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Exodus

Coruscant - Galactic Throne

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“Tally-ho! Commander! Come look at this!” 

 

The overly cheerful voice of the petite redheaded executive officer of Darkhand Brigade piped up over the din of cleaning droids and general chatter. Delta glanced up with a smile as he looked for her short form above the cluster of other officers. He saw her waving her freckled hand, the long distinctive scar of replacement synthflesh near the elbow clearly visible, and jogged over. The group of the senior officers, of which Tares was a part, were in their red and black off duty jumpsuits, and gathered around the holonews station in the officer’s mess. Their eyes were locked on the screen, their jaws set in a mixture of astonishment and rage. 

 

“I don’t get it ser….” Said the red faced Zeltronian male. A recent transfer up ranks to the rank of sergeant major from Lion company. His scuffed nameplate established him as Jansen Trefey, someone that Delta trusted from his reputation, but could not have picked out of a crowd. “...Why would the Jedi attack Mon Calamari? Aren’t they at least friends?”” 

 

“Sergeant.” Delta answered, low enough to not attract attention but it brought every head swiveling his way. “We do not know the Jedi or their ways. There may be something very valuable there, or they could be kidnapping children to train at their temples.” This was an easy lie, and one that brought a score of grins from the NCOs who knew better. But it had its effect, the tension was gone, as were the questions, but Delta Answered them anyway. “I assume a team will be sent, and seeing that we have not moved from orbit, it may be us. See to your men, I will call a briefing if we get anything this side of Yaga Minor.” 

 

Below their feet the deck began to tremble in earnest, this conjoined with the red alert comm on Delta’s wrist told him all he needed to know. It was a message through the sci from Intelligence.

 

Terminus was deploying and the Darkhand with it

 

He looked at the message in its coded message and searched his memory for the cipher before keying it through the interface on his wrist.

 

Mpp Feqgtias

 

Became 

 

Mon Calamari

 

And Delta’s grim smile became a solid grin of teeth and malice.


Out of the pan and into the fire

__________________________________________

Sith Naval Taskforce - Fleet Command

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign - 

Grave

Imperial Kyber Class Star Destroyer Terminus |20/20|

Commanded by Lord Girk Doma the "Devilfish" of Sith Naval Intelligence

Assigned Upgrade: Axial Weapon

 

Sith Naval Destroyer Group [Turbolasers]

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign - 

Devil

Sith Victory II Star Destroyer Brimstone|9/9|

Sith Victory II Star Destroyer Hellkite |9/9|

 

Sith Naval Precision Strike Carrier Group

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign - 

Beast

Raider-class Corvette Cretan |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Greetham |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Heliotrope |2/1|

Phantom

Raider-class Corvette Crusader |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Somerset |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Theodocia|2/1|

Ghoul

Gladiator-Class Star Destroyer Acheron |9/9|


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Anan quietly sipped on his caf in the corner of the Officer's Mess Hall of the Scarab, flipping through the intelligence reports the Sith had on a man known as Kane Wartide. Apparently the Wartides were of some infamy and renown, many of them having successfully led some of the larger pirate groups the galaxy had known in the past. It was here that Anan had chosen for their meeting, quite appropriate as a power flex, but the room they would meet in later also had a magnificent view of the lunar debris field and cleanup efforts. Without saying a word, Anan could use the simple militaristic might of the Sith as a demonstration of what might happen should this new contact choose to cross them.

It had taken a while, but Anan had maneuvered himself exactly where he wanted to be: high in the echelons of Sith as an advisor. The Sith had power and resources, and Anan could use these to further his ultimate end goal, but all in good time. It had taken a bit of doing and pulling a few strings to get a couple key competitors for his position 'taken care of' so that he would be the clear choice the Sith would want when dealing with Black Sun, and the closer to the Dark Lord Anan could get, then the faster he would likely be able to find his son's murderer. First, however, he would need to play his own part, and secure a reasonable trade agreement with this...entreprenuer.

His comm buzzed, notifying him that his appointment time was rapidly closing in. The Scarab crew already had instructions for where to dock Mr. Wartide and to escort him to the proper location, partially for show, and partially to ensure the rogue kept his hands in his pockets when it came to the more sensitive items and information the Sith no doubt had aboard the massive ship, things that Kane might otherwise be tempted to...capitalize upon. Clearing his place at the table, Anan took a caf to go, and within minutes was inside the meeting room, staring out the large viewport at the terrible beauty of Hesperidium's debris field.


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A Curich-class shuttle dropped out of hyperspace in high orbit above Coruscant, near the edge of the massive debris field that surrounded the planet. At the helm were Kane Wartide, the up-and-coming entrepreneur,  and his Lawyer, a Zeltron named Tuulah Jydt. The shuttle began the task of maneuvering to the planet through the sea of stones. The massive imperial Flagship loomed in distance, slowly growing ever more imposing as they approached. Kane whistled, impressed by the magnitude of the craft.

