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Kandor watched the proceedings and allowed himself to be caught up in them. The tale had to be ancient -- even older than the Moon Knights. And yet it had endured over tens of thousands of years through oral tradition, and marked a key aspect of Mandalorian heritage. How many times had it been performed like this around the campfires of their ancestors, all the way back to the Taung on what would someday come to be known as Coruscant? Though Fett usually kept his eyes fixed on the future, deciding what it was that he wanted to be and making it happen through hard work, the blueprints of how he built those goals, the culture he deeply identified with even after many years apart from them, was revealed by the past. How could he hold the title of Mand'alor in good conscience if he had no respect for his roots?

 

Perhaps this was the first time the story had ever been performed on Chandrila in all that history. But the world was not important. Where the aliit went and for whatever reason they did so, that place was a slice of Manda'yaim.

 

-----------------------------

 

That night, a dream visited him.

 

He stood over a topographical hologram of a battlefield. On one side, marked with blue icons, stood a small force in a valley. The other, there was an approaching swarm of red icons, more numerous, some in the air and some on the ground. Fett looked up at the man who was giving the briefing. Aerodas Sentrant, a tall bald man in white armor, the crescent moon symbol upon his chest. A Moon Knight millennia gone.

 

"Tonight we hold the valley," Sentrant was saying.

 

One of the other officers in the room nodded. "We can funnel them through the pass here," he said, pointing at a natural chokepoint. "But it won't keep their air support from bypassing us and flanking."

 

Sentrant passed his finger along the sides of the narrow canyon. "We'll take to the caves if we have to, just like the Mytolans did in 1244. They seem more intent on engaging us and wiping us out than bypassing us, which gives us the advantage."

 

"They could pin us there for days," another individual said. Kandor thought his name was Matthias, but these were extremely old memories.

 

"The Eighth Division is already on its way. Even if we have to hold for a week on emergency rations we'll persist," the Moon Knight said.

 

Suddenly a man came rushing in from outside the prefabricated ops center where they were meeting. "Sir! We just received word that the Temple of Ostanbulis has fallen!"

 

"What?" Sentrant asked as a wave of shock rolled through the gathered officers. "That place is sacred! How did they even get there?" Suddenly he realized what had happened. The enemy must have been waiting to pounce as soon as the Eighth had pulled out of Meletias. He swallowed. Losing the Temple would deal a deadly blow to the morale of the defenders. This wasn't going to end well for any of them.

 

Fett caught a glimpse of blue behind the messenger and saw Allis Hett, his new Moon Knight interpreter, behind him. She caught his eye, nodded once, and the dream ended.

 

-----------------------------

 

Kandor woke up pondering the lesson from the past even as he realized it was still the early hours of the morning. He immediately noticed that, despite the hour, Mirdala was not beside him. He got up, pinging her implant to see if she would echo back her location. She did and he headed that way, wondering what was going on.

 

He found his way off down the darkened hallway until he saw Mirdala's figure slowly walking down it, her voice quietly humming a tune he recognized as Vode An. Wrapped in her arms was the small form of the child, Jorad. Kandor quietly approached her to walk beside her, putting his hand on her shoulder opposite the dozing ik'aad and looking down at his tiny nephew, a sense of what he could only describe as aay'han settling upon him. It seemed that Jorad had come into the oyu'baat in tumultuous times, but to Kandor for a moment it all seemed so far away.

 

So as not to disturb the infant, he spoke over their implants. "Hard not to think about if things were different."

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Mirdala nodded, Styl looked so exhausted, plus...I could feel Jorad. It's very raw base emotions, but all of this has been very upsetting to him. I figured I'd relieve his dad for a bit so he and Tannae could get some decent rest. The old songs seem to help, but I think he's hungry. What's got you awake at this hour?

 

She led him into one of the main living areas in the downstairs part of the house so that if the infant rousted he wouldn't wake the rest of the family. Vi'ika wasn't far behind them. Leading the way into the kitchen she retrieved one of the bottles that Styl had mentioned they'd stored the cooling unit and placed it in the warming unit as the child stirred again before beginning to cry loudly.

