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The Jensaarai

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  1. “Well, this is going to get interesting,” The Jensaarai Defender growled loud enough to be heard as he slowly reached up to pull the cloth coverings away from the Imperial Sith insignia hidden beneath on his oily uniform. Relying on the force, he moved with speed. His actions were fluid, the lethal dance of a warrior, practiced and executed with perfection. Stepping forward, the Defender fell into a forward roll towards the closest guards, staying low enough to fall beneath the inevitable crossfire wrought by the clone commandos. Ripping the well oiled chains from his shoulders, The Mantis lashed out, the sickles whipping through the air in the chains, deadly razors with lethal intent. Throwing them outwards on the chains, The Mantis allowed the force the swirl and whorl about him guiding the weapons towards the ankles and shins of the closest foes, seeking to entangle them and cut them off as he pulled them back towards himself with a yank, both physically and on the force. The op seemed blown, and their hope now rested on not being found out. Prison was not an option. They would need to fight their way out and into the underworld masses where they could blend in. Someone would need to make sure security holos were erased.
  2. Having covered the Imperial Sith insignias on his grubby uniform with bits of armor plating and sashes, The Mantis slung his duel ball and sickles across his shoulders for good measure before falling in with his fellow so-called pirates. Reaching out on the force, the Jensaarai shaded the area about them so as to obscure sensors and erase their very existence once they were gone. They would be but a hazy memory as soon as they were gone from sight. Offering a wirey smile to his fellow ‘pirates’ he kept his eyes focused on the guard that met them, noting his fellows meandering over should things go awry.
  3. The Mantis regarded the explosive response silently. What was she going to say when she found out they showed up in a Sith emblazoned craft? Nobody felt the need to follow protocol. No response phrase. No decorum. Still, these fellows seemed to be the rebel contacts they were looking for. Flipping the keys in his hand, the Jensaarai Defender turned his head to Tilt, “May I present the rebels of the alliance.” He looked at the keys in his hand before slipping them to the clone. “Don’t scratch her on your first ride out.” he said with a wry smile. “If the local pirates think the Sith are about, they’re not going to go looking for rebel infiltrators are they? A little bit of chaos lets us get the job done. Get in. Get out. No loose ends. By the time the Sith come looking for whoever touched their stuff we’ll be long gone. No pirate overlords, no Sith attack, just a strange bit of panic then,” he waived his hand in the air. “Let’s go find a speeder. Your brothers can stay with the ship, keep it safe.”
  4. The chaos that seemed to follow their arrival seemed unwarranted, even for refugees. The Jensarrai’s grease-covered uniform did everything but carry any sense of authority to anyone who had held any sort of status in their lives. Still, the Sith crest was enough to give some pause. It’s presence was out of place, confusing. The escort of grizzled looking subversives ((clones)) made the visage even stranger. Making eye contact with the devil-being, The Mantis did not break his gaze. Instead, he turned to squarely face the man. “Jude,” he turned the name over in his mouth as he replied, drawing the name out; his eyes darting to the left and right, eying the shopkeep and whoever else might be lurking within earshot. “I do not recall consorting with Imperial scum like you before.” he continued, emphasizing the ‘Imperial scum’ as he tucked his keys back into his pocket. If the man was a rebel, he would note the identifier and respond in turn. If he was not; well, it was beneficial having several hardened commandos at his back. “I am sure you are mistaken. I am a mere trader here to pawn my wares.” The Mantis shot a sidelong glance to Tilt, so as to speak to him, but also indicate to the Devaronian that they were together. “If this slime gets too friendly, make sure he doesn’t go and out us.” He then turned to join the line waiting for service as the shopkeeper and his minions tried to regain some sense of order within the chaos scurrying about, shooting them sidelong glances of suspicion. It probably would not be long before goons of some matter came looking for them, probably with big guns and bad attitudes too. The Mantis hoped to meet their contact quickly and be out of the spotlight before that happened.
  5. The stubbled angular face of the Jensaarai warrior was pierced by his intense green-eyed gaze as he tucked his duel lightsaber hilts up his sleeves. Although his armor was built to carry an array of weaponry, he was not going to give up his preferred weapon, in or out of uniform. Even if to use them might invite questioning looks from any onlookers. He was an agent of his people, an associate of the rebellion, and an undercover operative. Rarely did he work so hand in hand with fellow rebels. He did not even know who exactly they were looking for per se, and now he was toting along a group of clones as well! Finding his companions, he nodded a solemn greeting. “Not sure what to tell you boys ‘ccept this ain’t the Republic. Rules of engagement are loose here. We are descending into the criminal belly of the beast. Keep your wits about you and for goodness sake don’t walk in formation. We are pirates and grizzled ner-do-wells afterall.” Setting out into the seedy undercurrent of the city, the rebel agent paid enough money to ensure that the ship’s presence was kept quiet, but not enough to elicit more than an eyebrow raise. Even here, the emblem of the Sith Empire carried some sense of power and authority. Emblazoned in his grimy coveralls, Inmorots carried a sense of that authority with him as the group set out into the city at the edges of dusk and dawn. It did not take more than 20 minutes of walking to reach the a dingy speeder rental agency. It looked like it had seen better days and clientele were decidedly ‘cash only’. Nestled down what could generously be described as an alley, with refuse and a vagrant lying all about the edges, the group gingerly picked their way forward. With an air of calm, the Jensaarai Defender moved as if he had not a care in the world. Stepping inside, the group found themselves standing in, of all things, a line. Behind a red-skinned devil and an royal ice blue Chiss, the Corellian blinked refocusing his sudden confusion away. One of these very well was their contact. He did not know which, if either and did not wish to risk giving away anything by looking out of sorts. The Mantis had no intention of renting a speeder for himself or his newfound clones companions. Fishing the starter chits and associated personalized bling attached to it from his pocket, he swirled it through the air about his finger, allowing it to jangle noisily against itself, drawing an disdainful glance from the clerk who was working with one of the others. It was enough to draw attention and with his Sithly getup on, a plan in place, and a signal word yet to be utter, enough, he hoped, to make contact with whichever rebels were expecting his stolen vessel.