"Well, this is it. We're in the big leagues now." Kane announced, taking in the sight.

"I gotta say, I never thought this job would take me to the Sith Flagship." Tuulah replied, checking the controls.

"You know what we should do right?" Kane asked with a silly grin.

"Aww yeah, lets!" Tuulah said, giggling

Kane took his Datacomm out of his pocket and leaned over to smush his face against Tuulah's, the both of them making awkward faux model faces. He aimed the holorecorder on his Datacomm toward them, framing the Super Star Destroyer in the back and then capturing a still of the scene. Kane pulled the new hologram up on his Datacomm, and the pair shared a laugh at their own ridiculous faces, before depositing the device back in his pocket. This was a ritual they had done often with especially scenic places they went. The premise of boarding one of the biggest battleships in the galaxy to meet with a representative of their  brutal authoritarian overlords was an ominous errand, but it would take a lot more to break Tuulah's dedication to levity and Kane's willingness to indulge in it. As the shuttle grew near to the Scarab Tuulah transmitted the docking codes and plotted a course to the assigned landing pad. Kane took the last few seconds they had on the shuttle double check that they had the things they would need for the meeting.

"Alright, H4-R0-" A spherical droid made some affirmative beeps. "Check."
"Palm grease." Tuulah held up a medium sized weapon case. "Check."
"authorization for us to approach the Scarab without being detained and interrogated for the next couple hours." Kane dug around in his breast pocket, pulling out an encrypted imperial datapad. "Check."

Kane and Tuulah stood up and looked each other in the eye as the shuttle touched down.

"Game Faces." In synchronous, the pair waved their hands over their faces, replacing their lighthearted smiles with stern, serious expressions befitting businessmen about to meet with the galaxy's wealthiest power to sell a contract worth more money than an average person would be see in 100,000 lifetimes. "Alright Lets do this."

The pair and their droid exited the ramp on their shuttle, meeting with their armed escorts for the customary pat down and scan you receive when meeting with government officials. Kane handed over the encrypted datapad, while Tuulah sat down the weapon case in front of the officer in charge of the hangar, raising her hands as Kane did the same.

"This case contains a weapon. It is not loaded, I do not have ammunition for it. It is a gift for the man I am meeting. Do not damage it or it may reflect poorly on you."

A stormtrooper scanned the case to verify the accuracy of the statement then picked it up himself and motioned for the duo to follow. His droid, once scanned, took its position behind Kane while few more soldiers flanked them. After a few minutes of awkward silent marching, Kane, Tuulah and H4 were herded into the conference room.

Kane approached the Chiss Officer that had been waiting for him, Tuulah still at his side. The stormtrooper set the case down on a table, apparently intent on delivering the parcel himself. Kane extended his arm for a handshake.

"Ahh, you must be Canan'ans'iitthral." Kane said, quietly hoping he had pronounced it correctly. "Thank you for allowing me to meet with you today. I am Kane Wartide, of Wartide Arms, Aeronautics and Automatons.  This is my Lawyer Tuulah."


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Anansi slightly raised his eyebrow as Kane was ushered into the conference room, pronouncing his name with little error, something that usually took a bit of practice for non-Chiss. After a brief pause he reached out to return the handshake, before taking a seat and gesturing for his company to do this same. He'd already set up the conference room so Coruscant's dramatic backdrop was directly behind him, which unfortunately meant he would not be able to enjoy the scene himself during the meeting, but sacrifices were always necessary even at the smallest scales.

"Please, just Anansi is fine. Or my friends call me Anan. Few call me by that name anymore."

He gave a slight smile, one that was more courtesy than genuine, before sliding the case in front of him and inspecting the contents. Inside was a beautifully retouched charric, a weapon from Csilla. Still, it was accepting a weapon from a person with potential criminal ties, and for all Anan knew it could be a murder weapon. While he gave no outward indication of his thoughts or intentions, he knew his emotions could easily give him away in front of Kane's Zeltron lawyer, a species he was unfortunately very familiar with due to his underworld dealings and their penchant for...fun.

For now, he still held his hand close to his chest. While this was an amicable business meeting, Anan represented the Sith and was potentially negotiating terms that he could not allow to come back around and bite them, or it would be his head on the block.

"Now, Mr. Wartide. You have come today to seek a partnership with the Sith, and have been very vague as to the legal details of what all that would entail. You are here now because you have made good on several important proofs in your capacity to get things done, intriguing my higher ups. As such, they have retained my services in any potential business negotiations. I am the chief point of contact for such dealings, and this is not anticipated to change any time soon. Any and all proceedings discussed today are to be kept confidential unless deemed otherwise by the Sith Empire, this is to protect both the Sith Empire and any entrepreneuring contractors it chooses to do business with. Standard contract boilerplate stuff."