 

He's not happy he can smell food and it's not in his tummy, apparently, she laughed slightly at his wrinkled face as she jostled him and began pacing while the bottle warmed. She'd been there for Tannae, Valyin, and Trita's infancies so she just fell into what she remembered from those times she was helping out her aunt, so much so that the actions weren't even conscious. In some ways, she was glad because even though helping with Jorad was something she was glad to do to help out her cousin, it wasn't something she wanted to examine too closely. The only reason she knew the child as well as she did was because she'd been the anchor point during his birth for both mother and son.

 

Suddenly a thought crossed her mind as the warmer chimed softly. Distracted for a moment, she tested the liquid by flipping the bottle in one hand and letting a few drops fall to the inside of her wrist. It was fine to give to the baby, so she repeated the motion and placed the bottle in the child's mouth. His shrieking had grown louder and he didn't seem to realize that food was close at hand, he only had to close his mouth and drink. Mirdala shook her head and wiggled the bottle in his mouth enough to get his attention and it wasn't a few seconds longer that his cries were replaced by the soft sounds of him eating.

 

Finally able to return to her thoughts, Mirdala looked up at her husband wondering what was going through his mind and how seeing her like this might affect him or his worrying about her. "You don't have to stay if you don't want to. I've got him. I've done this before with his mother, aunt, and cousin. I'm fine, I promise."

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Kandor nodded at his wife. He appreciated the compassion she'd taken on her cousin and Styl. Now that he had determined nothing was actually amiss, he began to head back towards their room, still finding his surroundings unfamiliar especially in the darkness.

 

He paused after a few steps. "Moon Knight visions are back as promised." He formed the words subvocally. "They're just as cryptic as ever, of course, but it still feels right."

 

Aerodas Sentrant had been one of very few Moon Knights who had served as a military commander while also bearing the mantle. He'd died in the very battle that he'd been planning in the dream. They'd taken to the caves as he'd suggested, and there'd been a good fight, but the Eighth Division had turned back at the news of the Temple's destruction and hadn't arrived to relieve them. The locals had since forgotten the tale, since Sentrant's enemies had swept through and conquered the whole area, in no small part due to the loss of morale suffered when the Temple was destroyed. It had been something of a turning point in the war. It was a stinging defeat that Allis had brought to Kandor on his first night since his visit to Tatooine, and one that had come about partially due to Sentrant's lack of foresight.

 

Kandor couldn't tell if the lesson was for something that was happening now or something still to come. He returned to bed and decided that he would pick his next moves carefully. He had to decide which things were truly the most important and weigh the risks to which they might be exposed before striking out from Chandrila.

 

Eventually he dozed back off to sleep.

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Tresha, Trita, Aluir, and Valyin left sometime mid-afternoon the following day, returning to their own careers as bounty hunters and roles in supporting the family, but the rest of the family spent the next few days settling into a routine around the house.

 

The soil that Kandor had was apparently quite good and Styl had asked about starting a small farm on a bit of the surrounding land. It made practical sense if the land was going to be inhabited for an indefinite amount of time, so he and Kandor started laying out the plans. Mirdala and TeVerd had taken the twins out for some hunt-and-evade target practice with the pepper oil rounds, an activity Mirdala told Kandor she remembered well from her own upbringing.

 

The others primarily kept about the house, with Taen and Reska mainly keeping to themselves. He'd taken being forced to step down from his position rather hard and had remained pretty tight-lipped about it and locked-down empathically from the rest of the family, only coming down for family interactions during meals.

 

It was after the evening meal on the third night that Mirdala pinged Kandor via their implant. I've never seen him like this. Any ideas?

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"I'll try my hand at feeling him out," Kandor replied. He didn't have to know Taen that well to realize how much he had withdrawn. The end of a career that was his life's work was a fairly major deal, but he still had a lot of years ahead of him, especially being half Ageless. Fett couldn't really speculate as to what the man's expected lifespan would be, but there was no question that this was just the end of a chapter of his life. Somehow he doubted his next occupation would be farming. It seemed that Kandor ended up being reminded that his adopted clan name meant "farmer" every time he spent more than a few days on Concord Dawn or apparently even just with people from Concord Dawn. While it was an honorable profession and he didn't mind the simple work, he and Taen were trained and capable to make a difference in more hazardous positions.

