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 Post subject: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Location: The Batcave - England
Rogue Squadron - Plot 17b (title to be decided!)

<cue the theme music>

The TASK FORCE RENEGADE drifts gently in space. The away
team, lead by Lt JAA’ROO, managed to obtain important data
from the fallen NRI ship, the Vindicator, part of which was a
message from the fallen Wraith ELASSAR TARGON.

Determined to find their missing colleague, as well as find some
new allies in their fight against the Empire, COLONEL FACE LORAN
has requested a staff meeting with the department heads,
determined to find a course of action to put the Task Force on
the offensive once more.

<cue the pan shot>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The powerful engines of the Krayli’s Valour pushed the craft gently through interstellar space. The lack of any planets or stars for several lightyears meant there was little chance of enemy starships finding the craft, let alone getting close enough to damage her. Still, as per regulations, two sets of paired starfighters flew a loose Combat Aerospace Patrol around the large ship.

With a muted swoosh, the doors of the commanding officers private conference room slid open. General Wedge Antilles, hero of the Rebel Alliance then the New Republic, and now the highest known ranking officer in the New Rebellion walked into the modest room. He was flanked by Emtrey, the M-3PO unit who had been acting as his aide since he had taken command of the Task Force.

Colonel Garik ‘Face’ Loran looked up from his conversation with Colonel Corran Horn to glance at his long time friend. Shorter than he by a good 6 inches, Wedge still maintained his youthful countenance at 38, despite more wrinkles being etched onto his face in recent months, as well as the odd grey hair beginning at his temples. However despite the fatigue clearly evident on his features, Wedge’s walk was as steely and determined as Face had seen.

Wedge sat down at the head of the small table, his gaze sweeping over the four beings in front of his. Face and Corran he’d fought with for what seemed like a lifetime. As skilled as he was as a fighter pilot, Wedge knew that Corran was probably his equal and the Jedi’s other skills made him an irreplaceable asset, and a fantastic fighter. Face on the other hand, had been described by more than one individual or threat dossier as the ‘galaxies most dangerous man’. Seeing his friend in action on more than one occasion gave Wedge very little to doubt the assessment. All-in-all, the General mused to himself, if the galaxy had to turn itself on its head, there were not very many people he’d prefer to have at his side.

The other two people he was less familiar with, although had little reason to doubt their competence. Captain Katerina Allistre had, up until recently, been operating very successfully undercover in Grand Admiral Grant’s renegade Imperial fleet. Not only had she been instrumental in the downfall of the Grand Admiral, but her skills and knowledge in space warfare made her perfectly positioned to command the flagship of the New Rebellions Fleet.

Flagship. Wedge stifled a wry smile. Flagship of a fleet consisting of one craft. Still, there was every chance they’d encounter other ex-New Republic vessels, or even refuge craft. He had to expect that their fleet would eventually grow. He still hoped, and something he wished for every night, that they would find a New Republic Officer of higher rank than Wedge that he could pass over the whole frakking lot to. But he knew, even if that was possible, he’d still stay. He had fought all of his adult life for peace and freedom in the galaxy, and he wasn’t going to let a little thing like a galaxy spanning tyrannical Empire seemingly risen from its grave to put him off now.

The fifth and final member of the meeting was someone who Wedge had only met twice before. Major Xel Finn. Major Finn was an Omwati, a near human with blue skin, deep blue eyes and white feather for her hair. Like all Omwati, she was incredibly intelligent, but unlike most, she had taken her intelligence into the military.

Wedge had studied her record once she had been assigned to command the Razorcat Battalion of troops housed on the Valour. Her record was exemplary, with her encyclopaedic and photographic memory, she had studied every single tactical book created by any species who had put their thoughts down in a recordable form. Whilst she was like a lot of tacticians, working by ‘the book’, in Major Finn’s case, she had literally thousands of books to draw from.

With a brief nod, Wedge gestured to the Major. “Colonel Loran, Colonel Horn, have you met Major Finn?”

Face shook his head, extending his hand. “Not yet. Pleasure to meet you Major.”

“And I you Colonel. The extensive file on your various tactics and operations is fascinating reading.”

Face smiled easily. “So I’ve been told.”

The Omwati shifted to the other Colonel. “And Colonel Horn, whilst not quite as… diverse as Colonel Loran, your file is equally compelling.”

Corran shifted in his sit, coughing lightly into his hand. “Glad to see that someone finds me interesting. And please, call me Corran.”

“And I’m Face. Colonel Loran is only used when I’m in trouble with Wedge.”

“Thank you. Please, I am Xel.”

“Now that we’re all up to speed…” Wedge began, drawing the attention back to himself. “A quick status update please. Starting with Captain Allistre.”

“The Valour has suffered no damage in any engagement so far. However, routine maintenance is still ongoing. This is a new ship, and I’m sure your pilots and troops have been bringing numerous teething problems to your attention.” Katerina began, glancing down at her datapad as she ticked items off.

“According to my records, we have enough spare parts and equipment on board for eight months of routine maintenance and upgrades. For every battle we’re involved in, you can probably knock a month off of that. Whilst we’re designed to be independent, there’s only so much we can do. Every month after we run out of spares, expect the combat capabilities to drop by 10%.” She glanced up, taking in the faces of her fellow officers, suppressing a grimace at their serious looks.

“Morale wise, we’re OK. A lot of the crew are upset and not getting information from their friends and family since the Imperial resurgence, but the general feeling is that they’re willing and ready to kick some serious arse.” She paused, the barest hint of a blush colouring her cheeks. “And that’s where we stand, General.”

Wedge smiled. Katerina was a hard woman, very much like her father in some respects, but somehow more human. “Thank you Captain.” He turned to Major Finn. “Major?”

“We’re as ready as we can be. All of my companies have been hitting the simulators. I’ve gone through most of the standard New Republic training programs, as well as several other ones I have created. But…” She tailed off.

“But training isn’t as good as the real thing.” Wedge finished for her, nodding his head. “I agree. Whilst I don’t want to send troops into harms way…”

“It’s what we’re trained for, and what we want.” Finn continued, this time finishing Wedge’s sentence.

“How about supplies etc?” Face asked, his head cocked to one side.

“The same as Captain Allistre. Although probably close to a years worth of parts and equipment, until we go into battle. If we suffer minimal losses, then we’re probably good for three or four engagements before our combat effectiveness drops below 90%.” She paused, this time looking around the table. “However, whilst I’m sure we can replace parts and machines…”

“Replacing personnel is a lot harder.” Wedge agreed his jaw clenching.

“We might have to start thinking of creating an academy.” Finn continued. “I assume that Rogue Squadron will mainly be replacing lost pilots from High Flight...” she glanced at Corran, who nodded in reply. “… and Wraith Squadron will continue it’s method of somehow finding amazingly skilled operatives with potentially dubious histories.” She glanced at Face, the slight smile on her lips outclassed by the full blown grin displayed by the Lorridian.

She continued. “I’m also assuming that Firestorm will probably try and fill its ranks from my Special Missions Company, and High Flight from my Repulsorlift Company, which means I’m going to need some way of training up new troops. I cannot send my troops out there under funded and under manned. I will not risk their safety in this matter.” The steel in her tone matched the resolve in her eyes.

Face laughed gently. “OK, Wedge, can we keep her? She’s my kind of people.”

Wedge shot Face a warning glare; soften by the shadow of a smile on his lips. “Major, I fully understand and agree. I will not, without very good reason, ever send you or your people into harms way unless you tell me you are ready.”

“That’s very good of you to say General.”

“Whilst I understand the need for an Academy, I really have no idea where to go about setting one, up, let alone how.”

“Perhaps that’s for a later time Wedge?” Corran suggested. “There’s plenty of time, and hopefully, if we pick our fights, we might not need more men anytime soon.”

Wedge glanced at Emtrey. “Emtrey, can you think the problem over? We’ll have to revisit this at some point, and I’d like a few options by then.”

“Of course I can sir. I am fluent in over six million military organisations rules, regulations and procedures. This includes their training, I will immediately…”

“Emtrey.” Wedge interrupted, the exasperation evident in his voice.

“Sir.”

“Quietly.”

“Yes sir.”

“Corran?”

“Rogues are back up to full strength. Azazel is doing very well in simulators, although I’m keeping him close to me as Rogue Two. Drii and Danner are also coming along nicely. Drii is partnered with Deven, and he tells me that she’s certainly up to Rogue standards. Danner is with RDM. He reports that although Danner’s good, he needs more experience.” He checked his golden datapad.

“I still need to run us through several training programs, and Face has offered the Wraiths as the enemy forces rather than simulators. We’re good. We’re not as good as we were when you first reorganised Rogue Squadron, but we can get there.”

“Good. Wedge made a note on his datapad. “And High Flight?”

“Halley reports that they’re coming on well. They’re still a pilot down in B-Flight, and so Feylis has them working as a trio at the moment. Likewise, they’re training hard in the sims. Their scores are below the Rogues, but certainly not by a significant margin. Like Xel’s Razorcats, they’re not going to get much better without actual experience.”

“Are they flying CAP now?” Wedge asked.

Corran checked his chrono. “Urm… yup. I think it’s X-Flight at the moment. Three Flight from the Rogues are scheduled to replace them in 30 minutes.”

Wedge nodded thoughtfully. “I appreciate it’s a serious headache for every pilot to pull 3 hours of CAP duty a day…” He paused. “Would people prefer to do it less often, but out there for twice as long?”

“Perhaps.” Corran nodded, shooting a look at Face.

“Don’t look at me, I only provide two flight groups, you provide the other six.” Face responded, shrugging. “We’ll abide by whatever is decided. Although, I know that Kai would prefer the odd day off. Constantly being on call, and therefore sober is beginning to get to her.”

Wedge looked at his friend, unsure whether he was joking or not. He shrugged internally. It wasn’t important. He’d never understand the Wraiths, but he didn’t need to, their track record spoke for themselves. “OK, starting tomorrow CAP times are doubled, so only 4 flights are needed a day. We’ll work on a three day on, three day off rota. Sound fair?”

Face and Corran nodded their agreement.

“Excellent. Face?”

The Lorridian steeled himself. “I’m still low on numbers. I’m down three Wraiths, and three Firestorm. Wedge, I’d like to go on a little recruitment drive if I may.”

Wedge cocked his head to one side. “Is this, as Xel puts it, your method of finding amazingly skilled, yet dubious operatives?”

Face smiled easily. “You could say that. But first…” he shot a quick glance at Corran. “…I’d like to dissolve Black Force Squadron.”

“Why?” Wedge asked, even as he could see an ‘I-told-you-so’ smirk on Corran’s face.

“Because there are only three of them. They can’t operate as a unit any more, and quite frankly they’re needed elsewhere.”

“Go on.”

“I’d like to take Lieutenant Jaa’roo into Wraith Squadron. She has skills that I can use, and she’d be a lot better in the Wraiths than operating practically solo. Flight Officer Aaron Nyret has a lot of skill, but not much experience. Transfer him to the remaining High Flight slot, and have Feylis look after him for a bit.”

“And…” Wedge consulted his datapad. “Agent Munroe?”

“We need intel operatives. He’s one of the few we have.”

“Speaking of Intel.” Xel interrupted. “Since we’re on our own, what thoughts have been given to it?”

“We need it.” Wedge responded simply. “A big part of this meeting is about sorting out some structure.”

“Well, the highest ranked Intelligence officer we have is…”

“Don’t even think it.” Face interrupted, his expression serious, but without threat. “There is no way in sith that I’m gonna sit my backside behind a desk and control the intel side of things. I’m needed in the field.”

Wedge shot his friend a smile. “Don’t worry Face, we all know that your skills are best utilised by pointing you at the enemy and letting you go.”

Face shot back a grin. “Thanks Wedge. You’re getting pretty good at this General stuff.”

“However…” Wedge continued, ignoring Face’s jibe. “Xel has a point, we need someone to take charge.”

Face leaned back in his chair, his fingers pressed together. “We need three branch coordinators, and a Chief of Intelligence. One coordinator for Intentions, one for Operations and one for Counter-Intelligence. Intentions deals with analysis, equipment and interrogations, Operations deals with passive and active operations, and Counter-Intelligence deals with security and retrieval of information.”

He paused, before sitting upright in his chair. “Xel, does your battalion follow the standard set-up?”

“Of course.”

“So you’re battalion captain, your second in command is also your intel officer?”

“Correct. Captain Kier Laval. He is a human, and quite capable.

“Fantastic. Captain Allistre? Your first officer?”

“Commander Vek Da’jaa. A Bothan, and yes, he is my intel officer.”

Face grinned. “I’m seeing a pattern here. Corran, who’s your XO?”

Corran smiled as he understood where Face was headed. “Major Dru Kargin, and yes, he has a little experience in espionage.”

“And I have Major Katrin Halcyon, who is one of the best intel operatives I’ve worked with. Wedge, can we get them up here?”

Wedge glanced across at Emtrey. “Emtrey?”

“Of course sir, I am perfectly…” The droid tailed off as Wedge stared at him once more. “Consider it done.” His left photoreceptor dimmed slightly, as if winking, and he shuffled out of the room.

“OK Face… what’s your plan?”

“Simple. We divide the roles up. Kat’s perfect for the Intentions, and Dru certainly has experience with running numerous agents whilst he was a very profitable information broker, therefore suits the Operations side of things. Do either of yours have experience with counter intelligence?”

Katerina shook her head, but Xel nodded, smiling. “Captain Laval worked for three years on Coruscant as part of their security force. He specialised in counter-terrorism.”

“Perfect. And Commander Da’jaa can act as an aide to the chief, helping him through any procedures that he’s unaware of, and assist the other three when they’re away from the Valour.”

“And who’s going to be the chief of intelligence?” Wedge asked confused, beginning to rapidly feel out manoeuvred by the Wraith.

“Ah. He should be arriving by shuttle in about an hour. Might want to warn Three Flight they’ll be having a visitor.”

Wedge sighed. “Is there any point in pointing out that you have arranged to have an unknown individual come to a top secret location without the knowledge or consent of the commanding officer?”

Face shot Wedge a wide eyed innocent look which was as convincing as Wedge knew it to be fake. “Why General, I do apologise, I didn’t even stop to think.”

Wedge shook his head. “I’ll let you have your game Face. Just tell me when he’s here. If he’s no good though…”

Face smiled. “Trust me.”

Wedge shook his head, snorting in amusement. “OK Colonel, you win this time. And yes, you can have Jaa’roo. Now, where else did you want to go?”

Face took a deep breath, bracing himself once more. “I want to go to two places. Some Wraiths want to go to one other.”

“Let’s deal with you first, and then we can move on to your merry band of reprobates.” Wedge remarked dryly.

“OK. I want to go to Hoghnor, and to Mandalore.”

“Hoghnor?” Corran was the first to react. “To the Noghri?”

“To the Noghri.” Face confirmed. “They’re loyal, if not to the New Republic, than to Leia Organa-Solo, who, if she’s still alive, is still the chief of state. The Noghri’s highest accolade is to be on her bodyguard detail, but part of their training allows them to be loaned out to military units to increase their experience.

“I believe that we have a good chance of obtaining the services of one or more Noghri to join us. If not for the experience, then because we offer the best chance of finding them Organa-Solo once more.”

Wedge nodded slowly. “You make a good case. I guess any Noghri would go towards filling your gaps in Wraith Squadron?”

“I can’t think of a better place for them.” Face pointed out.

“OK. And Mandalore?”

“Two reasons. One, I know a clan there. A clan which is basically filled of the most dangerous soldiers and operatives the Old Republic could field. Whilst they’re a little old now, I believe they still have their fingers in as many pies as they used to. They could be a valuable intelligence asset. They have no love for the Empire, and maybe we could strike a deal.”

“And?” Wedge could sense that Face wasn’t telling him everything.

Face sighed. “And I need to replace Locker.”

“Can’t one of the existing Firestorm step up? Isn’t Captain Uprann acting as the CO at the moment.”

“He is…” Face paused. “I promised Locker, that if he died, I’d replace him with someone like him. A vod as it were.”

“Vod?” Katerina asked, her eyebrow raised.

“It means brother, or sister in Mandalorian.” Xel responded.

“Impressive.” Face looked at the Major with new found respect.

“The Mandalorians have written several tomes on the subject of warfare.” Xel pointed out, smiling.

“So, you need another Mandalorian?” Corran asked, confused.

“Not really….” Face sighed. “Locker’s father was a clone. I need to find another son or daughter from a clone. It was Locker’s last wish that Firestorm was kept ‘in the family’. He wanted to ensure his legacy didn’t die.”

“And you think you can convince a Mandalorian, who happens to be the offspring of a clone trooper to join us?” Corran asked, confused.

“No.” Face sighed once more. “But I have to try.”

“At the very least, they can provide us with intel, equipment and supplies… at a cost.” Wedge agreed. “OK, Mandalore it is. Are you taking the Sacul?”

“Nope.”

“Why?”

“Because Red and Kai want to go to Nar Shaddaa.”

“They what?” Corran exclaimed.

“They made a good case. Red wants to go pick up parts for the Sacul, and a new project she’s working on, and Kai has a lot of contacts there who can help us set up some intel networks. It makes sense.”

“Who’s going to Nar Shaddaa?” The voice came from the doorway as Dru and Kat walked in, closely followed by a tall human male and a short Bothan who Face assumed were Captain Laval, Commander Da’jaa and a blessedly silent Emtrey.

“Red and Kai. They want to go to get supplies and intel.” Corran responded, shifting slightly so his XO could sit beside him.

“Good job I’m not going. It would be… awkward if I went to Nar Shaddaa and didn’t pay my respects to certain… dignitaries.” Dru smiled as he sat down.

“Actually Dru….” Face tailed off as Kat slotted in beside him. “I’m afraid you have a new role.”

“Huh?”

Wedge took over. “Major Kargin, Major Halcyon, Commander Da’jaa and Captain Laval, thank you for joining us. As you know, we need to somehow restart Alliance Intelligence. I am informed by your commanding officers, that you are all extremely knowledgeable in this area, and therefore you will form the core of this new unit. All other duties are now secondary to this I’m afraid. You’ll still operate normally with your units, but when not on active missions, this is your top priority.”

Dru and Kat both nodded tersely. Laval and Da’jaa also nodded their acknowledgement.

“Dru, you’ll be in charge of Operations… which I’m afraid means it makes sense for you to lead the mission to Nar Shaddaa.” Wedge pointed out.

“Ah.” Dru shrugged. “OK. It’s not impossible… but there are a couple of Hutt lords I’ll need to visit whilst I’m there.”

Wedge smiled. “I don’t trust the Hutts, but if you have a working relationship with them, we may be able to use them.”

“I don’t trust them either. But we may not have a lot of options.” Dru agreed.

“Dru, you can have the Sacul, and any Wraiths or Firestorm you need.” Face added, shrugging. “If you’re going to Nar Shaddaa, you might as well pack for the occasion.”

Dru snorted his amusement. “Indeed.”

Wedge straightened up. “OK, unless there’s anything else?” His question was met by a series of head shakes. “OK. Dru, assemble your team. I’d like for you to be launched in 12 hours. Captain Allistre, once the Sacul has left, and Face’s mystery guest has arrived, we hype for Hoghnor.”

***

The small, unmarked shuttle touched gently down on the hangar deck. A squad of Navy troopers were standing to attention nearby, not necessarily to greet the new comer, but to be ready in case of trouble. Scans showed only one organic life form on board, something which Face had already said would be the case.

Face positioned himself on the deck, smiling internally as the hatchway lowered to within 1cm of his waiting feet. Behind him, curious, stood both Wedge and Corran. As the hatch finally clicked into place, a lone figure strode sedately out of the opening.

He was a human male, early 40’s with dark coloured skin, and a greying moustache with matching hair. Neither Corran or Wedge had seen him before, but Face obviously had. As soon as the figure reached the bottom of the ramp, Face engulfed him in a ferocious hug.