  6. The Mantis smiled, his body relaxing visably. “Well then, if you are in, Coruscant is not where you want to go, not yet. Not sure the four of us can take it alone. Not yet. Lets brush the rust off those guns of yours and go help some folks in need. Any chance you fellows can make yourselves look a little less like clones and a little more like unsavories? Ryloth won’t be too friendly to us rebels; maybe even less to government-types sniffing about.” As their conversation waned, The mysterious rebel returned to the cockpit to launch them to hyperspace and towards their rendezvous on Ryloth. He was not sure who they would be meeting there, but he knew if these clones were serious about doing the right thing they’d be a great asset to the Rebellion. If they were shady, his fellow rebels would be able to sniff it out and Ryloth would be a good place to leave them if they became too unsavory. Once launched, the masked spy set about changing from his armor into a grubby Imperial jumpsuit, accenting it with his collapsed staff and a few vials of agridium powder to play the part of the would-be hijacker of said ship.
  7. The Jensaarai nodded in thanks, tucking the piece of dried meat into a fold in his robes to save for later as he listened to the men talk and update themselves. Of course they would have questions, it was only natural. Unfortunately, he would not have all the answers; even those he did have he could not reveal the full expanse of, lest he saturate his own opinions into them or reveal himself and his people to the plagues of darkness about the galaxy. Still, they deserved to know something of what the galaxy they were reentering had to offer. At the outcry of emotion regarding Mon Cal, The Mantis opted to interject. “It is my belief that a resistance force had or is currently driving the Sith forces from that world. The war you may remember is gone gentlemen, but for those willing to stand on the side of what is right and honorable, there are still a great many battles that will need fighting. Droid armies still plague the galaxy. Even the Jedi have one now. So too do slave armies run amok and some users of the force put themselves above all others. I am no Sith or friend thereof, in fact, this ship is to be used in such a manner as to right the wrongs perpetuated about the galaxy and allowed by the forces of darkness. If you are willing, there is an old Imperial, and dare I say past Republic, world and populace that could benefit from the skillsets I am sure you possess. What say you to taking the fight to the enemy, being a bit of a rebel against the hordes of darkness that seek to overwhelm our galaxy these days?” he asked, his voice a bit playful at the question before he added a bit sarcastically, “It is where I was going originally. But if you’d like, I can take you to Coruscant. Last time I was there the Sith crashed the moon into the thing. Killed trillions. Lots of real estate available.”
  8. The Jensaarai slowly nodded. To be stuck on a world so long, to be out of touch with the realities of the galaxy for so long, it was almost criminal. Who would have done such a thing? It was apparent though that these were not forces of the Sith; although, where they allegiances might lie was still an unknown. “I go by many names Captain, many of which are unpronounceable even to me, but you may call me Pryf.” he answered the clone’s question before turning to conversation quickly away from any further inquiries and back to the topic at hand. “If you and your men are to accompany me, I would ask that you provide some manner of consumables so we all might survive the trip. I had to leave with little notice and am not well equipped for taking on passengers; although, I would guess you and your men have had it worse.” ”As soon as you are ready, we can be off.” ________________________________ It did not take long before the Jensaarai and his newfound passengers were settled, albeit somewhat haphazardly in the highly used and abused ore freighter. The Sith Imperial creat on the side of the ship would help them blend in once they entered more charted space lanes. The Mantis left it unsaid that he hoped the chaos of Mon Cal had prevented the hauler from being entered into any sort of galactic stolen vessel registry. The thing would need abandoned, scuttled, or stripped sooner than later. Still, it served their purpose. As the craft lifted off from the world, the still-armored man, set about engaging the autopilot to see them clear of any gravitational wells before he made his way back to the dirty cargo hold where the clones were able ton stow whatever gear they had wanted to bring along. It was not accommodations any self-respecting ship’s captain would be proud to offer passengers, but it would have to do. Careful to avoid brushing the wall and dirtying his cream cloak, The Mantis stepped inside and nodded to the troopers, his voice an enigma, but warm, behind his helm. “We should be clear to jump within the hour. Never knew a hauler that couldn’t be outpaces by a legless bantha rolling uphill, but we’ll get there. Wherever there is. Tell me, where is it you boys are looking to go?” he offered a datapad, he had found amongst the ship’s supplies. It was open to a heavily regulated newsfeed of the Sith Imperial News Corps. Still, short of telling stories, it was the best way to offer the castaways a glance at the greater galaxy. He only hoped they could read through some of the more obvious propoganda. “I warn you though, not everything is as it appears in the holonews feeds.” It would not be hard to find news of the desecration of the industrial shipyards of Mon Cal at the hands of terrorists and dissident factions of malcontents and vigilantes. A bit more digging might also reveal a few still shots of potentially wanted subjects now branded enemies of the state for what might be considered war crimes against the Imperial government of Mon Cal. Among them would be a single blurred photo of what might have been the clones’ newfound host with the charges of terrorism, use of incendiary devices to inflict wonton damage, and criminal destruction in the first degree. Something about blowing up medicinal production facilities on Mon Cal . . .