Anan shifted his gaze to the trooper who was furthest into the room, having delivered the case. "Thank you. You may wait outside." For a few moments, there was silence as Anansi waited for the door to close shut and the room's privacy and dampening fields to softly start humming, ensuring the aforementioned confidentiality.

"Now. What can the Sith Empire do for you today, Mr. Wartide? And more importantly...what can you do for us?"

Edited by Ary the Grey

Can you escape the Spider's web?

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Kane locked eyes with his lawyer for a moment, her stern unflinching expression acting as a cue that he was unmoved by his gift, or that she had felt nothing from it at all. Kane raised his hand and pointed out of the window toward the sea of detritus.

"I will fix that." Kane proclaimed. "I will clear the debris field, and the damage it caused. I will restore Coruscant to its former glory, and turn this half-decimated warzone into a center for galactic commerce again. I will convert this planet from a useless money pit to the most valuable world in the Sith empire, and I'll do it faster than the Sith could if they turned all their soldiers into construction workers. And I'll tell you exactly how."

 

Kane turned and took a few steps away from the Chiss, taking a deep breath.

"H4, begin the simulation."

H4 began to make a series of rapid beeps, tilting downward to aim its holoprojector at the space between them. A large hologram filled the space between them with the image of a Skyhook, a scaled model of a massive city design to float freely above Coruscant. Kane turned back to face Anansi.

"This is Midnight City, the first step in the project. Many of its components are already under construction an off world facilities, ready to be shipped here when I provide notice. It will be both the base of operations for the reconstruction effort, and a permanent hub for business to resume normally in the sector. Using the massive construction droid assets I've acquired--"

The city itself dimmed and blueprints of his primary construction droids appeared above the City, along with a number specialized droid deployment ships, cargo craft, and space salvaging craft.

"-we will assemble the city, and then begin the task of removing all of space debris, condemned buildings, and hazardous waste from the surface and orbit. I have over 10 million construction droids ready begin this task, with another 40 million planned for the initial stage of the project. They will work 24 hours a day until the task is complete. They are a mixture of the droids I've created, and construction teams from a dozen different droid manufacturers I have acquired."

Kane pointed toward the north end of the city and the droid models disappeared, and instead an enlarged view of the city's northern section appeared in their place.

"This will be a ship yard, where, where we will build the necessary craft. It will also serve as a dock for commercial ships, and when the projects assets are fully constructed, it will become a new, permanent shipyard that the the Sith will be able to employ to expand their fleet. The South-"

As Kane changed where he was pointing the focus changed display a different section.

"-will contain a massive recycling center and raw materials forge. It will convert the twisted metal husks and floating rocks into virtually everything we'll need to restore the city. To the West, a large droid factory will generate the droids required to  complete the task, and then convert to serving the needs of the Empire and its citizens. With Mechis III no longer usable, there is a need fill a void in the market, and this section of the city capitalize on that. In doing so, it will end the shortages of proper droids that have followed many companies losing access to their production facilities. To the East, we will construct weapons, armor, and other equipment, with which the Sith will be able to gear their troops. The central block will house a commercial hub and office space."

Kane lowered his hand, the hologram disappearing. Tuulah drew a datapad from her pocket and handed in to Anansi

"You have in your hand a copy of the proposed terms and budget for our contract. In summation of my proposal, If you are able to get the Sith's upper management to agree to it to this, the Coruscant Restoration Project will supply many factories to support the Sith war machine. In just a few years of collecting taxes on the revived commerce of this world they will make back what they spent. Naturally, we will only do business with those the Sith permit us to deal with, so that the Empire and its allies will be the sole beneficiaries of this investment. Currently we project the we will have the new skyhook facilities can be constructed after around seven days and 100% of the planet's surface and orbit restored within one year, which would be a most magnificent display of the Sith's great power to reshape this galaxy."

Kane took off his glasses and attempted to clean them on the surface of his coat before replacing them.

"What do you think Anan? Do you have any questions about my proposal?"

Edited by Kane Wartide

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Anan shook his head with a slight grin. "None at all. A magnificent presentation, which also goes to show why the Sith prefer hiring contractors such as yourself to handle infrastructure needs. My people will be in touch with your people to negotiate the legalese of the final contract and to authorize funding. Of course, you understand that the Sith hold domain over everything they consider to be their property, and while your structures exist on their worlds and you manage them, they are their property. This means that you will be protected, but also potentially subject to their whim. Then again, they also tend to ignore things that fly under their radar, so I'm sure there's nothing to worry about."

Anansi pursed his lips a bit, turning away, mulling over whether or not he'd continue with the next part. After a few seconds however, he decided it would be necessary and spoke up once more.

"I do have a private concern. You see, a large part of my background involves working rather successfully as a defense attorney. I've worked with all kinds of people, but criminals especially. I have noticed your familial ties, and I must ask...this will not come back to be a blight upon my better judgement, will it? While I fail to see any potential significant risks for the Sith in these plans, it does not meant they don't exist, and I'd rather our relationship didn't end in, well...unpleasantness."