“It’s good to see you again old man!”

“Less of the ‘old’ thank you Garik.”

“I’m glad you got out alive.”

“Me too. And I’m glad that most of the company survived.”

“I told you it paid to have a contingency plan.”

“Garik, the day you don’t have a contingency plan for everything, will be the day I demand a full bioscan to ensure you’re not an imposter.”

“Are you OK with everything?”

“The company we built up from scratch has been systematically attacked by the Empire. I have managed to save merely 73% of our assets. Fortunately, these are hidden across a hundred systems in a thousand different accounts. Whilst the Empire may find some, I am confident that once justice is restored we will have enough to start again. Ironically, a lot of it is in Imperial banks. The interest they generate alone should be enough to sustain this operation.”

“What about my offer?”

“I am not an intelligence chief.”

“But I don’t know anyone else who has your ability to see the full situation from seemingly random bits of data. You’re the most qualified person I know. Stang, you ran a multi billion credit company with millions of employees. This ought to be a walk in the park for you.”

“I don’t know anything about the world of intelligence.”

“You’ll have an aide, and besides, you’re the quickest learner I ever met. You’ll pick it up.”

“You should have been a salesman Garik.”

“Still can’t convince you to call me Face though.”

“Everyone has their limits.”

Face smiled, and turned around, his arm draped half casually, half protectively over the older man. “Wedge, Corran, I’d like you to meet a very dear friend of mine, and our new Chief of Intelligence. Lucius Xoff.”


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:03 am
Posts: 565
Location: Ventura County, CA
Starring Face as himself.

* * *

"Look, I'm sorry Drii, but quarter assignments are by seniority and you and Danner are the newest pilots on the roster. With the extra bodies we picked up on Gaulus, there's just not any empty rooms for me to give you."

The young woman across the desk heaved a sigh, a dejected look flicking across her face before her professionalism took over.

"Of course, sir. Thank you for your time, Major."

"The door's always open, Drii. And, if you don't mind a little helpful advice, Rylothian ear plugs have always done the trick, for me."

The woman paused at the door, glancing back with a thin smile, then moving quickly to catch a small package. "Thanks again, sir."

As the door slid closed with a quiet fwump, Dru Kargin leaned his head into his hand, his thumb and forefinger gently massaging his eyes, and down to the bridge of his nose.

"Bad time, Major?" The new voice triggered Dru's deep-rooted human instinct to jump, but his long years of training kept his muscles still.

"Face, haven't I told you before what I think of your slinking into rooms as people leave them?" Dru slowly looked up to see the Lorrdian smiling with his customary smugness.

"'Inconsiderate and obnoxiously flambouyant', I believe you put it. Ah, but that was a long time ago."

"Well let's add 'damned annoying,' for next time." Dru produced a datapad and tossed it to the Wraith. "See that?"

"This datapad is empty."

"Precisely!" Dru raised his hands in exasperation. "Face, I'm up to my arms in duty rotations and requisition forms for the Rogues, I'm supposed to be composing an organizational document in my new post as Deputy Chief of Intelligence, Operations, and now I've an audience to plan with a Hutt."

"We're all busy, Dru."

"How am I supposed to be an operator without any agents? And, even if I had them, how am I supposed to inform them without any viable intelligence?" He gestured to another datapad. "Face, I've not read a good piece of news since the last time I slipped a hyperwave under Janson's nose. That was two weeks ago, and the news was a week old then."

Dru sagged lightly in his chair. A few moments later, Face raised an eyebrow and offered a chuckle.

"Ah, I think I know what this is about."

"You usually do."

"You know, Dru, a year ago, I could walk into Downtime any time you were off duty and find you in your favorite booth, sipping an ale and reading the news."

"That was by design, you know."

"And, now you've not read a good piece of news in two weeks, and the nearest pub is three systems away."

Dru sighed a garrumph.

"You're becoming a grumpy old man, mister Kargin. You've not got your newspaper delivered and now you're grumpy." Face played on the last word like it was a toy.

"I'm slipping behind right now and you know it."

"You've got people on Tralus who aren't. Think of it as a working vacation!"

Dru managed a grin. "And you've been reading my mail."

Face's smug countenance was beaming. "You know Dru, as a former actor, it behooves me to casually follow 'Modern Fashions' in the Corellian Chronicle."

"That a fact?"

"Of course. I don't stay this beautiful all on my favorable genetics. It's funny, though. Last issue, I caught a familiar rhythm. Had sort of a... mechanical beat to it. Turns out, it was one of my old rhythmo-linguistic encoding algorithms. I wonder how that got in there?"

"What an odd coincidence."

"That's what I thought. So, I've composed this report on it, and I was going to share it with Kai. She's got a fascination for that sort of thing..."

Dru dropped his head back into his hand. "You've got a name, haven't you?"

"Cera."

Dru laughed. "So, naturally, you assume that Cera and I must be secreting about on some illicit affair?"

Face raised his hands in defence. "Hey, I'm not judging. Once I realised that it wasn't anything operational, I didn't read anymore. Still, I gotta say pal, you seem to have it bad for this Cera girl. How long have you known her?"

"Oh, 'round about six and a half months by now, I think."

Face opened his mouth to respond, but something made him stop. Dru was good, his body lanugage was completely controlled, but something about him suggested to Face's keen eye that he was finding this rather amusing. The pair locked eyes, and Face could see a slight flush pass through his friends expression.

"Cera's not your lover." It wasn't a question.

"No."

"But you care about her?"

Dru's eyes slid carefully to the right, fixing on a framed landscape on the wall behind him. "I really do."

Face stood there, his senses drinking in information faster than a Askajian drank water after a month long desert trek. There was something about the way Dru was speaking. Something in his tone which broadcast stong emotions which even his training and experience couldn't hide. An emotion so powerful, it could not be contained... Face stopped in amazement. An emotion that he too had come to know and love... But that would mean...

He broke into a smile. Not the predator's smile, nor the flashy smile, both of which were legendary in their own rights, but a warm and genuine smile. He stepped forward, holding out his hand. "Dru! Congratulations!"

Dru rose to accept the handshake, struggling unsuccessfully to hide a wide smile of his own. "Thanks, Faceman."

"Who, when, why, how?" Before Dru opened his mouth, Face interupted him. "Actually, we can skip the 'how'."

"Well, you read the article. Didn't you read the byline?"

"I told you, once I realised it was personal, I stopped. What... you think I'm Kai?"

"Her name's Lori Mindar. She's an... aggressively investigative journalist for the Chronicle. We met on Corellia a little over a year ago and bumped into each other on Coruscant while I was comissioning the Valour."

"I guess she got her exclusive...."

Dru grinned widely. "You could say that. I even managed to let her run the article. I only wish I could have read it."

"And now you're a father."

"I was as surprised as you are, to tell the truth. That tidbit came through on the last issue I grabbed off the holonet before Wedge shut down the transceivers."

Dru's smile dimmed. "The message you intercepted was the first I've heard from her since then. I've managed to get some messages out, arranging for some protection for her, but..."

"...but it's not the same. You need to see her and hold her."

Dru nodded gravely. "Not the same at all... I'm under no illusion that will happen any time soon. 'Enemy of the state,' and all that." He paused briefly, before sucking in a breath. "You know, for a week or two there, I really thought that maybe, this time, things could be... normal."

Face sat down, without ceremony or permission on the chair in front of Dru's desk. He grabbed the nearest datapad, and began keying gently.

"Urm... Face?"

"Pare sol."

"In Basic?"

"Wait one..."

Dru sat, confused, and slightly annoyed he was confused in his own office. "Face?"

Face finished typing onto the datapad, and handed it to him with a slight flourish. "There. New orders. Once you have completed your mission to Nar Shaddaa... to avoid detection, you're to take an alternate route to the rendezvous co-ordinates."

"Face... this is taking us in the wrong direction for a week."

"Security concerns, Major." Face smiled. "Although, I fully appreciate if you need to stop off for supplies. Half way through your journey makes sense."

"I do know a place just off the Corellian Run where I could probably find us some fuel... and perhaps a hold full of proton torpedoes besides."

"Good work. Whilst you're in the Corellian sector, it might be worth letting some of the others do a little intel leg work. Give them a few days to sniff around the area and see if they can pick anyhing up. Will 4 days be enough?"

"It'll be a tough job, sir, but we'll make do."

"And whilst you're in the Corellian system..."

"...if I happen to come across, say, a crate of vintage whiskey, and if said crate happened to find its way into your quarters, sir?"

"That would be an unfortunate set of circumstances. A bottle will be fine. I'm sure the rest could find their way to Downtime. Well, minus Kai's cut I assume."

"Face, you're sending me to Nar Shaddaa with Kai; if she's not restocked the whole bar before we land, you're not Garik Loran."

"Valid point." Face grew sombre for a moment. "There's a home here. Jaden is doing well. Gianna is amazing with him. If Lori and Cera need somewhere..."

A grateful smile crossed Dru's lips. "Thanks, Face. It's just... I can't lose them like that. I can't lose them like I lost Jaelyn. As long as they're safe on Tralus... Oh, I don't know. How could I ask her to make herself a refugee?"

"Major, did you ever stop to think that by keeping them halfway across the galaxy, you'd lose them some other way?" Face stood up. "That was a retorical question." He paused. "And get Lori to change the code."

"Face?"

"Yes Dru?"

"The report you were going to give to Kai?"

"What report? You think I'd actually create paperwork when I didn't have to?"

"Mynock!"

With a victorious smirk, the Colonel left.

_________________
I've experiments to run//There is research to be done//On the people who are still alive.


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:31 am 
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About an hour after the meeting.
==========================


“They can’t be serious!” Monroe fumed, ready to throw the datapad in his hand against the wall of their quarters. “What the sith are they thinking breaking us up?!”

Nyret slowly looked up from his pad. “I’ve been transferred to High Flight...” The uncertainty in his young voice echoed the gut-feeling in the other two.

“You really didn’t expect them to leave a three-man squadron continue as is, did you?” Brya asked, glancing up from her own set of orders.

“That’s not the point!” Monroe shouted, taking another read through his orders with a look of disgust. “For sith’s sake, we’re all that remains of Black Force and Antilles has the nerve--”

“To do the tactical thing and absorb the unit into the larger whole?!” she barked, cutting him off. “We’re not even a proper unit anymore and barely even a functional squadron!”

“How can you be so damned callous, Lieutenant?! The rest of our squadron died defending the Vindicator above Coruscant and then we find out they died for nothi--”

Nyret had barely enough time to step out of the way as the Lieutenant seized Monroe by the throat and slammed him hard against the bulkhead. Monroe gurgled in surprise as the Offshoot’s nails dug into his skin. The datapad in his hand clattered to the floor as the anger in his eyes was replaced by near shock at the narrowed, predatory eyes that glared back at him.

“Don’t you ever disgrace our squadmates like that again, Monroe,” she growled at the older man. “Our friends – our family – died defending the New Republic. We all should have been dead against that damned armada, but we’re alive because of them. Do not forget that, mister.”

“Nothing will change the fact that we are the last of Black Force,” the uncertainty had disappeared from Nyret’s voice and had been replaced by a confident resolve. “They might separate us, but we’ll always be family.”

The Lieutenant slowly released her grip, allowing Monroe to breathe again. He crumpled to the floor, coughing and gasping for air. Brya sank to the bunk and took several breaths to calm herself.

After a moment, she looked up at Nyret with a tug in the corner of her mouth, “High Flight’s getting themselves a good pilot and a decent man.”

Nyret stifled a smile. “Thanks, Brya.”

Without standing, she turned her attention back to Monroe and offered him a hand. Monroe, still rubbing at his throat, glanced first at her hand, then up at her hesitantly before taking it and pulling himself to his feet. “I was out of line.”

“Ya think?”

“I’ve seen a lot of people pass through Black Force, Lieutenant, either by promotion, reassignment, or in a box. Losing people you’re close to doesn’t get any easier.”

“No,” she agreed, her gaze suddenly distant. “It doesn’t.”

The room fell silent as the changes ahead of them sank in.

Monroe was the first to break the silence. “So where you headed, kid?”

“Looks like you and I are headed to Hoghnor and then to Mandalore aboard the Valour,” Nyret replied, hoisting his duffel onto his shoulder. “You get to go back to being an operative while I’ll be flying escort with High Flight.”

“The Noghri and the Mandalorians, huh?” Monroe ran his hand through what was left of his hair. “What could the higher-ups possibly have in mind going there?”

“Not as strange a purpose as what I’m in for,” Brya said, leaning forward to retrieve one of the datapads from the floor. “I’m headed for Nar Shaddaa.”

“Never been,” Nyret muttered.

“Enjoy the Hutts,” Monroe smirked.

Brya nodded, biting her lip. “Yeah… the Hutts…”