 

As soon as the cleanup following dinner was done, Taen started to make his retreat, but Kandor casually but tactically intercepted him. "Mind sticking around for a minute?" he asked. This sort of thing wasn't really his strong suit, but it was worth a shot. He indicated a nearby sitting area and headed towards it. "I was wondering if you'd given any thought as to what sort of work you might be getting into after all of this."

 

He wasn't really prepared to give a sales pitch for a future organization that didn't even have a name yet, but he'd already started cultivating his contacts and someone with Taen's skillset would be invaluable -- the kind of skillset that could keep the organization from floundering and failing. "I might actually have an opportunity."

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Taen shrugged, not particularly inclined to have this conversation, but Kandor had proven honorable in the past and the man was family now, after all. "Mirdala put you up to this didn't she?" He looked around Kandor to the smaller woman still seated at the table talking engine mechanics with Vannae. Mirdala returned his gaze undaunted, with a look that implied So what if I did?

 

Remembering how he'd intervened in her own life after the death of her parents to bring her out from under her grandmother's restrictive coddling, he figured he was karmically due some meddling from the young woman. Shaking his head he motioned for Kandor to follow him out into the evening air. "I always said that runt was more trouble than she was worth," despite the words, there was an undercurrent of familial ribbing that indicated to Kandor he meant no slight against the man's wife.

 

"I'll hear you out, but I make no promises. Don't think you can talk me into joining up with CoreSec, our kind don't work well with that invasive level of oversight. Surprised Mirdala lasted as long as she did. You might have noticed how strong-willed she can be."

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Kandor shrugged at Taen's implication of Mirdala. There was no need to adopt pretenses here.

 

"Don't worry, never really fit in with CoreSec myself," he said as they headed outside. "The regs and the oversight get in the way of doing actual good."

 

Fett played around with his next few words in his head. "Which is why I'm primarily self-employed from here on out." He paused again. "Collected on some big-time bounties back in the day to provide the startup costs, and Mirdala and I inherited a very secure space station at the end of the war.

 

"Thinking about going into business. Contacts, information trade, on-the-level bounties, and vigilantism," he explained. Might as well throw it out there. It was always difficult to know how someone would respond to the idea of vigilantism, given that it was simultaneously illegal in most jurisdictions and also one of the least restrictive ways to do what law enforcement was trying to accomplish. "Credits might not be too good at first, but I need partners I can trust with skills like yours. I have good ties to CoreSec -- both CoreSec as in Core Worlds Security and CorSec as in Corellian Security, as well as the JPs and the jetiise. But we'd have total autonomy."

 

He still wasn't sure how it would all play out. He'd rather have a small group of individuals he could trust to bring value to all parts of the operation. But eventually the information trade would require a bunch of paid employees, which would lead to an organizational hierarchy. All things to deal with as they came, he supposed. He was no administrator -- he could lead, but he did so from the battlefield.

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Taen looked at his new cousin-in-law and raised an eyebrow. "Sounds decent enough. For now, though, I think I'll spend some long overdue time with my family while we think about what the next move is for us. I hope all of this eventually blows over and we can return home without me worrying about Reska facing another ambush. Hell, she might decide to go back on her own..." The Arkaanan-Ageless hybrid sighed, looking out over the land to the west of the house where Styl had begun to turn the soil. "Don't let this fool you Kandor," he said suddenly.

 

"There's something greater to all of this - the moles, discrediting me. Most folks on Dawn are just holed up in their own steads, content to let the JP's dismantle themselves with the in-fighting. Even Briia's stepped back to defend the Silvar land since Bault was killed a few weeks back. That kid...Aliise, I think it was, has been helping her so it's not just her alone. This Ab'ki, or whoever is behind all this, it won't go well for her once we get a hold of her. Any leads on that?"

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"Ab'ki's been planning this for over a decade, and she's proven to be methodical," Kandor said. "I don't have any doubt what is happening to you and your riduur is any less a part it than what she is doing to me and mine."

 

He paused. "Mirdala recently experienced a short captivity at the hands of a Kyr'tsad beroya named Viba," he explained. "Took him down, grabbed a bunch of his data, and evidence suggests he was ranked high in Ab'ki's organization. Any hour or day now the team will break the encryption and with any luck we'll have that lead."