Anan read him closely while saying all this, especially the end, looking for any tell on the man's face. At this point Tuulah would have felt some tension and trepidation coming from Anan, but only in the slightest amounts. This was high risk sabaac, winner take all, and one needed nerves of steel.

"And given your occupation, one final request for a custom droid for myself, though it's more of a personal order and I'm sure you have people to handle those things."


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Kane was not surprised to hear mention of his father, having fielded such concerns many times before.

"It is a perfectly reasonable concern. My Father betrayed everyone he ever knew, myself included. And though I was raised almost entirely by my Mother, I retain his name as my own. You can rest assured that I do not follow his footsteps, and my business is entirely legitimate. My father would break the law to take what he wanted. Me, I know that it is much more efficient to use the law to take I want. No matter where you go, the law exists to benefit the wealthiest and most cunning. In business, as in life, the strong dominate the weak."

Tuulah took a step forward, adding a clarification.

"We have dominated many weaker businessmen to achieve our position--Much as the Sith have conquered inferior forces to achieve theirs. But we have done so playing by the rules that they themselves set, on both galactic and planetary scales, because at the end of the day, having the Law protecting your wealth is vastly preferable to having the Law trying to take it back. As such we are very transparent about our dealings, and are prepared to let you review our ledgers should you want to verify the legitimacy of the Wartide corporation yourself."

Kane nodded in agreement, adding "The name Wartide is just a bit of calculated marketing, nothing more or less. Evoking the menace that was Ronin Wartide makes for good branding when it comes to guns."

Kane took out his Datacomm and made a few taps on his screen to transmit an encrypted message to the datapad Tuulah had given Anansi.

"You have just been given the private channel for our droid R&D team. Specify what sort of droid you're looking for, and I will personally ensure that your needs are met. Our team is extremely capable, and I am sure we will be able to exceed your expectations."


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For the first time that day, or rather, for a while, Anansi smiled. A genuine smile. Tuulah would feel mostly satisfaction emanating from the Chiss, but mixed with just a touch of intrigue. Almost as if the Chiss were excited at the prospect of being interested in something again. He held out his hand across the desk, offering to shake Kane's hand

"You surprise me, Mr. Wartide. In a good way, of course. Keep in mind though that I do not share the Sith's outlook that everything is an obstacle to overcome or destroy, so no need to trump up your business acumen. But as someone who has dealt with the law their entire life, it certainly is refreshing to hear someone in your position understand how important it is to use the law to one's advantage rather than attempting to bypass it entirely. I think you and I are going to have a long and...interesting relationship."

Once the discussion concluded and Kane made his closing remarks, Anansi pressed a button on his datapad, summoning the trooper escort back into the room to allow them to leave at their leisure.


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"Likewise." Kane said with a thin smile, taking Anansi's hand for a firm shake.

"I think you and I are going to get along famously. You have my comm frequency, I will be anticipating your contact when you're ready to begin. For now, I must go oversee preparations. Good day, sir. "

Kane made a slight bow, then turned and signaled his droid to follow him as he left the conference room. Once Tuulah and Kane were safely on their shuttle Tuulah offered her reassurance.

"That went well. I think we sincerely convinced him." She said.

Kane grinned, wiggling his fingers before starting up the prelaunch sequence.

"Oh yes. I think so too. I had a low bar for success coming here. Any interaction with the Sith Empire where we don't get thrown in prison or murdered is a resounding success to me. I was expecting them to say 'No thanks, the Sith like the radiation.' But no, he was quite a bit more agreeable than I would have expected out of the Empire."

 

The shuttle took off and exited the hangar, heading outside of the planet's gravity shadow through the mess of space debris.

"We're gonna save this world and we're going to make a fortune doing it. It's not often you get to look like a savior while raking in mountains of Credits. Usually you get one or the other, not both. Our greatest deal has just begun." Kane Mused, then kicked on the hyperdrive and disappeared into space.


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Posted (edited)

After Kane departed, Anansi began working on getting the ball rolling. For many contractors that worked with the Sith, that usually meant weeks of red tape as the proper paperwork moved through the burgeoning bureaucracy that had sprung up to necessitate the governmental proceedings of the Sith Empire. Every level of that treatment also tended to take their pound of flesh from the transaction, as the Sith valued greed. Greed was something that could be controlled. But at the level the Sith had brought Anan in at, he had the authority to direct public funds directly from a preexisting budget.

 

Within a couple hours, Kane began to receive several messages putting him in contact with important people across the Sith Empire, as well as giving him control over a fat spending account to invest as he saw fit. And boys and girls reading at home, governmental sized spending accounts are the best kind of all. 

And the best part? It was completely legal. Simply because the Sith said it was.

