain considering he’d been hit really hard by a fast moving object, the pain in the chest however was a different story.
It turned out, that when Sorrow opened his eyes, the pain in his chest came from a long metal leg that was attached to a very large droid. The leg was holding him firmly in place, and after careful examination from the floor, he had learnt that it was one of six legs. The droid was easily eight feet tall with legs like a spider and two arms protruding from a human like torso.
“You like it? I call it Thrasher. My personal design.” Sorrow turned his head to where the voice came from and through blurred vision saw two figures standing in front of a large device that looked like a stalactite and a stalagmite with their points coming together. Where the two points came together a bright light emanated from a fist sized crystal.
Of the two standing before him, Sorrow was quite sure that one of them was the Bounty Hunter they had been chasing. Well at least through his blurred vision the man looked like the holo image he had seen. The second, obviously not human from the way his body was shaped hidden beneath it’s black robes.
“It’s a shame you found us. I had no desire to fight against the brotherhood.” The cloak shrouded figure’s voice scraped in Sorrow’s ears like hulls of two great ships colliding with each other. “I once studied there you know? Not so long ago, of course but I’m sure before your time.”
Sorrow could feel the creature’s eyes glaring at him, weighing him and analyzing his strength. Even hidden under the cloak it was a powerful feeling.
“Karssk. You and your toy can dispose of this one. I guess I’ll have to take care of the others now.” The creature turned to leave but was brought up by the Bounty Hunter’s raised hand.
“How can you kill that many Dark Jedi alone?”
“First of all. I won’t be alone. And as my dear old dad always taught me…” A cold, grey three fingered hand lifted up from beneath the shadows of the black robe. Sorrow’s eyes focussed on a light saber clutched between those alien fingers. The red blade ignited and grew ominously in the creature hand. “Divide and conquer.”
The Dark Jedi disappeared through a door and his dark presence was lost as he travelled quickly away from Sorrow.
“Thrasher.” Karssk’s voice sounded bored and his words came out in an off-handed manner that infuriated Sorrow. “Kill him.”
Sorrow’s mind snapped in to focus as he raised both his hands into the air before him.
The spider like droid with a human torso lifted into the air as the pointed leg that was holding pinning Sorrow to the ground pressed downwards. Instead of crushing the Guardian it merely hung, useless in the air.
With a flick of his hands the droid flew against the wall with a loud metallic screech.
Groggily, Sorrow pulled himself to his feet and drew out his DL-18 blaster.
“So? This might be interesting after all?” Karrsk’s voice carried an edge of excitement that hadn’t been present before. “But you’re going to need something a little better that that I’m afraid. Thrasher.”
With another metallic scrape the large droid erected itself once more, to stand on it’s feet and with blinding speed, threw itself at Sorrow.
Jumping aside, Sorrow barely had time to avoid it. As he rolled across the floor one of his frag grenades fell loose of his belt and rolled across the room to rest against the wall next to the fool hardy Bounty Hunter.
With a shock Karrsk leapt away from the explosive, the grenade exploding only seconds to late to catch the Hunter in its blast.
As he came out of his roll to rest in a kneeling position, his eyes focusing on the Guardian as he ran around the room narrowly avoiding the attacks of the monstrous droid, his eyes were drawn to the Guardian’s hand.
Sorrow noticed Karrsk’s eyes fall to his hand, he saw the moment of realisation flash into the pathetic mind of the Bounty Hunter.
Sorrow pressed the button on the detonator.
The Bounty Hunter cried in terror as he heard the blast, however instead of being consumed by an explosion, he was instead consumed by a thick viscous substance.
The glop grenade held the Bounty hunter firmly in place as his droid mindlessly hunted the tiring Sorrow around the room.
Illian looked at Al’Meda thoughtfully.
“What I know and what I can tell you are two very different things. It’s so very dark here, so very very dark…” The Guardian shivered as if he was cold as Al’Meda looked on patiently, waiting for the information she sought to find its way through Illian’s broken mind. The lift doors opened and the group stepped out into a warren of corridors. Illian looked around hesitantly.
“And there are things here, not the things you want, but things you are going to get, like a spider in the night… spider…” He broke off, staring at nothing for a moment. “There was just an explosion near the reactor core. The reactor core is a central shaft leading up to the main data archives. The main data archives lead to the research station. The research station has a turbo-lift entrance to…” Illian closed his eyes tight, his face a strain of concentration. “…An entrance to a weapons testing lab. In the lab a crystal that makes things dark in my mind.” The Guardian looked up triumphantly, eyes burning. Al’Meda was about to stop the group and update them when a concussion blast hit the wall a few feet in front of her, scattering the group onto the floor. Crix was the first to spot the Tenloss assault group making its way toward the Dark Jedi.
“Incoming! All sabres to the front, Journeymen watch the rear. For the Darkness!” As he spoke, several more concussion blasts were fired but this time they were ready, multiple minds intercepting them and sending them back to the Tenloss. Al’Meda turned her attention back to Illian, only to find the Guardian gone.
“Syn? Where the hell is Syn? Dammit!” She swore, before pulling out her blaster and firing at the aggressors.
Illian made his way down the corridors that seemed so familiar yet so foreign. How long ago had he been here and for how long? These questions looped endlessly through his mind, as he came closer and closer to the test lab where he knew his friend to be.
As he walked into one room, the feeling of de ja vue caused him to stop and look around. Data-pads lined the walls, each one showing a different flashing symbol on its face. In the centre of the room was a terminal with a device similar to the one the Reeve had used on him. One symbol in particular stood out, a dark sun like the one on his chest. Taking the pad down, he inserted it into the device and attached it to his tattoo. Instantly he was amongst the energy threads again, and he could feel the new data being transferred to his log for later use. Disconnecting himself he moved on.
Minutes later he was at the research station, then the turbo-lift, then going down. As he reached the bottom the doors opened and he stepped out. He instinctively ducked as a metal claw swiped at his head, launching sideways to avoid another claw impeding itself in the ground where he had just been.
“Rosh? Is that you?” Illian called to the droid.
“No you idiot, I’m over here!” Illian looked to the voice, seeing Sorrow avoider another swipe from the spider-like droid.
“Ah! Good to see you! Need any help?”
“If you could ‘persuade’ that bounty hunter to call this thing off, it might help some!” Illian sighed, shaking his head.
“Okay, but I really think you should blow it up. Do we need him alive?”
“Yes Syn, we do. No taking organs.” Illian glared at the other Dark Jedi, still dodging the spider-droid’s attacks.’
“Fine,” he said darkly turning to the hunter stuck in the glop grenade’s discharge. “Greetings, my name is Syn, and I think we have some business to discuss…”
“Incoming! All sabres to the front, Journeymen watch the rear. For the Darkness!”, Crix roared.
His pitch was joined by Vodo and Ricco immediately. The two Dark knights jumped forward, drawing their weapons just as they'd been taught so many times. With their blades ignited, the three of them proceeded to redirect the incoming blaster attacks. The small corridor however was becoming more of a burden then an advantage. They saberists were in a cramped area and were beginning to move into each other's arcs.
Vodo's mental assessment of the situation was concise. He was the only one of the party to have mastered the Defensive Form III, Soresu, and it's knowledge of redirecting blaster bolts. Doubtless the other had experience, but as it stood, the Twi'lek was the first line of defence.
The Knight ordered the two other Dark Jedi to fall in behind him. They did not contest the command and did so, probably making the same mental judgment quickly. The amount of fire powering down the hallway was becoming fever pitched, and screamed towards the party in generous amounts. Vodo's arms grew fatigued quickly as they slowly pressed forward, and he found himself needing to replenish his strength using the Dark Side.
Behind them, Vodo could hear the sounds of the Journeymen holding off a second Assault Team from behind them. These sounds did not register as thought, they couldn't or he would drop his guard and kill all Three of them.
So far, Vodo had merely been redirecting the bolts and attacks, and as they neared the Tenloss, it became necessary to 'shoot back'. Instead of sending the bolts into the walls and floor, the bolts flew straight back at their origin, or another soldier, killing most of the Assault team quickly. Vodo's strength quit him quickly, causing Vodo to drop his guard for an instant.
Crix, had been watching his student closely and detected the fault within an moment. He leapt forward at the party, now within range and seared through their battle gear quickly using his Saber. The few surviving Tenloss moaned in agony, clutching severed arms, and gashes in their abdomen. Vodo cringed on the floor of the corridor grasping his breast where a single blaster bolt had managed to evade his Light Saber.
More from instinct than thought, the Knight applied the force to lessen the pain, but was in no state of mind to heal it.
He was growing weary. The droid’s attacks were relentless and precise. If he hadn’t been trained in the ways of the dark side Sorrow knew he would never have stood a chance against such a devastating creature.
With his blaster drawn, he dodged around the room firing blast after blast into the heavily armoured droid. Sorrow was doing everything he could to distract it from Illian who now hovered over the immobile bounty hunter, his hands place gently on Karrsk’s forehead as if checking for a fever. It was only Karrsk’s screams of pain that belayed the gentle gesture.
Screw this! Why torture him to stop the damn machine? What was I thinking? Besides I think Illian’s forgotten about this damn droid.