 

Fett's implant came to life as it received an incoming call from 2277. "About that, Master," the beskar'ad said. "The relevant data is beginning to trickle in now to the Justice over the team's encrypted channel in small untraceable packets. The size of the transmission is indicated by the packet headers; it will be a few minutes before it concludes. I believe you will find that it is painting a clear picture, however."

 

Kandor refocused on Taen, his eyes having drifted off to the landscape as he listened to 2277's words. "In fact the data's starting to come in now. Let's convene in Ops... and Reska might want to be a part of this," he said. He flipped his implant to connect to Mirdala's. "Mird'ika, Viba's data is coming in. Please find TeVerd and meet me in Ops."

 

Manors didn't come with an Operations Center, exactly, but Kandor had quickly repurposed and enhanced an office connected to the building's small security center when he'd bought the place. It would be a good place to review the data, get on comms with the Omicrons, and figure out their next move.

 

He was more than ready to start figuring out how to put an end to all of this.

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Taen nodded gravely. "The more 'recent event' I wager."

 

Kandor's slight nod before inclining his head to receive his droid's transmission told him all he needed to know.

 

-----

 

Mirdala, TeVerd, and Reska were waiting in the Ops Center when Kandor and Taen walked in. When the Ageless hybrid regarded Mirdala for a moment after settling down beside his wife next to one of the display panels.

 

Mirdala had endured much in her young life, far more than most ever would, even at his age or in his own lifetime, yet here she was, standing with them ready to jump headlong into the next battle. He’d never admit it to the young woman, but she had deserved to be the one that kicked him in the shebse and get him to stop feeling so sorry for himself.

 

For her part, Mirdala’s expression was one of carefully restrained neutrality. Her stomach still involuntarily twisted at the mention of Viba’s name, but she was getting better at letting it get beyond that. “Might as well see what Vy'ika and the others dug up…” she said quietly, inclining her head towards her husband, indicating that he should take lead on this one.

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Fett nodded at Mirdala. He doubted the Omicrons would be sending anything if it amounted to nothing, much less data of the volume that was now being received and rerouted via the Justice. They were about to get some answers, now about six months since he'd been brought onto the team. But though for him the data seemed a long time coming, for his wife this search had spanned nearly half her life, even if they hadn't even known the name "Ab'ki" until recently.

 

Even now the data continued to pour in, and 2277 added his statistical analysis graphically to the holofeed they put up on the display in the center of the room. It was credit flows. Locations. Ships. People. A vast network of mercenaries, beroyase, corrupt cops and politicians. Analysis of the Mandalore Sector. Hyperspace routes. A topographical map of the area surrounding the city of Dawn. Another for Keldabe. More for other major cities. More and more credit flows -- all holding together the huge network of people. Then the data got more specific. Time frames. Command structure. Judyc Viba as some sort of General, part of the very top echelons of the chain of command.

 

"I'll be damned," Taen said.

 

"These are--" Kandor started.

 

TeVerd finished, his voice deadly. "Invasion plans. Ab'ki is building an army to attack the Mandalore Sector."

 

Fett continued to watch the data. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers for hire from across the galaxy. The credit flows continued to add up. Even for a dar'jetii, Ab'ki had to be mad to do all of this in response to one event almost a decade ago. But there was no mistaking that everything led up to this. It made sense of what was happening on Concord Dawn. Shab, it even helped explain why Viba had been so unwilling to walk away.

 

There was a moment of silence in the room as the implications began to settle upon those gathered. Kandor felt the weight of his responsibility descend upon his shoulders, and he knew what he was going to have to do.

 

"And I will rally the clans to repel them," Fett said, his voice harboring no uncertainty. "However this started, it's all of our fight now." He looked around the room, his eyes coming to settle on Mirdala. He was going to need all of their support, and hers especially. He couldn't be just the beroya or cop or vigilante anymore. Now he needed to be Mand'alor, to muster and lead an army. And not even all the experiences of the Moon Knights had prepared him to do that.