Back in his office, Anan began to brew a fresh cup of tea as he found among his things the contact information Kane had given him to requisition a custom droid. The funds he could divert from an expense account meant for elites among the Sith, a small group had tried to disguise it as a committee slush fund, but Anan already had dirt on a majority of the committee to include the chair based on information he'd acquired from various sources among his contacts. He needed a bodyguard, some muscle to back up his keen mental prowess. He'd come this far, and in the big leagues opponents didn't play nice, especially among the Sith. But now he didn't need to worry as the voice on the other end of his comm picked up the line.

"Yes...I was given this contact by a Mr. Kane Wartide who said I would be able to acquire a...customized droid. Yes, I might need to require a secure line to discuss the details. No, money is no object."

He was beginning to enjoy his new position.

Edited by Ary the Grey

Can you escape the Spider's web?

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 A message came in to Anansi.

 Be advised, construction fleet inbound. Alert Sith fleet of non-hostile intent. Anticipated Arrival in 16 hours.

 When the specified time struck, ships started jumping out of hyperspace at such a rate that, at a glance, one might have mistaken it for the rebel fleet. It was a heterogeneous fleet from many different worlds: Zeltros, Yag'Dhul, Csilla, Firefist, Omwat, Neimoidia, Hypori, Devaron and more. They came from all directions and continued to appear for hours, each stopping at the far edge of the system and transmitting clearance to the Sith fleet before approaching the planet. The largest of the ships were specialized hauling transports that carried massive repulsor platforms up to a kilometer in length. Paths through the debris field had to be cut with laser canons to even approach the planet without incurring damage to oversized payloads.

 After entering the atmosphere, the repulsor platforms took up a position in low orbit, stabilizing on their own power before the hauling ships that brought them detached and retreated from the Coruscant airspace. Nearly a hundred platforms began to coalesce as engineering teams set about the careful task of linking them together with extendable bridges and tractor beams. Eventually the seemingly random shapes combined to form one massive island, floating untethered in the sky and onto it landed a vast numbers of ships carrying stores of building materials, components and droids.

 Kane emerged from a shuttle, surrounded on both sizes by an Omwati and Given. They stared at their datacomms as they feverishly discuss logistics and tracked the progress for several minutes before splitting in different directions to oversee their individual tasks. Kane took a few moments to look out over the platform with barely contained glee. The broad empty platform didn't look like much but a giant landing platform at the moment, but for him it was a beautiful canvas upon which he could already envision his masterpiece taking shape. Raising the datacomm to the side of his head he resumed his communications with the construction teams. He navigated ships with open cargo ports, noting K0 droids and Protocol droids filing out in absurd numbers before scattering to begin their tasks. H4 Astromech orbs flocked about like migratory birds, sweeping down on different areas to perform jobs and then swarming to the next.

 Meanwhile on the surface the ships that didn't land on the platform washed over the planet, dropping off P0 droids with tectonic survey equipment at strategic points to scan the land. H4 droids dropped out of the back of moving ships like rain, scattering through the ruins to gather data about every building for the purpose of constructing a precise image of the the conditions on the ground. Their task was massive, and though the surface droids grew to number in the millions, it would take them weeks to complete their survey.
 

 In space work was beginning as well, automated drone haulers going about the laborious task of synchronizing velocity with space debris so that they could safely capture it piece by piece. Their focus was on clearing a path to get interstellar traffic through without having worry as much about getting dashed upon the rocks, yet even that seemingly manageable goal would take constant effort for a long time to accomplish

 Kane took a seat in a temporary command center that had been erected while the Midnight office building underwent construction, tracking progress on a variety of screens and holograms as he continued his perpetual meeting via comm.


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Anansi sent Kane back a quick thank you, forwarding the relevant information to various Sith officers throughout the forces assembled at Coruscant. One thing Anan had to say for the Sith, they were brutally efficient. In many other governments or corporations it would be difficult to begin finding the information of who to contact, but the Sith streamlined that process as much as possible. Many of the narcissistic types the Sith attracted had difficulty working together anyways, so it made sense for certain other efficiencies to counteract those tendencies.

 

Compiling most of the information over the course of the next few hours, Anan developed and sent a report on progress to the Dark Lord. Lord Exodus should be relatively pleased with the business arrangement Kane had brought to the table, though the timetables had yet to prove themselves. Still, with all the movement on the construction side of things that Kane had certainly begun to make good on, it was absolutely an impressive start.


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The last few data points from the tectonic survey rolled in, prompting a Geologist, male Besalisk, to join the holo conference.

"Hoh der', yeh foundation is all mucked up. 'At aint up to code. Yeh gonna need to fix 'at before we can start constructin' on it." He said, hiking up his pants. Kane sighed, motioning for him to wait while he got Anansi in the conference.

Kane observed the hologram of the planet peel back a layer, revealing a layout of the planet's tectonic plates, the same image appeared in Anansi's office. One of the plates had been shifted dramatically by Hesperidium's impact. "Yuh, 'at's a big problem. Yah see ow' is folded up along the next one over? Yuuuuuge Earthquake waitin' to happun. We gotta fix 'at first."