“Illian! Scratch my last! Let’s blow the damn thing UP!!...” Sorrow’s breath was knocked out of him as he was sent flying through the air once more. Sliding across the smooth metal, he was back up onto his hands and knees before he ran out of momentum.
The droid flew towards him in a blur. It’s singular red eye focused on the guardian. If droids had had feelings, Sorrow imagined that this one was about to feel infuriated.
As his eyes came to rest on the eye of the droid, its forward motion came to a halt. The droid’s legs flailing helplessly in the air once more as Sorrow weaved the force around it to hold it aloft. His force mark shining a brilliant blue now from all the energy in the force he had been forced to exert today.
With a psychotic scream born from the ether, Illian ran towards the droid. Eyes gleaming bright green with his connection to the force. Leaping onto the beast, Illian raised his gauntleted fist and drove it forward, deep through the armoured carapace that Sorrow’s blaster had failed to penetrate, after several deep blows he then turned and jumped off. His jump landed him next to Sorrow who, though bruised and bleeding and bearing a haggard look, stood tall as Illian raised his hand and took the driod’s levitation over.
With a mournful expression on his face, Sorrow reached beneath his coat and drew out another frag grenade. Holding it out before him. As his hand dropped back to his side, the grenade remained in the air before him, then flew towards the droid and found its harbour within the puncture that Illian had provided.
Illian’s fingers spread wide and the suspended droid went flying back across the room only to explode before striking the wall. It’s severed torso struck the ceiling with a crash then fell down crushing what remained of it lower body.
“Aww!! No pretty colors!” Said Illian forlornly. “I like pretty colors. Especially red!”
Illian, a small smile twitching at the corner of his mouth, slowly turned towards the whimpering Bounty Hunter still encased in the Glop fluid on the floor.
Sorrow merely fell to the floor. His legs to sore and tired to support him any longer.
Baron Zarco sat in the office with the Reeve. They spoke idly, the tension between them growing as the rising tide of unspoken recent events swelled under the new moon of Zarco’s association with the Bortherhood and Crix’s ambitions to take a precious item from the Tenloss Syndicate.
“Do you remember that time you got me out of trouble on Corellia?” The Reeve’s thin lips smiled.
“Yeah, remember look on the Prefect’s face when he got a call from the ISB in the middle of the hearing?” Zarco spoke, barely containing open laughter.
The two laughed hearty together as they had for a few minutes now, recalling old scrapes and such. The intercom beeped and the Reeve tapped a control on his desk to active a communications device. “Yes,” he spoke curtly, not especially pleased with the interruption. He had so few chances to relax since being appointed the Tenloss supervisor of the Vergesso Asteroid.
Zarco strained to hear the voice on the other end of the communications. It was agitated, competent and calm, but agitated.
“Keep me posted.” The Reeve turned his face back to Baron Zarco, his composure a bit shaken but still insructable, at least for a being without Zarco’s perceptive powers.
“So,” said the Reeve, “tell me about your new friends.”
Joshman felt a rush of adrenaline as he defended the rear from the second Assault team, along with his fellow Journeymen. The Guardian quickly rushed in, with an extra burst of speed from the Force, to close the distance between him and his opponents, eliminating their advantage with ranged weapons. Grabbing one of the Tenlosses by the arm, he gave an almighty wrench, tearing the appendage right off of the shoulder. As his opponent let out a cry, blood pouring from the wound, the Wookiee swung his arm back around, smashing the arm into its owner's head. The Tenloss crumpled, already dead.
Hoping that the other Brotherhood members were holding off the first Assault group, the Journeymen quickly dispatched the rest of their opponents, showing that Journeymen were still a Force to be reckoned with. However, the last Tenloss managed to squeeze off a shot from his blaster before his head was removed from his shoulders, striking the Wookiee in his right thigh. Joshman let out a roar of pain, grabbing his leg as it crumpled beneath him.
Xerxes and FK had been running around the base for several minutes trying to find the Turbolift when Illian suddenly blew by seemingly in a trance. Following the him carefully FK was finally guided to the Tubolift he had been looking for. Awaiting its return from the depths Fire-Knight checked to make sure he had his back up saber and bryar close at hand.
The doors suddenly cracked open and FK jumped in followed by xerxes, hitting the pad for the bottom floor. The trip took seconds and before the door opened FK ignited his blade, senseing something on the other side. The Door slipe open and FK launched forward swinging his blade high and straight forward.. destroying a metal boom that had nearly hit him. Funning forward he saw both Illian and Sorrow as the destroyed a droid.
"You two, we need to go... NOW!" FK only stopped a moment to grab the Crystal out of suspension and to rip the Bounty hunter out of the Glop. "If you move, I swear I will eat you alive... slowly"
Throwing the Bounty hunter over one shoulder and grabbing the tired sorrow Fk threw him over the other to catch his breath.
"Illian, Xerxes lets go."
Running back to the lift the group hit the pad to go back to the top level.
'Crix, its Ratakan Tech, think its a cloaking device. From the feel of it, we will need a hell of alot of the force just to cloak a small ship...'
'Good stuff, get back here, and fast we need to leave'
The doors opened and the Templar dashed out, pushing himself to move faster with the force even with the burden of two people on his shoulders. Tenloss were swarming the halls, but any that got in FK's way were trampled as he plowed forward.
Suddenly in his right ear Fk heard. "I can run now."
Dropping Sorrow, FK tossed the bounty hunter to Illian and drew his saber. Running out into the hanger FK saw the remainder of the group battling in the hanger. Two blaster shot caught him in the shoulder, but he didnt have the time to feel pain, running forward FK went into a frenzy, chopping and hacking at the closest person without any caution for his own life.
Zarco did not like the tone present his the Reeve's voice. He also had respect for the man from their dealings in the past. He knew if he left him here he would be as good as dead if the Tenloss knew he had let Zarco and his friends escape with the cloaking device. The possibilities spun in Zarco's mind and, in an instant, he made a decision.
He had pulled the B-22 blaster from his ankle holster while appearing merely to have crossed his legs across the desk from the Reeve. As Zarco drew a breath as if to respond at length to the Reeve's question, he fired the blaster, now set on stun, into the older man's chest. the Reeve slumped across his desk and Zarco heard someone immedialtely at the door.
An armored guard burst in and was greeted with the white hot mercy of Zarco's emerald blade. The man fell neatly just inside the doorway. Zarco pulled him the rest of the way in as he used his combined strength and grasp of the Force use to heave the Reeve onto his shoulders. He extinguished his lightsaber and put his B-22 back in his ankle holster. He then balanced the Reeve across his shoulders and carried his DX-2 disruptor in his right hand.
He sent a silent message to Al'Meda and Crix. "I have taken the Reeve as a hostage. The reports I heard while in his office make me believe you have found Sorrow and are in possession of the cloaking crystal. Meet me at the hangar."
Zarco had not wanted to leave the Reeve to face an ignominious death for failing the Tenloss. Zarco certainly owed it to his clan and house and the Horsemen to assist in the appropriation of the cloaking crystal. He did not, however, like what its theft would do to the Reeve. Zarco assumed that the Reeve would be treated better if it were believed by the Tenloss that the Reeve had fought the invaders. Also, perhaps their escape would be made easiler with the Reeve in tow as a hostage.
Al'Meda Zarco cranked a micro-grenade into the next wave of Tenloss securtiy that came behind the ones Guardian Joshman Dyas had obliterated. She heard the cry of the Wookie and switched aim to another armored man who rushed towards Dyas. The heavy rifle rocked in the cradle of her arms as it spat death into the man who would presume to charge a Horseman. His armor was ripped apart, as was his living flesh. She then turned back to the next wave and fired at the corners behind which they had taken cover after the grenade had diminished their numbers. "Do you not know who the frack I am," laughed the Huntress to herself, her voice lost in the cacophony of the heavy rifle.
Al'Meda Zarco stepped in front of the Wookie and continued firing, stepping back as the Wookie pushed himself back along the floor. Once they had found a corner themselves she saw Vodo and Crix and Ricco to the rear making short work of the Tenloss who had assaulted them from that side. She knelt and handed the Prax Arms rifle to the downed Wookie and pulled a medkit from her belt. She applied the healing technology as the Wookie continued to fire, suppressing the advance of the Tenloss on the otherside. "I always wanted to see a Wookie do that arm ripping stunt. Damn!" The blood from the limb and its use as a club adorned the blaster-scarred white walls like so much art at a fine exhibit of in Coruscant.
Their only way out was to completely destroy the Tenloss on one side or the other. She heard Baron Zarco's telepathic call and knew it was time to make a fight back to the hangar. She was glad that Horseman Sorrow had been found. Joshman handed the weapon back to her. The Tenloss had taken up prone positions and fired around the corner at them, hoping their prone profiles made a smaller target. Al'Meda reacted by placing her rifle flat on the floor and spraying down the hall. Her rifle's position on the floor meant that the bolts of energy raced down the hall and into the chests and faces of the prone men.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
Fire ratchoted off Crix's purple blade and back at the Tenloss Security who had charged down the hall, either not knowing the fate of the ones who had come before them or being foolish enough to think that they would not end up the same. The trooper directly in front of Crix took aim and fired, a red bolt lancing out at the Battlelord. The space in front of Crix turned purple as his lightsaber intercepted the bolt and directed it back to its sender. Unfortunately, the Tenloss did not also have a lightsaber, so the bolt which had moments ago been heading for Crix's face collided with the trooper's face.