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As the data had continued to roll in Mirdala's jaw had set and a quiet, but controlled fury took hold. Where did this all end? What right did Ab'ki, Judyc, and Fieyr have to continue to take from her, from the Mandalorian people? Had the whole point in everything been to initiate a sector-wide war? To what end? The final annihilation of the Mandalorian people, their knowledge, and their skills?

 

Ab'ki had certainly done all she could to soften up her target, from the hunting of the Seekers to the chaos created by fostering distrust between the people of the Mandalore sector and the Journeyman Protectorate that upheld the law within. What else might this dar'jetii be preparing to throw their way? What would happen if they failed.

 

No, she stopped herself. Failure is not an option. As Kandor's gaze fell to her, she realized that much of her life had been building to this moment and the weeks to follow. She nodded slowly before stepping forward to take another look at the data analysis.

 

"She has to know we have this now. Judyc has been out of contact for too long for her to think him still on his mission to hunt us down. If I were her, I'd move immediately before what surprise I still had left was spent. I don't expect she'll give us long to make our own battleground. Better to put out the call before we leave."

 

"Wait one," Reska said, holding her hand up as Mirdala had already pushed off from the console and had taken a few steps towards the door. "Won't putting out the call just lead to a greater possibility of sabotage from within our own ranks? If we're all to rally to Mand'alor's call, that would mean the turncoats would as well." She shrugged at the others before adding, "It's what I'd do if I was still keeping my true allegiances quiet and waiting to do the most damage I could."

 

"What else would you propose then Reska?" Mirdala retorted. "There's not enough family fit to fight to repel a force of this magnitude."

 

"What if," TeVerd interjected, glancing to Kandor, "We took the risk? You said it yourself that most of those on Dawn were content to hunker down to defend their own farms and families. Those that seek harm to the sector appear to be in the minority."

 

"One large enough to cause a significant amount of chaos," Taen put in.

 

"So we identify them where we can and let them think we're none the wiser," the elder Ageless finished with a look at his nephew. "Mirdala knows how.

Don't you?"

 

The younger woman bit her lip, trying to piece together what her father was implying. "The imprinting from Ab'ki, Ca, and Fieyr...my empathic abilities and Force abilities. I subtly screen those that come to us for any signs of those imprints...or intentions..." She shrugged and ignored the knotting in her stomach. "It's worth a try. It wouldn't be better for me to use the imprinting to find Ab'ki or Fieyr first?"

 

"No," TeVerd remarked flatly. "They've been in your head enough as it is. It's not wise to risk more. It would only give them one more avenue to potentially deceive us and play more into their hands than we already have."

 

Mirdala's lips pursed, "But I know I can find them. Why not take the head off of the Krayt Dragon than expose the sector to another bloody war?"

 

"Because they've had years of practice more than you have at mental warfare. It's not worth the risk to you or to this family, Mirdala. She could easily lead you to believe you're finding what you want and having free reign of your mind while doing so. I will not risk losing you like that again!" TeVerd's secondary lenses had snapped into place, causing his eyes to glow, and the last sentence had come out in a low growl around his fangs.

 

Mirdala nodded her head but understood his concern. It wasn't as though she couldn't see his point, she just had more faith in her own abilities as of late than he seemed to. At least he hadn't used the old "because I said so" standby. "Better get to it then, the sooner we put out the call the sooner we can start screening our forces. May the Manda be with us all."

 

And with that, she left the room.

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Though he didn't say anything, Kandor had to appreciate TeVerd's caution. Mirdala was strong, but they didn't know enough about Ab'ki's and Fieyr's own strength to be certain that she would succeed. And if she failed for whatever reason, not only would they lose her and the important skills she would bring in the coming days, but it would be for nothing. Fett did not think her idea was completely off the table, but it was at this stage. There would be a battle in the Mandalore Sector.

 

As Mirdala left he continued to look at the data for another minute. "Army wasn't going to march for another two months," he said, pointing at the timeline 2277 had compiled. "Mirdala's right that our dar'jetii friend will accelerate her timeline, but we should still have a few weeks to put together a welcoming party."

 

It was an impossibly short timeline for raising almost any other army in the galaxy. Normally such a process would take several months to a year to even build an inexperienced force from scratch. But the Mando'ade were built and organized for this... at least in theory. Kandor had never put out a call like this nor answered one, so he couldn't really say just how fast everyone would come together. When he had rallied a force to evict the Kyr'tsad it had just been whoever was around Keldabe and ready to go. There would need to be a huge force from across several systems in the Sector to repel this invasion, and they would still need to be formed into a cohesive structure.