  9. The Mantis stood unmoving. He could feel the weapons of the clones trained on him. Beneath his light armor and cloak, his muscles stood tense and relaxed, ready to spring into action in an instant. The force flowed about him, line a stone just below the surface of a river. It rippled and changed and obscured him beneath it’s wake, trailing a wake across the surface if the world, hiding him against the chaos of the natural. Yet, he stood here still. He did not know who these clones were. Their faces gave away their genetic identity. Such knowledge was commonplace to those who read and studied history. The Jensaarai made doing so an integral part of their training. Behind his unmoving masked helm, The Mantis spoke softly and with calm surety. “The Republic is no more. The Galactic Empire, no more. The Sith, sworn enemies of the Jedi, seek to purge the galaxy of them, of anyone that might stand in their way. They have the truth, yet corrupt it. They have given themselves over to the depravity of their own minds, over to the shadows of the galaxy. As for me, I am but a thief, a man of honor, a lowly vagabond trying to survive in the shadows without succumbing to them. As for why I am fleeing, I think that would be obvious. I stole something.” The Mantis fell silent after he answered. This clone wanted to play games. Very well, he had one more question, “Why do you have a distress signal activated?”
  10. The soft woot of a sensor on the bridge alongside a flashing amber light in the console tugged The Mantis from his light slumber. Aboard the battered ore freighter, the Jensaarai Defender had rested, conserving the few supplies he had found in hopes that between they and prolonged meditations, he would survive the journey from the chaotic world of Mon Cal to wherever the force may lead him. When he hd left the world, the rebel siege was in full swing. It had been easy enough amidst the chaos of the surface and the skies to make it to an unattended Sith freighter and slip through the battle, unscathed for the most part. Righting his seat, the Defender’s eyes scanned the console for the source of the bleeping. It took only a moment, a faint distress beacon. Perhaps it was far off or it’s battery was dying, signaling it’s advanced age. Maybe it was caught beneath some level of obstruction that messed with it’s beacon. It was hard to tell. The Mantis tapped the console as he pondered the situation. He knew what he needed to do, it just took a few moments to convince himself of it. Grabbing the yoke, the Defender manually brought the craft about. Somewhere within the fringes of whatever system he was traversing someone was or had been signaling for help. It was an old transponder code, one that the Sith craft did not recognize as legitimate. Still, it checked out. It WAS a distress signal. Having just escaped a Sith held world and having committed what would surely be categorized as an act of terror, The Mantis was cautious; more cautious than he usually was. That was something to say the least. He sent no response, no message seeking clearance or classification. If there was someone on the world in need, he would find them himself. The craft was designed for hauling goods, weighty cargo. It was not made for advanced scans, searching for lifeforms and the like. Slicing through the atmosphere of Haruun Kal, the beacon’s call became clearer. It came from a . . . ship? That made sense. It was the make and model of it that did not. It was a ship that wound have been natural amongst the old Army of The Republic, a Kaminoan craft designed for ferrying clones; not one that had any place plying the galaxy in today’s day and age. Unless . . . The Sith were resurrecting a lobgnlost army. That was a long long time ago. More than a lifetime. It seemed Sithly enough to make sense. Setting the ship down on a rocky ice shelf out of sight of the wreckage, The Mantis donned his Jensaarai armor and cloak, his weapons expertly affixed. Securing the craft, it’s industrial locks jarring into place, The Mantis set off into the clear air. The force swirled around the force user, shrouding his presence, his signature, his very essence in a veil of secrecy and unknowing. He was the shadow that was there and gone in a blink, something that at once one saw but could not see, doubting the very existence of what might have been but was not. The Jensaarai was a ninja of the soacelanes. He, they, existed by not existing. Their presence was never known or sensed. They worked in the shadow. They were the shadow; not being of darkness, but beings of muted light. The sand in the bottom half of the hour glass. Created by the sins of the Jedi and the arrogance of the Sith, and yet drawn inexplicably to the light. He moved, darting from shadow to shadow as he made his way from outcropping to rock along the mountainside. Crouched high in the crisp cool clear air, The Mantis overlooked the overwatch and the, was it really a clone? overlooking the mountainside below. What was going on? Was this some sort of military outpost? Nothing seemed to add up and yet, The Mantis was here, alone. If this was a trap, he would spring it. If this was a rescue, he would carry it out. If this was anything else, then he would do his best to help those in need and stop any evil that might be seeking to permeate the galaxy alongside the Sith war force that threatened the freedom of the known universe. Even as the force shaded his existence, The Mantis jumped, arcing in a long somersault, landing on his padded feet at the edge of the overwatch behind Tilt. “Do not be alarmed soldier,” he spoke, his voice calm and commanding, almost ethereal in quality. “I am escaping an Imperial world under siege and picked up your distress signal. Are you ok? Are you alone? Who are you?” he asked, his eyes scanning the trooper before him, ready to spring backwards off the edge into open air if needed, or to heft a weapon from his armor and respond in self defense. Still, he hoped for better. He hoped this man was not the last survivor of some doomed vessel, a solitary Sith creation that would need purged. In his heart, The Mantis regarded the soldier and hoped for the best.