I have taken the Reeve as a hostage. The reports I heard while in his office make me believe you have found Sorrow and are in possession of the cloaking crystal. Meet me at the hangar. Crix heard Zarco say.
Smiling, Crix reached out to the rest of the team and telepathically said We have what we came for, time to move out. Taking a quick glance around, Crix saw that everyone had understood him.
Crix stopped deflecting the blaster bolts for a moment and watched as the faces of the troopers turned from demoralized to estatic. They continued to fire, but Crix blocked none of the bolts. Instead, he absorbed the energy from the shots meant to kill him and after taking about two seconds worth of fire he had all the extra energy that he'd need. Suddenly, Crix shouted and released all the pent up energy in the form of a telekenetic wave which stunned the troopers in front of him.
"MOVE OUT!" He yelled, breaking into a run towards the hanger.
Despite feeling mildly embarrassed about having to be carried by Crix like a rag doll and having to deal with Illian’s amused giggles, it had given Sorrow enough time to recover from his altercation with the thrasher droid down in the cloak generator room.
Now that he was running along side the Crix and Illian he felt renewed strength flow through his body ounce more and the blue glare from his force mark paled, then disappeared as he required less of the force to sustain his energies.
As the three of them approached the hanger door and it began to open, the other Dark Jedi still defending against the myriad of Tenloss forces coming in from behind them, Crix’s purple blade sliced through the air to rest in front of him in a defensive position. Illian pressed his body up against the wall with the Bounty Hunter still firmly in his grip. Sorrow knelt down just to the side of Crix his blaster drawn and aimed towards the door as it slid open.
The hanger door opened to a startling site. Storage containers had been moved to form a barricade cutting across the hanger floor between the Dark Jedi and their craft. Behind the containers, dozens of blaster rifles pointed towards the single entrance. And standing in amongst the middle of it, the black cloaked figure Sorrow had met briefly before, his crimson lightsaber held in his hand reverse grip and now joined by its twin in the opposite hand.
“I see they’ve improved their teachings at the Brotherhood since I left! But I can’t let you have that Bounty Hunter alive!” The stone cold, metallic voice cracked into Sorrows ears.
Burst of red energy erupted from the array of blaster rifles all pouring towards the Dark Jedi. Crix’s blade flashed in a blur of movement deflecting them gracefully back.
Sorrow returned the blaster fire from the comfort and protection of the Battlelord’s defensive saber skills but he knew, with the enemy Dark Jedi walking towards them through the hail of blaster bolts, that Crix was going to have to move soon to deal with that problem. Sorrow rolled across the ground and pressed himself up against the wall opposite from Illian and continued to return fire into the hanger. From beneath his coat he pulled his last grenade, without returning to his ship to re-supply, once again his force mark began to glow and the plasma grenade levitated out of his hand and flew into the hanger room passed the dark cloaked figure.
The plasma grenade stopped just over the barricade blocking their path to their ships and exploded in a flash of plasma induced flame engulfing many of the Tenloss gunmen.
With the distraction of the explosion, Crix stepped into the hanger and moved quickly off to the side, running sideways amongst a collection of one man fighters and storage containers. The saber bearing, cloak figure of his opponent moved with him, shadowing his movement.
Zarco emerged from the narrow hallway into the hangar to see an epic battle. Crix was fighting a being wielding two lightsabers. The rest of the party was battling in earnest againt Tenloss forces blocking the Taldryaite escape. Baron Zarco emerged behind the Tenloss forces carrying the Reeve using a combination of strength and Fore use that has left the Horseman panting and drenched in sweat.
He carried the Reeve to the ship he and Al’Meda had taken here and opened the hatch. Though he had been unnoticed in the din of battle, the sound of the hatch opening had caused him to be noticed. As the Tenloss security forces began to look at Zarco he pressed the DX-2’s muzzle into the Reeve’s head and called out to the Tenloss. “Drop your weapon’s. I will kill the man.”
The Tenloss hesitated and the Taldrya forces ceased fire, leaving only the conflict between Crix, Fire Knight and the mysterious dual wielding fighter. The shadowy figure backed in between two parked ships to channel his foes and called out to the Tenloss. “Kill him. He is of no use to us.”
The Tenloss responded by raising their weapons but were again cut off by the Tenloss sub-commanders that knew better than to sacrifice the Reeve even though the shadowy figure had so ordered. The Tenloss lowered their weapons as instructed by their Tenloss superiors.
“FOOLS!” The shadowy figure shouted as he batted away the continuing assault of Crix and Fire Knight. His single admonition had no sooner left his mouth as the combined fire of Al’Meda, Illian, Sorrow and Joshman cut the remaining Tenloss in half, leaving the battling dark Jedi alone.
Get to the ships! Let Crix and Fire Knight handle the heavyweight.’ Al’Meda’s voice carried through the hangar. “We’re sure to have company soon. We have not killed them all.”
Baron Zarco took the still stunned Reeve inside the ship and restrained him. When he emerged he saw Al’Meda and Sorrow and Illian coming towards him with a prisoner of their own. Joshman limped behind. Vodo and Ricco and Xerxes went about the hangar sealing off all access to the hangar in preparation of their departure.
They dropped their prisoner to the deck and spoke, “Karrsk.”
“The Karrsk I know is a Trandoshan, the guy who tried to block our exit from Cho-Kirai. The one whose head looked like an alligator because he’s so old. I’ve known him for forty years. My dad traveled a lot. I did time on the ‘Dosh.”
“Well who is this?” Al’Meda aksed to the symphony of sabers behind them.
“I do not know but I have a feeling Illian Syn can find out.” Baron Zarco smiled.
“Let’s get to Chappa Four. That’s the last information I have on the Dosh Karrsk. I have sent the coordinates to everyone’s navigational computers in coded form. Let’s get ready to go.”
Zarco wondered about the shadowy figure and the tempo of that battle but knew the ships had to be prepared for the escape and fight that would undoubtedly ensue as they left the asteroid field to jump to Chappa Four.”
Vodo had been given a Med kit by Al'meda to deal with his wound as the first wave of Tenloss had been dealt with. It relieved the pain well enough, and sealed the wound against infection and deterioration. The arm was still weak, but the Twi'lek'd had enough experience with his saber to wield it effectively left handed.
Their sprint to the Hangar had been wrought with fighting and a constant barrage of fire from the enemy, but through the thick of it, they emerged into the grand hangar. He'd then made his way as fast as he'd could to seal the hangar entrance closest to the Lambda-class shuttle. He'd prepared the ship for those who'd attempt to break in, but found this a problem now.
He could not get the ship open, started and take off in time. He would have ditch the fine shuttle and somehow answer as to why it could not be returned to Karufr. The Best Vodo was able to do was open the shuttle up from it's lockdown, enter, and begin the self termination sequence. On his way out, he grabbed a duffle like bag, and stuffed it full of provisions, explosives and medical units. Several people had already been injured, and at this rate, it seemed they'd only see more.
He exited the ship and ran across the floor, dodging incoming and fare and batting away those he could not avoid with his saber. Vodo made his way to the main transport of the group, Crix's One Armed Scissor.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
Crix grinned as the hanger door opened and he was met by a Dark Jedi weilding two crimson lightsabers. He'd studied a battle that had opened almost the exact same way while at the Shadow Academy, the only difference being that the lone Dark Jedi was a Sith and weilded a saber staff and the two other Jedi had been Lightside weaklings. One of them had died, too, that wasn't going to happen today.
Blaster fire rained down on the Taldryan Dark Jedi from Tenloss troopers who hid behind supply crates. Crix deflected most of the bolts until the saw a grenade arc out from behind him and explode just behind the boxes, clearing the formerly blocked way to their ships.
That still left the Dark Jedi. Without Crix even having to give the order, the entire group fanned out to their various ships leaving Crix and FireKnight, the two highest ranked and most skilled members of the group, to deal with this Dark Jedi.
Out of the corner of his eye, Crix saw FireKnight circling around their enemy with his lightsaber in hand. "So you must be this so called Darth Nukleuz." Crix chuckled, taking a few steps closer to the man. "The one who couldn't hack it in the Brotherhood has the audacity to call himself a Lord of the Sith? That's one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time and I work with new members, they say some pretty damn funny things."
"You think that you're bad ass just cause you managed to take over an astroid base full of idiots?" Crix taunted. "That's nothing! Darth Sidious duped the Republic into fighting a war that he forced the other side to start. That's real cunning. I wouldn't expect you to know that though, you didn't stay with the Brotherhood long enough to learn any real history."
"Enough!" Nukleuz shouted as he charged at Crix, lightsaber flashing in an arc meant to remove the Battlelord's head from his shoulders. Crix stood his ground and at the last moment, lashed out with a telekenetic blow to the other's midsection. As he doubled over, Crix brought his knee up to meet the other man's face and heard a pop as his nose gave way.
"You take the title of Darth and you can't even counter that simple attack? I should send my newest Knight out here to deal with you. That's all you can handle." Crix pushed the activation button on his saber, sending the purple blade shooting towards Nukleuz's exposed thigh. The other man managed to jump out of the way just in time, barely avoiding the glowing blade.