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:15 pm 
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Just a wee one...
~~~~~~~~~~~


With a flicker of motion, the Shadow Enforcer appeared from nowhere. To the untrained eye, or sensor, it would possibly look as though the modified YT-1300 had dropped out of hyperspace, only without the pseudomotion of rapid deceleration. Fortunately, the sensor network around Hoghnor was almost non-existent, and there were no eyes, electronic or organic, friendly or otherwise, to watch the sudden appearance and judge it to be peculiar.

Which was good, as the fact that the Enforcer had just left the cloaking field of the Krayli’s Valour was something which the crews of both the Enforcer, and the Valour would rather keep to themselves.

“I hope the cloaking field will hold.” Theran glanced at the rear sensor, seeing nothing behind them and being slightly disturbed by the nothingness. “It’s never been tested for this amount of time.”

Corran leaned back in the pilots seat, his practiced eyes glancing over the instruments. “Well, now’s the time. Hoghnor isn’t exactly enemy territory, but it’s not 100% safe either. If we can keep the Valour hidden whilst we’re here, then it’s good practice for when we really need to use the cloak.”

Face flicked a glance at Shadow, the final member of the crew. “Commander, shall we try the comm relay?”

“Trying now.”

As with all fully blind cloaks, the only way the Valour remained hidden, was that no signals went in, and no signals went out. She was invisible, but she was also totally blind. There were only two ways of getting through to the ship, one was using the Force, and the other was to physically go there. The only problem, is that the Force was not great for sending complex information, and there were only a few people capable of ‘transmitting’ the messages.

Physically going there took too long, and gave the position away rather rapidly. So, they had to find another solution. The answer was a comm relay, physically tethered to the Valour, so information travelled down the wire, but outside the cloaking field. The relay itself was kept dormant, and coated in stealth plating. It was also very small, only the size of a large vacuum flask, and so highly unlikely to be picked up by sensor scans. A generic broadband transmission was made on a rarely used frequency, the relay would pick it up, and calculate where the origin came from, sending a tightbeam transmission on a separate frequency in return. The original sender could then send the message on a further tightbeam transmission, and the relay in turn would transmit the message to the bridge of the Valour, and then send a return transmission.

It was slow compared to normal communications, but still functional. Entire data packages could be send in a few milliseconds. Whilst detection was possible, it was unlikely.

The next stage, was to create passive sensor drones to float outside the Valour, giving the ship at least a partial view of the world around it, but that was something Wes and his engineering pals were working on.

“Link’s working fine Face. Delay’s noticeable, but nothing that makes the system unusable.” Shadow reported, throwing a glance at her CO.

“Good. Tell them we’ll be in contact every 3 hours. If they don’t hear from us, then initiate standard recovery protocols.”

“Standard recovery protocols?” Theran asked, cocking his head curiously.

“Come get us, right the frak now.” Face smiled. “Corran?”

“Final approach vector is set Face. Where we heading?”

Face shrugged. “My information is kinda old. Best bet is to head for the Bakh’tor territory. I’ve got the co-ordinates for their dukha here. There we’ll try and arrange a meeting with their Maitrakh.”

“Why the Bakh’tor clan?” Corran asked as he keyed in the co-ordinates.

“I know they’ve hired out their clansmen in the past to various paramilitary units. They do it for the experience, as well as the money. Whilst a lot of clans do it, Bakh’tor is the only one I’ve heard of by name. Seemed as good a place as any.”

Theran shrugged. “When flying to a planet filled with a species so fearsome, they were used as elite Death Commandoes, any place is as risky as the next.”

Face shot the younger man a grin. “Interesting isn’t it!”

***

“Interesting is hardly the word I’d use.” Dru smiled, as he adjusted himself in the captains chair of the Sacul.

Kai shot him a glance over her shoulder, piloting around one of the larger chunks of space junk without looking. “Why not? We’re about to land on Nar Shaddaa, one of the few remaining interesting spots in the galaxy.” She pouted. “And I still don’t see why Face put you in command of the mission.”

Dru’s smile widened. “I think it’s because he wanted the Sacul returned in one piece, without the entire cargo spaces filled with contraband.

Kai didn’t respond, but pouted, and turned her attention back to the front viewport, although Dru was pretty certain he heard a ‘hef’ from the Twi’lek pilot. He shook his head in amusement. How Face managed to command this unit without losing all of his hair in a matter of days was anyone’s guess. Instead, he turned to Sacul’s navigator. “Piggy, what’s the status of the IFF?”

The gentle giant flicked a couple of switches. Dru idly wondered if it was for show, as the Gammorean had a completely holographic memory, before the electronic voice cut off his musings before they had begun. “Currently broadcasting as ‘The Bleeding Heart’, technically we’re a freighter belonging to Captain Kaj Nesshark, but if anyone looks into it more, then they’ll discover that Captain Nesshark is a smuggler with loose connections to a couple of pirate groups. He’s one of Face’s usual identities, but not to the extent that you can’t use it if you want to.” He stopped, checking his readout once more. “We’ve turned off the holocrest completely, but if you want it to display one of the pirate gangs, that’s easy enough.”

“Leave it off. I’m pretty keyed up on the various gangs in the area, but it’s not knowledge I particulary want to test on this mission. Can you handle all the outside communication for the time being?” Dru asked, flicking through his own data stream.

“Of course, but according to the notes attached to the ID, we don’t need to do or see anyone in particular. Nesshark isn’t important enough to not go unnoticed.”

Dru smiled. “Unfortunately, I need to see some Hutts on world. If it turns out that I was on the Smugglers Moon without paying my respects to Loora the Hutt, then certain business interests will suffer.”

“How come you and Face are allowed business interests, but I’m not?” Kai asked, this time not taking her attention away from a rather tricky patch of debris.

“If I may interject…” Sacul’s slim frame slid into one of the unoccupied seats on the bridge.

Dru covered a smile. The Sacul’s droid form was fitting so naturally into the Wraith’s patter, it was almost comical. “By all means.”

“Kai, it’s because Colonel Loran and Major Kargin had legitimate business interests before joining up to ‘fight the good fight’. They then use said business interests to assit the Rogues and Wraiths. You, however, would use official equipment to create illegitimate business interests instead of ‘fighting the good fight.’ Simple.”

Kai opened her mouth to shoot back a retort, before shrugging. “OK, fair enough I guess.”

"Besides..." Dru added. "We're so very pretty." He just managed to duck the quickly flung datapad, as Kai heffed once more. He smiled, shaking his head. If he managed to command the unit for this mission without losing all of his hair, he’d be impressed.


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:18 pm 
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From the madness of Mish, Face and Red.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With a muted hiss, the Sacul touched down lightly on the landing pad of one of the less seedier areas of the upper Corellian sector. Less seedy meaning that the population was probably only 70% criminal.

"Nice landing Kai."

Dru stood smoothly, tugging slightly at his voluminous robe. It wasn't the most elaborate of disguises, but the generic spacer garb, complete with hood was enough to keep his identity hidden for the time being.
"You realize you look ridiculous?" Kai smiled.

"Said the woman apparently wearing nothing but three strips of cloth and a lot of visible weaponry." Dru responded.

"Dahling, this is all the rage. One mustn't stick out."

Dru shook his head ruefully, turning his head as he heard the soft footfalls of a diminutive engineer enter the bridge.

"Come on, everyone knows I win the ridiculous contest."

Standing in the entrance to the bridge, Red wore all the trappings of a female Tusken Raider, although at the moment the distinctive fabric hood and decorative metal face cover was pushed back over her shoulders. Fabric wrapped fingers flexed slightly as if to adjust the binding before her smirk turned slightly more serious.

"Besides, on this planet, you're out of place if you look TOO normal by the rest of the galaxy's standards. By the way, Dru, we just received the final port clearance and permission to disembark at our leisure."

Dru shot a glance at Rrowv. The large Togorian wasn't in any form of disguise, but his fearsome presence would fit perfectly in the Vertical City. "Rrowv... you got the warning signs?"

"Rrowv has them ready." The large feline grinned, his mouth full of teeth an impressive display. The signs were simple. They practically screamed in most common languages that the ship was a radiation filled nightmare, and should only be approached if the being was suicidal.

The Sacul had the best security measures the Wraiths could make, buy or steal, but it never hurt to put people off.

Dru nodded somberly and noted briefly how the robe he was wearing itched the back of his neck. He shook his head slightly and strode forward towards the exit to Nar Shaddaa space-port. He glanced again at his two companions.

"Kai." Exasperation entered his voice, "You're not seriously going to go out in just that, are you?"

Kai's lekku flicked in annoyance. "Of course not!" She breezily replied, and as they swung by the final exit picked up something which was hanging on the emergency release precariously. She swung it on, and Dru realized it was a coat. A see-through rain mac.

He shook his head again, and his eyebrows raised. How Face Loran put up with this lot on a regular basis, he did not know.

"It might rain." Kai explained as the three stepped down the ramp. "I don't want to catch my death."

Red had pulled up her hood, fastening the metal face covering so that only a set of barely visible eyes showed through the slit. A gaffi stick was in her hands as she fell in behind the other Wraith members exiting the bridge. The group arrived down at the exit ramp just as the compressors in the support struts relaxed, hissing off a faint steam around the waiting Brya and Piggy, both of who had already cleared the exit and seemed to have taken up a temporary watch while waiting for Dru, Kai, Rrowv, and Red.

"All clear. If I might ask, sir, what is our primary objective? I'm not used to going into a mission on such short notice and with so little, preparation."

Brya was obviously still settling into her new role, eyes keeping a regular sweep of the port they had been permitted landing at as the group gathered briefly at the top of the ramp, still well out of sight from the public eye and protected by the Sacul herself for a moment longer.

"Make do and mend, Jaroo. And never let it be said there's a dull moment working with us Rogues." Dru paused.

"Wraiths."

Again.

"Whatevers."

"Sir?"

"Oh! Yeah." Dru continued, "I'm off to see the Hutts," - Red felt her face flush beneath her elaborate outfit at the very word - "and there's the issue of procurement."

"Won't you need most, if not all of us as part of your courtesy call on Loora?" Piggy chimed in, head tilting in an almost curious manner.

"And if not, we should establish a time line and loose protocol so that if we fracture into smaller groups we will be able to meet back up and account for issues."

Dru nodded at the methodical Gammorean's assessment, a moment taken as chin rested on a fist while he mulled the options. They had not planned this expedition to the letter, largely due to the fact that the variables facing them were exponential. There had been a good chance they wouldn't have even made the landing. Nar Shadda was a chaotic place, and he had learned long ago that the best way to deal with such an environment was to keep loose ideas and focus more on the goals and less on how they were achieved.

Brya tensed, and looked around at this group of what had been the New Republic's finest, astounded at the lack of organization. "Does anyone actually speak conversational Huttese?"

"My conversational Huttese includes a lot of 'fierfek's, 'chuta's and 'koochoo's!" Kai helpfully added to the conversation, a twinkle in her eyes, which widened in obvious excitement as the jumbled, somewhat dark and definitely dangerous vista of Nar Shaddaa poured out in front of them.

"Dopo mee gusha, peedunkey?" [Do you feel lucky punk?] Dru asked Piggy as the two walked down the ramp.

"Kee baatu baatu." [You bother me!] Piggy grunted in return.

Brya rolled her eyes. It certainly sounded as though Huttese was a fairly well spoken language.

"OK. First, we check out the Burning Deck, then the Slag Pit, and finally the Meltdown Café. If we still have no joy, we can check out another corner tavern called the Orange Lady." Dru ticked off the list of bars as he spoke them. "Odds are that Jadax will be at one of these places, and then we can make our way to Loora's after."

"Three bars in one evening?" Kai grinned. "Dru, why aren't you always in charge of mission planning?"

"Just make sure that you keep your wits about you. I'd lay money there's a bounty on every one of our heads, so let's not have to deal with bounty hunters as well as Imperials... OK?"

Kai patted one of the nastier looking blasters lovingly. "Not a prob Mr Major Rogue Person Sir!"

Moving with the group, Red seemed all too comfortable carrying a Gaffi stick, and had taken up a position next to Rrowv as they cleared the exit of the dock and found themselves out on the open street.

"Since we're going bar hopping first, can I go with Rrowv to get my shopping list taken care of? Starting a new repair business on Tatooine is hard work."

Dru glanced back at the engineer, a brief scan around the streets signaling that they didn't seem to have any undue attention at the exact moment. Red had mentioned to him that she wanted to restock some basic supplies and parts for the Sacul while they had the chance, using her cover and a new, fake account linked to Tatooine to ensure they didn't blow their cover in the process.

"Be quick and yes, take Rrowv. You know the order of bars, meet up with us by the Slag Pit at the latest. If we make our contact before then, we'll get a note back to the dock so you'll know when you drop things off."
A nod from the largest and smallest members of the group confirmed the plan, before the pair peeled off, obviously tracing a mark Red already had in mind for supplies.

"Why do I get the feeling that Red will be buying more than just spare parts?" Dru asked thin air.

Piggy shrugged. "She said she had a new idea for a project, but she's keeping it pretty close to her chest at the moment."

The pair turned to Kai.

"Hey, I don't go snooping EVERYWHERE!" The sultry Twi'lek shrugged. "Just places Face doesn't want me to go."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Burning Deck lived up to its name. The lights were an outrageous colorof every hue imaginable, and the cigarra smoke was so thick, that Dru was half tempted to pull out a vibroblade and try and slice it. Brya slid into the throng of patrons easily, her lithe frame easing between two arguing Duro's easily. Within moments, she was lost from view.

Dru turned to Kai, only to find that the green 'acquisitions expert' had also somehow melted into the crowd. He killed the smile threatening to bloom on his face before it started. It was nice working with pros.

His eyes automatically scanned the immediate area. His brain automatically cataloging the various pirate and smuggler patches and gangs. He recognized several, but some were a mystery. Yet more proof he needed to get back into the information business.

Ryenn was an old colleague of Face's, a human male with a bald head and closely trimmed brown goatee. He was a freelance spy, who was loosely contracted to Visage Enterprises. He was rumoredto be holed up on Nar Shaddaa... and rumored to be in trouble.

With a wince of annoyance, Dru suddenly found the last rumor to be true.

Sitting in a booth near the back of the light drenched environment was a man that Dru could only assume was Ryeen, bald held glinting an impressive amount of the blue light that dominated that particular corner of the room. Surrounding him, two to either side of their target on the single seat of the booth, were four rough characters. Admittedly, calling them "characters" was the nicest thing that Dru could come up with in terms of descriptive terms.

Making sure not to spend too much time staring and drawing attention, he motioned to Piggy subtly and the pair made their way to the bar, managing to find a pair of stools.

Piggy only grunted in reply - he was dressed in typical guard outfits for his species, loose leather clothes that belied the intelligence of his companion, with a loose collar that hid his voice box. Dru sensed that he would get little more than grunts from his companion, who was much too distinct if he spoke.

The soft conversation was vastly one sided as Dru ordered a Potwa beer for his "body guard" and a Ryll beer for himself.

"You know I only pay you if you keep me safe, I don't care about other people, especially not any of these losers around here."

Sweeping his beer hand in a gesture of ire, Dru only hesitated for the briefest of seconds to the corner where the troubled spy was sitting.
*Grunt*

Piggy's eyes had followed the motion and easily picked up the point of the comment.

A swig of his beer was taken before a finger jabbed at Piggy, getting another irritated grunt as it caused him to spill part of his beer mid sip. Dru noticed that Piggy was being particularly sloppy and crud as he drank, something definitely out of the norm for his team mate, but not for a scummy bodyguard.

"And I don't want you getting distracted by any pretty women. None!"

As if on cue, Kai slid into a seat next to him, an arm draped around his shoulder and lips passing his ear as if in a teasing whisper, attempting to manipulate a free drink.

"Looking for a good time?”

"Go bother the people at the booths, woman...I know your kind."

Dru had to admit he had a slight bit of satisfaction at the 'Hef' and scowl he received as Kai stormed off, but more importantly Kai had also keyed in on the target before she disappeared back into the crowd.

Now, if only he could figure the distraction that would get Ryeen clear of the booth - it was apparent now that there were several blasters of various make trained under the booth table on the spy. It was unusual that the low conversation the men were having was still going on, but he suspected there was not much time.

His thoughts were answered by a blood curdling noise that came from roughly the same side of the room as the cornered spy, followed quickly by a very distinctive Tusken figure, dashing just barely ahead of the massive figure of Rrowv as he came crashing through part of the crowd, knocking people out of the way.

Both he and Piggy were off their seats as the bar began to mill in the chaos of a fight, slipping in and quickly spotting Brya, who was already closing on that side of the room.

The noise had the attention of the four "characters" as they briefly looked up from their conversation with Ryenn, but it was Rrowv's form crashing into their table and sending them scrambling as he engaged the Gaffi wielding Tusken. How Red was making the screaming sound was unknown to Dru, but it was effective.

As the table collapsed, Dru and Piggy were close behind Ryenn, who was not amiss to take advantage of the massive, angry, furry distraction that had freed him of his captors and was quickly heading towards a back exit.

Managing out the door as the crowd milled about them, Brya came up besides Dru as they turned into the alley. "The fight is moving into the front street, the pirates are still scattered and looking for our friend. Kai is heading after our crude combatants."

Distracted for the brief moment that Brya gave him a surprisingly accurate account from the chaos, Dru nearly missed ducking the durasteel bar that was swung at his head as they tumbled into the street.

Piggy quickly resolved the threat as he grabbed the bar and then restrained its owner, a very soft, very quick message relayed to the startled Ryeen.

"Trust me when I say we are friends of a friend. Do you have somewhere safe to go?"

Ryenn only blinked a moment, but the recognition of a talking Gammorean spoke worlds to who the mutual friend was. "This way."

And with a gesture and that acknowledgment, Dru, Piggy and Brya found themselves disappearing down the alley further into the underbelly of Nar Shadda, while (they hoped) Red, Kai, and Rrowv had found a different alley to escape to from the bar.

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


Last edited by Octavia Terah on Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:34 pm 
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“Wow, this place sure is… brown.” Theran commented as the Shadow Enforcer completed its re-entry procedure.

“I could give you a long and boring talk on the horticulture of the local Kholm grass, but then I remembered I’m not Dru or Piggy.” Face deadpanned. “Safe to say, yes, it’s brown.”

“Hard to imagine that the Death Commandos came from such a barren planet.” Theran continued.

“The harsher the landscape, the tougher the outcome.” Shadow pointed out. A flash of old pain flashed across her expression, invisible but to those who knew her best, especially Face, who was one of the few individuals who knew the reason for it.

“Indeed. We can’t all be from the plush worlds like Corellia.”

Without taking his eyes from the controls, Corran arched a lazy eyebrow. “As a fair minded officer, I shall of course ignore that remark. As a Corellian, I shall of course exact terrible revenge.”

Face’s genuine grin was his only riposte.

***

“Loran Clan Blade.” The Noghri guard bowed deeply. “Your presence here honours us. Please, come to the dukha, the Maitrakh wishes to speak with you.

Face bowed in response. “Thank you.” He motioned to Corran, Theran and Shadow. “May my colleagues join us?”

“Of course. Please, follow.”

As the guard turned smartly around, and began walking away from the small landing area, Corran fell into step next to his fellow Colonel. “How does he know you?”

“I have absolutely no idea.” Face shrugged in return. “I mean, I know I have certain notoriety, but out here? Something’s not right.”

“Face, we’re insurgents against an evil tyrannical Empire.” Corran smiled. “If things were right, we’d be in jail.”

“Still, the fact, I’m Loran Clan Blade. That doesn’t make any sense. ‘Garik Clan Loran’, or ‘Loran Clan Wraith’ I can understand… but Blade…” Face’s voice tailed off as they approached the large single storied building at the centre of the small settlement.

With little ceremony, the double doors parted, and Face, Corran, Shadow and Theran were ushered into the main hall. Face cast a glance around, taking in his surroundings. The walls of the dukha were intricately carved, small groups of Noghri were dotted around, some obviously in lessons, some just watching the new arrivals. Seated on a raised dais at the far end of the hall sat the Maitrakh, the female head of the Clan Bakh’tor.

Face bowed deeply to the Maitrakh, and a split second later he was copied by his companions. “Thank you for receiving us so quickly. May I introduce my companions?”

“Please.” The Maitrakh’s voice was low and gravely, but carried no immediate threat.

“Colonel Corran Horn and Lieutenant Theran Rel of Rogue Squadron, and Commander Carithlee Lightfoot of Wraith Squadron.”

The Maitrakh bowed to each in turn. “Your clans are legendary throughout the galaxy. Your presence honours us.” She turned to Face once more. “Do you bring us news of the Mal’ary’ush?” Although still controlled, the note of hope in her voice was still audible.

Face shook his head. “No. We have had no contact with Princess Leia Organa-Solo since the Empires attack on Coruscant. However, we have also been monitoring Imperial communiqués, so we know that she has not been captured or killed by them.”

The Maitrakh bowed. “That is news. It is not the news that we wanted, but it is better than the news we feared.” She sat back in her chair. “Loran Clan Blade. Why are you here?”

Face steeled himself. “With the Empire back in control of the galaxy, we find ourselves as a Rebellion once more. General Wedge Antilles is heading up the New Rebellion, and we are continuing the fight against the Empire. We are here to ask you to join us in this fight.”

The Maitrakh bowed her head deeply. “We are honoured to be asked, but we cannot risk our society that way. It is only a matter of time before the Empire come back here, and take our sons once more.”

“That is why you need to join us!” Corran spoke up, his words filled with determination.

“It is why we cannot. You cannot protect us anymore. The New Republic is dead, you are one ship, you cannot guarantee the safety of our people.” She stopped, her head cocked to the side as she considered the situation. “But you know this, otherwise you would want to speak to the dynasts in the Grand Dukha in Nystao. But instead you came here. Why?” This time, there was an edge to her voice.

Face stepped forward. “It is right that we knew you could not join us as a race, which is why we came here. We are hoping that that some of your sons would willingly join us on an individual basis. We represent the best chance of finding the Mal’ary’ush, and the skills your sons would learn with us will stand you all in good stead.”

“This is true, on all counts.” The Maitrakh admitted. “And I know of at least one of my sons who has expressed an interest in you Loran Clan Blade.”

Face shook his head in confusement. “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. I am unaware of any reason why your son would know me, nor why you call me Loran Clan Blade.”

“For those are the stories which we have been told by Mardex Clan Blade.”

Face’s jaw fell open. “What the…”

A new jubilant voice came from the back of the hall. “Lieutenant!”

Face spun around, the voice dredging old memories to the surface. “Mardex?”

“Faceman! How are you?”

“I’m… Mardex, what’re you doing here?”

“Here? Well, at this precise moment I’m talking to you, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m mainly working out how to remove the flying ewoks from my ship so I can take off. But, you know those pesky ewoks… the second you get close to them, they evaporate. So…” He shrugged. “I’m stuck here!”

Corran looked at Face. “Is he for real?”

“Very much so.”

“Of course I’m real!” Mardex looked sideways at Corran, before whispering loudly to Face. “Does he see things which aren’t there? That’s just odd.”

Before Corran could say anything else. Face interjected. “Mardex, why are you on Hoghnor?”

“Oh that’s easy Faceguy, Khab and I came back here after we got shot up on the last mission.”

“Khab?”

“Khab. My Noghri buddy…” Mardex stopped, and shot Corran a look. “And before you say anything, he’s real too.” He smiled. “I’ll go get him!” With a final grin, he spun on his heels and walked towards the exit. “Back in a bit old boy!” He called over his shoulder, his accent now that of a clipped Coruscanti senator.

As one, Corran, Theran and Shadow turned to look at Face. Corran’s puzzled expression echoed by his two companions. “Who was that?”


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:27 pm 
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OCCURS DIRECTLY BEFORE RED'S POST.
(PLEASE MOVE AND THEN DELETE THIS NOTICE. THNX)


“I hope we’re too pretty to be shot at,” Kai muttered tensely.

Within moments of dropping out of hyperspace a pair of Sabaoth destroyers and half a dozen M22-T Krayt gunships had materialized out of the darkness and converged upon the Sacul.

“Piggy…” Dru’s voice was calm but rigid as he found himself staring down the nose of one of the destroyers. “Give me a full scan. I want to know what we’re up against.”

Piggy’s eyes, brightly illuminated by his screen in the bridge’s dim lighting, danced over the sensor reports as they came in. “Those destroyers may be an old design, but their armaments and defenses are top of the line; Reading six dual-turbolaser turrets, a dozen heavy anti-starfighter laser turrets, and six concussion missile launchers. Each of the gunships are carrying two heavy laser cannons and both concussion and proton launchers.”

“Each of those destroyers can carry about a dozen fighters,” Brya called from one of the rear stations. “Whoever they are, they came prepared.”

Dru’s expression remained unchanged. “Whoever they are, they’re gutsy to pull an ambush on Nar Shaddaa’s front lawn.”

“It gets better,” Piggy continued. “There’s a complete armada in orbit around Nar Shaddaa: Sabaoth destroyers, refit space yachts, Hutt cruisers – light and heavy, more modified Action VI transports then I’ve ever seen in one place before, and about fifty extra ships from over a dozen pirate groups, gangs, smugglers, and who knows who else.”

“Looks like everyone’s crawled out of the shadows to keep their sanctuary safe,” Brya mused.

“You should see the size of the Hutt fleet around Nal Hutta.”

“Guess they're not too happy with losing a third of their territory to the Imperials. With most of the clans working together now, the Hutt Grand Council probably dispatched a handful of warships from Bootana Hutta itsel—” A chime from her station interrupted her.

“We’re being hailed.”

Dru rested his elbows on the armrests and folded his hands under his chin. “Let’s hear it.”

“Attention Bleeding Heart!” a gruff, hissing voice crackled over the bridge’s speakers. “By order of the Hutt Empire you will cut your enginess and ssubmit to biological sscanss or you will be desstroyed!”

“Trandoshans…” Kai scowled.

Dru rose from his seat and motioned for transmission. “This will probably get us shot at…”

“Wouldn’t be the first time.”

“This is Captain Kaj Nesshark!” Dru suddenly exploded in feigned rage. “Who the hell are you to order me around?! Our business on Nar Shaddaa is none of your damn concern so if you don’t get the HELL out of my way —”

The Sacul shuddered as a pair of emerald bolts struck the shields.

Kai winced. “Face is going to kill you if they scratched the paint.”

Dru motioned for mute. “Shield status?”

“Warning shots,” Piggy reported. “Minimal damage to shields.”

Dru motioned again. “What the HELL do you think you’re doing firing at me!?”

“That wass a warning, Bleeding Heart. The nexsst oness won’t be.”

Dru paused, mentally counting the passing seconds.

“Tactical!” he suddenly growled just loud enough for the comm. to pick him up. “Let them complete their damned scans! If they fire again, launch everything we have at them!”

“We appressssiate your complianssse, Captain. We regret having to ssstop you, but the Hutsss would be very disssappointed if the Sssmuggler’sss Moon were to become *hiss* infected.”

“I’m sure they would.”

“Don’t worry, Captain… asss long asss you’re not contaminated or turn out to be Imperial sspiess you’ll be asss welcome on Nar Shhaddaa asss any of usss.” The Trandoshan’s raspy cackle finished off his sentence before the transmission ended.

The bridge sighed in collective relief.

“Well that brings back old memories,” Brya chuckled.

“Out of curiosity, Lieutenant,” Dru started as he straightened his uniform and sat back down again. “How do you know so much about Hutt space?”

“Growing up... and have a few contacts that keep me apprised. Oh, and senior project...”

“.... ah ha.”


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:58 pm 
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What Red and Rrowv were up to while they ran Red's "errand" – italics in the middle indicate a conversation in Huttesse. - basically fills everything in up to them leaving the bar. Hope its okay! :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Alright, so before we do anything else, we need to make a house call, you think you can be big and scary Rrowv?"

The Togorian blinked as if Red had just asked the most confusing question ever, before flashing a wide, toothy grin down at the Tusken-garbed engineer.

"Rrowv thinks Red is being funny, is Red meaning the joke?"

As Red reached under her hood and fiddled with something near the slit in the mask over her face, Rrowv heard her voice take on a distinct warbling noise that was unknown to him.

"Red certainly is, Rrowv."

***

After a few short moments of walking down the edge of the main thoroughfare in the Corellian district, Red led the pair off to a side alley that opened into the ill-kept warehouse district. Most of the buildings were dilapidated and had marks of long defunct companies and storage facilities, but the area was hardly abandoned. Clusters of parked speeders and other transportation marked which buildings were still in use.

Gambling was a major source of income for the Hutts and whenever a warehouse lost its owners the Hutts and their affiliates were quick to move in and establish a gambling facility. Sabacc tables were common, as were Binspo and Compmatch. The exteriors of these buildings were not flashy, but glimpse through doors showed smoky, neon environments that were crowded at all hours of the day.

“We’re looking for this, Rrowv. That’s how we’ll know which building we want.”

Rrowv glanced down to the image on the datapad and nodded at the M-31 airspeeder in the classic fire-red. It was only a few seconds later that he poked his companion (knowing full well that a tap might knock her flat) and motioned to one of the smaller buildings.

“Rrowv sees our speeder.”

“Perfect! Remember, big and scary?”

Rrowv growled through a toothy smile as they entered the building.
***
“Echuta!”

The curse left the mouth of the podracer Fo Mora, the Anx’s , as he sat back and glared at the lugjack machine in front of him. He’d been so close to the big win, SO close. He always picked a machine well away from other gamblers, secluded to protect his luck. At least it let him know when he was being approached and in a place like Nar Shadda one cold never be too careful.

It was at that moment that he realized he had missed an approach and there was a large Togorian and shockingly, a female Tusken Raider standing just behind him.

Before he could even stand and attempt to flee, the Togorian had grabbed his shoulder and pushed just enough to convince him that it would be a bad idea. After a moment, the female finally approached and spoke, unfortunately in Huttesse. Now he couldn’t lie and say he didn’t understand her.

“You my friend, are in deep trouble.”

“I don’t know you, so we are hardly friends, and you should not be threatening me if you know who I am!”


Fo Mora only hoped his bluff would work, instead he received a warbled laugh that reminded him all too clearly of the Tusken Raiders’ war cry that he heard during the racing season on Tatooine.

“I know you, Fo Mora, and I also know that you threw your last race in order to get in on the bet Lady Valarian placed AGAINST you.”

“You have no proof!”
the Anx sputtered, feeling the Togorian tighten his grip as he had instinctively tried to rise and point an accusing finger at the mystery woman.

He kept his seat.

“Really? An overheard conversation in the racer’s cantina in Mos Eisley says otherwise. Or are you going to lie and tell me you’ve never been to the ‘Crazy Mechanic’? Because I’m sure your Hutt investors have...and that they are already suspicious of your loyalty to them.”

There was a long pause before Anx cleared his throat.

“What do you want?”

“I am here because one of your partners got wind of this rumor and wanted you ‘sorted out.’”


The Anx knew exactly what that meant, his crest colors flashing in a wave of panic and fear at the fact that an assassination had been requested.

“ But, I am a generous woman. Being raised by the raiders taught me the value of pragmatism. So, I decided to let you know what the offer is. You used those credits from the thrown fight to purchase your M-31, correct?”

Fo Mora only nodded, a quick glance confirming the Togorian was still grinning down at him evilly.