 

Fett already felt like he was just standing around. He activated his implant. "Twenty-two, keep a copy of that data. There will be time to look at it in depth on the way to Manda'yaim," he said. "I have an appointment to keep at the Oyu'baat." Then he looked at the others gathered and simply nodded. They didn't need him to tell them what needed to be done, nor did he have any desire to do so.

 

He headed out of the room and to his quarters to put on his beskar'gam and pack up, for now trying not to reflect on the billion logistics concerns that were forming in his kovid. For now he just had to act and find what counsel he could in his aliit and his team -- many of which had even fought in the Clone Wars. He was confident it would be enough.

 

----------------------------

 

Less than an hour later, he and Mirdala departed for the Mandalore Sector aboard the Justice.

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Construction of a Golan II Space Defense Platform begins above Chandrila.

 

Golan II AP cost: 2

Scheduled for completion on 10/15/17.

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The Galactic GlobeTrotter shuddered out of hyperspace above the green-blue blur of Chandrila, and from the cockpit, Kalen Lorell could not help but notice that from this far away, the globe was not unlike the glittering eyes of his counterpart. His daily message to the Gems pinged back to him, indicating that either their comlinks had been destroyed, or they had a good reason for flying under the radar and remaining out of contact. Given that the news out of Nar Shaddaa had not improved, he was unsurprised, but the low-grade concern in the back of his mind had yet to find anything assuaging. Poring over the Holonet offered other enticing possibilities, however. He had not yet lined up a concert date for Ammi on Chandrila, opting to simply take her somewhere quiet where she might catch a flicker of rest after a disappointing trip to Carida that could have gotten them both in significant trouble for different reasons.

 

But if what he was seeing was true, they had ample reason to be elsewhere with no small amount of immediacy.

 

"Ammi," he said slowly, attempting to mask his electric glee, "how do you feel about crashing another important party? The, uh, the audience is a little trickier this time."

 

The holo flickering in front of him was only faintly visible around his form from where he stood in the cockpit, but the faint outline of the names E'lann-Zinthos hovered in the air like bait on a hook.

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Ammi found the trip from Cardia to Chandrila a welcome bit of relief. Despite losing another solid streak of sabacc games (and relenting on her threat to have M3Z-Z0 deliver that punch), she felt calm and collected. She left behind the thoughts of finding information on her parents or the worries caused by that. The dreams she had since the Memorial were muted as well, just finding her night's rest dreamless and quiet.

 

She didn't worry about finding another gig, spending her time catching up on her guitar and singing practice, as well as the melody for the Ace of Coins and Queen of Air and Hearts, not wanting to work too overtly on the lyrics while Kalen was around. 4L-T0 and B45-50 for their part, just assisted Ammi in her practice, chiming in with the piano, guitars, or drums when she needed to actually hear particular melodies for song writing purposes, or playing back some of Ammi's own work to help coach her on new techniques. M3Z-Z0 and 50P-R4N0 remained silent and observant, concluding that their charge couldn't get into too much trouble now they were in space. Ammi still proved them wrong and there was both clean up and first aid needed in the cargo bay after Ammi picked up with her dancing practice and got the brilliant idea that she could be more maneuverable without gravity.

 

Nursing a small bump on the back of her head from where she hit the ceiling earlier, she limped into the cockpit just as Kalen, leg a bit stiff from her rough landing a half-hour ago. She saw the glee on his face and felt a rush of both excitement and wariness. Between his marching earlier as they left Cardia and now this, she couldn't quite remember seeing Kalen this... free. She wondered if he was like this more now that he... really they... were cut loose from their ties to the Gems for the time being and able to do as they pleased.

 

"Mmmmm. A party to crash? I'm listening...." she murmured, then saw the names pop up, her eyes going wide. "Oh my," she said, the audacity behind it stunning even her for a moment before a grin crossed her face, the manic light returning to her eyes. Nothing more needed to be said before it would be back to Coruscant for her.