Although the jump took Nukleuz out of Crix's range, it put his back well within the range of FireKnight's own blade.
Taking the momentary reprieve from combat to survey the situation, Crix saw Vodo running towards his own ship. He reached out with the Force and said There are more Tenloss coming, get to the cockpit and use the ship's repeating blaster to hold them off, there are controls for it to the right of the main weapons pannel.
There are more Tenloss coming, get to the cockpit and use the ship's repeating blaster to hold them off, there are controls for it to the right of the main weapons panel.
Vodo acknowledged with a gentle push. He dumped his bag inside the ship, plummeted into the gunner's chair, and let his hands fly across the panel before him. Who ever had designed it had simplicity in mind, and universal understanding of the system was not hard to figure out. After the weapons had come online, Vodo's ears could hear the trap doors under the ship open, and the repeating weapons lower into place.
It was less manual than the Knight had expected. For the most part, the blasters identified Friend or Foe by the com links the group carried which keyed into the IFF computer. The system chose a target and fired long enough to neutralize it, then moved on. All Vodo was required to do was to select priorities in the targeting distribution.
A Tenloss assault team entered through the one entrance still available to them and spread out along the walls. Few watched the duel between the dark Jedi, but the majority were hyper focused in the situation. Someone along the chain of command had learned something or two during the extent of this battle. The teams brought small energy shield emitters along with them.
These emitters broad casted a barrier large enough for several men to stand behind and fire over at shoulder height. From here, they used their new cover as a way to advance slowly as though they were a roman armored formation. They fired from small slits and remained in a tight grouping. No one was in position to grenade them, and it was doubtful that the explosive sin his bag would be adequate.
While Vodo thought, the Blasters hurled a fit of energy towards the assault teams advancing on the ship. Though their rate of fire was incredible, and the destructive energy they carried, the weapons were useless against the survivable shields. The team advanced closer in three groups of fifteen each, protected in front, above, and to the sides.
With a half-heart laugh, Vodo grasped a joystick in front of him and overrode a single blaster. Using the weapon's sights, he lined up his target, and waited for the Tenloss soldier to peek out from the shield to fire on the ship. The Twi'lek's finger recoiled, depressing the trigger, firing five blaster bolts into the mans face. He flew backwards into his comrade. They discarded his body and kept advancing. Vodo managed three more kills on that party like this until they learned better. He repeated the process on the group to their left, but they too learned quickly, and apparently alerted the last group of the danger.
Vodo placed the gun back on auto, and readied his saber in hand. He walked to the rear of the ship, and waited behind the closed hatch. His strength was still small after his initial burst of attack during the outset of the battle. His wound still bothered him as well.
Center your mind, focus, and feel. Pain is a tool, let it anger you, and fuel your strength. You are a tool of the Dark Side, let it's power and strength flow through you, let it guide and carry you. You have found life within the darkness
He said this mantra slowly, sitting cross legged on the floor. While it was no standard teaching of the Brotherhood, he had found it in an ancient Sith Tome borrowed from the Ektrosian Library. He calmed himself and allowed his body to rest. His mind grew sharper, and his muscles more potent.
Illian was heading towards one of the Taldryan transports with Sorrow and Xerxes, still giggling sporadically at his companion about being carried by Crix, when a small tingle in his force sense made him stop dead. Distantly he was aware of Sorrow telling him to move as blaster bolts discharged all around him but he ignored them. The sensation seemed so familiar, like one final piece of his past coming back at the climax of the Dark Jedi mission. Unable to ignore the call, he turned and began to make his way back towards the entrance to the hanger using his trademark speed to dodge most of the Tenloss fire. A few blasts managed to make it through his defence but he ignored them. Pain was after all only pain.
Brutally dispatching two soldiers at the entrance, he felt the force sense strengthen. Using one of his gauntlets to block a blaster bolt he opened the door, every inch of him tense as he waited to see what it was that called him back through the hellish battle. As the door opened he walked through, only to be hit square in the chest by a fast moving object that knocked him to the ground. For some reason, incomprehensible to the Guardian’s shattered sanity, he felt no need to block the ‘attack’ or even get up, as his became vaguely aware of something damp hitting his face repeatedly. Opening his eyes he looked at an angular black canine face staring at him, a pink tongue lashing out repeatedly. It was insane, but somehow he knew this situation like it had happened a million times before. Only one word came to the Guardian as tears sprang unbidden and unexplained to his eyes.
“S’aim…” Illian held the dog tight, knowing that somehow it was from his time with the Tenloss, that this was his dog. The reunion was short-lived as more blaster fire hit down the corridor leading to the hanger. Illian looked up to see three Tenloss soldiers running towards him, weapons drawn. Without thinking he leaped up, ducking under several more blasts and ran towards the aggressors. Hitting the first, he punched one gauntlet through the man’s abdomen, swinging with his other to catch the next square in the face with an open palm. Using his momentum he rammed the soldier’s head into the wall, skull and brains flying out from all sides. Pulling free of his other victim he turned to confront the third, only to find S’aim sitting atop him with a blood-stained maw, the corps’s face a bloody mess. Illian smiled briefly.
“You ARE my dog!” Running back through the entrance way with his new companion, the two began the hectic race back to the transport where Sorrow was fighting off several guards with Xerxes. Approaching from behind, Illian and S’aim burst into the centre of the soldiers, sending limbs and organs flying. It was over in minutes, Sorrow joining the fray, never one to be left out of a massacre. The three stood amidst the blood, panting.
“Illian, what in the dark lord’s name is THAT?” Sorrow looked at the bloodstained hound, noticing the similarity between it and Illian, both covered in blood and looking happy as anything. He thought briefly that if Illian had a tail then it would be wagging just the same.
“It’s my dog!” The Guardian continued to grin slightly insanely (the canine once again mirroring the expression unsettlingly), and when no other explanation was offered Sorrow shrugged. There would be plenty of time to work out this latest twist later, but for now they had an escape to execute.
“Get on the transport now, we’ve been waiting for you goddamit!” Sorrow turned and ran back to the ship, Illian and S’aim in tow. Xerxes stood, mouth slightly ajar, as the blood-soaked trio returned, before returning to the battle, picking off several more Tenloss troops before all the Journeymen boarded. The door shut, and Illian looked down at his new (or perhaps old) friend.
“I like this place. We should visit more often.” He said and Sorrow chuckled.
“Maybe we should at that.”
(OCC: I know this seems really random, but my dog passed away this morning, and i dont know why, but this seemed like a fitting tribute, a way for me to hang on to her... sorry if it seems inappropriate --dedicated to Sam 1992 - 2006 )
(OOC: Just to let everyone know, since their seems to be some confusion, I am not Crix. Crix is Taku Matsuki Taldrya. I refer to myself as FK, Templar, or Nelvaanian, whereas i refer to Taku, as Crix. Hope this helps clear up any confusion... and Illian sorry about your loss, and the addition to the group will be no problem.)
Sorrow looked curiously out the back of the transport ship to where Vodo was held up in his own whip. The Tenloss guards were making their way towards the Vodo’s ship, through the repeater laser with nothing more than personal shields! It just didn’t make any sense to Sorrow.
Vodo must have the lasers on the minimum power settings if they can’t take out a personal shield!
The Tenloss unit had made it to Vodo’s ship, and instead of trying to brake into the craft they were pulling out explosives and beginning to attach them to the hull of the transport.
In a flurry of force assisted speed Sorrow opened the transports door and ran out across the hanger to get to his X-wing, concentrating his mind towards the ships controls so she was already powered up and lifting off the ground when Sorrow leapt into the cockpit and lowered the canopy.
Spinning his X-wing around he charged up it’s blasters, strong enough to brake through the Tenloss’s personal shields but not strong enough to puncture or damage the soon to be demolished transport ship that Vodo had managed to lock himself into. Well demolished if he didn’t do something about it.
Taking aim with his ship’s weapons Sorrow fired at the Tenloss agents as best he could in such a tight space. Luckily enough the Tenloss were dispatched quickly and the threat to Vodo was cleared.
Sorrow examined the wreckage of the hanger where the rest of his weapons fire had gone and Dark Side be praised no one else had been hit… well none of the Dark Jedi. More Tenloss forces lay scattered in bloody heaps as the others, some injured some not, began laying down their weapons and putting their hands in the air.
Sorrow gave a smug grunt as they did this, because although they surrendered the Brotherhood could not afford to leave any of them alive and the slaughter of the Tenloss security forces continued as a few of the Brotherhood transports began to lift into the air.
Illian had watched with mild amusement as Sorrow had taken care of Vodo’s problem, all the while stroking S’aim’s furry snout. He felt no need to assist, as he knew his friend was more than capable. In what seemed like moments, the transports were lifting off the ground, and from the window Illian could see his TIE Interceptor still smoking from its mangled hull where a concussion blast hit it during the mad fight for the hanger. It was a pity to lose it, but there were plenty more in the Brotherhood stocks. Truth be told, he was getting sick of the small space, and was looking to get a new ship anyway.
The transports departed from the asteroid, small explosions still seen emanating from the great rock. Though in separate ships, both Syn and Sorrow shared a smile, both knowing where they extra lightshow had come from. It was just as the ships were prepping for a hyper-space jump that Illian’s communicator went off. S’aim growled at the sound coming from his long coat until he drew it out and activated it. Strangely enough it was his Quaestor Kraval’s disembodied face that appeared shimmering above the small device. Illian only smiled as his mind processed a face not attached to its body.