  11. The sub chugged along without much issue. Apparently the craft was well overdue for it’s regularly scheduled service and several flashing alerts continued to signal that regardless of her pilot’s attempt to acknowledge and delay them. Still, the craft did not seem to suffer any catastrophic failures as it made it’s way to the Hakawa Islands. Nearing the mountain peaks that poked above the water, The Mantis slowed his craft, taking in the scans of the area. This far out to sea, there was little need for a full security contingent to be present on and about the islands. A few smaller docks extending out of caves and a single larger warehouse-line structure were all that seemed to inhabit the otherwise desolate windswept mountainsides. Idling beneath the choppy waters, the Jensaarai pondered for a moment, his face an emotionless slate as he contemplated what he was about to do. It was for the greater good. Still, that line from his order’s code, ‘Preserve life, from it flows the force’ tumbled in his mind. This seemed an ideal location. Given the Sith’s fascination with mechanized servants, The Mantis assumed that the majority of labor here would be the same. Worth a check still, he decided. Angling the sub for the surface, The Mantis turned the craft and angled it back to open sea before gracefully diving into the choppy waters. His armor was light enough; but it still tugged him downwards. The Mantis had to push himself with each stroke to pull himself upwards and forwards until he reached a point where he could stand. Pulling himself ashore, the Defender took the moment to rest, his eyes scanning the rocky hillside before him. Wrapping himself in the force, his consciousness and mind extended out across the island chain so as to render him undetectable to force user and security system alike, the rebel-aligned monk began to pick his way towards the main loading dock. This was the largest island and with it came the most activity, and the chance for a bigger distraction. Slipping through the shadows, The Mantis nodded to himself as he saw the plethora of droids mindlessly offloading crates of supplies and gingerly stacking hydrostatically sealed containers. Balo Mushroomd. Nok Morliss was running his own death stick production facility on Mon Cal! Flitting from shadow to shadow with the ease of a wraithe, the ninja-esque warrior monk made good time; clinging to overhanging pipes, swinging from catwalk to assembly line, crawling along a suspiciously well maintained ventilation duct. Soon enough he found himself in what could only be called a control room. Given it’s sparsity and single chair with a control station, that was generous. The window that looked out over the dimly lit violet lamps confirmed the man’s suspicions. It was a drug farm. Undoubtedly the other mountains had also been hollowed out to accompany the vast levels of constructed terraces and hanging gardens to maximize the growth of the mushrooms and who knew what else. Staring at the screen, The Mantis gave an effort w and see if he could gain access. A simple password was enough to dissuade that plan. There was no sense alerting security forces yet. Given the clicking and clacking of the keyboard, it was apparent the station had not been manned in quite some time. The polished socket for droid use was a testament to the automated order the ruling Sith lord commanded. The old fashioned way it was. Leaving the overlook, The Mantis snaked his way through the still air of the temperature controlled grow cavern. He had to divert a few times, avoiding the automated watering features as they kicked on in different section. He was unsure and unwilling to find out what sort of chemical concoction was being poured into these plants to make them more addictive, grow faster and larger, or anything else. Glow-in-the-dark was not a look The Mantis was keen on. Soon enough he was on the grated floor of the lowest level. Water dripped in the semi-darkness at a constant rate. The entire area smelled earthy and warm. Scanning as far as he could see with his infrared scanner the Jensaarai smiled when he saw it. Binary loaders were known for their strength and simplicity. Anti-sabotage was decidedly not their forté. There, stacked against an exterior inclined wall were the remnants of the mining explosives used to hollow out this and the other mountains. There sure was a lot of it. Waste not, want not? Being careful not to slip on the watery flooring, The Mantis scurried cautiously, a rodent in the darkness, towards the expertly stacked crates. Some of them were starting to mold already. The stacks reached to the first ceiling and spread to the left and to the right until there were enveloped in the purple darkness. It was a simple enough task to set a timer on a pair of thermal detonators and lob them amongst the crates. After that, all that was needed was to get away. The Mantis took off into the darkness making his way upwards towards his point of entry. ________________________ Thirty minutes later the entire island was shoock by an earth-shattering explosion that toppled the interior lattice-frames grow beds and sent rock and dust tumbling downwards into the grow area. Plumes of stone and fire erupted from the side of the mountain. The waters shook and frothed at the intensity of the blast. Somewhere in the chaos that ensued a single message flagged with the Jensaarai warrior’s unique coding passed by on encrypted comms upwards towards the stealther rebel craft that was monitoring the system: ‘IT IS DONE’
  12. The heavy-laden cleric paused as he was confronted by the droid. Beneath his faceless features, the Jensaarai frowned. Apparently finding a closer transport to ferry him towards his goal was out of the question. Undoubtedly if this droid went missing it would raise the alarm; a little too prematurely for what the rebels hoped to accomplish. In keeping with his character, The Mantis rattled the censer at the end of his staff angrily in droid’s face spewing clouds of incense into the air. He then turned and shuffled off back the way he had come. Ducking into a doorway, The Mantis leaned heavily against the wall. He closed his eyes and reached out on the tendrils of the force. He was a Jensaarai. His actions here were for the betterment of his people galaxies away. To stop the Sith here would be to drive a wedge into the onslaught of the Sith war machine and to direct them away. The rebels were a blight to the Sith. The Jedi a threat. The Jensaarai were there to lurk in the shadows, unseen and safe, protecting their own, and by it, the worlds about them. The Mantis’ head inclined towards the smog filled aky above. It was as if he could almost feel his people across the cosmos. He was bound to them by more than a mere oath. He felt the worlds between them, the stars, the dust, the very cosmos. He was a Jensaarai, all of this was a part of him, just as he was a part of it. The Mantis allowed his focus to expand, he felt the world around him intimately. It was sick, twisted and corrupt. It longed for healing. He felt every molecule and particle, the steel, the water, wood and even air. He allowed his spirit to entangle itself with them all. Their fate would be as his, for in the force, they were one and the same. Across the city, across the waters, he allowed his consciousness to spread until his persona was nothing more than a background noise drowned out by the buzz of machinations and nature. Invisible against the galaxy. The Mantis waited a minute more as his mind settled and he focused his sight on where he was. He felt the world all around him, yet saw and moved in his own body. For the inexperienced, it was a equilibrium-defying experience. Returning to his shuffle, The Defender returned to his path. He did not wander any more, his actions were pointed and direct. He needed to reach the city’s edge. Walking along, the cleric-disguised Jensaarai flitted effortlessly from shadow to shadow. He turned to avoid any gatherings of workers shambling to or from their laborious tasks. In spite of being spread so thin so as to avoid more than a passing detection in the force or a fuzz on a camera or photoceptor, he did not want to take any undue risks. As he neared a relatively desolate marina, the cleric paused, slipping between a pair of overflowing trash bins. With a slight clamor, he pulled himself up and over the fencing that barred the city from the once pristine docks of pleasure crafts. These boats now sat derelict in their moorings, the first signs of lack of care and decay manifesting all over. Through the slitted visor of his disguise, The Mantis surveyed the docks before him looking for a craft to ferry him forward. Given the lack of resistance on the subjugated world and the desertion of this usually bustling trade and pleasure post, he suspected an unauthorized departure would draw attention sooner than later. Eying a Luxsub setting low in her moorings, The Mantis hurried towards it. It was unlocked. As if the force had willed it. Clamoring aboard, the Defender was pleased to find that even in her abandoned state the craft still appeared watertight. Even better, it started with a touch. Within minutes the craft was motoring out past the protective reef that enclosed the marina bay. There was no way to avoid it and surely the craft would be detected. Still, he maintained the slow no wake speed of the marina, ignoring whatever chirping the comm might be making. When he passed the last buoy and cleared the reef, The Mantis immediately began a sharp descent beneath the waves. Pushing the craft to it’s limits, The Mantis left a whirlwind of churned water in the crafts wake, even below the waves, as they motored out to sea and more importantly towards the Hakawa Islands and the dark crops being cultivated there. The Mantis only hoped that Mythos and his men could create a scene soon enough that he could make landfall and together they could divide the security forces of the planet and open up a weak point.