Kane cut off the Besalisk's audio to speak directly to Anansi.

"We had anticipated this issue with the planets tectonic plates. What we'll need to do is deploy baradium charges. Unfortunately, they will need to be deployed from the surface via drill, and my security teams are ill equipped to handle possible hostile activity without the risk of getting wiped out and leaving baradium charges in the hands of savage underdwellers.  I have some specialized drilling equipment earmarked for the task, but I'm going to need the Sith to oversee the deployment. I'm sending you the coordinates for the detonators, along with a ship full of drills. Once all the charges are in place, you'll need to have the Sith evacuate the surface over that plate. It's going to cause an earthquake, but doing so will relieve the pressure and make it safe to build on."


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Anan suppressed letting out a large sigh at the news as he listened to the conference call, wanting to remain professional. He was a little irritated Kane wanted to use more of the resources of the Sith than they had agreed to, but he also made a very important point: this was a larger operation that required a bit of military muscle and precision. Not to mention, the Sith actually valued their contractors. Part of their ruthless efficiency included wanting the best man for every job, doubly true with civilians contracted for specific functions. At that moment, there was nobody who could match Kane's drive and intellect when it came to a massive undertaking such as this one, which made him and his men especially valuable, not trifles to be lost to the savages and other hazards on the surface. Of course, Anansi would also never tell Kane this explicitly...such was simply the nature of barter and bargaining.

"Very well. My people will be in touch with you in the next few hours to update you with a timeline of operations once they get back to me."

Anansi went to close the call, but hesitated as a thought hit him, and he continued. "Do me a favor, however, prepare a private observation deck. This kind of thing doesn't exactly happen often, and I'd imagine it'd be visible from orbit. I think selling tickets to specific high-paying clientele for something they could likely only expect to see once in their lives might help offset our costs here a bit. Reserve ten for me, to include one for myself. Perhaps we can take care of two birds with one stone here."

Without explaining himself further, Anan hung up the call with a slight smile. It was high time he began using his position for what he intended. The next person he reached out to was the operations officer onboard the Scarab, notifying him to start planning for the large operation involving the evacuation of the area as well as combat engineers to place the baradium charges precisely. They would reach out to Kane themselves, and execute the plan per his request. The wheels were already in motion, and they would certainly continue turning for a bit without Anan's watchful red eyes.

Next, however, he contacted his man in Sith intelligence. There were four special operations he needed to happen immediately. Though Anansi had never seen them in person, he'd done his homework, and knew that Sith special forces were above and beyond capable of getting the job done that he needed them to. For nearly an hour afterwards he sat at his desk, staring at four pictures on his terminal, memorizing every detail. One of them knew about his son, or at least something that could lead him to his son's murderer, and what better occasion than with a bang and fireworks to get started on on this great endeavor. Fitting that this part of his journey would begin with a momentous occasion, because it would all end with tears and agony until the man he hunted felt every last bit of horror he'd exercised upon Canan'ans'iitthral's family.

Edited by Ary the Grey

Can you escape the Spider's web?

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Kane observed the formation of the Baradium teams from feeds sent by a series of H4 Droids that had been packaged along side the warheads. He felt satisfied that the situation was under control. A message came in on his holomonitor from one of many protocol droids tasked with acting as construction foremen.

"I have a progress report. The Refineries are operational, and we have already begun to receive shipments of recyclables from the surface. We should have raw materials ready by the end of the day. Weapons factories are at 25.2% Completion, on schedule. The Shipyard is at 12.7% completion, ahead of schedule. Droid Factories are at 64% Completion, some production lines are starting preliminary tests. Midnight Spire Is at 40% completion, with your new office ready for your use."

Kane stood up from his desk.

"Excellent. I'll be relocating immediately. Notify the crews."

Kane walked out the temporary command station, K0 construction droids tromping up and surrounding it. In moments after clearing the doorway the walls were torn down and swarms of H4 ball droids were picking it clean of equipment. A speeder pulled up in front of him, opening its door automatically for Kane to enter. An H4 docked inside whistled a greeting, then shut the door and began to lift off. The building he had just left had already vanished, its pieces being dragged off by dozens of droids.

Flying above, he could see shuttles full of debris lining up to dump material in the south. The city below was absolutely crawling with droids, with shuttles still landing and leaving more behind. The landscape was a jungle of bare building frames, lit welding sparks and shadowed by plumes of smoke. Things were shaping up quickly. Soon his speeder closed in on the tallest structure in the city, a massive spire in the skyhook's center. It was mostly covered in transparasteel windows now, with hints of the internal structure peeking out from the edges.