“ Give me your airspeeder and I will tell the people who paid me that you were educated on the ways of loyalty. They did leave some room to avoid termination, you are a decent enough racer. That way, the Hutts never see a suspicious purchase, and as long as you severe ties with Lady Valarian, no one will think twice.”

“But…but…”

“Or I could kill you, take your speeder, and return your head saying you were defiant and unremorseful.”


***

Moments later, Rrowv was still amused at how quickly the keys had been turned over.

“So, Red, Rrowv wishes to know how you knew this Fo Mora threw a podrace on purpose?”

Red chucked through her mask, amazed at how darn comfortable the M-31 was for an airspeeder.

“My sister Nikana is married to a pod racer on Tatooine. My other sister, Kess, owns and runs the ‘Crazy Mechanic.’ That’s why it’s a popular racer hang out. They may or may not have overheard a very drunk Fo Mora bragging about his exploit to one of the waitresses and told me about this during one of my calls home.”

Rrowv rumbled what Red assumed was a chuckle, shaking his head.

“Red’s family sounds like they should all be in the military. So, this is what you wanted to get for the “shopping trip?”

“Actually, Rrowv, this wasn’t what I want. It’s just a way to get into the store.”

Rrowv once again found himself surprised by the small engineer.
***

The fact that they hadn’t been destroyed by laser fire already was a very good sign. Her brother Tiberius had given her a legitimate code for the security. However, there was still something incredibly eerie about ‘The Chute.’. Then again, it was a discarded prototype of the tunnel that was navigated during the destruction of the second Death Star, so that definitely upped the creepy factor.

“Rrowv has never heard of this Spacebarn. You have done business here before?”

“Um, not exactly…this is where we start praying our skills as Wraiths count, friend.”

The look from Rrowv could have melted durasteel.

“Easy, easy. It’s a smugglers repair facility, owned by a guy named Shug Nixx. My brother Tiberius occasionally comes here when he is on his own business to get repairs and move merchandise he doesn’t want to bring home. So…technically it’s his code and his clearance we’re using to get in. We needed any speeder because the only access route is this Chute.”

Rrowv did not look comforted as they slowed to clear the chute.

“Nixx is supposed to be a good man, Rrowv. We just have to hope he’s in a talking mood first, so I can explain…”

Rrowv would have asked for an explanation of HOW they would do that save that both he and Red were currently taken in by the sight as they entered the Spacebarn proper. The facility was enormous for being completely 'underground' , with almost every possible repair droid available. There were spare parts racks on every wall and several dilapidated craft that were obviously used for scavenging parts filling corners,.

Red was jealous and excited all in the same moment as she settled the speeder in a free spot. It only lasted until the incoming comm. crackled and their attention was drawn to a tall blonde man with mottled blues and green skin standing in front of the speeder. He was wearing a headset to speak to them and more importantly, carrying a PLX-1 missile launcher that was trained right at the cockpit window.

“You are not Tiberius Terah and I expect an explanation. Get out of the cockpit, slowly.”

Red was careful to put her hands up where they could be seen as a glance was shared with Rrowv before he opened the cockpit and they slowly worked their way down to the deck.

“A Tusken and a Togorian? Not a usual combination. Someone better start talking.”

“May I take off my mask first? I promise, it will help explain.”

Nixx gave a nod with the launcher from his spot half way across the main floor of the Spacebarn’s.

Carefully, Red slid back the mask to reveal her face, a hand ruffling the base of her braid out of habit before it was returned to its upward, highly visible position.

“My name is Octavia Terah, Tiberius is my brother. He gave me his access code so that I could come to do business with you.”

“Octavia, as in Tavi? Yeah…I can kinda see the family resemblance, and he did say you were short with crazy red hair.” Nixx looked doubtful, but Rrowv (who was being as NOT scary as he could for the moment) noticed that the PLX-1 was lowered slightly as Nixx approached them carefully. “Aren’t you military?”

“I am…this is my companion, Rrowv. We’re kinda on the most wanted list right now, much higher up than most of your regular customers. Please understand, I can’t tell you much more than that. For both our sakes.”

Nixx seemed to mull over the engineer a moment before finally relaxing the PLX-1 and coming over closer.

“I believe you, go ahead and put your hands down, you two look plain silly standing like that.”

“Rrowv agrees and is glad you will not blast us anymore.”

Nixx couldn’t help but chuckle as he approached Red, a sideways glance to Rrowv.

“I know what you do and anyone doing your job is welcome here, especially Tiberius’s kid sister. Just don’t being any trouble in with you if you need to visit in the future, got it? So what is this business you’re talking about, exactly? I mostly offer repair services, not straight sales.”

“I was hoping to trade for as much off this list as you have and I can compensate you monetarily as well.” Red had produced a small data pad, which Nixx took and scanned over briefly.

“Not all of this is here, but I can help you with most. What exactly were you thinking to trade with?”

“M-31 we came in on. Figured you could turn it around for a nice price. It came from off world, so not a mess with regards to someone reporting it stolen locally. Not that the police would care from what I hear.”

“Hm, it’s a nice speeder, I’ll give you that…and we can work out parts. This big piece you need, let me show you what I have that might fit the bill. I think we have something you can even fly back out of here.”

Rrowv joined Red as the pair moved off further into the Spacebarn and a loading droid began to pack items for them as they passed various shells.

***

It was not much later that Red and Rrowv had returned to the Sacul in the run down V-Wing airspeeder full of parts and other sundry goods that Nixx had provided them in exchange for the M-31. Red had been pleased that she hardly had to use the account of credits that had been set up, and that she now had her own access codes.

They had taken their time so that no one was around when they had loaded into the Sacul, although she had been very clear that she was a bit frazzled to have such a dingy machine in her lower cargo decks. After some reassurance from Red that it was for “the project” however, she had calmed down.

After unloading and re- “radioactive” warning Sacul, they had struck out on foot with Red back in her disguise.

“Rrowv suggests we go to the first bar.”

“Agreed, we actually probably made better time than they did, since the bar is a bit across town.”

***

Moments later, Rrowv and Red had entered to find quite the situation. Rrowv had spotted the mark at his table, as well as the rest of the team almost the instant they walked in the bar. Red was convinced he smelled them first.

It only took the pair a moment to assess the direness of the situation, but it was Rrowv who had the idea of how to set things in motion, just as Kai had flitted past them and thrown a drunken thumb up, leaning down to whisper at Red.

“Rrowv wishes to know if the little one can make the silly Tusken noise again. And if she is faster than Rrowv.”

Looking up at the grin worn by her teammate, Red hardly needed the assistance from the voice box in the mask to make the screaming noise as she took off through the crowded bar towards the table where the mark was sitting.

***
As they burst out of the bar into the front street, joined somehow by Kai, Red couldn’t help but glower through the mask at the laughing Twi’lek.

“It’s a lot less funny when he throws YOU into a table, you know!”

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:31 pm 
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Just a short thing to get us hopefully going again during the Holiday Break!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Why to I always volunteer for this?! Oh, who am I kidding, this is FUN.

*pantpantpant*

No, we need another alley...can't go back to the speeder, they'd have it tagged in a moment.

"Rrowv wishes to know what the plan is now? The briefing indicated Rrowv and the others were to rendezvous with the group if separated against our will."

Rendezvous is a REALLY big word for him to use... never mind, the plan was to activate the embedded trackers in case of separation. This seems like a pretty obvious separation.

"Didn't Piggy embed a tracking signal into his voice thingy? Red, you should activate that."

How does she manage to whisper that while running? But at least she remembered....she's certainly not stupid, but sometimes I do wonder about Kai...

"We need to just get into a suitable alleyway. Can you get us a nice hiding spot, Kai?"

With a nod from the Twi'lek, it was only a moment before Red and Rrowv took a sharp turn behind her into a dark, dingy space between buildings. Hunkering down for a moment, they ensured that the large, burly men following them had passed and indeed lost their trail before Red stripped off the Tuskan mask she was wearing and reaching into the faceplate. Extracting a small device, she pressed on a barely detectable button on its surface.

A small light began to blink, followed by the appearance of a small holomap. Red grinned as a small red dot appeared and moved slowly along a set of the projected lines a distance from where another blue dot appeared denoting their location.

Replacing the device into the Tuskan mask, she slid the large headpiece back on her head and let her eyes adjust to the map now visible only to herself through the eye pieces.

Kai and Rrowv knew to expect the warbled voice, but it still caused a faint shudder as the engineer turned and began to lead the group back out of the alley, utilizing a a very Tuskan grammar structure as she spoke.

"Follow me, friends. We have prey to track."

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:58 pm 
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And a more composed and less rushed (on my part) plot! Ideas borrowed from a lovely conversation with Dru. : )

~~

After some strategic maneuvering led by Kai, Red and Rrowv found themselves exiting another bar through a side entrance as the Twi’lek inexplicably seemed to know her way through every seedy bar on the planet. More than likely, it was that she had been to enough of them to understand basic car layout and was able to figure out floor plans and common layouts in a heartbeat of visual inspection.

“I think we can stick to the street now. Our badies should be long lost if they hadn’t already lost us in that first alleyway.”

“Rrowv hopes so. Rrowv will already have to bathe for weeks to get the spilled liquor and smoke smell out of Rrowv’s fur.”

Red sighed a bit as the kept a “casual” pace down the current, semi used street they were skulking along.

“Hey, its back. We’re still a bit off, but we’re running parallel to them now, it seems.”

The small holoscreen that was cast in front of her eyes within the Tuskan mask showed a constant overhead view of the city layout, with a dot to represent them moving along their current route. Every so often, the red dot that represented Piggy would blink into existence for approximately 5 seconds, before disappearing.

While this would seem like a malfunction to any other squad, it was a specific design feature to protect each separated group – Red’s mask transponder was tuned to a range of uncommon and never used frequencies that were only given out by Piggy’s translator. His translator would send out a short 5 second burst on one of those frequencies, randomly selected by a program he would activate that had been interfaced to his translating device. That way if anyone did notice the contact between the two groups they would be unable to monitor it for any period of time, let alone re-establish that contact without finding the new frequency.

It had taken several long, irritating nights of hide and seek aboard the Sacul to test out the system, but they had managed to get a reliable two way system that didn’t leave them all very, very vulnerable. Red knew they weren’t being paranoid in taking such steps when Face had approved the plan, stating that he had been having Dru attempt to track them during the testing, with only one instance of being able to pinpoint their location.

Face hadn’t been informed they were running those tests, a fact both eerie and reassuring.

Kai tore Red away from her thoughts as they continued on the modified route, hopefully on their way to intersect the others within a short period of time.

“So, Red…was that YOU screaming, or a sound effect from the mask when you hit that table?”

“Har, Har…keep tracking, pretty girl.”

~ ~

When Dru had led them through the first bar, Brya had latched onto Ryenn’s arm, drawing him close as if the pair was a couple. The man had looked uncomfortable at first having the woman make what appeared to be a bold gesture, but before they even left and headed through the next dive he was swaggering and posing as if the two were just another tipsy couple making the rounds.

Brya had been more worried about making sure he didn’t get separated from them or slip away, hence her choice in using the guise of a couple. The fact that he so quickly read the scenario and fallen into character had the added side effect of reassuring her. When Dru had first pointed him out to the rest of the Wraiths, her instinct as an intel operative was that he was hardly worth their time. How could a man so easily caught by thugs be worth anything to them in rebuilding an intelligence network?

Now, she was more concerned about who was after him and how well trained they might actually be.

Ahead of them, always visible but not obviously connected with their “couple-ness,” Dru looked like the standard merchant with his hired, Gammorean muscle looking for a good dive to drink in. He had mentioned he had a place in mind as they used the bars (in a fashion rather similar to their separated counterparts) to cut streets and take odd turned onto streets without being in the public view.

Making it into a back alley and service way, Dru had paused after clearing them to let the others catch up for what Brya suspected would be a brief conference.

Instead, she found herself raising an eyebrow as Dru tapped a blank section on one of the durasteel plated walls across from the bar they had just exited. A small console slid open and after inputting a code, the console slid covered. Clearing the alleyway once more to ensure they were alone, Dru knocked on the wall again.

Ryenn jumped a bit next to Brya as a door seemed to materialize out of the wall next to him, revealing a set of downward stairs. The sound of strange, flowing, bass heavy music drifted up as Dru motioned and started down the stairs.

The scene inside was one of the most bizarre things Brya had seen. It was a Cantina she suspected, but the layout was slightly different. As soon as they entered, they were greeted by a wall covered in doors to decontamination chambers. Past that, the transparasteel showed heavily gassed rooms with occupants of various alien species. The Main room was darkly lit, with tables deeply embedded into the alcoves around the other three sides of the room. The bar was central, but all around it most of the patrons seemed to be moving in slow motion to the music pumping out of the speaker system.

As they approached the bar, Dru finally spoke for the first time since they had fled the seedy bar.
“Stay here, I’ll be back in a moment. Don’t breathe too deeply…”

As he moved off, Brya’s confused look was explained by subtle lean in and motion from Piggy, indicating a small station at the bar where the younger, dancing patrons were going every so often and drawing a breath off of hoses resting on the counter of the bar.

“Sedative H4b…it’s been aerosolized and measured through the pipes so that they get a small dose. It creates a lethargic, calm state. Its supposed to be a field medicine used to sedate patients in severe pain.”

“What is this place…?”

Ryeen didn’t get to finish the thought as Dru came back over, carrying a key card, not needing to tell the rest to follow him over to one of the decontamination chambers on the first wall Brya had seen when they entered. Opening the lock, they all stepped through and proceeded into the main room behind the airlock. As the door shut, Piggy was the first to spot the trick.

“Ingenious…are they all like this?”

The wall that faced the airlock was actually a double layer of transparasteel, and it was into that gap that the dark, very gross looking gas that appeared to fill their whole room appeared.

Sitting down, perfectly able to breathe, Dru nodded.

“Only this room. The inner layer is also coated to react to the glass, so it tints in contact with the fumes and creates full cover…”

“Wait, before we go any further, is it safe to talk in here?”

Ryenn still seemed a rather disturbed. Brya suspected it had to do with the fact that Dru had known about this place and he hadn’t. Her doubts about this man’s value to the Wraiths resurfaced.

“I assure you, we are safe. We even have a fast back door if all of the other safe guards fail.”

Smiling in a sincerely comfortable and friendly manner, he settled back into his chair.

“So, Ryenn…let us talk.”

~~

“Alright, this was their last coordinate drop and I just got the new….wait.”

Kai paused at the edge of the alley they were about to exit as the tone in Red’s voice shifted. Turning to look back at her companion, she could tell Rrowv had caught the hitch as well, an overly exaggerated tone taken to try and diffuse the sudden sense of tension.

“Reeeeeeeeed, dear. Wait isn’t part of my vocabulary. You know how hyper and go-get-‘em I am!”

“It’s gone…I got a signal, but then the dot split and jumped to three completely different locations before it just cut off. It’s like something scrambled the signal and then terminated the feed before it ran it’s full five second pulse.”

“Wait, Rrowv hears Red saying she doesn’t know where our teammates are.”

“Again with the ‘W’ word…” sighed Kai. Despite the attempt at humor, she was not clueless to the implications of this problem.

“So, Red…” the Twi’lek said as she edged back into the alley and the group hunkered down a moment. “Can you find the signal again?”

The engineer had made a quick check around them before carefully extracting her head from the mask and fabric covering. Kai got her answer the minute that she made eye contact with her friend and teammate.

“I can try…but with no signal…Sacul hasn’t alerted me to any problems at the dock but this is a major red flag.”

“Rrowv is at least glad we are not separated from the team on a jungle planet again, at least…”

Despite the seriousness, Kai couldn’t disagree with the logic.

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"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:49 pm 
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The Shadow Enforcer streaked upwards away from the brown coloured planet of Hoghnor. As it began to clear the upper atmosphere it performed a totally unnecessary barrel roll, a rather odd whooping sound coming from the cockpit.

Colonel Corran Horn gripped the armrests on his chair in the main hold area out of reflex as the old ship performed the manoeuvre. He threw a glace at his fellow Colonel. “Face… why did Mardex roll the ship whilst shouting like a Tauntaun on heat?”

“Why not?” Face Loran smiled in response.

“You gonna explain how you know this guy, and how you’re perfectly happy to let him and Khab’corvh not only fly our ship, but become members of Wraith Squadron after the briefest of interviews?” Corran paused as the ship once more adjusted flight, this time in a looping motion.

“MARDEX!” Face yelled to the cockpit.

“Just getting a feel for the old girl.” Came back the pilots voice, once more in clipped Coruscantii upper class tones.

“The old girl is fine.”

“Aye Aye Lieuten… Colonel.” Mardex’s normal voice returned.

Face sighed and shook his head. “Well, Major Finn did comment on my ability to find amazingly skilled operatives with potentially dubious histories.”

“That’s not an explanation.” Corran pointed out.

“Yeah Face.” Shadow chimed in, enjoying the chance to needle her CO. “Share!”

Face stretched out on the comfiform couch. “I guess I can give you a quick overview…”

***********

Private Garik Loran sat back in his bunk, massaging his aching legs. The run today has been the toughest yet. 15 klicks in just under 40 minutes. Even with his previous training under Shada, Jarax or Dena, he’d felt his legs go rubbery for the last quarter of the run. The small arms’ training afterwards was pretty standard though. However, it had taken him a few shots to remember to loosen up the aim somewhat to score a couple of near misses as opposed to hits. He didn’t want to stand out anywhere. He wanted… needed to be the grey man. Not exceptional, just good. Special Forces were a tough unit, and he wanted the skills and knowledge they could give him, but he didn’t want to show out.

Loran smiled to himself. He had the very best training that money could buy ever since he was fourteen. He knew that. In between gruelling fitness sessions, martial arts training, tactical plans, infiltration techniques, and any one of the thousands of different lessons his diverse portfolio of instructors had given him, he’d still managed to find time to research where he needed to go next.

He’d mastered seven different martial arts, with countless more styles thrown in for good measure. He’d been trained by mysterious masters, Mystral Shadow Guards, Imperial Royal Guardsmen, and finally Dena, the Mandalorian ARC Trooper. As his final trainer lay dying in his arms, Loran had literally no idea where else to go. It was Dena’s last words which had given him direction.

“Loran, adika… Thank you for being my final, and best pupil. You can accomplish more than anyone I have been blessed to work with. Even among my vod, you would stand out. But, you cannot fight the galaxies evil alone…”

“No-one else can do what I can do buir.”

Dena had coughed, smiling. “You’re good adika, you’re VERY good. But even you aren’t that stupid. You’re just a man. A man with incredible skill, wealth and drive, but just a man. As good as the ARC Troopers were, the Commando Units were just as good, but with the addition of their teamwork they were almost unbeatable. Get yourself a team adika. Train them as I have trained you. Then you will be ready.”

Face had opened his mouth to respond, but he knew it was already too late.


So, here he was. He’d joined the New Republic under his actual name for once. It had been long enough that he shouldn’t be recognised, and he simply told anyone smart, or stupid enough to ask, that he wasn’t THE Garik Loran, so they should stop asking stupid questions. Besides, the cruel scar across his face was enough of a disguise.

Still, he couldn’t help but wonder what he was doing here. He’d managed to get straight into SpecForces training, a rarity in military terms. So far, he’d been challenged, but not enough that he was worried he’d failed. He’d purposefully missed a few shots in weapon training, so not to stand out too far. He’s also thrown a few fights in unarmed combat. Now was not the time to shine. He just wondered… when was?

“Hey Loran?”

He looked up, smiling as his bunkmate half collapsed into their shared room. “Hey Gottu.”

His friend slumped into the lower bunk. “Man, I am totally frakked. Seriously, that last run almost killed me!”

“You scored higher than I did in the shooting exercise.” Loran pointed out.

Gottu raised his head, spearing his bunkmate with a piercing stare. “That’s true.” He paused, trying to read Loran’s typically blank expression. He shrugged. “Anyway, the EllTee wants to see you in his office. Said it was pretty important.”

Loran groaned as he pulled himself out of the cot. “Could it not wait until after I slept for a month?”

Gottu’s only response was a grin, as his eyes closed.

***

Loran knocked on the open office door, peering inside the dimly lit room. “Lieutenant Jackson, sir?”

“Come in.”

Loran walked in, his eyes flicking to the Lieutenants empty desk. “Sir?” The door slid quietly shut behind him, plunging the room into almost total darkness. Loran dropped into a combat crouch, immediately stepping slightly away from where he was last standing to throw off any attack. A small light flared behind him.

He spun around, withdrawing half a step to give him more room. He needn’t have bothered. There, sat comfortably in one of the room’s only chairs was a human male in his early forties. He was lighting a cigar, the slight flicker of light briefly illuminating his features.

“Who are you, and where’s Lieutenant Jackson?” Loran demanded, not dropping his combat stance.

“The Lieutenant is wisely absent at this juncture. I want this to be a private chat.”

“And who the frak are you?”

The man leaned over, keying a desk lamp, and a warm pool of light appeared in the otherwise darkened office. “I’m Colonel Rataka Maverick of the Special Ops Division. Have a seat.”

“I know who you are sir.” Loran had recognised the officer as soon as the light had come on. The man was a legend in both Special Ops and SpecForces. His unorthodox tactics and strategies had made him infamous in the military, as had his unflappable demeanour, cool headedness and extreme intelligence. “Why am I here?”

“Who are you Loran?”

“Private Garik Loran, number J850566A, Special Forces Trainee.”

“Really? Is that all?”

“Sir?” Loran’s expression became guarded.

“Are you telling me, that you’re a simple trainee Face?”

Loran stiffened. “Sir, I think you’re mistaken, I merely share the name…”

“Don’t insult me Loran. I know who you are, and I know what you are. The only thing I don’t know is why. And, now you realise your secret is out… what are you going to do?”

Loran sat back in his seat, his mind whirling at lightspeed. Colonel Vhiran “Rataka” Maverick knew who he was. OK, it was to be expected that at some point his identity would be compromised… but why him, and why now? There was only one real answer.

“What do you want from me?”

Rataka smiled. “Wow. That was quick, but nothing less than I expect from a man of your reputation Face.”

“Face no longer has any meaning for me.” Loran responded.

Rataka smiled. “Face my boy… if you want to come and work with me, there are some things you need to know. One, is that every piece of our past is important. Two, if you’ve got it. Use it. Your face is a big asset for you, famous or otherwise.”

“My scar…”

“I know how you got it. And you’ve no reason to keep it.”

“Sir…”

“That’s immaterial.” Rataka cut the younger man off. “I need a new partner. Someone who can keep up with me and all the crazy sith that command keeps asking me to do. I’ve had my eye on you since you joined the military. I know that you can do better. The question is… do you want in?”

“In what sir?”

“Firstly, scrap the sir bit. Call me Rataka. Secondly, as you know I’m usually sent on missions that require a certain touch. I usually just grab who/what I can to help out, but I figure that if I had one or two people permanently assigned to me… well, it would make the missions go a bit smoother.

“And you want me?”

“Face, with your looks and your acting skills, you can make people answer “yes” before they even know the question. You’re Lorridian, and you’re a trained actor, so I’m guessing you’re pretty good at reading body language. You’ve just proven yourself to be a quick thinker, and if my observations are correct, you’re a lot better at the weapons and unarmed stuff than your scores are letting on.”

Loran allowed himself to smile slightly. “Perhaps.”

“Good. You want in?”

“What do I need to do?”

“You have a final exam tomorrow. I want you to take out your unarmed combat instructor and three best students simultaneously. Then I want you to score the highest of any student in the weapons exam. Pistol or rifle, I’m not bothered.”

Loran spluttered. “What?”

Rataka smiled. “What, you thought because you’re famous you’d get a free ride. You want to work with me kid, you’ve got to prove your worth. You do it; I’ll see you in the evening. You fail; I highly doubt you’ll ever see me again. Also, you’ll probably blow whatever cover you have.” He stood up. “Your choice.”

“And if I decide to simply pass?”

“Then you’ll never know.”

The light flickered out. “I guess we’ll see.”

***

Garik Loran stood at the edge of the training mat, wearing nothing but a simple pair of trousers. He looked over at the centre of the area, where two students were just finishing their bout. His heart fluttered as he realised he was up next.

The trainer looked over to him. “Ready Loran?”

“Sir.”

“I’ve got a mark here, says that you’re willing to try something extra. That the case?”

This was it. The moment of choice. Loran… Face smiled. There was no choice. “Yes sir.”

The trainer’s eyes went wide. “Really?” He pressed a button on his datapad, smiling as the new protocol flashed in front of him. “This for real?”

“Apparently so sir.”

“Loran… who are you?”

“I guess we’re about to find out.”

***

The four combatants stood in a loose circle around Face, each of them swaying slightly, or moving their arms in intricate patterns in an attempt to distract him. Face stayed perfectly still, waiting.

“Ready Loran?” The trainer asked, flicking his eyes to the crowd which had gathered to see the unusual spectacle.

“Ready.”

“Go.”

Although the command was gentle, there was nothing gentle about what happened next. Face launched himself at the largest student, taking himself out of the immediate reach of the other attackers closing in. He parried the large mans punch, sliding outside his guard. Grabbing his shoulder, he used the leverage to pitch him forward into two of the oncoming assailants. At the last second, he twisted his hold, dislocating the students shoulder with a sickening pop.

Without pausing for breath Face rounded on the one attacker currently able to do anything. Ducking under the hook punch, Face delivered two quick jabs to the ribs, feeling them crack under the onslaught. He quickly hooked his leg in front of the attacker, shifted his hips, and tossed him over his shoulder. Just before he hit the ground, Face yanked upwards, altering the momentum so he was merely knocked unconscious, rather than snapping his neck.

Continuing his twisting momentum Face launched into a spinning roundhouse kick, catching the final student squarely on the temple, pitching him to the ground, also unconscious.

Two down, one and a half to go. The trainer spun around, pushing the largest student away from him. He launched himself at Face, eyes flaring, all finesse vanished, trying simply to tackle the Lorridian to the floor. Face shifted his body minutely, catching the trainer with a spinning slap to the back of the head, sending him sprawling to the floor.

The first, largest student, a hulking human called Nemir, who had never bothered hiding his dislike for Face sneered at him. “Whatcha think you’re doing pretty boy? Where did these fancy footwork skills come from.” He snarled, his right arm hanging uselessly by his side.

Face didn’t answer. He stamp feinted right, before dipping down and jumping towards Nemir’s right hand side. Nemir tried to raise his arm before realising too late that it was useless. Face slammed an elbow into his temple, dropping him to the floor.

“Who are you?” The trainer asked, coming to his feet warily.

“Face Loran.”

“I thought you said you weren’t him?”

“I lied.”

“But you’re just an actor!”

“Am I?”

The trainer, cautiously this time, approached Face, his guard up. Within seconds, the two of them engaged, fists flying in a dazzling display of thrust, counter thrust, strike and parry. It ended just as quickly, with Face’s arm snaked around the trainers windpipe. The trainer clapped his hands together to signal his submission, and he was let go to sink to the floor.

Face stood there, surrounded by the unconscious bodies of the three top students in his class, as well as the instructor. He glanced up at the ring of his fellow trainees, seeing amazement and suspicion on all of their faces. He turned around, and saw Gottu staring at him, a bewildered expression slowly spreading into a grin. “Nice Loran, nice!”

***

The shooting went just as smoothly. Scoring 497 out of a possibly 500 on pistols, and a 463 on rifles, Face was first and third in his class. He ducked out of the back slapping and congratulations of his fellow classmates, feeling embarrassed by the attention. He only hoped that Rataka would make good on his promise.

***

The world of Corualg 7 disappeared quickly behind the transport as Face Loran stared out of the viewport. The previous six months had been hard training, and whilst he’d already been trained in the majority of skills, there had been enough new and interesting scenarios to challenge the young man. Still, he had passed the final exam with flying colour. However, rather than a further four weeks of specialisation training, he’d somehow been whisked off into the murky world of undercover operations, to be tutored in military tactics and strategy by the infamous Colonel “Rataka” Maverick himself!

Barely a month had passed before the newly minted Lieutenant and Rataka had managed to get in, and out of some trouble on a backwater Imperial world. Somehow, they’d managed to recruit two new members from the Special Forces. Sgt Will “Locker” Bevan was a mechanical genius, as well as an expert in all forms of heavy weaponry. He had been found by Rataka on the way to rescuing Face. Locker had previously been kicked out of the military for insubordination. After he assisted in rescuing Face and blowing up a small munitions depot, Rataka had reinstated him on the spot. However, they’d been stranded a backwater planet, desperately needing a ship and pilot to escape. Rataka had, in a moment of genius inspiration, found Captain M.V Mardex. in a mental health institution.

Mardex (no-one ever knew what the M.V stood for), was an ex-pilot from the Special Forces, having been refused entry into starfighter command owing to ‘mental health issues’. He’d then been thrown into a ‘clinic’ and forgotten about. After pulling rank with the supervisor, Rataka managed to get Mardex discharged and into his care.

Mardex had immediately proven his worth (after accidentally setting Face’s arm on fire) by not only commandeering and flying an Imperial shuttle, but managing to hover on repulsorlifts, and snipe from the entrance hatch, taking out three chasing stormtroopers in as many seconds.

Red Blade, as the unit was known, became legend. Until, one fateful mission against Warlord Cong'Dahd changed everything.

**********

“Well?” Shadow asked, “What happened?”

Face smiled. “That’s another story.” He turned to his fellow Colonel. “Corran, Mardex is, with the possibly exception of Wedge, the most talented non-Jedi pilot I have ever met. And not just starfighters, if it has repulsorlifts or even simply fixed or rotary wings, Mardex can fly it. No matter what make, model or age. The man’s a genius.”

An odd sound from the cockpit grew louder, as Mardex walked out into the main area, whistling tunelessly. Without skipping a beat, Face rose from his seat, and turned the man around. Without acknowledgment, Mardex walked back into the cockpit.

“OK, I’ll admit, he’s a little odd…”

“Little? Face, I know that we claim the Wraiths are insane, but that man literally IS.”

“He’s not Corran. Not really.” Face shrugged. “I trust him with my life.”

“And Khab’corvh?”

“The Noghri are honourable. Besides, Mardex vouches for him.”

Corran’s mouth twisted in an approximation of a smile. “That makes me feel so much better about trusting them with all the secrets of the New Rebellion.”

Face shrugged once more. “OK. How about we don’t tell them about the Valour just yet. We hype straight to Mandalore. Signal the Valour to follow us, and then you have until the end of the Mandalore mission to make up your mind.”

Corran sighed. “If you trust them, I trust you.”

Face grinned. “Good enough for me.” He spun to look at Shadow. “Comm the Valour, tell them we’ll meet them at Mandalore. Once we get the return confimration, we’ll hype out.”

“Will do Colonel.” She glanced at the closed cockpit door, with the two new Wraiths on the other side. “Something tells me this is going to get even more interesting.”


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:21 pm
Posts: 1412
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posted hastily, my apologies for any typos or grammar issues! Will come back and check it later. By me, apologies if I messed anyone's ideas up!