  13. The civilian craft broke hyperspace, it followed standard procedure so as to begin landing on the once pleasurable world of Mon Cal. Even amongst the industrial sludge, lawless pleasures still coated the world in dark and exotic financial gains. Pleasures that any well-paying vacationer could find without risk of coming to such a world; pleasures that a low-budget cruise line would exploit for a quick credit in a moment. Back room deals just made the deal sweeter. Docking, the ship began the usual hours-long process of offloading her pleasure seeking passengers. On a lawless world like Mon Cal there was little need for security checkpoints, not when Sith-powered bots patrolled the streets and sorceries permeated the very air of the world. The passengers were allowed to disembark and move about the pleasure areas of the city, all within careful observation of the countless cameras of the planet’s automated security forces. Moving quickly with the aura of a shuffling cleric, The Mantis moved seemingly aimlessly away from the ship, his censer bearing staff clacking against the cobble-appearing durasteel streets. He wandered moving further from and back closer to the casinos, bordellos, and pleasure centers; each foray taking him on a new path a bit further. They were on the clock. The few rebels amongst the majority of ‘innocent’ sinners had to act and soon.
  14. The Mantis nodded. Sabotage, deceit, distraction, set the Sith in disarray before the main attack makes landfall allowing for a divided enemy in disarray; these were all skillsets of The Jensaarai. These were skill skills that The Mantis’ people had used in some way or another to survive for a long time. “If all goes according to plan, we will see you on the other side. If it doesn’t,” he paused considering his next words for a moment, “then there is no need to relieve us. We will die fighting or see ourselves out.” Moving towards the door, The Mantis looked towards Col. Von Howlster as he turned, fitting his hemet back over his head and obscuring his features. “Quick and quiet. Grab your best men. The rest should come with attack forces. We’ll be quick. If all goes well, we rendezvous. If not,” he shrugged, “we don’t. I’ll see you for our cruise.” The Mantis moved like a dark feline amongst the city streets. He flit from shadow to shadow with ease. Before he made the transport that would take them to the cruise ship, the Defender had changed from his signature look into one of the many disguises each Jensaarai initiate was taught to utilize, conceal, and change from and into in a moment’s time. Striding carefully from the shadows clad in robes head to toe of vermillion and carrying his aros (staff) now with a censer bellowing heavily odored plumes of qatameric incense all about. In silence, as befitting the religion of The Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenance, The Mantis made his way to the transport. From there, the pleasure cruiser. Even amongst the odd crowd that would cruise the spacelanes amongst a galactic war, and moreso one that had a scheduled docking at the lawlessly resurrected world of Mon Cal, a Brother would not be an odd sight, pilgraming from world to world by whatever means available. Mythos and his crew would have to find their own way aboard the cruiser; one that would leave them undetected by their fellow passengers. Anonymity was their greatest defense.
  15. The Mantis nodded slowly as he took in their task and watched the others. Glancing at their ragtag group, the worn Corellian turned to lock eyes with the rebel pilot. A solemn nod was his designation of agreement. A world of fish folk would be hard enough to blend into. If the Sith found out they were coming, it would only get worse. The Defender did briefly ponder how a band of space marines were going to smuggle their weapons planetside on a civilian cruise ship. He quickly let the thought slip away. It was not his concern. The two hour time gap however, was a bit of a concern. They would have to hit the ground running. Even then, chances of getting much accomplished if they hit any bumps were slim. “Two hours from touchdown to assault; what are you expecting in that time?” he pondered softly to the room.