 

4L-T0 and B45-50, the former coming up behind Ammi with an ice pack for her head, both heard the exchange, then mutely turned around. 4L-T0 used the ice pack to cool down his own head as his internal processors nearly overheated trying to contemplate All The Ways This Could Go Wrong.

 

50P-R4N0, having been relegated to finishing up cleaning work in the cargo bay, saw 4L-T0 return with the ice pack on his own head and B45-50 double face palming made a very simple, flat remark to M3Z-Z0.

 

"This can't be good."

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Kail's fighter rattled a little as it entered the atmosphere. Chandrila, a planet full of natural beauty, a few large cities, and lots of small scattered settlements. Just the type of boring place a former Galactic Alliance Senator would hide out on. Checking his readouts momentarily, he then shifted his focus to the blinking red button on his console.

A woman shrouded by darkness suddenly appeared on his screen. It was his informant, Jinx. He knew next to nothing about her. He couldn't even make out much more than that she was female because of the ambient darkness around her and cloak that she wore during all their communications. Jinx wasn't even probably her real name. But Kyle could care less. They had steadily become an efficient team over the last couple of years and their partnership had been more than lucrative enough to justify continuing with their arrangement.

"Finally!" the voice exclaimed as the person on the other end appeared to fold their arms.

Kail scratched at the patchy facial hair that now adorned his face after a few missed nights of shaving, "What do you got for me?"

"I take it you are there?"

"If there is Chandrila, yes. If there is killing Senator what's his name, no."

"Kyle. Will you take this seriously for a second? The guy you want is Senator Godfrey D'Outremer. My sources say he was last seen in one of the larger cities off the eastern seaboard of the planet's largest continent. I'm sending the coordinates to you now."

That was one thing that he appreciated about Jinx. She got her job done and never sent him in completely blind.

All the same, she did not prepare him for that majestic buildings and pristine cityscape that awaited him as he neared his destination. Even Kyle could admit that made for a striking first impression.

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Paying his docking fee and landing his ship in the hanger provided, Kail pulled up all the information he had on the Senator. The way Kyle saw it, finding the Senator probably wasn't all that hard. It was the "getting to him" part that was probably going to be where he'd have to put in the real work.

((OOC: Any info on the character or  where I need to go from here would indeed be welcome @Delta73))

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"Tah tah!"

Waved the information broker who was shooing off the crowd of Rodians who had just paid heavily for some scandalous information regarding the Mothma family. Her cybernetic pink eyes flashed as she scanned the spaceport for any new customers. She was a spindly girl, a slave that had been brain drained, and a 33422 cybernetic unit bolted into the back of her head. Her memory was downloaded and uploaded through a neural link every few hours, and was maintained by the Black Sun criminal network. Those amethyst eyes found Kail and her arm limply pointed to the sign above her head that read.

'Information Broker' In crimson neon.

"You look lost traveler, need directions to a hostel to stay in?" Her voice was soft and carried with it a smile that was not sincere. 

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"Tah tah!"

Kail pauses for a second. He looked over towards the woman and then up at the neon sign above her.

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It would seem that subtly was not the strong suit of the information broker he was sent to meet. But she definitely fit the look and profile of the contact he was supposed to meet. 

Jinx, what in the world have you gotten me into. 


Squeezing his way through the crowds of commuters, traders, and what looked like tourists, Kyle soon found himself standing in front of the scrawny, amethyst eyed female. 

"You look lost traveler, need directions to a hostel to stay in?"

Kyle looked up at the sign and back at the woman again. He gave her a half smirk in a Han Solo type of way before tilting his hips and posturing a little bit.

"And you look like you could use some time off. But I'd think you'd at least offer to buy me dinner first?"

Edited by Kail
proofing...

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The young slave gave the traveler a very blank look, the LED lights in her eyes flashing a rainbow aura as she processed his answer for signs of a questions, while the human side of her smirked right on back at him in an effort to convey that she agreed with him. 

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"There are many dining establishments on this beautiful world of Chandrila, but sadly I cannot accompany you though like everything from my owners, I am for sale if you have the credits. Is there anything else I can assist you with good sir?" 

Her eyes stopped on a pale red and her smile returned to a blank slate. 