~~~~

Sitting in the alley, there was a brief moment between the three cut-off wraiths as they absorbed the information that they had no practical way to locate their counterparts. These were the moments when a normal group would despair, would panic, would begin to fight over every option.

Not the Wraiths.

In tandem, they all mentally formulated and silently agreed on the same plan. Red replaced her Tusken mask, Kai drew her clear raincoat closed (for all the good it did) and Rrowv cleared the alleyway as the group rose and moved back to one of the lesser streets. Their teammates had left no easy trail, even while fleeing at full speed. Rrowv's sense of smell was overwhelmed by the menagerie of individuals, garbage, and other distractions that wafted from every door and the street was so muddled that even if they were able to find the trail of a group that was exceptionally good at covering its tracks, it would be painfully slow to follow. The conservative plan to fall back to the most secure place they could was the only one anyone in the group considered.

“Hopefully they won't be too long in getting back to the Sacul once they realize we've been separated.”

“If they realize we've been cut off.” Red thought.

Thankfully, they made it back to the Sacul without incident or any signs of the men who had been chasing them from the Burning Deck . Rrowv and Kai served as alternating scouts, breaking from the group and moving ahead to clear each area of the docking station and ensure that no one saw them returning, with Red clearing behind them. Once they had reached the Sacul, another sweep was made before Red entered the appropriate codes and they were once again 'Home.'

“What did you bring me?!”

Sacul nearly bowled Red over as she cleared the gangway, hugging the engineer, lifting her feet off the ground and adding a small spin before Red managed to regain the breath that had been knocked out of her lungs by the bear hug.

“Wait, where is the group? I thought everyone was coming back here before heading to the Hutt worship?”

“Rrowv regrets to inform Sacul that we have been separated as part of locating the informant. Scrambled signal prevented us from locating our teammates.”

Sacul's eyes widened and although everyone knew that she could access any system on the ship remotely (she had taken to humanoid habits rather quickly) she still ran ahead of the group as they entered the lowest bay, currently filled with Red's new V-Wing airspeeder and the boxes of parts. Reaching the first console she pulled up screens that she must have already accessed in her droid, scrolling over massive numbers of maps at a speed that made the trio behind her hard pressed to even figure out what she was looking at.

“I can confirm from attempting to access the beacon's passive program that it is either completely shut down, destroyed, or blocked.”

Red moved in next to her ship, taking the console over as she removed her mask, manually extracting the small computer that had been running all of the tricks and beacon system from the faceplate and linking it into the Sacul. In only a moment she had pulled up the last maps and beacon coordinates they had received.

“This was where we had the last contact. If we download all of the points that I received while we were tracking, we should be able to estimate their rate of speed and create an estimated range around the last point based off this speed. This will give us a zone that delineates the maximum distance they could have moved to from this last point. Unfortunately, if we try to extrapolate past one more contact point, the radius of the search area would be come exponentially large and unreasonable to search."

“We will head up to the bridge and keep tabs on the immediate area, see if they show up or if the beacon reactivates.”

Red nodded to Kai and Rrowv as the pair moved off, but she was obviously drawn into working with the Sacul who seemed to be phased out for a moment and processing the small program Red had just outlined.

“Come on, where did you go to ground...”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Anyways, the thugs didn't take too kindly to me ratting out that they were skimming off the accounts of the corrupt government official’s side trade in black market bobble-head dolls. Unfortunately, one of them survived the hit put out by said officials. Hence our tense conversation. But, I suspect they won't be of any trouble from now on. They only ever take one stab at vengance, especially now that they have taken such a heavy loss in upper members.”

Jadax Ryenn leaned back, sighing as he completed his strange tale of black market bobble-head dolls and stuffed Hutt plush toys. Brya seemed stunned at the end of the tale, finally breaking the silence that developed with a sputter.

“Black market...bobble heads?”

“Hey, those things are in high demand off world. Wildly popular.”

Brya's disbelief was cut off by Dru, who leaned forward on the table. He knew enough to know that this was not as bad as Brya thought. Getting in trouble with a low level scam was hardly a red flag. Face wouldn't have known this guy if all he dealt in were small goods. Plus, he had inside information.

“Not that they knew the dolls tended to carry any number of high need medical supplies, preventing them from detected by biological scans and delivering them to embargoed worlds that desperately need them. That's just a bonus.”