  16. The Mantis had stood, his limbs hanging loosely at his side, staring down the weapons leveled in his direction. Concern had not been high on his list of responses. The rebel soldiers were doing their job. On a world like this one could hardly blame a fella who was wanted for his mere existence for being a bit jumpy. From behind his enclosed helm, The Mantis raised an eyebrow in interest at the arrival of the hulking canine. If he had to guess, the Jensaarai would have figured him for a bounty hunter of sorts. But still, the being had the same name as The Mantis did and he himself could be considered an odd specimen by some. Who was he to judge. Given the fact that the guardsmen obeyed the wolfman, The Mantis figured he was a rebel of sorts. So was he, he pondered for a moment. The Jensaarai had thrown their lot in with this ragtag band of upstarts and idealists. There was something about them. Clambering with ease from the speeder, The Mantis dropped to the packed earth and made his way into the prefabricated command structure, down the hall to a spare service room set up almost like a cafeteria eating area. He offered a nod of thanks to the much larger wolfish rebel. Otherwise, he was content to remain in the silence of the cramped room, his eyes scanning the walls; diagrams, a few odd maps and starcharts, nothing too exciting really. The comment about the Jensaarai from the wolfman took The Mantis by surprise. Not many usually knew who or what they were. When Lt. Andromina entered, The Mantis stood from the benched sear he had occupied, stepping forward to extend a hand to tightly and quickly grasp the pilot’s before releasing and stepping back. As the ranking rebel spoke, The Mantis fell into step as they left the hall and walked down the hallway. He walked in silence allowing Mythos a chance to speak first, which he did as they entered the official briefing room. With a hiss, the Defender removed the faceplate of his light Jensaarai armor helmet, the suit adapting to the pressure of the world about them. He tucked the faceplate beneath his armpit, his rugged Corellian features offset by his bright green eyes. With a low baritone, The Mantis spoke, after they entered the briefing room and Mythos had said his piece. A sight smile played across the Jensaarai’s face; surely the woman knew what she was asking. “I am Mantis.” he spoke by way of introduction. Any mention of the Jensaarai was left unsaid. His people’s anonymity was one of their greatest defenses, even as he wore his customized armor beneath his gray robe. That same robe he lifted to reveal a complete set of throwing knives held against his armored waist alongside his collapsible staff. “I am not a soldier or a Jedi. Espionage is my area of . . . ability. Like him,” he inclined a thumb towards Mythos, “I can just,” he circled his hand in the air, opening his fist in a trail of fingers before closing back into a fist as if signing a universal idea of disappearing. Taking the chance to redirect the conversation, he opted to pepper the lieutenant with a few queries of his own. “An interesting location to plan an invasion of such a contested world.” Shooting a glance around as if for emphasis he continued, “I am hoping there are more than us and a few marines. No offense sir,” he shot an apologetic glance to Mythos as he spoke. “I’ve heard stories about what has been going on at Mon Cal. Dark stuff. What are you thinking? Do we have any rebels planetside already? Getting there should be easy enough. Mon Cal has become the new Nar Shaddaa. What kind of defenses do they have set up?” The Mantis stepped up to a table bearing a holographic rotating display of the watery world in question. His eyes scanned the fluxing world map. Was this real time? Glimmers of ships in orbit blipped in and out of sight above the world. The Mantis was not by any means a one man army. He was a stealthy combatant. Protecting protectors, moving unnoticed amongst the shadows, aiding the Alliance, those were his tasks. By them, he was bettering the cause of his own people. The Sith Empire was too big a threat to be ignored. They were coming for them, the Alliance, the Jedi, anyone who might be a threat. Masters of camouflage and stealth, even the Jensaarai were threatened by the ever growing horde of evil.
  17. The ragged delivery freighter was not quick to offload her goods. Even if Kessel had been taken by the Rebel Alliance, there was still a lucrative and active black market retail business that bustled about the planet; it’s illicit income still grossly out earning any legal incomes the world had access to. So even as the crew carefully and methodically offloaded their cargo of food stuffs, water, and purification tablets they watched as their local contacts moved an equal number of packages into place to be loaded and transported from the world. Spice, it was as illegal as it was valued. The financial gain from the delivery paled in comparison to the payday awaiting their next cargo. None of that mattered though. Through the carefully calculated hubbub a figure swarthed in flowing gray cloaks strode silently from the hold, ducking to the side as soon as it exited the ship. Beneath the robes, the Jensaarai’s armor flowed seamlessly, barely giving away the fact that it even existed beneath the flowing robes. The force moved subtly about the man, muted and almost indiscernible against the miniscule buzzing backdrop of the world. With a jump and a twist, The Mantis twisted around the nearest building corner and fell into stride with the few shuffling locals that made their way down the otherwise desolate windswept street. Silence shrouded the man in an aura of mystery as deep as the force that was muted against the invisible wall outside of his body. He strode silently and with purpose, his head tucked low against the cold biting wind. He did not seem to pay mind to anything around him; lime the others, he looked like he was focused on getting where he was going with as little hassle as possible. Beneath his robes, The Mantis’ weapos were tucked tightly against his armor. They did not clink and clank. They did not rattle. They barely made a discernible bulge. Each tool was designed to fit into the armor, blended against detection but accessible in a moment. He strode with purpose through the newly conquered city. Things would change here, hopefully for the better. It would take time and effort. For now, chaos and darkness lingered amongst the hope. Hopes of better tomorrows and hopes of less interference in money-making schemes, good and bad. Against the backdrop, with his subconscious signature alteration within the force, The Mantis was all but invisible to anyone or thing but the naked eye. Anybody that did not focus directly on the Jensaarai Defender simply glossed over his very presence. Twisting and turning The Mantis distanced himself from the distant landing pad until he found an idling and unattended landspeeder outside a crowd-packed tavern. With nary more than a glance to see that nobody was attending the craft, The Mantis commandeered it. Soon enough, the speeder was churning up plumes of dust in the weak atmosphere as it tore across the open ground outside the small city. Racing towards Outpost Delta, The Mantis made good time. There was little here to hamper him. The outpost was barely beyond a few prefab structures and an ad hoc landing pad; but it was the start of good things on the oblong planet. Grinding to a halt as he entered the base, The Mantis slowly raised his hands in a gesture of peace in response to the laser dots trained on him by the guards outside the outpost. “The Jensaarai have sent me as a representative. Tell Lt. Andromina I am here.”