“Illian Syn, I have just received your last report and the medical results that came with it. Do you remember who I am?” Illian turned his lip up ever so slightly.
“My Quaestor, you sound like those foolish doctors. I had to kill them you know, just to make them shut up. Of course once they were dead, I had to eat their hearts to make sure they didn’t get up again. You see?” There was silence for a moment as the Warlord looked long and hard at his house-member.
“I have good news Dark Jedi. The summit has approved you for advancement. You are now a Jedi Hunter. You should begin preparation for your trials…” Kraval trailed off as he looked at Illian again. “Good luck Hunter.” And with that he disappeared.
Illian closed his eyes, and leant back gently. A hunter at last, in name finally as well as reputation. So much blood would be spilt in celebration, but first the mission. The hunter laughed gently as the transport entered hyper-space, eyes blazing like green coals.
Fire-Knight was in a slightly playful mood as the opposing Dark Jedi reeled from Crix, so instead of striking him down the Templar kicked his knees from behind knocking him to the ground, and then quickly grabbed his saber.
"I think we can keep him alive for now" Crix said as FK easily picked up the Dark Jedi. "With time he may even be able to rejoin the brotherhood... at maybe the rank of hunter, he isnt that weak."
"Heh, like taking a lolipop from a stump."
Walking to the One armed scissor, Crix and Fire-Knight took the helm and launched following the remainder of the party. Hyperspace followed only moments later.
"So what now?" Fire-Knight said over an open comm-link "We have this fake with us, hes tied up in the back, i wouldn't be worried about him."
The jump to Chappa Four was very short. In stellar terms, it was just a hop away from the asteroid belt. The Zarco’s sat in the front seats pouring over the data provided by the Reeve.
“What are you going to do with him?” Al’Meda asked, her mind drifting only for a moment from the information about Chappa Four.
“I do not know. I could not let the sudden decision to steal the cloaking crystal destroy his life. We are not friends but we have a mutual respect that hoes back many years.”
Nothing more was said of the Reeve. He was contained in stasis in the rear.
“Looks like Chappa Four is not even on the map.”
“Not most maps anyway,” replied Zarco. “Here we go.”
The disembodied voice of a protocol droid spoke. “Chappa Four is a mining colony with no governmental or corporate sponsorship. Though there are very remarkable finds in its history, the flow was never reliable enough to support any settlement or sponsorship, private or governmental.”
“Settlements of the descendants of miners left, the descendants of those left when all sponsors had grown weary of the fruits of the planet and terminated their largess. Those descendants still mine, though with whatever left-over equipment they can cobble together.”
“The small mining communities are populated by no more than ten thousand beings in any given settlement. Their philosophical bent is extreme, tending towards a fanatical belief in an unseen being that manages their lives and rewards or punishes them daily. This belief likely sprang from the vagaries of small-time mining and the successes it rarely but sometimes brings.”
“Beneath the surface of Chappa Four is a series of tunnels, catacombs and warrens left by the constant, centuries old search for valuable ores, minerals and the like. The New Republic, nor any other galactic authority, maintains an official presence on the planet.”
“Speed forward. Search word Karrsk.” Al’Meda directed the computer.
The robotic voice resumed. “…Karrsk last assigned to Chappa Four to retrieve crystal for Darth Nukleuz. Karrsk docked in Wren Eleven on Chappa Four.”
Al’Meda Zarco pushed a few buttons and a holographic image of Chappa Four was highlighted to show the location of Wren Eleven.
Sorrow sat in his X-Wing, enjoying the light-show that was hyperspace after an even more spectacular light-show at the Tenloss’ asteroid. It was probably a good thing that they left the asteroid when they had. The final readings on Sorrow’s long range scans had shown a number of ships coming in towards the asteroid.
With their crystal taken and their cloak destroyed, it seemed every person in the Galaxy that the Tenloss had upset was finally coming to collect payment for the wrongs committed.
Shame. It would have been one hell of a sight!
Then a thought hit him and Sorrow reached out and keyed on the ships communicator. Shortly after Al’Meda’s face appeared.
“Yes Sorrow, what is it?”
“Just a thought Tetrarch… I really believe that a mistake has been made. That Dark Jedi that Crix and Fire-Knight battled could not have been Darth Nucleuz. From what I understand, from what Ricco has told me, Darth Nucleuz existed long before the Brotherhood and is at least strong enough to put up a decent fight.” Sorrow frowned even more that usual as he looked into the projection of Al’Meda’s eyes.
“Yes thank you Sorrow. We had already come to that conclusion ourselves.” Al’Meda said it in a soft non- condescending way, as if instructing a child of something it should already know. “The Baron has already begun questioning the Bounty Hunter who claims to be Karrsk. I will keep you updated with any information as we get it.
The screen de-activated as Sorrow leaned back and put his feet up onto the control panel of the cock-pit and leaned back pulling the hood of his coat over his eyes. “Take over R-4. I’m gonna take a nap.”
(OOC: Sorry Al'Meda I read before you put in yours, but posted after you added your warning. i forgot to look. I hope they don't conflict.)
Illian had long since decided that the back of the transport he was in was decidedly boring. Standing, the Hunter began to pace just as the ship left hyperspace. From the corner of his eye he saw the Reeve, bound in stasis, and the memory of the ‘debrief’ in his office came back vividly. A smile slowly found its way across his lips as he walked casually towards the prisoner. The Baron and his wife were up the front trying to locate the Trandoshan Karrsk, so there was no one to stop him ‘playing’ with the helpless man. After all, he didn’t need his eyes to be useful. Or his legs.
The Hunter hit the release button for the stasis restraint, the Reeve’s eyes widening as he became aware of his surroundings and of the mad dark Jedi standing before him.
“Hello Reeve. It’s so nice to see you again, and after our last meeting was cut so short. I know the Baron and you have a mutual relationship but you see,” he paused as he lovingly cupped the Reeve’s head in his gauntlets, the man sinking to his knees leaving Illian standing over him, a serene almost beautiful expression on his face. “I don’t answer to the Baron. I only answer to the voices, and right now they are telling me some very interesting little secrets. Shall I share them with you?”
“You’re insane! Have you any idea the repercussions if you…”
“Shhh,” Illian said stroking the terrified man’s brow. Leaning in, he whispered softly into the Reeve’s ear. “I’m going to show you just how painful being alive can be Reeve and then I’m going to kill you.” As he spoke he employed his newly acquired control of the force to find all the man’s nerves and pressure points, his will gently caressing them, causing his victim to flinch a little. Then, closing his eyes, he squeezed and the transport was filled with the Reeve’s agonised screams as his entire body was set alight with pain. Above the sound of the man’s agony Illian was laughing manically, his eyes now open and glowing intently. Xerxes was shouting something but Illian didn’t care. He could feel the Reeve’s pain through the force and it was like ecstasy to the Hunter’s broken mind.
“Syn, what in the dark lord’s name do you think you are doing?” the Baron stood at the entrance to the cockpit, shock having temporarily frozen him.
“It’s no good! I’ve been trying to stop him, but he’s not listening to anything!” Xerxes said frantically as the Baron finally launched into action. By now, Al’Meda had entered as well, leaving the ship on auto pilot. She, like her husband before was frozen, the horror of what she was seeing phasing even the hardened veteran slightly.
Tendrils of black mist were forming around the two figures, lazily curling around Illian’s arms and fists and seeping gently into the Reeve’s open mouth. The Baron had his blaster now and, setting it to stun, shot Illian in the back. The hunter fell to the floor, his laughter and his victim’s screams cut short. Suddenly a ball of black fury hit the Baron, as S’aim tried to avenge his master. Another shot and the hound joined Illian on the floor, alive but unconscious. The room was silent apart from the Reeve’s whimpering as he lay curled up on the floor. The Baron was the first to speak.
“We need to inform Fire Knight. Xerxes restrain him and put the Reeve back into stasis. If Syn wakes up, stun him. If he tries to break free, kill him.” He and Al’Meda shared a meaningful look before both headed back into the cockpit. Xerxes placed the Reeve back into the restraints, activating the stasis field before turning his attention to the fallen Hunter and his pet. He approached cautiously, prodding the Dark Jedi with a boot before hoisting him up and placing a restraint collar on his neck and gauntleted fists. Finally he connected the slave-chain to the ceiling of the transport and went back to his seat, leaving Illian dangling in the centre of the room.
The Hunter may have been unconscious, but his mind wandered freely. Searching, he found his friend, telepathically informing him what had happened.
Sorrow frowned, understanding what his mad companion could not; that Illian was in serious trouble. Losing it with the enemy was one thing, but going postal on a transport with an important prisoner, and old friend to the mission commander?
And with that Illian’s presence in Sorrow’s mind was gone, his mad giggling still echoing ever so slightly.
Baron Zarco pulled a medical scanner from the wall and trained it upon the Reeve. He was uninjured...physically. The assault upon his pressure points had exposed him to tremendous pain but had not damaged him...again, phyiscally.
Al'Meda Zarco went back to the front to tend the ship as it hurtled towards Chappa Four.