Jadax grinned a bit, winking to Brya as he disbelief turned into a sheepish nod.

“Wildly popular. So, now that I have told you about my woeful story what can I do for you? I've only heard about you, Dru and I assume Face briefed you on our colorful past.”

“As you know, the war is going...interestingly. I wanted to make contact with you for the very purpose of introductions and to develop our relationship. You have skills and information that are uniquely suited to our needs and while I know you're hardly a military man, I was hoping you might be willing to assist us. I know you have no love of the Imperial groups.”

Jadax raised an eyebrow and chuckled, settling back into his seat to muse a moment.

“It's very trusting of you to be so open and forward with me, but then again I am sure Face shared enough about me with you that you understand I would hardly sell you out. Plus, I kind of owe you now. Anyone who can track down this place and know which room had complete data black out shielding has already proven their skill and caution.”

As Jadax mentioned the room's black out, Piggy seemed to start a bit, eyes widening with a grunt.

“Wait, this is a full Data Black out room? Not a just a Comm Blackout room?”

“Yeah...why?”

Piggy gave Dru a look that had the intel officer suddenly curse.

“The beacon. It works because it isn't on standard frequencies, but if this is a dead spot to all transmission....”

“Then the rest of the squadron has no way to locate us.”

There was a mental moment where everyone chastised themselves for forgetting such a minute detail before Dru rose from his seat.

“Thankfully, they know to return to the Sacul in the case of an anomaly in the plan. We should be clear of our trackers, so lets head back and meet up with them.”

Moving to the wall opposite of the gas filled front transparisteel front they had entered, Dru tapped and once again a previously unseen opening presented itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Kai, I've got our search area from the program that estimated their possible next location. Can you look it over and let me know about all the unknown locations that I am sure you have frequented at some point in your illustrious career?”

“What? I have no idea what you mean...ooh, the Rabid Wampa is in the area, we should go dancing!”

Red rolled her eyes as Kai obviously had just said 'yes' in the most obtuse way possible. Her amused retort to the flighty Twi'lek was interrupted as the Sacul turned to her, suddenly grinning and giving her a stout slap to the back.

“The beacon just sent a new point! They must have come back out.”

Red quickly pulled up the new screen, syncing it up to the consoles that Kai and Rrowv were sitting at. The excitement was short lived however, as she lined up the new location with the larger map of Nar Shadda. Rrowv was the first one to hit the comm system and point out what was troubling her.

“Even with several jumps, this point is too far off the original point to make sense with our projections of where the rest of the team should be located. Rrowv is suspicious. Our team is either in trouble or Rrowv must quote Admiral Ackbar and point out it could be a trap.”

“Agreed, but how would someone know about this system unless they had access to some aspect of our team or this mission? Even if it is a trap, can we ignore this?”

Kai's point brought a heavy sigh from the Sacul and Red together, both pausing a moment before the Sacul put forth a detail that made up everyone's mind.

“The point just called in again from the same location. Certainly a capture or trap situation.”

“Kai, you're going to have to get on more clothing this time.”

“But...but...I do my best rescues in the strappy clothing thing!”

~~~~~~~

The three wraiths had met up in their quarters, shouting between the small rooms as the sound of trunks being dug through and weapons being inspected created an ambient sound track.

“So, we need recon, irregardless if it is a trap, captive situation, or both." Sacul pinpointed the beacon to an abandoned warehouse that was three levels down from the district they were currently on. "We go in and fan to assess any forces that are placed at the factory and then gather to assess at that point.”

Red was busy clipping her utility belt, which in held several small hold out blasters besides her standard array of tools. Pulling her hair back, it was coiled up and high into a bun as she simultaneously slipped on her boots and processed the outline Kai was presenting.

“Rrowv agrees. Stick together as best we can on the way to the facility and then touch base before we fan out.”

“Rrowv, no grenades.”

“But...”

Kai gave a surprisingly mature huff as she continued on her way past Rrowvs quarters.

“No grenades!”

“Awww...”

Kai had slipped into a sleek blue suit that was as fitted as her strappy outfit had been, barely an improvement considering that it showed as many details as the skimpy outfit had . Rrowv had hardly changed, seeing as there was little he could do to change his appearance. He had donned a hooded jacket that he was wearing open, allowing for his own personal arsenal to be hidden in plain sight. Kai had a satchel over her shoulder to conceal her own goods, since he clothing hardly allowed for that. At the moment, the group looked like any collection of workers travelling around the city from the lower levels.

Sweeping the pair out into the hall and looping an arm around each of her comrades' waists, Kai marched the group down the hallway and threw a wink to the Sacul, who was waiting to close up after them when they returned to the streets.

“Alright folks, time for some daring-do!”

~~~~~~~~~

It took the trio an hour to reach, scout and regroup at the abandoned warehouse. There were no signs of scouts, armed individuals or life beyond the standard 'wildlife' that fed off the garbage collected in the alleys and even streets on this level. The beacon had been regularly checking in and confirming that Piggy's signal was still in the building.

“They may have come here to meet, seems like a pretty good spot.”

Red's murmur was not very confident, especially since the whole situation seemed off. If Dru and the others were here, they would have expected to find some defense, some scout system to alert them to intruders. But they all had agreed they had to solve this beacon issue, one way or another. Rrowv had been on edge, but he readily admitted the chemicals filling the air had been making it difficult for him to pick out scents and had also made his skin feel hyper sensitive the way he felt on Coruscant, so it wasn't necessarily a sign of anything besides pollution. Kai was playing her opinion close to the vest, but Red sensed this also made her nervous.

Admittedly, it was this very sensitivity to the lack of signs and a willingness to be paranoid and alert when most wouldn't that had saved them before, so long as it didn't paralyze action.

“We'll find out. Lets go in and see where the beacon is.”

The group deftly slipped through a respectably sized ground level vent that they had been able to match to an air system that fed directly to a wall in the back office room, where the beacon seemed to be sending from. As the smallest, Red led the group and was the first to clear the vent into the empty office space, pressing herself against the wall and letting eyes adjust to the dim space. As the others joined, Rrowv gave a signal with a clawed hand that showed the way to a desk in the middle of the space was clear to his low light vision. Slipping quietly into the room and staying low to the ground Red saw a small data pad sitting on a desk that correlated to the location of the beacon signal that she had been receiving.

~~~~~~~

Watching his partner's back, Rrowv felt his fur begin to bristle. He hated feeling muddled in these heavily polluted areas, but as Red reached the desk he felt a strange clarity and eyes dialated with the distinct recognition of a smell he had been privy to before. Standing quickly, the words barely left his mouth as the butt of a gun slamming into his face and a shimmering figure appeared and simultaneously assaulted his senses. He tried to roar out the warning but only managed a weak comment.

“Trandoshans....cloaked...”

~~~~~~

As Dru and the others passed the final security entry and made it up the gangway of the Sacul, her droid met them with an apprehensive expression.

“Dru...”

“Nice to see you too, Sacul. Where at the others.”

“Sir...they went to locate you when the beacon signal resumed in the warehouse level. They left here over an hour ago.”

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:00 am 
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A quick little plot to continue moving this along - now that the family visit is over I'd love to group plot with folks!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is that smell...

I feel like my arms have been dislocated and reset more than once recently...

Why is it so, damp? So hot....

Why does my skin feel like its coated in this humidity...


"Red? Red, you need to try and open your eyes for me, dear."

Who is she? Kai'ukes...that is Kai's voice.

Chains, now I hear chains.


"Red, please open your eyes. I don't want you to be shocked when you do. You've been unconscious the longest, they hit you pretty hard on the back of the head. I...I got them to let me dress you when they took our clothes. Please, just open your eyes dear."

She sounds so worried.

My eyelids feel like they weigh a ton.

If I could just open them...


As Red strained to open her eyes the world and her mind seemed to swirl into focus at the same time. The room they were in was barely lit, mostly by some sort of photo-luminescent fungus that was growing on the damp, humid walls. Red couldn't see Kai and in attempting to turn she discovered why her arms hurt as they stopped against the chains that held them suspended over her head.

She also discovered why she felt disgustingly moist, since she was currently dressed in a skin tight outfit akin to the one Kai had worn on their first excursion onto Nar Shadda, with even less material. As she managed to crane her head towards the sound of Kai's voice, she noted that the Twi'lek was was dressed similarly, mainly because someone had torn the skin tight outfight she was wearing to shreds, leaving only the minimal amount covering her.

"Hey...good morning sleepy head..."

Kai's tone had been quiet the whole time she'd been coaxing Red into consciousness and continued to be rather subdued as the women made eye contact. She had a sincerely concerned look on her face as she seemed to take stock of Red's state and as Red finally processed the earlier comments she managed a weak smile that seemed to alleviate some of her companion's concern.

"Thank you...for not letting them man handle me...."

"No worries, Red. I made a show of designing my own outfit and they seemed to find it amusing enough that it bought me the chance to buy you some modesty. What with the you being slammed into Black-out and all."

"Kai, you didn't have to..."

"Don't worry, Reddikins, they didn't touch me, either. I wasn't knocked out so I was able to use some of my legendary charm to avert the post kidnapping behaviors."

"Where is Rrwov?'

On cue, a grated door to the side of the cell they shared screamed open and a quartet of Trandoshans half carried the obviously beaten form of their companion to a corner where they fastened his existing set of shackles and chains to more than four points on the floor. Rrowv seemed out, but as they started to pull the final chains tight he lurched out, a snarl and snap forcing them to retreat. One of the Trandoshans started to level a blaster at the restrained Wraith but was stopped by the largest of the group. Red mentally marked him as the leader of the group, trying to remain still as they snarled at each other in Dosh for a moment.

One of the four noticed that she had stirred at some point in their internal conversation - or arguement, it seemed the leader was reminding the blaster wielding one of some directive - and obviously noted this to the snarling leader. The conversation died as the Trandoshans seemed to remember the two females chained on the wall.

Watching as he sauntered over, Red managed to restrain a wince when the leader loomed over her, reaching down to take her chin in a clawed hand and pull her painfully onto her toes. When he finished inspecting her he spoke not in Dosh, but Huttesse.

Red glowered up at the mercenary, resisting the urge to spit in his face as he spoke.

"Bona nai kachu, Chik youngee. Loora na do tikti Pateessa."
You're in trouble now, Dancing Girl. Loora is fed up with your friend.

The group snickered as the leader released Red to jerk against the chains holding her arms behind her head, a looked passed between the three Wraiths as the door shut behind the departing mercenaries.

Rrowv was the first to break the silence.

"Rrowv thinks that Loora is not happy that he did not receive an expected tribute."

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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 3:08 pm 
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From the minds of Gav and Red, with creative input from Dru!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So if you were never in any danger it was a trap as the team suspected.”

“Yes, Sacul. It would seem that was the case.”

Piggy gave a grunt that would have translated to a sigh if his vocal translator had that level of sophistication. Leaning back in the conference room chair he occupied a glance was cast over to Dru.

“The real question is whether we go after them and risk encountering the same trap. Sacul, is the beacon they went after still active?”

Sacul’s embodiment tilted her head a moment in the habit that developed when she refreshed a contact or accessed a subsystem on the larger ship. Looking back to Dru she shook her head.

“Negative. It deactivated several minutes before your return to the vessel. Since we agreed to maintain a communication limit and the team had not been absent long enough to trigger any fall back plans, I had not become concerned about it.”

Ryenn leaned forward, raising a hand in a manner that drew a smirk from Brya.

“If you have a question or comment, go ahead and ask.”

“Um, okay...sorry, just not used to this. Who would have taken your teammates?”

“Who wouldn’t?” Sacul was the one to smirk this time but the serious expression sent over by Dru seemed to wipe it off her face.

“There are several candidates, but...”

“Sir.” Sacul sat up suddenly, her head turning towards a bulkhead as if she was looking right through it and out to the docking bay they sat in. “Sensors are reporting that an individual has entered our bay area and is approaching the vessel.”

Dru quickly rose from his chair. “Scan them. Whoever they are, they didn’t just wander in randomly.”

Sacul’s eyes remained fixed as she continued to stare. “It’s a droid. 3P0 Unit... looks like it’s been pieced back together a few times. He’s carrying a satchel... nothing threatening.” She blinked and faced the Wraiths. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Pieced back together? Give me more details, Sacul.”

“Well, it appears its left arm was replaced with one from an EV unit...”

The words had barely left the Sacul’s mouth before Dru turned and marched out of the room, straight down the corridor that led lower towards the gangplank.

Everyone else in the room quickly stood, following after their leader as he outpaced the group.

“Dru, what is going on?”

Piggy managed to catch up but the lack of response was indicative to the group that the droid was carrying something of import.

“What’s the meaning of this, VP0?” Dru demanded as he reached the dilapidated droid that stoop waiting near the bottom of the ramp.

The droid’s eyes dimmed slightly as its neck joints sparked. “My master, may he live long and prosper, is most disappointed that you have not yet sought an audience with him since landing,” he said, the programmed masculine voice tainted with a slight buzz of an ungrounded circuit.

“I was getting to it. We’re very busy people lately.”

By now, the rest of the group of Wraiths-plus-one had reached Dru and were looking on with curiosity and loaded blasters.

“Regardless of your rudeness, the great Loora has sent me to deliver a message.”

“And what is this message?” Dru asked.

With labored servos, VP0 lifted the strap from his shoulder and held the satchel out to him. Arching an eyebrow, Dru snatched the bag from the droid and peered inside. Taking a deep breath, he reached in and pulled out several large scraps of colorful cloth.

Brya’s blaster slowly fell from its target. “Isn’t that...”

“Kai’s clothing...” Dru finished with gritted teeth.

“Good lord she’s naked somewhere...” Sacul sighed.

Brya’s expression shifted from slight horror to confused disbelief as she turned and stared at the replica droid.

“Message recieved.” And with that, Dru turned and started back up the ramp. “Sacul, please incapacitate VP0.”

VP0’s arms twitched. “What!?”

Without hesitation, the Sacul’s hand was raised and she stepped forward, placing her palm on the droid. A blue network of sparks spread over the droid and after a jerking spasm he seemed to power down.

“I see you’ve had some aftermarket alterations done, Sacul.” Piggy came forward, tapping the droid to ensure it was powered down and relieving it of the satchel and scraps of Kai’s clothes.

“Simple stun setting, a girl has to protect herself. Sir, what do you want me to do with VP0?”

“Bring him with us.” Dru answered as he reached the top.

Gathering up VP0, Sacul started back up the ramp, the rest of the group following.

“‘She’s naked somewhere’?” Brya scoffed. “That was your first thought?”

“You’d be amazed.” Sacul smiled to herself as she not-so-gently dropped the lifeless droid on the deck, “Again, welcome to Wraith Squadron, Lieutenant.”

Dru led the team down towards the engine room but stopped shy of the final level and opened a wal panel to reveal a cache of weapons, likely belonging to Kai.

Ryenn’s eyes widened as Dru began to distribute weapons to the group, following the first weapon as it was placed into Brya’s hands.

“Is that a DXR-6 disruptor rifle?”

Brya ‘s grin confirmed his suspicion. Ryenn turned his attention back to Dru.

“So what is the plan, anyway?”

“What else? We’re taking VPO back to his master.”

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"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 3:18 pm 
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So, this is a Red original to move the plot along (with prior notes from Dru on the Nar Shadda line)

Plot to date for the Nar Shadda line!

-Red, Kai and Rrowv are currently being held as hostages by Loora the Hutt, in anger at Dru for a failed tribute. Rrowv is chained and beaten, Kai and Red are dressed as dancing girls and also chained in the cell.

- Dru, Brya, Piggy, Sacul, and the informant Ryenn were just delivered scraps of Kai's clothes and after stunning Loora's delivery droid appear to be mounting a rescue of their teammates. Illegal weapons may or may not be involved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Surely you don’t want your master to be displeased...”

The battered protocol droid appeared to squint at Red and Kai as they stood before his desk, processing their argument. Red had been lobbying the droid in Huttese for several minutes with periodic interjections from Kai. This last attempt seemed to be getting through and the Twi’lek jumped in on the pause.

“It’s not like they have to be viroblades...we just need swords to do this dance. Or chains, we know a chain dance. Make them out of plastex for all we care. Of course, that would make the dance unbalanced and a bad dance would be even MORE displeasing to your master.”

Red’s fingers flexed and crossed as she tried to will the droid to give into their request, although even that small movement was difficult with her hands bound so tightly behind her back. At this point, she would take a womp rat on a fabric leash if that was all they could get.

“I suppose we could provide you with blades made from plasteel to simulate appropriate weight or a chain as part of your restraints. But know that if you make one threatening move you will be killed. “

Red suppressed a grin and nodded as the droid waved the Trandoshans escorting them through the lower levels of Loora’s complex back over to the table. She and Kai were pulled away, the droid shouting after them as they were ushered back towards the cell they shared with Rrowv.

“Bring them up to the audience chamber at 1400 hours.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Loora was hardly the Hutt that Jabba was, but he had worked to make the empty warehouse complex that served as his Nar Shadda head quarters into an opulent den suiting a crime lord.

The result was gaudy at best.

Occupying one of the largest buildings along the strip of casinos, the complex extended down several layers in the city. Loora had personally taken over several of the middle layers and while it appeared poorly run and run down, security was hardly at a minimum. Hidden doors and passageways riddled the various layers, allowing for covert movement. The neon lights that permeated the facility screened infrared sensors, security cameras and alcoves for armed personnel.

The room that Loora used as his primary audience chamber took up almost an entire level and looked as if a pillow factory and an industrial night club had collided. The edges were ringed with low set tables surrounded by piles of pillows, which were in turn covered by sycophants and supporters of the Hutt, strewn even more haphazardly on the plush landscape than the drapery that covered the walls in an attempt to hide the rough walls. Statues stood guard at various points, although an occasional shift in the smokey haze revealed some to be actual guards.

On the Northern side of the room was Loora’s platform, where the Hutt was surrounded by his select followers and favorite items. The center of the room was the only open space in the clutter. Fighters pitted against one another, dancing girls, business groups and whatever else was playing out to the fancy of the Hutt lord at that particular moment could be brought in with simply a flick of Loora’s tail.

This evening, there were an increased number of guards, most of them composed of the mercenary Trandoshans that had been hired out by Loora in recent days. A small band was busy setting up to the left of the dais housing a currently sleeping Loora and the rest of the room was quiet to accommodate the sleeping slug.

That quiet was broken as one of the doors on the opposite end of the room from Loora opened to the sounds of shouting. As heads turned towards the doors, the commotion spilled into the room in the form of a small, red headed woman and a Twi’lek with the look and scanty outfits of dancing girls.

Their behavior was hardly congruent with the image.

The Twi’lek was the first to enter the room, being carried by two Trandoshans, with her feet lifted off the ground and restrained from swinging or thrashing by a disgruntled looking Gamorrean who was sporting a few black eyes.

Behind them, the smaller human woman had been gagged and slung over the shoulder of one of the Trandoshans, although this did little to curb the obvious slew of loud curses and insults that she was spewing at her carrier.

The scene increased the murmurs around the room and as it approached the middle of the floor Loora started with a sickening gurgle of his slug like body shifting, followed by a disgruntled roar as his eyes slid open and scanned the room for the source of noise that had disturbed him. A pair of Rodian women who were sitting on his dais barely managed to avoid being hit by his tail as he swung around and roared at a human and 3PO droid that were off his side.

“Ki buda!?! Soong Hunka be! Bona nai kachu.”
“What is this!?! It is Naptime! You're in trouble now.”

The Hutt had reached out and started to drag the unfortunate man towards him, but a panicked explanation that was only loud enough to be heard by Loora had him drop the man and give a delighted roar as he spun back to look at the women.