  18. The Saarai-Kaar nodded, without giving way his disappointment that the young apprentice before him had not studied their own history.“The Jedi and Sith descend from same line and tradition. The same that we ourselves come from. The differences, however, have morphed over time. I fear that as each grows further from it’s roots the deeper engrained it becomes in the siren’s call from the darkness,” he explained as he turned to reach towards Bones’ saber. He continued to speak, “The Jensaarai do not often concern themselves with the ways of the galaxy at large. It is not our place to do so. We are entrusted with one another, to hold each other accountable and to defend the truth. The dark calls and we hold fast together against it.” Once Bones handed his hilt to the Jensaarai leader, he turned it over in his hands, allowing the hilt to roll from hand to hand as he tested the weight. “Even so, the Jedi and the Sith are our brothers. Some are more misguided than others. The darkness that calls them threatens the entire universe. The siren’s call is tempting to all. Even me. To protect our community, we must not just learn, but we must stand against the darkness when it threatens our own.” Hefting the saber, the Saarai-Kaar twirled the hilt one handed, his eyes never leaving it. The force whirled about them as he prodded it mentally, scanning it inside and out. “Many Jensaarai are born into our tradition, raised in it. Your experiences with the darkness has prepared you in unique ways. You have tasted it and not succumb.” He stopped spinning the weapon and offered it hilt end back to Bones, nodding, “But you are still young. Prepare to meet with Defender Sarlacc and his elder apprentice, Svata. They should be arriving within the day.” ”Your saber appears to be functional and aptly built. I would venture you had help from our community. That is good. Each Jensaarai must find his or her place here. Hold onto that when you go forth. Let it be your emotional tether to hold you fast.” Placing a warm hand on Bones’ shoulder, the Saarai-Kaar guided him towards the door. “The Sarlacc will continue your training for now. Together the three of you must go and help our wayward brethren stand against the darkness.” Pausing at the door, the Saarai-Kaar stared deep into Bones’ eyes, the force thick and swirling between them illuminating things beyond the surface. “Though we broke from the Jedi, they are our brothers. Save them whilst the sun still shines.”
  19. The door slid open with a grumbling rattle as the rough knobby hand the Order’s figurehead pushed it into a recess in the wall. With an emotionless look, the Saarai-Kaar, clad in a simple brown tinicnand breeches looked Bones up and down and then waves him to come in; stepping back out of the doorway to one side. Inside, it was spartan. The most outstanding thing about the one room hovel was the Saarai-Kaar’s armor displayed on a samurai-like display rack. In the shadows, if one was not fully aware, the armor could easily be mistaken for another being. Thebrest of the room had a table and chair, bunk, a chest and a few other small items. Practically bare and clean. The dirt-packed floor was as solid as the durasteel beneath it; having been trod until it now longer responded to being walked upon. Holding out a hand towards Bones, the Saarai-Kaar asked a simple question “My saber?” He saw the young Jensaarai’s hilt gleefully clutched between his hands, but did not acknowledge it yet, waiting until his own weapon was returned before responding further. Once Bones returned the Saarai-Kaar’s weapon, the Weequay turned and carefully set the weapon with his displayed armor before turning back to Bones. Glancing at the saber hilt Bones held, he continued, “I assume that your weapon is functional. There is no time for me to instruct you in the use of this weapon. You must prepare yourself.” Turning, the Saarai-Kaar stared out the singular window of his hut. It overlooked a slight hill down to where several children were running about and playing some makeshift game with a roughhewn leather ball. Even from here their giggles and occasional angry call of foul play could be heard. It added a sense of life to the serene surroundings. Without looking back at his guest, the leader spoke once again, “If you desire to become a Jensaarai you must become one with us. All of us. The Sun-Dragon is an able teacher. He is often relegated the more . . . difficult . . . initiates that come to us. Like you, he had to overcome a dark past. Darker than even yours I would say. In doing so, he was cleansed through both holy and unholy fire; having to forsake all that he knew and called his own. The time has come though for you to show your dedication.” Turning to face Bones again, the Saarai-Kaar’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Have you studied the histories? What do you know of the Jedi and the Sith?”
  20. The Saarai-kaar places his hand on Bones’ shoulder, gently and quietly urging him back to a standing position. ‘The Jensaarai kneel in submission to none.’ He urged silently in the force. Pulling his own duel-bladed lightsaber hilt from his belt, the Saarai-Kaar offered it to Bones. “Take this. Reach out in the force. Study it’s makeup. Then begin to craft your own. You have your pieces? Sit here by the dome. Build your weapon. Then return to me in my quarters.” The instructions were simple enough. The Saarai-Kaar knew that the twisted life of the growth within the done would present a dark edge to hedge the young Tognath’s own ambitions. The test went without speaking; either the apprentice would instinctively recoil from the light or he would pursue the darkness and be destroyed by it, drawing the purple fungus unto himself. “You will need this weapon where you will be going. Your brethren will need your skills. This blade will mark you as one of our own. Unique as all Jensaarai are. Seek the truth within the force. Follow the paths upon which we trod. Seek the truth within the weapon. Look beyond the surface. Seek the truth within yourself. Weed out the deceptions you have planted there. There, will you find the design of your weapon.” With that the Jensaarai leader offered Bones a warm smile. He knew his instructions were cryptic in some ways. Still, he had every faith the Tognath could search within the force and discern truth from falsehood. The time it would take him to build his weapon would allow for the other pieces of the holoboard to move into place. Then they would strike at the heart of darkness.
  21. A dull klaxon, worn and aged, beeped a low foghorn-like warning as dim red lights flashed around the doors in lopsided circles. With a slow grating squeak and the hiss of negative pressure into Dome #8, the elder Saarai-kaar stepped out of the prohibited zone. The force swirled in shadowy wraithe-y waves of light and dark, gnawing at any would be hangers on of the poisonous purple growth; ensuring it did not escape the massive metal tomb that contained it aboard Rakaw Nwul. Even in full armor, the man that led the Jensaarai did not look all that intimidating. Unassuming and lethal, the Saarai-Kaar carried himsef in an aura of force-bound mystery. Seeing Bones chanting softly, the Saarai-Kaar let his presence in the force branch out and fill the room searching for the apprentice’s aura. Upon finding it, he urged it upwards and outwards, guiding it deeper into the ethereal tendrils that were the force. Without a word, he hoped to help the young Tognath expand his horizons. As their auras swirled together, a great darkness loomed ever closer. Together, they swirled along the edge of dawn and sunset, darkness to their left and seering brightness to their right. They swirled forward perched on the molecular razor’s edge that sepersted the two. “Shadow” the voice echoed softly through the force. In the force, time had no meaning. It stood still and reached for eons into the future and the past. Gently, the two came back to the room outside of Dome #8 and deposited their consciousnesses back from where they had never left. With a gentle hiss, the Saarai-Kaar removed his helmet, revealing an aged and worn face with deep set eyes that seemed to speak of having seen things that no being ought to have witnessed. His eight braids that sprouted from atop his head tumbled back over his shoulders as he offered a hand to Bones to help him to his feet. “Greetings young apprentice. The Jensaarai have need of your skills and abilities abroad. Are you ready to strike for your community, to protect those who have embraced you?” ”Have you completed your lightsaber yet?”