 

The speeder touched down on an isolated landing pad at the top of the tower, letting Kane off and flying away almost immediately after he stepped foot on its surface. Once he had cleared the doorway a large blast door sealed behind him and the platform itself collapsed and folded into the building. Inside he found his office, sparsely furnished but outfitted with an array of holoprojectors and cameras from which he could continue supervising the progress of his city's construction. He sat down in big black nerf leather chair which stood lonely in the massive room with only a nearby desk and the Holo equipment in it. Kane slotted his datacomm into a port on the surface of the desk, prompting the holograms to kick on and bring up his data feed from the project. He resumed group communication with the many supervisors overseeing various parts of the construction, silencing most of them temporarily while he contacted his press secretary.

"Get ready to transmit to holonet. It's time for my keynote presentation."


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Hours later, Anan got the message that the special operations teams had successfully secured their objectives. He had no doubt they would, the targets were nobody special in their societies, they had no extra protections, they had no idea that someone like Anansi would even remotely be interested in them. The element of surprise was a beautiful thing, and Anansi knew how to use it expertly on those who were caught in his spider's web and didn't even know it. Everything was proceeding according to plan.

Anan began reviewing the progress of the evacuation as he walked towards the shuttle bay, noting several reports of hostile entities or other people who were unwilling to be evacuated. Some were deemed higher priority and were forced by squads of stormtroopers to evacuate, while others were simply left to their own fate. Most of the affected areas were seeing evacuation with no resistance, however, many of them being people just trying to survive who were unable to secure evacuation when Hesperidium struck and the Mandalorians attacked. Those people were more than thankful to see the Sith offer aid and shelter, but at that point they would have taken any port in their personal storms.

Meanwhile, all but two of the combat engineer teams had finished drilling to the designated points and were in the process of setting up the baradium charges. The two that had lagged behind had hit pockets of denser bedrock and required extra time to see their sites up and running. It took only a few swipes of his datapad to transmit that information to Kane, notifying him of an expected delay of around thirty minutes to an hour.

As Anansi's shuttle departed the Scarab, he made a point to stop working and watch out the viewport. Space travel was one of the few things he had experienced very few times in his youth, and it always filled him with a small sense of thrill to marvel at the technology that allowed them to traverse vast distances of absolute vacuum. The stars, the beauty of the now diminished orbital debris field, every minute detail caught in his gaze added to the wonder. And yet, this was all simply another part of the plan. Coruscant represented an opportunity, and he couldn't allow his personal feelings to get in the way. He knew the playbooks of past clients very well, and it was high time he began taking pages for himself.

He issued more instructions to the special operations teams, but as the shuttle neared Coruscant it was ordered to take up a high geosynchrounous orbit above the still-in-construction Midnight City. Kane's people had not relayed that the observation deck Anansi had requested was ready, so he would wait in a makeshift one until then.


Can you escape the Spider's web?

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Kane concluded recording his presentation for Holonet, and informed his press secretary that it should be presented as though it was live while the remaining details of the keynote were filled out. Looking over his progress reports, he noted that the observation platform that Anansi had requested was completed, and docked right outside the door. He had relevant data transmitted to Anan, then pulled his datacomm from the port on his desk and took off to board it. He wasn't terribly enthusiastic about the prospect of schmoozing when there was so much work to do, but he couldn't pass on an opportunity to make more business contacts.

The observation deck was a large repulsor platform, notable for its thick transparent floor. Already aboard were several of Kane's most trusted advisors, including his lawyer Tuulah. An Omwati and a Given were conversing in the corner near a large catering table covered in hors d'oeuvres. Nearby, a bartender droid cleans glasses while awaiting an order.

Kane signaled for the platform to ascend and it immediately disconnected from the Midnight Corporation Spire, ascending rapidly ant taking up position high above the continent that was to undergo the tectonic shift. Anansi's shuttle appeared in the distance, and was given the signal to dock on the platform.

Kane glanced down at the planet from the rather dizzying view beneath his feat. Tuulah joined him with a Martini in each hand, handing one to Kane.

"Should be a good show right?" Tuulah asked before sipping her drink.

"Perhaps" Kane muttered, still staring down through the transparasteel floor. "Assuming Anansi's associates aren't susceptible to vertigo."

Kane closed his eyes and tilted his head back. "Lets just go ahead and dim that until it starts."

Kane walked to the edge of the room as the clear floor turned black, breathing a small sigh of relief. Ever since is father's demise he had been leery of extreme heights.


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Boris Threl. Arrug'il Mo'tiki. Fringo Reeds. Desdemona Foucault. Four people with histories that almost never touched, who had no idea why they had won some sweepstakes to come witness the reopening of Coruscant. They likely also had no idea who Anansi was, and why he was present on the observation deck, watching them closely as they entered along with all the other guests. They were all professional speeder drivers at one point, and Anansi had narrowed it down to one of these four having been the one to deliver his son to his death.

Anan walked over near Kane, fidgeting with his datapad. "This is absolutely a marvelous setup, you should be proud of this crowning achievement you've reached by securing funding from the Sith. It's set to make you a very rich man. Funny, isn't it, how the threads of fate wave so, why if you'd never had this raw ambition, then we never would have met."