Baron Zarco spoke into a transmitter that would send a coded message to Fire Knight, informing him of the situation.
"Illian sure is a mixed bag," thought Baron Zarco as he made his way back towards the front. "One minute he;s saving the day and the next he's going ape."
Al’Meda Zarco went to the front to address the blinking lights announcing the imminent drop from hyperspace into the Chappa system. She recorded a quick message to Crix informing the Aedile, her immediate superior in Ektrosis chain of command, of the events involving the Reeve and Illian Syn. She took no particular glee in bringing the news but new that she would likely loose her command if she did not.
“Illian Syn has had a relapse. According to Xerxes he attacked the Reeve using a Force technique to activate his pressure points. I have downloaded the surveillance tapes for your review. I have not reviewed them as we have more pressing matters. The Reeve is traumatized but unhurt.”
“Thanks for the head-up,” replied Crix.
“We are landing at Outpost Six on Chappa Four. I have achieved clearance for our ships claiming to be an independent purchaser of rare ores for resale to independent laboratories.”
“Check,” was Crix’ only words.
The ships descended swiftly through the thin atmosphere of the barren planet and glided to a rest with a very large domed landing pad that had been opened for their arrival and then closed. All waited within their ships as the dome repressurized. A lone figure, apparently human, approached from the nearest building as the dome resumed pressures safe for organic beings such as humans.
Once the meter by the ramp indicated a safe pressure and suitable atmosphere, Al’Meda Zarco started down the ramp followed by Baron Zarco. Al’Meda stopped and Baron zarco bumped into her as their eyes met the eyes of the being that had strode out to meet them.
“Welcome…friends.” The man spoke in a voice that sounded like Zarco’s but slightly different.
Baron Zarco stepped around Al’Meda and took three steps towards the man that resembled Zarco as if he had been twenty years younger. Baron Zarco placed both hands in the man’s chest and shoved…
The man stood his ground. He did not move a millimeter, as if he was bolted to the ground. A smile crossed his seemingly inscrutable face.
Baron Zarco moved to place his chest against his doppelganger’s chest. The two men stared into the eyes of each other. Baron Zarco’s hand curled around the hilt of his lightsaber. The other man’s hands curled around a DX-2 holstered on his right hip.
They had left the Tenloss head quarters behind, and flown to a barren mining world. Vodo measured this with his senses, his awareness of the Force, not his mind or consciousness. He could not. Since he'd left the weapons on automatic, the Knight had not moved a bit. The transport had taken off, made a jump to light speed, and reverted, all without the Twi'lek coming to. He buried himself deep in his meditation. The blaster wound on his chest was sever, and while it could be healed through the force, it would take concentration. That is what Vodo was doing.
Fire-Knight and Crix were up front flying the ship when Vodo's lids finally parted. He took a shallow breath through his mouth, letting the cool air send a shiver through his lungs and body. He rose to his feet, gently stretching his sore arm muscles and back. His eyes adjusted to the ambient light and found his way to the bridge.
Fire-knight and Crix were seated covering several aspects of the mission or the ship that required tending to. Vodo placed a hand on each seat and leaned forward, "You didn't bother waking me?"
Crix glanced back with little concern, "You looked dedicated..."
"Fire-knight continued his work and said, "I didn't see you in the corner until we'd taken off"
Vodo shrugged and wrapped his cloak around him. he despised anything other than warm. Even casual temperatures felt cold. The Knight took a seat behind the two equites and watched them work. A coded burst transmission stated that Illian had attacked the prisoner they'd taken upon escaping the asteroid. The Twi'lek chuckled, thinking it was funny they were concerned a dark jedi had done something outlandishly horrible and despicable. In Vodo's opinion, the Hunter should be commended, but understood the inappropriateness of the current situation and held his tongue.
The Planet loomed below like a giant brown ball of rock with little more to it than a thin layer of transparent, misty blue, blanketing the curve of the world signalling an atmosphere. The descent was quick through the thin atmosphere. Fire-knight touched the ship down parallel to the Zarco's own transport so that they were close.
Vodo walked to the back with his superiors and waited for the gate to lower so that he could exit. The ramp touched the ground, and the three dark jedi sauntered down it in time to see Baron Zarco face to face with what looked to be his clone. Vodo would have raised his brow in amusement.
In the caliginous, harrowing depths of his cave Darth Nukleuz the Alchemist was waiting, he had prepared for this since the death of Phytor. A sliver of light showed his features, the light from his new possession had almost faded after his experiments but its power had remained. He pondered whether he could defeat these dark jedi that pursued him, they were noble and of the Brotherhood the one place he could never go, No! He thought his power and knowledge would remain his own and he pushed the thoughts from his mind.
“I have delved too deep to come back to friends and unnatural salutations” Nukleuz said aloud.
He moved, as the words echoed through the dense space, striding over to his workspace. He began preparing for the dark jedi, as he knew they had found him, this time he would be primed for what they brought. This barren world had made him stronger, feeding off the natural underground minerals, but also the darkness brought him satisfaction.
Chappa Four was not a planet Ricco liked it was dry and drained his skin of all moisture. The air was also thick and he found it hard to breathe. Walking over to the Zarco’s, and the newly arrived Vodo, Crix and FK, he bowed to his companions with a smile on his face,
“This day will be a fine one for Taldryan, we shall be rid of this nuisance and have what all this started for” cheers went up from some but most remained complacent and continued with the pleasantries.
The arrival of the party had interrupred the tension between Baron Zarco and "it," though they still glared menacingly at one another and muttered under their breaths...
"You are different. I will enjoy updating my data with your memories."
"Only in Hell," was Baron Zarco's answer.
"If you don't share your data with me I will never lead you to whom you seek." The thing glared at Zarco and almost seemed to smile...almost.
The rest of the party was speaking amongst themselves and looking arond and up at the dome but Al'Meda had an ear to the conversation between Baron Zarco and the thing.
""And if you do not assist us you will certainly never get my memories." Baron Zarco smiled profusely.
"You have learned how to smile."
"You will find I am full of surprises." Baron Zarco turned to walk away but was stopped by the next words of the being that resembled his younger days.
"As you have always been...Father. Come, I will lead you to this Darth Nukleuz and the crsytal he mines even now."
Baron Zarco was completely uncomfortable with this turn of events but was loyal enough to his friends to play it out for a while. :Then lead the way…my son.”
The younger looking Zarco turned and wlaked toward the building from whence he had emerged. The stars twinkled above through the all but non-existent atmosphere that waited outside the dome. The party stepped inside to a ling hall that was soon abandoned to the first door, opened by the “it.”
The door led to a room that was full of instrumentation. The younger “Zarco” was already at a work station.
“Your target is here.” The man pointed. He went and drew a datapad from the wall and synchronized it with the machine he had been directing. He then handed the datapad to baron Zarco.
“You may access the mines through the turbolift at the end of the hall. You will owe me when you have what you want.” A communicator beeped on the younger Zarco’s belt. He examined it. “My attention is required elsewhere.” The “man” spun and exited swiftly.
“I do not like this,” spoke Al’Meda Zarco as she was handed the datapd.
“I do not either,” said Baron Zarco.
“But we are not going to pass on this opportunity,” Crix was crystal clear.
Ricco felt the presence, the same mark in the Force as he had felt when Phytor had challenged him but stronger this was no disobedient student the group was about to face this was a master of Alchemy and of the Sith.
Crix was the first to point out that a lot of the abandoned equipment was breath-masks etc. and that he felt a disturbance in the air where the turbolift exited. The younger members of the group gathered up the masks, the elder ones gathered the Force using an old technique to hold their breath. They entered the lift and descended to the lower levels. As they came to a stop the light dispersed but for a faint glow in the cave walls. Sorrow took it upon himself to breathe in. The air was indeed strange but apparently not poisonous, the rest of the group relaxed and discarded the equipment. Still the smell was not normal and Al’Meda was intrigued as to what it was.
They decided to inspect the strange light in the wall, another crystal, as they ventured through the cave more lights appeared in the wall but getting dimmer as they went. Suddenly they were attacked from behind blaster fire erupted all around and Joshman fell as Ricco and Baron Zarco ran to attack the assailants their purple and green sabers glowing as they moved in perfect synchronization, bodies flowing as they struck down the two gunmen. Instead of falling they disappeared,
“Just a test for you petty fools, and you failed” a low, rumbling voice came like thunder over the hills from somewhere in the cave.
Crix did not take kindly to this and drawing his saber shouted “Why don’t you come out and face us yourself coward?!” there was no answer only deadly silence and a dark figure far off at the end of the cave.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
Crix knew this game, he'd played it many times both in negotiations and in battles. They were in their enemy's home and they didn't know what sort of surprises he may have waiting for them. Crix held his lightsaber in his hand, waiting for the right moment to activate the blade.
"Really now, if you're the great and powerful Nukleuz then why didn't you just kill all of us when we landed? You call yourself Darth, a Sith Lord should be able to do that." Crix goaded, taking a step forward. "And don't give me some cheesy line about wanting to play with us before we die, that's just cleche and overused."