  22. “Think, feel, be, allow the force to touch your innermost being and reflect it out through the prism that is you. This is why every Jensaarai undergoes such rigors. To mold and form them. You have great potential young Bones. You must embrace this new life and learn it until you become one with it.” An armor-clad Defender materialized silently behind Bones at the side of the bare earth. With a nod to the warrior, The Sun-Dragon cut himself short. “Excuse me little brother. It would appear I am being called elsewhere. Return to your quarters, commune with the community, seek out the verpine and do what they request to obtain parts with which to begin constructing your lightsaber. When I return, I will instruct you in how to begin construction.” Brushing past Bones, the scantily-clad Defender walked to meet his fellow. After conversing in low tones for several minutes, Sun-Dragon turned and returned to Bones. “To be a Jensaarai means to seek knowledge. Those who seek acknowledge they do not know all that there is to know or worth knowing. The force can be unfathomable. Ashla and Bogan are but one way that people cast that which they carry within onto something they cannot understand. They label it to understand it. The force cannot be known. Light and dark can be found within. Thus we reflect what is in our own hearts. Purge the darkness from your soul brother. Contemplate on these mysteries and when we meet again, we can speak further. For now, the Saarai-Kaar has requested that you go to the sealed doors of Dome #8. Await instructions there. Go with the knowledge that whatever task you are given, you carry the community on your shoulders” With that, the Sun-Dragon turned and made his way down the road, disappearing around the corner.
  23. The Sun-Dragon laughed aloud, a loud belly laugh of pleasure as he felt the force behind the tognath’s blows. Setting one foot behind him at an angle, he swung his own staff to brace against the blows. “Good! Let the force flow through you. It is a river and you, but a branch in the current. Let the river guide you.” Twirling his own staff to parry the incoming flurry blows, loud cracks filled the makeshift arena as the dance continued, the Sun-Dragon circling back slowly as he deflected the onslaught of strikes and blows directed at him. “Flow with the river, but remember, you are not a leaf to be pushed without influence. Do not block the river and seek to divert it. Roll yourself in the river, allowing the uniqueness that is you to be buffeted by the force and pushed in ways that are unique to you. Every branch is different, but they spring from the same tree. Do not resist; do not hold fast; but like a rudder, let who you are speak in the force. Together, a path will become apparent.” And with a final block of an incoming blow, the Sun-Dragon pushed back against Bones’ weapons arcing his own staff in the air in an attempt to smash the wooden rod across the tognath’s head. “The force, your past, your future; you, the Jensaarai.” Should the Defender knock his apprentice into the dust, he would stop to help him up, the lesson concluded. Should young Bones continue the fight, the lesson would continue.
  24. Accepting her drink with a warm smile, The Malia took a deep swig. Smiling as she lowered the mug, “I think it is the other way around. How can I help you? You see, Serenity Vowler, there is more to you than appears. Just like,” the woman rolled her lightsaber hilt onto the aged wooden table with clatter, “there is more to me too.” Glancing out the window, the mysterious warrioress smiled. The smile dis not reach the woman’s eyes Which were etched with sadness. “Corellia is besieged by the forces of evil. The light falters across the galaxy. It always needs more to reflect the light from their hearts it into the crevices of darkness. Lets go for a walk. The shadows grow long.” Standing, The Malia left her half-finished drink on the table and scooped her weapon up back into the folds of her cloak in one smooth motion. Pulling her fur robe more tightly about her she gestured to the door. Outside, the warrioress fell into step with Serenity as they strode seemingly aimlessly through the city towards the dark side of the planet. “It is honorable to earn a pure living; but something tells me that you were made for more than serving drinks and jaunting back and forth from Ryloth to Corellia until darkness falls across the expanse. What stirs deep in your soul little sister? What is it you desire? I have watched you from afar; but tell me who you truly are.” The shadows continued to grow longer as the sun set in the distance and the temperatures began to rapidly descend and still, they walked.
  25. Twirling to his left, The Sun-Dragon whirled backwards away from the driving blow. His own staff spinning around in his hands as he, in one continuous sweep, brought his own wooded weapon towards Bones’ exposed back. In the same sweeping forward motion, he planted his foot atop Bones’ weapon as it struck empty earth. Using his momentum, the Sun-Dragon did not stop moving, whirling to a clear distance behind his apprentice. Staff in hand, he continued to spin it, the momentum of the aros ready to be directed into its next strike. Looking down at his apprentice he spoke. “Focus not on your weapon. Focus on yourself. A Jensaarai is always seeking truth and is always ready to act. Your mind, body, and soul bonded together as one. The weapon should become nothing but an extension of your will and of your person. When you are centered, unhampered by the distractions about you, you will become one with your weapon.” The Jensaarai master slowly circles keeping his eyes on Bones. The force continued to swirl around him and on it, he reached out. He felt the traces of pride that had distracted his apprentice. The blurred staff hazing before his eyes, he continued, his intense gaze never leaving the young Bones who now held a position within reaching distance of his discarded weapons. “The skills of combat can be learned. To be a Jensaarai you must become master of the most difficult aspects of the galaxy, yourself. A Jensaarai feels emotions. He uses them. He controls them and makes them work for him. Otherwise they are as dangerous a distraction as an undefended plasma shot, a distracting onlooker, or the soft dark side whisper that promises the ease of victory but does not tell you the price.” ”Again! Let the force flow through you and bind to you as one.”
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