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"There are many dining establishments on this beautiful world of Chandrila, but sadly I cannot accompany you though like everything from my owners, I am for sale if you have the credits. Is there anything else I can assist you with good sir?" 

Kyle raised his eyebrow and looked her up and down again. Then looked up at the sign above his head in a puzzled manner. Then he looked back at her and squinted an eye at her.

"Look, kid. That's a cute trick. I should probably be flattered that you can mimic my voice. Or concerned? I don't know. But cut it out. It's creepy."

Kyle pinched his eyebrows a little and took a deep breath. Then he sighed and continued.

"Here's the thing. Let's cut to the chase. Senator Godfrey D'Outremer. I'll make you a deal. I have in important business deal with the missing Senator. It seems he got lost. If you can direct me to his location, I'll buy you after the meeting is done if your information is really really good. Deal?"

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Chandrila, a jewel of the Core worlds. Populated and wealthy from its position on the Galactic Trade Routes made it a prime target for Refugees and raiders alike. From the hyperlanes to its partner in the Core, Coruscant, came a dozen probe droids. They were the Imperial models of old, had enough scanners to be worth the small expense, but were meant to send a message.

The Mandalorians were coming for all that stood in their path. The Core worlds would fall, and their wealth be consumed in Kad Ha’rangir’s glorious Crusade. Death was coming.

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The girl smiled widely at the bounty hunter, her eyes returning to their shifting colour spectrum as she accessed records files. 

"You seek the bounty placed by the Black Sun, as such the information is free, as of fifteen minutes ago he was spotted by holodroids ordering at the Blue Cabana."

She pointed a metal plated hand towards the top of a skyscraper some 800 floors tall. 

"A beautiful scene, healthy food, distractions. Best of luck, and I look forward to your return." 

She smiled again and itched the holopoint cord that was secured to the back of her head which fed her the information. 

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Kail's hand hovered over the girl's head for a moment as he self-deliberated on whether or not to pat her on the head. However, his hesitation only lasted for a second or two before he reluctantly followed through and smiled awkwardly at her as best as he could.

"You betcha, kid. I'll see you around, okay?"

If he was being honest, the whole slaves with cybernetic units and all the extra bells and whistle creeped him out a bit. In his opinion, it should be illegal. But then again, the Black Sun was a criminal organization to begin with. So how they got away with functioning at all in the Core Worlds was beyond Kail.

As Kyle made his way towards the ridiculously-sized skyscraper and its "Blue Cabana" club, he could sense the tension from the crowds of travelers and natives. With every new report, the situation regarding Coruscant kept looking more and more tragic and the latest reports suggested that a Mandalorian infestation had begun to fester in what was left of the once proud world. They were undoubtedly not real Mandalorians. Those that carried true Mandalorian blood in their vains were few and far between. Outside of his father's world and the occasional unknown lineage of perhaps a few stray Rimmers, the real Mandalorians bloodline was lost long, long ago. But what morally flexible group of individuals doesn't like a good excuse to wreck havoc on the weak, the wealthy, or those who have wronged them? Especially when they can dress it up as a cause, a legacy, or their destiny.

 

The Elevator dinged as the doors opened with a "whoosh" and Kyle was usher into a hallway along with a handful of other guests. He pressed forward partly with a purpose and party out of sheer curiosity. What was the "Blue Cabana"? Kyle decided that he'd follow the directions of the any attendants and then survey the establishment once he was inside before trying to spot his mark. It never hurt to get a good "layout of the land" before formulating a plan.

Taking a deep breath, Kyle cracked his knuckles before muttering to himself, "Here goes nothing..."

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"I said I would want another glass of your finest Corellian." The harsh and sad voice of the Senator from the League of Tapani Freeworlds barked out at the droid bartender. Who simply nodded and with a tap of his finger added another 20 credit charge to the Senators already overburdened tab. The proprietors doubted the GA or the Tapani would even pay up for such a tab, but they held their tongues, and served the senator food and drink as the galaxy plummeted into shambles around them. Chandrila itself might pay them handsomely for a bargaining chip like the Senator, when the Sith came to beck and call. 

The senator took the offered glass and drank deeply, his blue robes and the mark of the Tapani embroidered upon it making him an easy mark.    

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