During the brief exchange on the dais, the Trandoshans had brought Red and Kai to the center of the room, opening small plates in the floor and extracting hand restraints connected to a chain that fed down onto some sort of reel under the opening. Red was dumped hard off the shoulder she was slung over to the floor, with several more Trandoshans coming forward to pin her down before she had a chance to try and move. Kai was set down directly in a kneeling position and equally restrained by what appeared to be an inordinate number of guards.

The fact that it took over 6 guards per woman, even though the curses had stopped and they were making no move to attack their captors greatly amused Loora, who heaved with slow laughter as Red and Kai were transferred from their individual hand restraints to those that connected to the chain in the floor. After securing the women, the chain was tightened so that neither could get up off their knees and the guards around them scattered away quickly, leaving them alone in the center of the room, facing Loora.

The room had been buzzing to this point, until Loora raised his hand, summoning over the 3PO droid. Everyone dropped quiet as the Hutt began to speak, with the droid translating to common.

“The magnificent master, Loora, wishes to welcome his newest, most deadly dancers to his palace. He hopes that you have found your accommodations appropriate for women of your status.”

Kai had plastered a bored look on her face as the speech began, while Red rolled her eyes and attempted to mutter something in response through the fabric gag that had been left in her mouth by the Trandoshans. The human next to Loora snapped his fingers at a Gamorrean guard near the dais sending him out to remove the gag.

The Gamorrean had not yet dealt with the women and with a shrug wandered out to the floor to fulfil the order. He circled behind Red and reached around her shoulders to remove the gag, leaning down against her back to do so. At the moment he committed his weight against her, Red went the only way the chain allowed her, leaning down to get some slack and then slamming back up as she managed to pull one knee out of the kneel and in front of her. The Gammorean slipped forward and with a shrug and second hunch Red threw him over her shoulder, rolling him into an embarrassed heap in front of Loora. Several guards carrying stun batons began to approach the middle of the floor, but Red had already returned herself to a kneel and a raised hand from Loora’s human aide stopped them. It was Kai who shot a blithe smile towards Loora, commenting loud enough for the entire room to hear.

“He did say we were his deadliest dancers, surely he would expect nothing less from women of such a reputation as that.”

Loora stared at Kai a moment before another roaring laugh erupted and he turned to his human aide.

“Koose Zulra.”
“Fetch Zulra.”

Red and Kai cast an inquiring look to one another that was immediately masked when they both saw Zulra, a medium sized hutt who was liekly the equivalent of a teenager slime his way around from behind Loora to a spot on the dias reserved for...it. As soon as Zulra had settled, the the 3PO droid stepped forward to address the room again, translating for Loora.

“Our magnificent master, Loora, has arranged this special show for the benefit of his nephew Zulra, visiting from Nal Hutta. The dancers had requested use of plastex weapons in order to perform a sword dance, and while they convinced a droid this would be for the benefit of the great Loora, our master is no fool.”

As if to accentuate this point, the 3PO droid picked up a box and moved to the edge of the dais, dumping the now dismembered parts of the protocol droid Red and Kai had spoken to earlier onto the floor in front of the him.

“He is, however, benevolent and will honor the girls’ request for a chain.”

The droid indicated the chain feeding out from the floor that each woman was connected to, eliciting snickers and laughter from the spectators around the room.

During the speech, Red’s only movement past tossing the Gammorean was to turn her head and review the laughter of the room. It was during this sweep that a subtle movement from Kai caught her attention. Making sure not to look at her teammate directly, she realized Kai was subtly flexing her wrists, putting a small amount of tension on the chain, then loosening it. As she looked back to Loora, the mechanical side of her mind kicked into gear as the droid began to speak again, doing little besides playing up Loora’s magnificence for the crowd.

The chain was connected to some sort of ratcheting, pulley system. Turning her attention to the subtle sound of the chain tightening and loosening when Kai flexed her wrist, Red was confident it was not a high end system, using a simple catch system to ratchet the links as they were reeled in and requiring the catch to be manually released for the chain to be let out. The trick was, if the chain was not wound tightly and enough force was applied, extra links could be drawn out when the release was engaged to allow slack on the line.

Red almost let herself smirk as she realized that was exactly what Kai was trying to indicate to her.

The sound of Loora speaking again drew her attention back to the dais as the droid stopped his monologuing and began to translate for the Hutt once more.

“In his benevolence, Loora will reward the dancers by granting them a length of chain when their performance pleases him.”

On that cue, the chain went slack, allowing Red and Kai to stand up, separate their wrists slightly and move about a foot from the opening on the floor before it locked in place. As she rose, Kai executed a short, subtle pull on the chain, loosening a few extra links that quickly disappeared against the cuffs as she gathered the excess around her wrist in what looked like a stretch. Red mentally grinned, her suspicion about how to earn more chain now confirmed.

All of this was supposed to embarrass them. Humiliate them. Dressing them as dancers, stripping away protective clothing and making them the objects of a show where they had to “earn” the ability to even move normally were all part of the game. Kai and Red both understood the tactics in play.

When Loora finally waved at the band off to the side of his dais, Kai cast a worried glance to Red. She had done her best to protect her friend...the young engineer was still innocent in some way the worldly Twi’lek couldn’t fathom. Red wasn’t much younger than Kai was, but it was so obvious Red was a younger child that it was natural to treat her that way. Now, however, Kai couldn’t continue to be her shield. They were exposed and until they earned and stole some more chain length, they were on their own for all intensive purposes.

Then Red did something unexpected. She winked at Kai, and with a throw of her hips she was dancing. Not the awkward, ‘imitate a middle aged woman shopping’ arm flailing the Twi’lek expected from most humans. This was dancing the way that someone with a teacher in the art of performance danced. Or..a drunk Twi’lek on a bar with an adoring audience did. Not that Kai knew anything about that...

Stoppeding her wandering thoughts, Kai quickly swung her hips as well and took off in the opposing direction to Red, mirroring her moves to the exact detail. All she needed was to see the faint movements and she could follow Red as she held tight onto her own chain, letting her legs and hips do the work since they weren’t yet free enough to do a whole lot else.

Red wasn’t bad, but Kai knew she could follow Red better than Red might be able to follow her. Kai had only had to pull a stunt like this....well, she couldn’t count every time she’d been chained and dancing against her will. Well, technically she never did anything against her will, she was a mastermind of the devioius type...

Kai focused again and made a mental note to ask Red where she had picked up elements of the Trianii ritual dance. She was from Tatooine. Kai was willing to bet Red had spent more time in Cantinas than she let on.

It only took a few moments of hip heavy dancing before a clicking sound indicated to Kai that they had pleased Loora. On cue, both women pulled hard into a sweeping lunge in the dance, buying them more length than was intended when the chain let loose, the excess quickly hidden around wrists and in palms.

Kai grinned both physically and mentally.

“Eeeeeexxxxcellent.”

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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 12:34 pm 
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And, another section! Written by Red with plot input from Dru.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Red and Kai were dancing for close to a standard hour before several things occurred.

First, the room around them grew tired of the dance. Being part of an elite squadron that trained for physically demanding missions meant that their stamina and attention (although Red had to admit she was impressed at Kai’s ability to focus) outlived that of the guards, the audience, and most importantly the occupants of the dais.

Second, Loora dropped his guard and lost his intense focus on the women, even if Zulra was still being highly entertained and paying attention in a disgustingly lecherous way. Kai and Red had not appeared to abuse the lengths of chain they were granted or acted aggressively and as such they were given free reign of the circular dance space save a two foot buffer between them, the dais and the circle of guards and mercenaries that buffered them from the audience. Zulra had slithered to the front edge of the dais to get a better look at the girls as they passed by and managed to swipe a tail along their stomachs a few times they passed. Red and Kai had both resisted the urge to take a piece of the tail with them.

Third, Red and Kai had enough mobility that they were able to close on one another and whisper quick passing phrases. Kai made it her objective to force Red to blush during these moments, mostly succeeding by the end of it - but that had been through application of dance. Her words were all business and the two women now had a plan.

Fourth, They were Wraiths.

As the two women split apart from a moment of dancing back to back, they moved to the far end of the room. Kai gave the signal and they began to stride towards the dais. They had tested out a dance move that used this stride several times, ending it in a slide and prostration shy of the dais edge earlier in the dance. The guards had stopped flinching and reacting to it as a possible threat, but this time, neither woman slid.

Reaching the spot where her chain was supposed to run out, Kai snapped her wrist and over ten feet of chain were revealed from the ‘Y’ section where the chain split and ran to the cuff on each wrist, expertly hidden during the entire dance. Pushing up with a back leg she jumped up onto the dais, some of the excess length of chain wrapped around Zulra’s tail and the next length being whipped out like a lasso, catching around Zulra’s disgustingly fat neck. Several steps had her ascending up the mass of the Hutt, kicking and hitting away guards and attendants as she went. She ended up on Zulra’s back, hands pulling the looped chain tight like a twisted riding harness. The noises and goo that spilt from Zulra’s mouth indicated it was hardly comfortable, but she hadn’t yet hit the point of strangling the Hutt to death. Not unless Kai applied a little more tension.

The moment Kai’s feet left the ground, Red shot off to the side, letting her own length of chain loose. With a whip over her shoulder she shot the links forward, full force into the temple of one of the guards that stood at ground level to the side of Zulra’s spot on the platform. He was wielding a hefty, one ended stun staff that had a spiked base with a wicked tip. She kept running as she launched the chain out, pulling the links back in towards her to prevent tangling as the guard fell unconscious from the strike. With a slam of her shoulder to speed his descent her free hand grabbed his staff, ripping it away from him.

During the preceding dance, Kai had been planning her route to Zulra and Red had been testing the strength of the chain they were attached to, fingers inspecting the links for their make. Just like the ratchet system it was attached to, the chain was made of less than ideal materials with the links bent and welded together instead of being cast in single units around one another. This provided a weak point.

Before the guard Red assaulted hit the floor she had stepped on her chain to pull it tight to the floor, lifted the staff and slammed the metal point on the butt end full force into one of the links at its weld, splitting the metal apart.

She freed herself in time to swing the staff over, catching a shocked guard in the chest with the stun end of the staff, bringing him down into a heap next to his colleague. Her next step was to place a foot on the chain that trailed away from Kai and Zulra, ensuring it was tight to the floor as she struck and severed a link there as well to free her friend.

Making a less dramatic jump, Red joined Kai on the dais and took out several more guards who managed to react and were charging them, using the staff to clear a space around Zulra. Retrieving a fallen blaster, Red levelled it it at Loora to arrest the blasters and rifles around the chamber that were being trained in their direction, her demeanor making it clear she knew she could shoot the Hutt before anyone got her or Kai.

The audience chamber eruptted in chaos as as the actions of the women sank in, with the roars of Loora and the shouts of the guards. When Kai’s voice pierced the din however, the room fell silent. For once, the Twi’lek was deadly serious and her voice carried the weight not of a threat, but a promise.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this dance is over. I am sure you all realize that my new shield is rather ample and will be even more so if he becomes dead. Now, Loora, let us have a conversation.”

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"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:41 pm 
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The final part of the Nar Shadda line (from the team's perspective) - written by Dru and Red, with editing from Face.

<> Indicates something being said in Huttesse :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~``


A thick silence hung over the room for one second, then another, before it was split by the low rolling tones of Hutt laughter.  Loora spoke and his words needed no translation.

“Killya Huttlet.”

The laughter that erupted from the surrounding sycophants bordered on unnerving.

It also felt like a slap across Red’s face.

She realized they had miscalculated Zulra’s value to Loora.  Hutts were greedy, cruel and merciless.  They rarely reproduced and highly valued their offspring if they did, making Zulra the perfect potential hostage.  However, if the Huttlet was not Loora’s own personal investment...

Red focused on keeping her blaster trained on Loora instead of going down that pathway of thought.

<I have been looking for an excuse to dispose of this worm.  Please, continue, and I assure a sporting head start.>

“I’ve never had much use for the assurances of a Hutt.”  Kai’s voice was steel and her tightening hold on the Huttlet’s neck elicited a pustulant squeal.  “Or have you forgotten that my friend here has a blaster trained on you?”

The room rolled again with laughter.  <Blasters are no concern of mine, Cheeka.>  Loora grinned... at least, Red thought it was a grin.  <Back to business!  Zulra is a nuisance and his presence is a liability.  If he is killed during a prisoner escape, I can be free of his parent’s machinations with only minor scrutiny.  So please, little dancers, kill him.  Kill him and run.>

The quickest of glances was exchanged between the women, not daring to risk taking their eyes off the room around them for too long.  Red could tell from the look in Kai’s eyes that she was sorely tempted just to kill Zulra and run.  But they were not the only ones involved and it was Red who piped up, trying to buy them time.

“If you want this to look like a proper prisoner escape, you need to bring the Togorian up here.  No one would believe we escaped without him.  Once he’s here, we can discuss this escape you need staged.”

<Please, human.  Two dancers make a daring escape during a routine, killing Zulra and half of my guards in the process?  That is believable.  That they should have taken a detour and bested my dungeon security as well is a tenuous hypothesis at best.  You have your terms.  It’s your move.>

Kai’s head spun as the sound of blasters spinning up around her threatened her calm.  Her mind raced with self doubt.  ”What’s the matter with you, why are you letting Red soft foot this?  A few years ago you’d have killed the Huttlet and taken off.  Why can’t you make a decision?  You can always come back for Rrowv... right?”

Her reverie was broken off by the sounds of combat from the grand hall.  As the remaining guards turned to asses the commotion, a worried look crossed Loora’s face and he shouted for the dais to be retracted.  Kai refocused and tightened her grip on the chain around Zulra’s neck.  Instinctively, Red retrained her weapon on the majordomo as he reached for the controls.

“Don’t!”  Her command halted the man mid stride, and he crumpled to the ground, scrambling away from the blaster.  The commotion in the hall was louder now and Red knew the fight would spill into the throne room any moment.  She could hear the sound of a nearby bounty hunter raising his weapon, and knew it was at her.  Her eyes searched, desperate for any new leverage, before settling, perplexed, on a small red targeting dot on Loora’s head.

“Loora!”  This was a new voice and together with a rocket explosion impacting the roof above it commanded silence in the room; leaving only the muffled sounds of fisticuffs in the hall.  Red heard confidence... perhaps even a note of haughtiness?  All at once, her mind caught up with her ears: “Dru’s voice.”

A hooded figure strode to the center of the audience chamber, shedding its robe to reveal Dru in a finely tailored suit, casually tossing a data cylinder in his left hand.  He stood there waiting and looking towards the hallway.  As if on cue, a Gammorean and a Togorian emerged, the former sporting a New Republic officer’s uniform and bearing Voort’s tell-tale translator box.  The newcomers grinned widely.

“That was... fun.”  The Togorian’s voice dripped with malice.

“Like a barrel of devilsquid.” quipped Piggy, as the two dusted themselves off and moved to flank Dru.

Kai grinned widely, causing Zulra to sputter as she transferred her grip on the chain to a single hand and flashed a wide smile and casual wave to Dru.

“Hey boss, about time!  If you want an infiltration to go right, you’re supposed to be on time.”

Red appreciated that Kai implied the whole thing was a setup, considering that the two women had been in dire straits a few moments ago.  

Mentally projecting the path of the target on Loora’s head Red used her peripheral vision to track the red dot to the DXR-6 disruptor rifle that Brya had trained on Loora’s head.  Ryenn was up there with her as well, wielding a W-90 concussion rifle.

Both of the weapons could vaporize the Hutt in the blink of an eye.  The armored body that hung limp, halfway over the lip of the balcony confirmed it was where Loora had posted sharpshooters to  cover the dais.

Noting their position, Red realized two things.

First:  she and Kai were very, very, very lucky.

Second: The fact that she and Kai hadn’t been killed by snipers the minute they made their escape attempt meant they were either faster than she would credit herself or it was likely that Brya and Ryenn had been there for most, if not all, of their dancing.

Somehow, the engineer managed to not turn beet red as she replayed everything in her head,
her eyes and blaster remaining trained on the cowering majordomo as Dru chuckled and waved back to Kai with his free hand.  The smile settled into a smug smirk as his attention turned back to Loora, who was shooting daggers with his eyes at the man who dared to come so openly into the center of his chamber.

“Loora, Loora.  It’s just bad form, kidnapping perfectly innocent girls.  Or, you know, one innocent girl and her friend.”

“It is so nice that you finally acknowledge my innocent demeanor, Boss!”  

Kai’s exuberant quip was undercut by a new gurgle from Zulra, Red rolling her eyes and the faintest glare from Rrowv over Dru’s shoulder.

Loora finally managed to sputter out a response, his tail twitching in an irritated fashion.

<You should know better than to make such an outlandish accusation, Kargin.  I simply collected the tribute that was due me, since you came sneaking onto my world.>

Dru’s expression went from bemused to deadly serious at that claim by Loora, his hand grabbing the data cylinder in a firm swipe across his body as it descended from the most recent toss.

“A tribute that you blocked with several levels of Trandoshan mercenaries, highly secure building levels full of guards and your usual denial that any of the covert transmissions I sent to request an audience came through.”

The glare loosened quickly as Dru outlined Loora’s avoidance of him, a relaxed smile forming once again.

“But then again, it is so fun to plan a set up so the ‘accidental killing’ of your nephew turns into a planned assassination funded by you.”

Loora began to chuckle, his demeanor taking on that of a person who had a secret they were about to share.

<Oh, you cannot make this look like it was my fault.  The story of a rogue group of New Republic slaughtering a young Hutt would not do well for your, let’s call them Backers.  It would ruin your ability to get any of the goods the resistance needs.  This story is still mine to control and you are just as stuck as your dancing girls.>

Dru’s grin widened as he laughed at the Hutt.

The rest of the Wraiths were hardly laughing.  But maybe they didn’t see the little purple dancing womp rats their leader was obviously hallucinating?  Because costing the entire Republic trade with the Hutts wasn’t a funny idea.

“Oh, Loora.  You underestimate me once more.  You see, before I came to visit your, “den” I set up a message.  The type of holo message which will be sent from anyone of several hidden locations in less than a standard hour’s time unless I am alive, well, and able to return to deactivate it.”

As Dru began speaking, Loora’s tail took up an irritated twitch that grew into a thrash.  It seemed even more insulting to the Hutt that Dru was still speaking in common and not his native tongue.

“The message is nothing special.  Just a large, very detailed datafile showing the long string of covert communications between yourself and my group, arranging for this exact event to unfold.  Including price points and negotiations on the specifics of how to either have the dancing girls kill Zulra or accomplish the task using a rogue group of Republic commandos.  It also shows how you have been double dealing behind your family’s back and if you’re willing to kill one relative... well, I am sure you can imagine how all of this data would be received on Nal Hutta.”

The rest of the Wraiths had developed their own smug looks as Dru spoke.  It was possible this was all a bluff, but that hardly mattered.  Dru’s face had instead devolved into a grim line, his fingers still twirling the data cylinder he held as he finished his (surprisingly) uninterrupted monologue to Loora.

“So, in less than one hour your superiors and family backers will be getting all of that information.  I am sure they will then avail themselves of the chance to ask any of the many loyal people in this room what transpired.  I am willing to bet that the interrogation and torture methods they will face will have them confirming my story, not yours.  Otherwise, you have to admit to being completely outclassed by two dancing girls and a small, barely armed group who managed to frame you in the process.  So....what will it be, Loora?”

There was a pause of dead silence as Loora processed Dru’s speech and his surrounding entourage waited.  Silent except for the occasional sputter from Zulra, who Kai was artfully keeping control of with the chain, without actually killing or causing the Hutt to pass out.

Then Loora began to laugh.  A low, rolling roar of a laugh that made Red feel like she finally understood what Princess Leia felt like while she was holding a thermal detonator on Jabba.  Kai even leaned over, causing Zulra to whine in the process, whispering to her teammate on the dais.

“I think Dru might have broken the Hutt...”

Loora’s laughter drew on for a good minute, leaving everyone in the room except for Dru with a slightly puzzled expression on their face.