No movement came from the other end of the cave and Crix took another step towards the cloaked figure. As his foot hit the dirt Crix's danger sense pinged and he slid his right food behind him, turning his body sideways and keeping his lightsaber pointed towards Nukleuz. Just after Crix moved he felt a blast of Force energy rush past him. The others behind him jumped out of the way on instinct and the wall behind them took the force of the blast, a few chunks of rock falling loose.
Telekinetic Strike...Crix thought. Reaching into the Force, he grabbed a few small rocks that were sitting on the floor and hurled them at Nukleuz. The other Dark Jedi dodged the rocks easily, a grin finally breaking on his face. This is going to be fun Crix thought, grinning to match.
"I can see that this isn't going to be settled with a test of our Force power." Crix said as the room was bathed in silver light from his lightsaber, which sprung to life from the handle he was holding and cast strange shadows over the Battlelord. Nukleuz answered by producing a red blade from under his cloak.
The two closed the distance quickly and the red blade angled down towards Crix, meaning to cut him diagonally. Crix quickly stepped behind and inverted his saber, pointing the tip towards the ground. The blades met and Crix pushed himself forward and lifted the sabers up. At the apex of the swing Crix quickly changed directions and brought his saber across in a horizontal slash which was meant to separate his enemy's head from his shoulders. Nukleuz was fast, however, and was able to move his own saber between Crix's and his head.
Crix swung low, aiming to take out Nukleuz's legs at the knee. He only cut air, though, as the other Dark Jedi was able to leap above the swing. Crix saw an opening and launched a telekinetic strike at Nukleuz which ended up in him being thrown into the wall behind him. As he hit the wall, Crix showed his mastery of Dun Moch as he rained rocks and any other small object that he could grab with the Force down on the fallen Dark Jedi.
The rocks had completely covered Nukleuz now “We need to find that crystal!” Zarco shouted. They decided that Joshman, Al’Meda, Sorrow and Illian would search for it whilst the saber wielding members dealt with Nukleuz. The five blades shone brightly in the dark cave, silver, emerald, two violet, and one cyan, peering over the rubble Crix moved a few rocks. They all joined in shifting them “What!” FK shouted in dismay “There is nothing there where is this sly devil”. Again the voice came mocking laughter only this time. The group turned to see the blood red blade.
Further down the cave Al’Meda had stumbled upon the room which Nukleuz used for experiments, crystals lined the floor along with books and other things. On the single table in the room lay an open book Joshman was first to look and what he saw could only be followed with a growl. Al’Meda looked upon it in astonishment, the secrets of the crystal, what power it and where it could be found…
“Take everything you can carry. Destroy the rest.” Al’Meda’s tone was terse as she directed her attention to cramming as much, including the crystal and the book, into a large, empty back pack. Sorrow responded immediately, pulling thermal detonators from his stash and setting up for a massive cave-in. All were busy with this tasks when Al’Meda felt a taloned hand spin her around.
The sight that confronted Al’Meda was, by any standards, terrifying. A massive reptilian head with crooked teeth jutting out, towered over her as orange, black slit pupiled eyes glared at her. She felt another taloned hand encircle her throat and lift her feet from the ground.
“Sssssso missssssy, you’re Zzzzzzarcossssss breeder?” The words, hissed from a terrible maw, caught everyone’s attention.
“One move and ssssssshe diesssssssss.”
He pulled her close and sniffed, almost ignoring the others in his arrogance.
“Are you consssssidered dessssirable by the weakling Zzzzzzarco.?” The massive Trandoshan looked around the room to see the party frozen, calculating their next move, readying this weapon or that as furtively as possible.
“You ssssssmell funny misssssssy.”
“Well then that makes two of us,” Al’Meda’s words came choked, an effort made all but impossible by the reptile’s grip.
“He he he he he. You amuse Karrssssssssk. If I found you attractive, I would carry you with me. Assssssssssss it issssssss, you are far to fragile for a Dosssssssh.”
Al’Meda spat in the monster’s face and his eyes riveted upon her. His taloned hands squeezed harder, still not near his destructive potential but tight enough that thoughts of death filled the Tetrarch’s head, along with…
“Waaaarrrrrgghhhhhhhh…” A mountain of dark far, all but a blur, crossed the distance and was upon the reptile.
The Dark Lord waved his left hand from his chest horizontally to the wall as though cutting the air. The force hurled rocks and debris thrown at him violently changed course and clattered into the stone wall. Crix was already beginning his saber attack on Nukleuz while the journeymen left them behind.
Baron Zarco, Vodo Biask, Fire Knight, and Ricco Vao drew their blades and ignited them. The luminescence of their blades cast multicolored shadows across the rocks all around them. The four of them were hesitant to join the fight just yet. It was safer to let Crix feel out the False Dark Lord's abilities and style before they ran in got in the way.
Crix flipped through the air, bringing his blade down vertically on Nukleuz, who parried easily and countered with a flurry of strikes, which in turn were blocked and turned on the Sith Lord. Their fight went back and forth faster than Vodo could observe it.
His concentration was broken for a moment as a voice in the force cried out in pain. It had caught Zarco's attention as well. Vodo had an impression as to what it was, but the Tetrarch knew instantly. Al'Meda was in trouble, and the Journeymen would not be equipped to save her. Vodo caught his eye and nodded his approval, but it was Fire-Knight that had the final say.
"Get going Baron, you won't miss much here"
Baron Zarco turned back down the corridor and took off at a sprint, his feet enhanced by the force, so that he ran far swifter than any human would otherwise be able to do. There were now three of them standing back waiting for Crix to call them forward.
Their impatience was getting stronger by the moment however. The man they sought was straight ahead, and the bounty hunter would meet his fate soon enough. Fire-Knight took a small step forward, and spoke softly, "Vodo, move forward, right side. Ricco, left side."
Crix was moving the fight down the corridor, and into a small opening that was about 10m tall, and 20m in diameter. Fire-Knight began to walk forward, at a restrained pace, Vodo on his right side, hugging the rock wall, Ricco on his left, doing the same. Vodo had an idea of what Fire-Knight wanted. If they could get Crix and himself in front of the Dark lord, and Vodo with Ricco behind, they would by far have the upper hand.
Baron Zarco charged down the passage in the direction his heart led him. As he entered the door he was greeted by the sound of a repeater blaster, sawed-off for close quarters work, being unleashed in all directions. The weapon was under the control of Karrsk, the Trandoshan he had known for years who had attempted to block their exit from Cho-Kirai. How the creature had survived that incident, as well as others involving Zarco predating his Brotherhood affiliation, was unknown to Zarco. Perhaps the Trandoshan wondered the same about Zarco.
Karrsk held Al’Meda off the ground with one hand and fired with his other. Al’Meda attention was concentrated on resisting the implacable grip of the beast with her physical being and her access to the Force. She was so pressed that she could not divert her attention to bring any of her many weapons to bear. All around the room the journeymen were taking cover from the onslaught that the beast had unleashed. Books, beakers, equipment, furniture and all were being riddled by the withering fire.
Baron Zarco saw that the Wookie Joshman had been stricken and lay in the floor, still attempting to rise and attack the Dosh again. The Dosh saw his old nemesis Zarco and turned to fire at him. Baron Zarco had devoted himself to Makashi and knew, despite his quickness, that the style was not made to deflect blaster bolts, especially from a dedicated professional like Karrsk.
In a motion that was only surpassed in quickness by the decision to take the drastic action, Baron Zarco hurled his ignited saber at the beast. For his trouble the wild, saber-throwing Jedi was the victim of two blaster bolts, one to the chest and the other grazing the side of his head, burning away his hair and skin. Had Baron Zarco not anticipated the attack he would surely have been dead.
The lightsaber spun, end over end. Karrsk reflexively moved to interpose Al’Meda between himself and the whirling blade of plasma. He was not quick enough and the blade cut his scaly arm off mid-forearm. The monster howled in pain. Al’Meda’s feet hit the florr and she breathed deeply without the constraint of the beast’s claws on her neck. She scurried away towards the corner where she had seen a weapon that had caught her eye just before the Bounty Hunter Karrsk had snuck upon her.
Karrsk stood in the middle of the room, firing more wildly than ever and pressing buttons on a device that adorned his chest. The alligator headed beast disappeared with a “pop” from the room, leaving his severed arm. All rose and looked. The Bounty Hunter was gone. Baron Zarco stood, almost fell and sat again.
“He has a phasing device. It has limited range. He’s still on planet.” Baron Zarco then passed out from his wounds.
Al’Meda Zarco’s neck was raw from the throttling it received from the being who could have killed her in an instant had murder been his sole intent rather than merely an acceptable outcome. She rushed to his side and began to treat him. She then treated Joshman, whose timely intervention against the Dosh had gained precious moments. He had been shot three times but was cut from stronger stuff than humans. His anger at the Dosh, especially one that assaulted his Tetrarch, burned like a beacon, keeping him alive, if nothing else.
Al’Meda and the Wookie stood. Joshman threw Baron Zarco over his shoulder like a giant sack of potatoes, grunting at the strain upon his wounds. Al’Meda Zarco placed the backpack on both shoulders and gripped the item she had found, an electrostaff. Before she turned to leave she called Baron Zarco's lightsaber to her outstretched hand and clipped it to her belt.