The last sentence almost didn't seem to be for Kane, as Anansi watched the four guests as one by one they read a message he had just sent them. Looks of shock and panic followed by paranoid gazes. It was simple, really, he'd simply taken someone they each loved, until they decided to give him the information he needed. A wife, a niece, a son, a father. Each of the abducted family members was on a live feed broadcast discreetly to the new holocomms they had received prior to the party. Each of the abducted family members were in stasis chambers, with a readout behind the chamber that listed the location being aboard a shuttlecraft on the surface of Coruscant, directly in the danger zone for what was about to happen. If they sent the anonymous kidnapper the information he wanted about who they were working for during a specific time frame, they would be set free.

Three of the four panicked, as expected. The fourth, Fringo, simply stared at the live feed for a long time before sending a message, but not to Anansi's anonymized contact listing. Anansi watched as each typed to each other, having backdoored his own software onto their holocomms to enact a man-in-the-middle attack on the communication.

}> Fring_R: I've got a problem. Someone knows. They have my son.
}> 3nnrJ6: Who is this?
}> Fring_R: Reeds. The Nar Shaddaa job.

}> 3nnrJ6: ...

}> 3nnrJ6: This is unauthorized contact over an unsecure line. The penalty for misappropriation of emergency lines is at least excommunication, and at most termination.
}> Fring_R: This IS an emergency, spast it, they have my SON.

}> 3nnrJ6: The penalty for misappropriation of emergency lines is at least excommunication, and at most termination.
}> Fring_R: AREN'T YOU LISTENING? I've worked for you lot for too long not to be owed this!
}> 3nnrJ6: ...

}> 3nnrJ6: Very well. Things will be taken care of. Your son is in no real danger. Say nothing. Meet at your designated rally point Epsilon when able.

So. It was Reeds. Anansi had already strongly suspected him, but had no real proof until now. The other three had their feeds shifted, swiveling to look out the main viewport in each of the shuttles, showing the real location as being in orbit above Coruscant. One by one, each of his other guests breathed a sigh of relief. Fringo's son was also in orbit in a similar manner, but Anansi wanted to watch the man stew. At the least, at the outset of things, it was the first twist of the dagger Anansi had planned.

Smiling slightly, Canan'ans'iitthral turned back to Kane. "You think it's about time we got the main event started? No rush, of course."
 


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Kane eyed Anansi's guests suspiciously, sizing them up. He Tapped a button on his glasses to scan their faces and find records on them. His mouth curled with disappointment.

"Not a useful one among them. The 'High Paying Clientele' all appear to be... well... not even wealthy enough to afford tonight's bar tab." Kane whispered to Tuulah, slinging back his martini.

"They're also terrified out of their wits. I'm not sure what Anansi's doing to them but... They all seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown." Tuulah replied back. Her empathic senses were clearly making this a rather miserable party for her as well. Her drink had already been destroyed

 

Kane went over to the bartender and instructed him to keep the good hooch sealed, grabbing another round for himself and his lawyer. He was not in the habit of asking questions about situations like this. He knew better than to stick his nose too deep into Sith Business, but he could glean a bit of what was happening even without trying. When Anansi asked him to start the main event, Kane eager to oblige.

"Yes, lets get this over with." Kane agreed, grabbing a spoon and tapping his glass. "Attention everyone. Today is a momentous occasion, for today we take the first major step toward bringing too life to this dead world. Coruscant is damaged, nearly irreparably so. Its very foundations have been twisted by the failures of those who came before us. But tonight, we will begin the arduous process of correcting the wrong that has been done here. And quite entertainingly, we will do so with a show of force."

Kane gestured to have the floor made transparent again, no doubt startling the guests as it suddenly appeared as though they were floating high above the planet.

"On your mark, Anansi."

Kane drifted toward the back of the room, trying to keep his eyes up to avoid vertigo, but listening for Anansi to call in the detonation. As badly as it made him dizzy to look down, he still didn't want to miss the event.


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Anansi nodded, sending a quick message to the engineer teams on the surface, and a 30 second countdown timer overlaid over several nearby screens. Frankly, he was unconcerned in monitoring his "guests" further, he already had what he needed. 

As the timer reached zero, several white-hot blasts visible from orbit uniformly detonated down the fault line at the same time, followed immediately by an enormous line of dust cloud as the entire tectonic plate shifted almost visibly. As the dust started clearing, the celebration continued, drinks were poured, the floor returned to a comfortably opaque state, and a few cheers came from the assembled crowd. Anansi turned to Kane, a satisfied look on his face.

"This marks a new era of growth for the Sith Empire and its citizens. You should be proud. I am retiring back to my quarters for the time being, but If you wish to use the opportunity to rub elbows with the financial elite I understand. Please bill all charges to my office under the construction costs."

With a slight nod to Kane and his lawyer, Anansi turned smartly, exiting the party without fanfare. He had a different game to play. Fringo Reeds was about to become an interesting node in his woven web.


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