<You win this time, Dru.  I knew I could count on you to give me some excitement and also test out my newer security investments.>

Turning to the droid next to him, Loora made a sweeping gesture at the room.

<Get rid of these Mercenary scum, before I have them all drawn and quartered.  They are to remain on their ships doing biosweeps, but they are useless as foot soldiers.  Letting little dancing girls out smart them like that...>

Most of the Trandoshans looked offended and as if they were about to riot, but the sound of the blasters from the other guards around the room moving to train on them instead of the Wraiths let them know that Loora was serious.

<I said, OUT!>

The Wraiths, especially those with weapons trained on Loora and Zulra did not relax as the mercenaries exited the room.  A chuckle and wave from Loora had the rest of the weaponry disappearing, his bulbous head turning to the two women on his platform.

<You may release my maggot of a nephew now, and rejoin your group.  Dru, assure them that they are free to rejoin you.>

Dru smirked, his glance flicking over to Red and Kai.

“Kai, you come down first.  Red, make sure she gets down fine and that Zulra doesn’t try anything stupid, then we’ll cover your exit.”

“Finally!  This chain was killing my arms.”

Releasing Zulra’s ‘collar’ and making an excessively showy backflip, Kai came sailing down to land lightly on the dance floor in front of the dais, casually strolling to join Rrowv and Piggy after she landed.  Zulra made a sound like the swamps of Dagobah degassing as he finally caught a decent breath, wheezing something incomprehensible as he slid back and away from Red.

Once he was clear of her, Red walked backwards to keep her blaster trained on the smaller Hutt, taking a much less showy jump down off the dais.  As she reached Kai, she finally seemed to relax a bit, her eyes shooting over to her previous dance partner.

“Show off.”

“That’s what he said about your dancing...  Oh, right, Business like!”

A look from Dru over his shoulder shut Kai up and required him to recompose his expression before returning his attention to Loora.

“Now, Loora... you seem to have a significant amount of funds available now that your clueless mercenaries are dismissed.  Might I suggest a business arrangement at a wonderful price?”

<I am listening...>

“Well, as you know and have been avoiding since I arrived on world, I am in need of certain avenues for supplies that you control in future transactions.  I also happen to have some information on your nephew, Zulra that might be of interest to you.  Specifically how he hired someone to spy on you.”

The comment regarding Zulra’s spying had Loora turning to glare at the adolescent Hutt, who was still nursing his throat.  The look could have melted durasteel and Zulra slithered further away from his uncle, a hoarse whisper.

<Only because your brother ordered me to, uncle....>

“Ahem, if I might interject, Loora I can assure you that the spy is of no concern to you.”

Loora turned his attention back to Dru, his eyes narrowing suspiciously.

<And the affairs of Hutts are no concern of yours...>

“I know who the spy is.  In fact, I have him here and am willing to give him to you.”

The interjection by Dru led to a growing ‘grin’ from Loora, who followed Dru’s hand as it rose and motioned up the where Ryenn was sitting with Brya.  Ryenn looked rather calm for someone who was being sold to a Hutt lord.  Brya was still focused on keeping her rifle trained on the dais, but for those who were perceptive she seemed to tense and twitch at the option to sell out Ryenn.

“For the low, low cost of a reasonable employment salary and rights to future trading and business with him acting as my liaison, you can buyout Ryenn from under Zulra’s employ and use his unique skills to protect yourself from your prying relatives.  Zulra certainly won’t admit to losing his spy, his father would hardly appreciate that.”

Loora seemed to consider the offer, tossing another withering look over his shoulder at Zulra before turning his attention back to Dru.

<I will employ this Ryenn, and he may be your contact.  We will negotiate future business on a case by case basis.  The point this round also goes to me.>

“Ryenn is not your employee, he’s MY liaison with you.  Not the other way around.  And the point, like Ryenn, is mine, Loora, or no deal.”

Dru’s deadpanned response over the point caused Loora to roar with laughter, a dismissive wave at the Wraiths as a whole.

<The entertainment value of this evening is worth you taking this point.  Also, it has been a long time since I have seen dancers of this caliber.>

Rrowv had to place a hand on Red’s shoulder at the comment about the dancers, preventing the diminutive engineer from interrupting the unfolding negotiations with what was likely to be an unladylike comment.

<So, you have a deal, Dru.  Now, I suggest you leave before I change my mind.>

Dru grinned, a final flip of the data stick before it was pocketed with a flourishing bow.  

“Ryenn will arrange to meet your ‘business manager’ within the week to finalize the details of his employ and provide you with the specifics of our business.  Better luck next round, old friend.”

Motioning to his team, Dru led the Wraiths from the Hutt’s compound, this time through an actual entrance instead of the series of holes that they had blasted through multiple walls and levels to arrive.

~~~~~~

Back on the Sacul, Red breathed a deep sigh of relief at being fully clothed and covered in a mechanic’s jumpsuit once more.  Kai was still parading around the vessel in her own dancing outfit, much to the amusement of Sacul’s droid and the eye rolls of Dru.

Ducking out of her rarely-used quarters, she made a stop at the sick bay to check on Rrowv, who was being patched up by Piggy and Brya.  He gave her a stiff wave, but looked better than a few hours previously, so Red continued her journey further down to the engine room.  As she arrived, one of the comm stations near the engines lit up, signaling a transmission from the Bridge.  Heading over to the main engine’s computer, Red accepted the transmission and checked over the engine systems to ensure they were running and ready for departure.

“Red, Kai finally sat down to do her job...”

The sound of Kai protesting in the background and the Sacul’s droid laughing was drowned out as Dru simply spoke louder.

“...AND I think its time we headed out  We have clearance from the docking station, are the engines ready?”

“I just received the final diagnostics report and we are clear in the engine room.  Let’s get off this planet before any more of my clothes are destroyed in covert pissing contests between you and the Hutts.”

There was a pause as if Dru was deciding whether to reply to Red’s jab at her internment over his competition with Loora or not.  Caution won out as he simply switched over to the ship wide comm system.

“Attention Wraiths, its time to take this party elsewhere.” Dru’s grin was plainly evident in his voice.  “Prepare for departure and please use the restraints properly, this time.  Our next stop will be the Corellian System, and we thank you for playing.”

As Red fastened herself into a seat near the engine console and felt the Sacul begin to lift out of the docking port they had been using, she couldn’t help but sigh.

It was possible this mission would overwrite being shot in the butt on Sekar IV as the most embarrassing thing that her squad mates teased her about.

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:06 pm 
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From his position behind a large, flamboyantly colored holo-board, he watched as the ship slowly rose from the landing pad, turned, and then with a flash of its engines, accelerated into the hazy night sky. Keeping his eyes on the fading glimmers of engine light, he retrieved a datapad from beneath the folds of his cloak. Thumbing the device on, a green gridded map appeared on the screen and after a few seconds, a single, slowly pulsating red dot appeared. As the dot began to slowly move across the overlay map, narrow columns of data began scrolling down on either side of the display, indicating various bits of data regarding the departing ship.

“Off you go… ‘Bleeding Heart’.”

The squeal of metal hinges rang in his ears. He turned as a trio of Trandoshans stepped through the maintenance door leading out onto the building’s terrace.

“Ah, Mrssk,” he said slipping the pad beneath his cloak. “I’m glad to see you fine gentlemen were successful in attaching the homing device.”

Mrssk, the clear alpha of the group, stood a good two meters, his pale yellow scales and bright orange eyes contrasted by the dark rancor-leather sleeveless vest and baggy pants he was clad in. His two flanking associates, one of dark brown scales and the other colored slightly lighter, stood slightly shorter than their leader and were clad in the yellow flight suit typical to their appearance. Both were carrying Repeater Rifles.

“It wasssn’t easy,” Mrssk hissed, his nails tapping against the terrace’s durasteel plates as they approached the lone man. “Given what you told usss regarding the ship, we were forced to drop the device from high above and pray to the Ssscorekeeper that it attached itssself between the enginesss.”

“And you’re positive it landed between the engine housing?”

Reaching the man, Mrssk , an easy head taller, leaned in to stare into the eyes shadowed beneath the hood and sneered. “Posssitive.”

“Good.”

A sudden series of beeps from the stashed datapad prompted the owner to retrieve it again. The pulsating dot had disappeared, replaced by a rounded box with a series of coordinates.

“What’sss that?”

“An alarm; they’ve just jumped into hyperspace.”

“Do you know where they are headed?”

“From these coordinates, it looks like the Corellian system.” Replacing the pad once again, the man folded his arms across his chest and turned back to gaze over the smoky, neon-lit ecumenopolis through the holo-board’s flashing of Aurebesh and Huttese letters as the Trandoshens hissed in satisfaction to each other.

“I compliment you on your hardware, Mrssk. I don’t know where you managed to pick up military-grade stealth beacons, but who am I to question your acquisitions.”

“Our ship isss located on pad sssix on level five,” Mrssk said as he and his associates turned back towards the door. “We should leave quickly--”

“I’m afraid there’s been a change in plans…”

The Trandoshens stopped in their tracks. The edges of Mrssk’s mouth curled back to expose his sharp teeth. “What do you mean a change in plansss?”

“Very simple,” the man replied, not showing any change his stance. “You have done what I needed to be done and my use for you is… finished. You and your men will stay here to continue defending your moon from the Empire and I will pursue them myself.”

The Repeaters whined as they were quickly powered up and trained on the human. Mrssk stood with his back to him and began snorting in toothy, hissing laughter. Suddenly he turned, drew his own blaster, and similarly pointed it at the man.

“I don’t know what weak joke you’re attempting to pull, but you are outnumbered here, human!”

“Technically,” he replied, still having not made any movement.

“What makes you think you’ll be leaving this balcony alive?!”

The flashing of the holo-board illuminated the smerk on the human’s face as he turned his head to face them. “Because… you’re standing on a mine.”

A small cylindrical device suddenly appeared in the human’s hand. Mrssk’s face froze in horror as he glanced down, realizing too late that the small maintenance hatch he was standing on was dimly flashing red around the seams. His associates, uncertain what to do, panicked and opened fire. Shots went wild, giving the man enough time to dive behind the corner of the building and cover his ears.

The trandoshens disappeared in a cloud of billowing fire as the mine went off. The darkened holo-board, its lower supports destroyed and its lower frame twisted and broken, groaned against the remaining anchors as it slowly ripped free of the building under its own weight and plunged into the city below.

The human, crawling out from behind his cover, glanced over what remained of the shredded terrace and breathed a sigh of relief. Pulling his sleeve back, he pushed a button on the gauntlet. “Prep the ship. We’re outta here.”


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 Post subject: Re: Plot 17b
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:24 am 
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Sorry for the delay!
~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Oyu’baat Cantina was one of the oldest buildings in Keldabe, the ramshackle capital of Mandalore. The city itself was on top of a flat granite hill, along a bend in the Kelita River. The cantina was a compilation of several buildings which had somehow merged together over time, with no two windows alike. Inside, the tables and chairs were spread out, with a long bar and roaring log fire. A large holovid screen took place on one of the walls, and smaller ones were dotted around the place, some behind the bar with constantly updating bounties of various individuals.

The conversation was slightly more muted than usual, which still put it above the cacophony of more civilised cantinas. The Empire had recently begun to increase its presence back to the level it had enjoyed during the civil war. Although the Mandalorians weren’t fans of the Empire, they weren’t stupid enough to try and resist them. Their warriors were spread out throughout the galaxy, and even if they wanted to try and repel the Empire, they did not have the capacity.

Stormtroopers were walking through the centre of the city, although hadn’t quite dared to enter the Oyu’baat itself. The native Mandalorians viewed them with suspicion and disdain, not quite bordering on hostility.

The cantina doors opened, and two figures dressed in Mandalorian armour walked in. One, the taller, was wearing mainly red armour, the other a mixture of red and green. With a brief glance around the cantina, their gaze settled on a lone figure in black around with grey and blue highlights. Nodding almost imperceptibly at them, they nodded back, and wove their way though the crowd.

The taller one stood next to the secluded booth table and glanced down at its sole occupant. “Loran.”

Garik “Face” Loran, Colonel of the New Rebellion Special Operations Unit Wraith Squadron looked up from his glass of ne’tra gal, his helmeted visage betraying no emotion. “Skirta.” There was a brief pause. “Ordo? Wow, the head Skirata himself.”

Ordo Skirta scowled beneath his helmet. “I would ask how you knew, but I’m sure I wouldn’t like the answer.”

“Long time no see! How’s the family Ordo?” Face smiled easily, taking on his helmet, resting it casually on the table, motioning for the aging clone to join him. The private booth meant that very few people would be overlooking the area. And in the Oyu’baat, it wasn’t wise to be seen to be paying too much attention.

Ordo sat down casually motioning almost invisibly for his colleague to remain standing. “Nice armour.” He responded, ignoring the question. “Looks like genuine beskar.”

“It is.” Face responded simply.

“Expensive.” Ordo observed, casting an expert eye over it. He took his own helmet off, showing an aged, but clean shaven face topped with closely cropped grey hair. “I’m assuming that you’re aware of the traditional colours of beskar’gam?”

Face’s expression was set in stone. “Yes.”

“Black is for justice, blue for responsibility and grey is mourning a lost love.” Ordo cocked his head to one side. “I heard about what happened on the Queens Pearl. .”

“The last words we shared were the Mandalorian wedding ceremony.” Face revealed.

Ordo’s eyebrows raised. “That I didn’t know.” He dipped his head once more “You have my condolences.”

“Appreciated.” Face glanced up at the standing figure. “Etika Skirata I presume? Please, have a seat.”

Ca'tra Skirata, the youngest daughter of Ordo and Bessany Skirta took her helmet off, fixing the Lorridain with a scowl. “How did you..?”

“You were obviously female, obviously related to Ordo here, but not far enough removed to be his granddaughter. My intel suggests that Krie and Jaabi are currently off Mandalore, so the obvious conclusion was that you were Ca'tra.”

“My father was right about you.” The scowl in her voice was evident as she slid in next to her father.

“Handsome and happy?”

“Annoyingly perceptive.”

“Interesting. Anyway, to business. I’d like your help.” Face leaned back, looking relaxed and confident.

“Why would we help you?”

“I could insult you and claim it was for the money, but if my sources are correct, you don’t seem to need any.”

Ordo’s voice hardened. “You’re sources are a little too well informed.”

Face nodded at the vidscreen behind the bar. The bounty listing had been updated. It was now showing an image of Face’s head and shoulders, along with texts describing his presumed whereabouts, along with a bounty of a million Imperial credits. “You don’t get that kind of Imperial appreciation without a little leg work.”

“You’re a little too confident for a person in a cantina full of mercenaries and bounty hunters when your image and bounty is being displayed.” Ca'tra pointed out coolly.

Face smiled back, his eyes flashing an unspoken challenge. Before Ca'tra could respond, Ordo turned to his daughter.

“Loran here is one of the best unarmed combat experts that I have ever met. Whilst not up to the standard of my brothers or I in our prime, he is certainly someone not to be ignored. Against any Mando in this room, in single combat, I would bet on Loran. Plus, he’s not stupid enough to be in here alone. The large Togorian at the bar is certainly one of his Wraiths, as is the male human next to him. There will undoubtedly be a sniper in position, probably before he even made the call to confirm the timing and location of this meeting. It is also highly likely that there is a third, or possibly fourth member of his unit inside this cantina.

"There will also be at least three contingency plans, and two back up plans for if anything were to go wrong. And the final piece of Loran’s plan, would be the fact that he is here to meet with us, and therefore we would not allow anything to happen to him whilst the meeting is occurring. It is a dangerous ploy, but Loran is reckless enough to take the chance.” He refocused his attention on the Colonel. “Have I missed anything?”

Face sketched a half bow. “You flatter me Ordo.”

“No Loran, I merely wish for you to know that I do not underestimate you.”

“Same thing.”

“What help do you require.” Ordo asked, refocused once more.

“As you’re aware, the New Republic is no more, and the galaxy is once more feeling the crushing weight of the Empire, which is now even more determined to subjugate the citizens of the galaxy into its despotic vision.”

“Rather poetic way of describing another change of power.” Ca'tra pointed out.

Face shrugged. “Depends on your point of view.”

“I am yet to see how this effects us.” Ordo pointed out. “Mandalore will be Mandalore despite who is in charge.”

“Only that’s not the case.” Face pointed out. “When the New Republic was in charge, you had an embassy here. Now it’s the Empire, you have stormtroopers on the street, and a large garrison. That’s not for strategic purposes, there are better planets in the sector to stage assaults from. No, the garrison here is purely to keep you in line. What better way to swat those annoying Mando’s than to have a large force in their back garden?”

Ordo’s expression tightened. “The Empire are here because we allow it.”

“That’s poodoo Ordo and you know it. Whilst I appreciate that one Mando is worth a dozen stormtroopers or more, even the Jedi were taken down by sheer weight of numbers. You’ve got… what… A few hundred commandos on Mandalore at the moment? The garrison will be able to resist you for a few days, and that’s all they need for a huge bundle of reinforcements to swoop in and turn your planet into rubble. They’re just looking for an excuse.”

“If Mandalore join the New Rebellion, then we’ll just hasten that demise.” Ca'tra pointed out.

“I don’t want Mandalore. I want Clan Skirata.”

“Our Clan has survived precisely by not entering into galactic politics Loran.” Ordo responded, folding his arms defiantly.

“But after what the Empire did to Kal’buir…” Ca'tra began.

“This Clan is finished being used by governments.” Ordo’s tone was like ice.

Ca'tra fixed her father with a stare, but refusing to comment further.

Face flicked his eyes between the pair of them, cataloguing every nuance of body language that flicked between the pair. Ca'tra had inherited both of her parents dark eyes, and the slight darkening of her fathers skin. However, her hair was a dark blonde and her beautifully delicate features were a stark contrast to her ferocious glare.

“Perhaps we can strike a deal.” Face began.

“As you’d already pointed out Loran, we don’t need your money.” Ordo countered.

“Not that kind of deal.” Face took a deep breath, using his actors façade to hide the importance of the request. “The New Rebellion needs help. We need talented individuals to not only help fight the Empire, but to train others. More specifically, I need at least one individual to head up Firestorm. I assume you’ve heard of it?”

“That’s the commando unit set up by your Special Forces. Run by a man called Bevan? Fancied themselves as Mandolorian, if rumours are to be believed.”

“It was run by my close friend Major Will Bevan, yes.” Face paused, his jaw clenching minutely. “He died in the final battle against the rogue Grand Admiral Grant. His father was a clone commando. He was a Mandalorian.”

“Mando’s fight for money. Not governments.” Ordo responded.

“Locker followed the Resol’nare.” Face pointed out. “He was loyal to his family and clan. His family was Firestorm, and his clan was the New Republic.”

Ordo’s eyes narrowed. “That’s not what the tenets of Mandolorian life mean.”

“To you.” Face countered, his eyes narrowing in response. “Locker was a Mandalorian, no matter what you think.” He paused, taking a further breath to calm himself. “Regardless, the Firestorm are the best commando unit in the galaxy. I want a Mandolorian to command them. I’ll take anyone else I can get, but I need a Mando for Firestorm.”

“You said you had a deal?” Ca'tra asked, her expression carefully neutral.

“Simple. You have a garrison setting up that you’re not too keen on… I have an entire battalion of troops ready to hurt it so much, that it’ll be months before it’s back up and running. Certainly giving you more time for your own plans, whatever they may be.”

“So, we give you a Mandalorian, you remove the garrison?”

“Temporarily, yes. We both know the Empire will rebuild it.”

“But the break will be most beneficial.” Ca'tra pointed out to her father.

“Your deal has merit.” Ordo admitted. He paused briefly, his lightening fast brain obviously thinking the plan over. “The deal is agreed.”

“Excellent.” Face smiled, slightly suprised at the speed of the agreement. “I love it when a plan comes together!”


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