Andan Taldrya Marshall
Crix abandoned himself to the battle. He couldn't think, thinking took too long, thinking got you killed; he just fought. Nukleuz was good, there was no question about that, his saber was fast and deadly. Crix needed a way to throw his opponent off balance. Up until this point, Crix had been using a mix of the Makashi and Dun Moch lightsaber styles, both of which were very well suited for dueling against a lightsaber. He had begun learning the Trakata style also, but hadn't had many chances to use it in a real battle as of yet; that would change now.
As the two Dark Jedi burst into a more open space, Crix thumbed the activation switch on his lightsaber. The silver blade disappeared and Nukleuz looked astonished. He recovered quickly, though, and stabbed at Crix's chest. As the glowing red blade was thrust at Crix, the Battlelord dove to his left, rolling as he hit the ground. When he finished his roll, Crix found himself far enough behind Nukleuz to get at the back of his knee. Crix quickly lashed out with his foot, catching the pretender Sith Lord in his exposed knee and forcing his leg out from under him. In a force-assisted leap Crix was back on his feet with his still extinguished lightsaber in hand.
By this point the others had taken up positions around Nukleuz, Fight-Knight facing the downed Nukleuz with Vodo on his right and Ricco to the left; Crix stood behind the Dark Jedi. Without warning, Nukleuz shot a blast of telekinetic energy at Vodo and jumped back to his feet. Vodo went down and Crix's lightsaber sprung to life again. When the white blade appeared the three standing Taldryan Dark Jedi attacked. Vodo was back on his feet quickly and joined in their attack.
One silver, one blue and two purple blades crated a deadly light show around Nukleuz, who's red blade punctuated the slashes and stabs of other colors. Nukleuz, to his credit, was able to hold his own for longer then most people would have expected. Nobody can be expected to win against four enemies in this situation, however, and a stab from Crix's lightsaber penetrated Nukleuz's defenses and slid through his back and out of chest.
As the glowing silver blade exited through Nukleuz's chest, the Dark Jedi fell to the ground and stopped moving. Crix probed the Force and felt no signs of life in the downed man and looked to Fire-Knight who nodded, having sensed the same thing as Crix. Crix closed his lightsaber down and returned it to his belt. Leaning down he picked up Nukleuz's lightsaber. "Another one for the trophy case." He said, grinning.
Taking a seat on the ground he closed his eyes and began a quick meditation to restore himself. Although he hadn't received any major wounds in the fight, it had still been intense and long and Crix needed a rest before he carried on.
As Crix slid into meditation Vodo pounded a fist on the rock wall. The force lightning had rippled through his body, burning his nerves, searing his mind, and electrifying his sensitive lekku. Though his robes smoked, and his Light Saber still radiated heat, the Twi'lek Knight was not seriously injured, only in pain.
Many creatures did not realise how sensitive a Twi'lek's lekku were. A piece of the mind of a Twi'lek existed in the base of each tentacle, and when pinched, struck, or electrocuted, it caused Vodo immense pain. He breathed heavily, trying to reassert control of his mind to apply the force in a healing manner, but found it slow coming.
After a few minutes, once his adrenaline and pain had died down, his breath returned to normal, and was able to use the force to ease his suffering. This mission had taken it's toll on Vodo, having been shot in the soft of his chest, electrified, and in a nonstop state of alert and readiness.
Vodo could not wait till he was back on Taruma, enjoying the comfort of his plush meditation cushion and the wealth of knowledge offered by the Ektrosian Library. For now however, he was beneath the surface of an unfamiliar planet near the body of a false Sith Lord. The body, though dead, still radiated the dark energy and aura of the Dark Side.
Vodo was tired, and his knees were having trouble supporting him, though his weight was against the rock wall of the cave. The ground shook beneath him, and he collapsed, unprepared for the tremor, believing it to be his own weakness at first. But as the small tremor continued, Vodo got to his knees and looked around him. Fire-Knight was perched on all four, having been taken by surprise and Ricco remained sitting against the rock where he had chosen to rest.
"Check his body", Crix snapped as his eyes flipped open
Fire-Knight was closest and tore away the robes over the pretender Sith Lord's chest. Embedded slightly in the flesh there was a small metallic panel which flickered sporadically then extinguished. Ricco lifted his head to get a look at it and jumped to his feet, "It's a fail safe!"
In the event of his death, it appeared the Dark Lord did not wish for anyone to gain access to his research and toys. The tremors were not natural it seemed, but rather an attempt to self destruct the caves and mines, sealing Darth Nukleuz's material forever.
Fire-Knights mind sprang into action instantly. Quickly ripping the limbs off the fallen mans body, followed by his head, Fire-Knight turned the 'Dark Lord' into a torso.
"Crix It's a large sample.... But I think we can Focus our powers to make a Homoculous.. If this chest plate is attached to his living tissue, it should De-activate."
Crix Simply nodded as both Equites began to draw upon the Force required and bending it to their will.
The remainder of the group watched in Horror as the Torso infront of them seemed to wiggle and boil. Slowly a lump began to raise where the mans neck had been. The Lump suddenly had two eyes and a slit looking like a mouth. Where the mans legs had been, tentacle like appendages formed, and suddenly began to move. Finally the creature began to make odd screeching noises and as these noises got louder, the rumbling in the cave began to die down.
"Were both getting tired, so im not sure how long this thing will actually live... so everyone gather your things and lets get out of here." Crix spoke up once he had caught his breath.
"I am perfectly healthy masters" The odd creature responded looking up at Crix and Fire-Knight "I shall follow your lead."
'Don't Trust it FK, remember these things take on some attributes of their former bodies... we have no idea that he'll.. It'll do
Fire-Knight simply nodded to Crix as he turned and ran towards the exit
(OOC: Always wanted to use that power
The group led by Al’Meda Zarco were at the turbolift and back to the surface. The wounded but stout Joshman still carried the wounded Zarco. All crowded into the lift and, as it sped to the surface, a rumbling noise could be heard. The floor shook in protest of some blast or another even as the party stepped from the lift. All looked at one another in silent query of the fate of the others.
Just then, another lift was heard to crash against the top of its tube and the door was sundered by two bright beams. Crix’ voice was heard above the din, “Get out, I can’t hold this lift much longer!” The remainder of the Taldryan contingent burst forth from the lift car and then Crix hopped to safety. Before his feet could touch the floor, the unfettered lift began to slide back down its tube to oblivion.
Without a word, Al’Meda threw a bag to Crix and turned to run towards the dome where the ships were docked. When the party had reached the entrance to the dome, they saw the “it” blocking their way.
“I will be taking Baron Zarco in payment of the information I gave you.”
“In Hell!” Al’Meda leveled the electrostaff at the “being.”
“I have opened the dome. Your ships are in the near vacuum of the surface…”
Crix replied. “We can easily make our way to our ships.” He began to step forward to deal with the “man.”
Before Crix could advamce Al’Meda Zarco pulled a data-stick from her clothing and tossed it at the “being.”
“Baron Zarco said take this and get a life.”
“What is it?”
“He said it would have to be enough.”
The android turned and exited through a door to his side, leaving the exit of the party unimpeded. All prepared themselves for the harsh environment outside and the mad dash to freedom. The airlock keep the compound safe as its pressure dropped dangerously low, even for Force Users. Al’Meda fretted about Baron Zarco but knew the Wookie would make haste to the vessel.
The door opened to the horrid cold of the near vacuum and terribly thin atmosphere of Chappa Four. All sprinted to their respective vessels and boarded. As the vessels lifted Al’Meda had Joshman place Zarco in the seat beside her. She could see he was in a hibernating trance.
“Crix, I would suggest a series of jumps to our destination as well as a stop somewhere completely away from Brotherhood space in order to de-bug and purify these craft.”
“You think they have been tampered.”
“I know what Baron Zarco has told me. The android was patterned after Baron Zarco twenty years ago. It was designed to expire in five years from its creation. It’s presence fifteen years beyond its planned obsolescence is testament to its resourcefulness. Also, being patterned after him, I have no doubt that he has hidden one or more, probably several, tracking devices in order to track us, for a variety of reasons. Knowledge is power, to quote my dearest friend. That's probably why our ships have not exploded, because the android wanted us to leave safely so he could follow. He had to have kept Karrsk from booby trapping our ships."
“Take your time then. When you are done, report to Archanis. There is further work to do there.”
Illian awoke in the back of the transport, his arms suspended from the ceiling above him. A short distance away S’aim lay, but a brief probe of his life-force showed him simply to be sleeping. He was alone, a prospect that brought a smile to his face. He felt no anger towards the Baron for knocking him out, but that didn’t mean he would suffer being strung up like a prisoner for much longer. Flexing one vicious gauntlet, he began drawing on the dark energy left from his previous ‘talk’ with the Reeve, using it to strengthen his aching muscles and weaken the slave-chains holding him. Small arcs of lightening crackled around his fists for a moment before the restraints exploded and he fell to the floor. Picking up S’aim, Illian moved further into the shadows in the back of the transport. Opening his communicator he listened through the Taldryan channel as his companions fought Nukleuz, and escaped from the strange android-clone of the Baron.
“Interesting, S’aim, very interesting. Perhaps this android and I have a meeting destined. For now I believe it would be wiser to refrain from getting caught again. Come,” he said as he moved even further into the darkened ship, opening a hatch into the cargo area. Finding a nice alcove, he and S’aim settled down to wait.